Tag Archives: LGBT Fiction

Quatrefoil Library at 30! A movement deserves a library!

Some of us remember the beginnings of the Quatrefoil Library — from “back in the day” – before rainbow flags or enlightened legislation altered the lives of LGBTQ Minnesotans, and eventually of the nation.   With a wince I remember getting flack for planning a Metronet event at Quatrefoil three decades ago.

Most of all, I think of the founders, including Edward Swanson about whom I posted a couple of appreciative blogs when he died too soon in December 2010. If you don’t know – or want to be reminded of – the Quatrefoil narrative spend some quality time exploring the excellent Quatrefoil website (https://www.qlibrary.org) and reading/viewing the resources posted there.

This library community supported and celebrated the unique Quatrefoil Library long before the movement for equality was mainstream. We understood the importance of the archives and, equally, of the lending library that features a robust collection of reading materials by LGBT writers and about issues of interest to the LGBT community and to readers who just wanted to learn more about the lives of their family members, their neighbors, co-workers, and themselves. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/edward-swanson/

Some years ago the Quatrefoil Library moved to its present location on Lake Street. In April 2014 Andy Sturdevant wrote a great piece about the library in MinnPost . When I read that piece I resolved to visit and to better know and to think about the success of this bold enterprise. Unfortunately, I never did visit the “new” library, but I did re-read Andy’s post here: https://www.minnpost.com/stroll/2014/04/lgbt-history-lovingly-preserved-quatrefoil-library-lake-street .

The good news is that recognition of the 30th Anniversary fosters new ways to learn about, cheer and support the 21st Century Quatrefoil Library,

First, we can all visit the In & Out: 30 Years at Quatrefoil Library exhibit open through August 28 at the Hennepin History Museum, 2303 Third Avenue South in Minneapolis. Check the Museum website for hours, access and other details. (http://www.hennepinhistory.org/index.html)

A highlight of the exhibit is a special program set for this coming Sunday, July 31 when three long-term Quatrefoil volunteers will lead an informal discussion of the history of the Twin Cities LGBT community library. James Bacigalupo, Robert Frame and Kathy Robbins know the history, the successes and the bumps on the road to equality, including the resistance and acceptance of this community.

The discussion is 1:00-3:00 at the Hennepin History Museum. Cost is included with Museum admission ($5 adults, $3 seniors/students, free for HHM members and children under 6.)

Happy 30th birthday, Quatrefoil Library!

Good Reads for Gay Pride Month – Fiction

Beginning today, June 1, Gay Pride Month features many fetes and many faces – theatrical productions, T-shirt sales, concerts, games, picnics, posters and the 40th Annual Gay Pride Festival, June 23-24.  For bibliophiles or those who prefer to explore and experience through a good read, there are entire libraries that tell the stories, trace the history, and reflect the thoughts of GLBT writers.  A random surf of the web discloses endless reading possibilities; as usual, the challenge is to select.

With that in mind, I defer to the selection art of others – list makers, bibliographers, professors and librarians – who play an indispensable winnowing role on just about every topic.  This list narrows the bibliographic field to a specific genre and easy access to general interest titles that meet the interests of library patrons.


Again Ruthann Ovenshire, exhibitor nonpareil at Minneapolis Central Library, has identified and culled from that library’s shelves a starter list of GLBT fiction titles that are are available at the Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall,  and at many other public and academic libraries everywhere.

  • Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet
  • Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
  • The Immoralist by Andre Gide
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig
  • The Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
  • A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White
  • Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran
  • Maurice by E. M. Forster
  • The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal
  • Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
  • The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
  • City of Night by John Rechy
  • Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller
  • Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote
  • The Bostonians by Henry James
  • Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
  • The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
  • Another Country by James Baldwin
  • Chéri by Colette
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

There are countless online lists of LGBT literature – fiction and non-fiction, books for young adults, mysteries, short stories, journals, websites, blogs and more.  For a glimpse of the rich digital resources check the Rainbow Source list for titles and interesting category breakdowns.  Bear in mind this is one of scores of tools to guide you to library collections, independent bookstores and other sources of the special title you seek.


The exhibit of GLBT titles available from the Minneapolis Central Library will open June 15.  You’ll find more on LGBT literary genres, good reads for teens and special collections in future posts on this blog or see what’s happening on the  LGBT Reading Blog.