Monday, November 03, 2008


This summer, Bywater Books in Ann Arbor, MI, ran a web poll asking readers to nominate and then vote for the Best Lesbian Novels of the 20th Century. This is their final list:

The Top Ten
1 Curious Wine
by Katherine V. Forrest
2 Oranges are not the Only Fruit
by Jeanette Winterson
3 The Price of Salt
by Patricia Highsmith
4 Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
by Audre Lorde
5 Desert of the Heart
by Jane Rule
6 Rubyfruit Jungle
by Rita Mae Brown
7 Patience and Sarah
by Isabel Miller
8 The Sea of Light
by Jenifer Levin
9 Beyond the Pale
by Elana Dykewomon
10 Trouble and Her Friends
by Melissa Scott

Needless to say, I'm psyched. It's amazing company to be in - these are books that inspired me to be a better, queerer writer - and I'm really proud and pleased to be considered with them.


At 8:33 AM, Blogger Jude M said...


(Man, I *still* haven't read Rubyfruit Jungle. People were trying to get me to read that when I first came out...)

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow that is just awesome! I'm so happy for you! and those are some awesome books/authors to e up there with!

At 11:08 AM, Blogger K said...

Sweet! (and well deserved)

At 3:56 PM, Blogger edired said...

Sorry , but I've never thought of you as a QUEER Writer or a QUEERER writer . I do see the value of trying to bring transition to a society that still in large part thinks of sexual orientation as a character issue ( SHADOWMAN was an AWAKENING to me ) . You are though an exceptional writer and would be if you were a purple onion .

At 9:02 PM, Blogger M-H said...

Excellent. And well-deserved. But I do wonder if younger women read these books anymore? They were so important for our generation.

At 5:16 AM, Blogger Weasel said...

Secconding the sentiments above, this is great news and very well deserved.

As someone who started out reading mainly genre, Trouble was what lead me to more conventional queer fiction - something I've been greatful for ever since.

At 4:12 AM, Blogger Jenn said...

Most excellent! Congratulations!

At 10:43 AM, Blogger M. said...

Thanks, all! And (not to pick on you, edired :-) I do want to clarify what I meant by saying these were the books that encouraged me to write "queerer." I think that a lot of what gives good writing its appeal - its "universality," to quote my high school English teachers - is paradoxically the way it's grounded in the concrete particulars of each writer's life and world. And there's always a temptation, particularly for writers who don't belong entirely to the mainstream - of what they believe to be the mainstream - to shape what they have to say to conform to its expectations, to tell their story the way such stories have always been told rather than how they experienced it. (Actually, having said that, I think that's the key to good writing in general: to tell the story the way you believe it is rather than how you believe it's supposed to be told.)

In my case, being queer is a part of my experience, like being female, southern, WASP, middle class.... It's a part that one is less encouraged to express, or that one is expected to explore in certain ways - viewed from outside, as the object, rather than the subject of discourse, for example, as "them" rather than "us." These were books that said to me, no, you can write about all of yourself, not just the conventional parts. And that's what I mean by writing queerer.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger mike said...

Yay Melissa. You're always at the top of my list. Keep rockin!

At 2:05 PM, Blogger edired said...

Please never write to anyone's expectations but your own ! To be sure , people can olny live in their own skins . Writer's ( I think ) let us feel a bit ( more ) of what it feels like in theirs .

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Liz said...

Nice! I have to go read that again... it's been quite a while!

At 11:41 AM, Blogger philcycles said...

I could care less about the sexual orientation of an author. All that I care about is can the author tell a good story. Miss Scott tells a good story.
Phil Brown

At 11:42 AM, Blogger philcycles said...

I could care less about the sexual orientation of an author. All that I care about is can the author tell a good story. Miss Scott tells a good story.
Phil Brown

At 5:17 PM, Blogger MaryVT said...

Congratulations! I keep having to repurchase Trouble because I keep lending it out and not getting it back. I thought it would make a great movie

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Dharma said...

Wow that is awesome!!!!!!!!!


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