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Rainbow Reading: A Fictional Happy-Ever-After Doesn’t Always Satisfy When It’s a Real Life Happy-Ever-After That I Want

Feature image by Oksana Horiun via Getty Images/iStock

A book in faded colors of the rainbow is open, and the words RAINBOW READING are on top of it.
illustration by A. Andrews

Aaaaaand we’re back! It’s been a grueling, intense, and heavy week and as of right now when I’m drafting this note, it’s only Monday. How is everyone doing? In these moments of political fury and anguish, I find myself really ambivalent about pleasure reading. Escapism feels like a luxury I haven’t earned, but equally, I know better than to argue with theeeee bell hooks about how self care and pleasure in the face of oppression are radical acts. All that to say, I’m sitting next to a stack of some truly delicious gay novels, including some of the sports romances recommended by Sally, and I can’t tell if I have the heart to start reading them yet or not. A fictional happy-ever-after doesn’t always satisfy when it’s a real-life happy-ever-after that I desperately, deeply want. (I will settle for happy-sometimes-occasionally-after if I must.)

Anyway, it’s funny to think that I thought this installment of Rainbow Reading would be all jokes about Elon Musk buying twitter and the internet going all heart-eyes for Heartstopper on Netflix. This time around, I’m experimenting with the ratio of cool social media tidbits, so let me know what y’all think. Whew! What a weird couple weeks!

A Quick Rainbow Reading Guest Note From Managing Editor Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya:

A flyer for Loyalty Bookstore's BIG GAY FUNDRAISER, featuring Ryka Aoki, Kristen Arnett, Jami Attenberg, Alyssa Cole, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sarah Gailey, Robert Jones Jr., T Kira Madden, Amber McBride, Anna-Marie McLemore, Mark Oshiro, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Julian Randall, Jessie Sima, Meredith Talusan, Aiden Thomas, and Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. The virtual event will be held Saturday May 7 at 8 p.m. eastern time.

This weekend —Saturday May 7 at 8 p.m. Eastern to be exact —our pals at Loyalty Bookstore are holding a virtual BIG GAY FUNDRAISER to support trans and queer youth in Florida and Texas. All funds collected from ticket sales (it’s pay-what-you-will starting at $1!) and 10% of profits from book sales for the event will be split between Zebra Coalition, Equality Texas, and Lambda Legal. I will be reading at the event, and so will my girlfriend Kristen Arnett (and it’s our first time being featured on the same lineup! GAY). We’re joined by lots of fine folks whose work you might be familiar with, like T Kira Māhealani Madden, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Alyssa Cole, Sarah Gailey, and MORE! Plus, it’s hosted by Rainbow Reading fav, @lupita.reads! It’s gonna be a very good, very gay time. Register here! Okay, I’m passing the mic back to Yashwina! xoxo

Let’s make like a banana and split. On this week’s Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:

Shelf Care: Reviews, Essays, and other Things of Note

^^^ Archival footage of me, Yashwina Canter, assembling this week’s column ^^^

The cover of Casey McQuiston's I Kissed Shara Wheeler. A green background with a blonde girl holding a pink envelope with lipstick kisses on it.

Things feel so defeating right now, but McQuiston says that love is indomitable, and when I’m lost in their worlds, I really believe it.

Heather Thee Hogan in her review of I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Autocorrect: Books content from the last couple weeks at Autostraddle!

Damn, it’s been a GOOD few weeks for Autostraddle Books coverage!!

it would be deeply irresponsible of me not to share this amazing tweet with you since it’s been through all my group chats in the last few weeks.

That’s all she wrote, folks! If you’re a queer writer, particularly an early-career queer writer: I’d love to hear about the cool things you’re up to so that I can share links to your published essays, book reviews, short stories, poems, and longform features on LGBTQ+ topics! Please email me links for consideration at [email protected] with the subject line “Rainbow Reading Submission” — I’m an avid browser-tab-collector, and I especially want to hear from you if you’ve just landed your first publication or first major byline.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Yashwina Canter is a reader, writer, and dyke putting down roots in Portland, Oregon. You can find her online at @yashwinacanter.

Yashwina has written 53 articles for us.


  1. a bunch of queer writers doing a reading to support trans youth and i don’t even have to leave my house?

    i was going to try to come up with something clever about the team reading my dream journal or something, but i don’t have the bandwidth this week. but am i already registered? hell yes. and is this one nugget of absolute perfection in the veritable mountain of shit that is…everything else right now? you fuckin bet it is. so excited!

  2. That advice column about the essay/friend situation is a joy. Maybe humanity is split into those people who foist their creative output on others regardless of whether they want it, and those who are mortified at the prospect of sharing their output at all?

    BTW I almost done reading that queer Julius Caesar YA mentioned last time, and can confirm it contains the backstabbing and bisexuality as promised.

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