I vividly recall my first forays into Lambda Rising.
I was a young man, not long out of high school, and self-conscious enough about my sexuality that I grew flush with the worry that I might be spotted walking into a bookstore adorned by a giant rainbow flag.
Inside, among the shelves, I relaxed as my eyes drifted the familiarity of book spines, my mind registering the revelations of encountering an author’s name in this context. Zora Neale Hurston was gay? Virginia Woolf was gay? Gore Vidal? Paul Bowles? James Baldwin?
I would gradually catch on that Lambda Rising did not exclusively stock titles by gay authors, but certainly boasted more books, on a variety of subjects and in many genres, of concern to the gay and lesbian community.
Since then, that community has been redefined as GLBTQ, a term more inclusive of queers like me. And in that time, Lambda Rising has opened shops in three additional towns, granted annual literary awards and established an online store.
Now, to come around full circle, Lambda Rising’s doors are now open from my own writing. When you shop their website by using the link above, or at left, you support One Life, Take Two.
It’s an impressive inventory, whether your tastes run to the prelapsarian male camaraderie of the Navy in World War II . . .
. . . or interplanetary colonies peopled exclusively by female pioneers.
You can uncover the circumstances that made strange bedfellows of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers and Gypsy Rose Lee . . .
. . . or ride Hooters Air, perhaps to a soft-core film shoot.
Looking over my shoulder, you might read the coming-of-age novel that I found at Lambda Rising when I was coming of age, and still quote to this day, when my age has long since come . . .
. . . or you might choose another coming-of-age book set in Chicago, a novel that led a young woman to present herself to me as “Esther.”
Saul Bellow was gay? No, but see, that’s the beauty of it. The community is eclectic, and Lambda Rising reflects that.
Shop Lambda Rising and support community-based independent booksellers.