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Six Sapphic Books

The Locked Library recently shared a post where I give my top six Sapphic books, so I thought I'd post them here as well! Each of these has a special place in my heart (or, in the case of 'The Girls', a rent-free attic space in my brain, where it has claimed squatter's rights and will not be budged no matter the cartoons and plushies thrown at it).

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe

Fannie Flagg

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg - Penguin ...

 

  • A novel from 1987 about an old woman recounting the stories of her youth in Whistle Stop, Alabama, and the cafe run by her sister-in-law, Idgie, and her friend, Ruth. A main plot arc follows Idgie and Ruth as they grow up, bonded by a tragedy.
  • You can hear the Alabama drawl in the tone throughout the book, it's just lovely. I'm a sucker for the Alabama accent. 
  • One of the most heartwarming books I've ever read. It explores themes of racism and bigotry as well as the struggles of growing older. 
  • The film they made is gorgeous, I'd watch Kathy Bates in anything. Even clingfilm. 

The Once and Future Witches

Alix E. Harrow

'The Once And Future Witches' will have you spellbound | MPR News

  • About three sister witches - the three witch archetypes; mother, maiden, crone - who use their magical talents to empower themselves and the women around them in New Salem. 
  • The eldest sister, Bella, is a bookish type and historian; she's my favourite character, and develops a relationship with the strong-willed journalist Cleopatra Quinn, the leader of the Black Witches of Salem. 
  • It does an amazing job of exploring the different facets of womanhood without giving into stereotype, I felt empowered after reading it!

The Girls

Emma Cline

bol.com | The Girls, Emma Cline | 9781784701741 | Boeken

  • Loosely based on the women involved in the Manson Murders, this book explores how a young, alienated woman, Evie, becomes involved in a group of girls who are devoted to a charismatic musician, which results eventually in murder. Evie becomes drawn to Suzanne, a girl in the cult, and their relationship is oddly innocent despite the grim perversion around them. 
  • I was working in Waterstones when this was made book of the month, and I can see why it was chosen. It's raw, seductive, and brutal, exploring themes of manipulation and grooming. 
  • I found this book disturbing, but it made it easy to see how a naive girl could get pulled into something hideous. 

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Becky Chambers

Cover Reveal: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet | Hodderscape

  • This book reminds me a lot of the series Firefly, but with a pacifist undertone. It follows the multi-species crew of the Wayfarer, a hodgepodge of characters each with their own backstories, as they encounter different alien environments and adversaries. 
  • Because of the crew's diversity, it is the perfect space to explore questions of identity, gender, and non-conformity, in an open and accepting atmosphere, rather like in Star Trek.  
  • I really enjoyed the optimism in the book; the main character, Rosemary, is delightfully open to new experiences, even finding cross-species love. 

This is How You Lose the Time War

Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone

A Review of Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s “This Is How You Lose ...

  • The book follows two agents, enigmatically named Red and Blue, who alter time across universes in an attempt to win the Time War. As each seeks to undo the machinations of the other on behalf of their respective rulers, they begin to leave messages for the other to find, and gradually love evolves into something to defy empires. 
  • You can tell the book is written with the input of a poet (Amal El-Mohtar); the imagery and language is beautiful and lyrical, almost experimental. Although it's quite a short book, it's really well-crafted and the payoff at the end is very fulfilling. 
  • Although the characters use she/her pronouns, I really loved how they seem genderless for so much of the book, often adopting different bodies and completely without stereotype. 
  • Never thought I'd type these words, but: trust the words of Bigolas Dickolas, he had it right.

Sunstone 

Stjepan Sejic

 Sunstone Volume 1 (Sunstone Tp)

  • Yes, it's a Sapphic kink comic! This is a graphic novel about two women grappling with questions of sex, their relationship and fetishism. It's cute, quirky, and despite the subject-matter manages to be extremely heartfelt, exploring themes of trust and healthy communication. 
  • It completely bypasses any sense of sexual stigmatisation to explore what is essentially a character-led romantic comedy. 
  • It's written by a bloke, but manages to capture lesbian representation very well (I believe his wife helped him to write the women), and has been endorsed by members of the communities it represents.

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