2009 Lambda Literary Foundation Bisexual Book Award Finalists

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The finalists in the Bisexual Book Category for the 21st Annual Lambda Literary Awards are:

Open

by Jenny Block

Seal Press

Finally, a book about open marriage that grapples with the problems surrounding monogamy and fidelity in an honest, heartfelt, and non-fringe manner. Jenny Block is your average girl next door, a suburban wife and mother for whom married life never felt quite right. While many books on this topic presuppose that the reader is ready to embrace an “alternative lifestyle,” Block operates from the assumption that most couples who are curious about or engaged in open marriages are in fact more like her – normal people who question whether monogamy is right for them; good people who love their spouses but want variation; capable parents who are not deviant just because they choose to be honest about their desires. Open challenges our notions of what traditional marriage looks like, and presents one woman’s journey down an uncertain path that ultimately proves open marriage is a viable option for her and others.

Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire

by Lisa M. Diamond

Harvard University Press

Many women experience a fluid sexual desire that is responsive to a person rather then a specific gender, argues Diamond in this fascinating and certain to be controversial study. Diamond, associate professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah, is best when detailing, with vivid examples, how scientific studies of sexual desire and behavior have focused on the experience of men, for whom the heterosexual/homosexual divide seems mostly fixed. Diamond says traditional labels for sexual desire are inadequate; for some women even bisexual does not truly express the protean nature of their sexuality. Diamond details in accessible and nuanced language her own study of 100 young women (by her own admission not fully representative) over a period of 10 years. She says that she is calling for an expanded understanding of same-sex sexuality that could radically affect both LGBT activists who hold that sexual identity is fixed and antigay groups who believe sexuality is chosen. Sexual fluidity involves a mix of internal and external factors, but is not, Diamond emphasizes, a matter of conscious choice, and she speculates that a younger generation that views sexuality as personal rather than political might embrace this less rigid view.

The Bishop’s Daughter

by Honor Moore

W.W. Norton

(From Publisher’s Weekly:)”Having told the sad, extraordinary story of her maternal grandmother, the painter Margarett Sargent, in The White Blackbird (1996), Moore offers a painfully honest memoir of her father, Paul Moore (1919 – 2003), the Episcopal bishop of the diocese of New York from 1972 to 1989. Educated at St. Paul’s and Yale, Paul distinguished himself in battle as a marine on Guadalcanal during WWII; fathered nine children by his first wife, the vivacious Jenny McKean; and became an activist in the liberal social movements of the 1950s and ’60s. He also had numerous clandestine affairs with men. While Paul’s bisexuality did little harm to his professional career, it took a heavy emotional toll on his family, notably Jenny, who up to her death from cancer at age 51 confided to only a few intimates the underlying cause of the unhappiness in her marriage. The author, a poet and playwright, draws on letters between her parents, the reminiscences of friends (including a male lover of her father’s) and her own experiences as her parents’ oldest child coming of age in the ’60s to create an indelible portrait of a charismatic religious leader who could be insensitive or even cruel to those who loved him most. At the dramatic heart of this engrossing family chronicle is the ultimately triumphant struggle of the daughter, who suffered her own sexual confusion and years of therapy, to reconstruct her father’s personal history in an effort to understand his behavior and thereby forgive.”

Kinsey Zero Through Sixty: Bisexual Perspectives on Kinsey

Kinsey Zero Through Sixty: Bisexual Perspectives on Kinsey

by Ron Jackson Suresha

 

Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1948 publication of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, and Clyde E. Martin, Ron Jackson Suresha, guest editor. In honor of Alfred C. Kinsey’s monumental scientific publishing achievement, the Journal of Bisexuality is presenting a double issue focusing on Alfred C. Kinsey’s work, life, and legacy, and his effect on and relationship with bisexuality and all aspects of bisexual culture. Contributors to this stellar collection of outstanding writing include the last surviving member of Kinsey’s original research team, Dr Paul H. Gebhard, as well as leading names in the fields of sex research, GLBTIQA activism, and bisexual writing. This double issue of Journal of Bisexuality (8:3-4), Jonathan Alexander, editor, is published with the independent sponsorship of the nonprofit organization, American Institute of Bisexuality.

Rimbaud

by Edmund White

Atlas & Company

(From Publisher’s Weekly:)”Here is a lean, incisive biographical-critical book by one of our outstanding literary commentators. In compelling personal writing, White (Genet: A Biography) shows how one of the heroes of French culture, Arthur Rimbaud (1854 – 1891), led a double life – in many forms. He who famously declared, I is another, abruptly abandoned the literary life, virtually as a teenager, for more than 15 years until his death. Unconventionally beautiful, from a provincial middle-class background and something of a mama’s boy, the lover of Paul Verlaine was bisexual and secretly craved conventional worldly success even as his aesthetic was in the Symbolist art-for-art’s-sake mode, portrayed by White as part shaman, part alcoholic and drug addict, part Catholic saint, Rimbaud remains a phenomenon in world literature. Included in this literary biography are White’s superb translations of works he is discussing and fresh insights into Rimbaud’s destructive relationship with Verlaine in particular, as well as with other poets, family, friends and business associates. This is a disturbing and original portrait of a man White sees as a fallen angel who misbehaved even in hell.”

Congratulations to all of the finalists! The winner will be announced on Thursday, May 28, 2009, at the Lambda Literary Awards Ceremony in New York City.

And the winner is…..

Open

by Jenny Block

Seal Press

Finally, a book about open marriage that grapples with the problems surrounding monogamy and fidelity in an honest, heartfelt, and non-fringe manner. Jenny Block is your average girl next door, a suburban wife and mother for whom married life never felt quite right. While many books on this topic presuppose that the reader is ready to embrace an “alternative lifestyle,” Block operates from the assumption that most couples who are curious about or engaged in open marriages are in fact more like her – normal people who question whether monogamy is right for them; good people who love their spouses but want variation; capable parents who are not deviant just because they choose to be honest about their desires. Open challenges our notions of what traditional marriage looks like, and presents one woman’s journey down an uncertain path that ultimately proves open marriage is a viable option for her and others.

Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage challenges our notions of what traditional marriage looks like, and presents one woman’s journey down an uncertain path that ultimately proves that open marriage is a viable option, and one that’s in fact better for some couples than conventional marriage. Congratulations to Jenny Block!

Visit Jenny’s Website

Read Jenny’s Blog

About the Lambda Literary Foundation:

The Lambda Literary Foundation is the country’s leading organization for LGBT literature. Their mission is to celebrate LGBT literature and provide resources for writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, and librarians & the whole literary community.

Visit their website: lambdaliterary.org

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About Author

Denise Penn

Denise Penn is a Southern California-based journalist who has covered issues for the LGBT and HIV-affected community for nearly two decades. While an investigative reporter for the Blade Newsmagazine, her coverage of hate crimes became part of Congressional records. She served as News Editor for the Lesbian News and has contributed to In Los Angeles Magazine, EDGE, and many others. She is also a clinical social worker and brings that perspective to her articles. She produced and hosted an award-winning community television program in Long Beach, California for 12 years.

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