FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Let’s Make a Queer Summer Reading List!

Hi friends and happy Friday to you all but especially to everyone else like me who is not at A-Camp and feeling left out. Maybe next year?? (This is what I’ve been telling myself for years).

But onto my always favorite topic of choice: books! I do a monthly column here called Ask Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbrarian where I write book lists in response to questions from Autostraddle readers and help them find the kinds of queer books they’re looking for. So to continue with my lesbrarian brand, I thought we’d talk about books here today! But instead of me just recommending books as I usually do, I want to hear from you about queer books!

Let’s create a (queer) summer reading list together! What LGBTQ2IA+ books are on your summer reading list? Do you have any queer classics you want to finally get around to reading? Are there any new books coming out that you’re planning to get as soon as they’re released? Would you like to share with everyone the first queer book you ever read? What LGBTQ2IA+ book would you recommend as a must-read?

Here’s my answer to some of those questions!

I am in love with Kristen Lepionka’s mystery/detective series featuring bisexual PI Roxane Weary, and the third book, The Stories You Tell is due out July 9. I can’t wait! If you haven’t already read this series, I highly recommend it both for the nuanced characterization of Roxane, who is a fascinating character, and for the twisty plots. There’s just enough time to catch up and read the first two before the latest one is released.

Mariko Tamaki is one of my favorite YA authors who hasn’t let me down yet, and she released a new book in early May that I can’t believe I haven’t read yet! It’s called Laura Dean Keeps Breaking up with Me, and it’s a graphic novel collaboration with Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. Frederica aka Freddy is thrilled to be dating Laura Dean, the most popular girl in school. The only problem? Laura is kind of a crappy girlfriend.

I am also really trying to do better with reading the books I already own at home instead of getting distracted by shiny new books. A few of the older ones that have been sitting on my shelves way too long are: Patience & Sarah by Isabel Miller—a lesbian classic published in 1969 set in the 19th century—and Theory by Dionne Brand, a poet’s novel about queer love and intellect on a collision course in academia.

Okay, now your turn! What are you reading this summer?

PS: Also, today is Al(aina)’s birthday and while they are currently at A-Camp, you’re strongly encouraged to wish them happy birthday in the comments!


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Known in some internet circles as Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, Casey Stepaniuk is a writer and librarian who holds an MA in English literature. She writes regularly for Book Riot and Inside Vancouver about LGBTQ2IA+ and/or bookish topics as well as a monthly column about queer books at Autostraddle called Ask Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbrarian. Topics and activities dear to her heart include cats, bisexuality, libraries, queer (Canadian) literature, running, and drinking tea. She runs the website Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, where you can find reviews of queer Canadian books, archives of Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian, and some other queer, bookish stuff. Find her on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Casey has written 47 articles for us.

80 Comments

  1. Ramona Blue for anyone who hasn’t read it is *such* a good YA read. It explores intersectionality, poverty, race, bisexuality, and was my top read of last summer. Trigger warning: friends of mine who went through Hurricane Katrina have yet to pick it up as it deals very explicitly with the aftermath of the storm.

    I’m always looking for cute queer YA reads if anyone has recs!

    • I’m a sucker for sappy, lighthearted YA romance novels, and two of my faves are Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown, and It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura.

      Georgia Peaches scores points for adorable first love and for the main character’s relationship to her Christian faith and her Evangelical preacher father’s acceptance of her queerness. I’m not religious but that aspect of the novel (along with most of the characters and the care with which they are depicted) really warmed my heart.

      It’s Not Like It’s a Secret involves the main character, Sana, and her girlfriend bonding over a shared love of poetry and copying out poems to give to each other, so I was already sold, but this book really shines with its exploration of Sana’s relationship with her family’s traditional Japanese values and the dynamics of casual racism in her relationship with her Mexican-American girlfriend.

    • I really liked Ramona Blue too! I know a lot of people in real life who initially came out as gay and then realized they were bi/etc but that book is the first time I’ve seen it in print!

    • Robin Talley’s books are all super good… Our Own Private Universe is super cute and has a Black bisexual main character. As I Descended is… not cute so much, but is a really cool queer genderbent retelling of MacBeth.

      Mackenzi Lee’s YA historical fiction is also great. A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a really fun adventure featuring a bisexual narrator. The sequel, A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy features an asexual main character(Always excited to see Ace rep)

      Leah on the Offbeat is the sequel to Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, focusing on one of the secondary characters, who is bisexual and super cute.

  2. I’ve been reading Holy Hell, the first book in the Lillian Byrd series by Elizabeth Sims! It’s a sloppy murder mystery set in late 90’s Detroit with a pet bunny and centered around a lesbian bar. She uses lots of real Detroit places and things, and reminds me very much of my early 20’s. Also working on another 90’s series, Kate Martinelli books by Laurie R King, starting with A Grave Talent. I’m on book 2. I keep trying to start Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly, but I only have the audio book and never have my headphones, so little luck there. And if you haven’t read The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco, get on it!

  3. For the past 2 years I’ve made it my mission to only read queer books (featuring, written by,or has a side character that’s queer), with only 2 exceptions- I also read Neil Gaiman and Stephen King books (problematic faves for life).
    This year I’ve really loved Sadie by Courtney Summers and The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (both really heavy subject matter). Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno was a super good read and has witchy-ness which I loved. My 2018 list included Peter Darling by Austin Chant which was lovely and a spin on Peter Pan, and When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore was great, very surreal and reminded me of something I would have loved in middle school when I was all about Francesca Lia Block (and it has that same witchy vibe too).
    I track my books on Goodreads if anyone wants to follow along-
    https://www.goodreads.com/friend/i?feature=friend-invite-url&invite_token=MjI0MjIyNzItNjIxNi00YTljLWEzODQtZjEwYmZkNDM4MzJm

    • Great idea to share your Goodreads! I can’t seem to get a link to my profile from the app, but I’m on there as CaseytheCanadianLesbrarian.

      I loved Sadie too! A tough read dealing with childhood sexual abuse, but an amazing book.

  4. Omg. Buckle up, because I’m a YA librarian/writer and this is what occupies like 90% of my brain (the other 10% being cute girls)

    -The Afterward by E.K. Johnston — High fantasy about 2 queer POC ladies and what happens after the epic adventure is over. Teeming with POC and queer folx, barely a white guy in sight.

    -Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan — classic rom com with a gaaaaay twist, a bi girl has a crush on elusive guy, asks her lesbian bff to pretend to be dating her to get closer to him but then the bff catches feelings and then she catches feelings and there’s a lot of feelings, okay? Set at a mediocre (but beloved) amusement park in their town where they all work for the summer.

    -The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown — Jessica always struggled with anger issues (like, major anger issues) before she met her girlfriend Vivi. But when Vivi dies unexpectedly, Jessica kind of goes off the rails. Great adult lesbian couple and Jessica gets into blacksmithing which is awesome to see.

    -The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson — bisexual Elena was literally an immaculate conception and inanimate objects have been talking to her her whole life. When her crush is shot in a drive by Elena realizes she could save her, but then but she discovers when she heals someone, people get raptured – disappearing in this golden light. It’s super weird but delightful and deals with Big Thoughts.

    -Pulp by Robin Talley – told in two timelines, one during the lavender scare and another in 2017, involving lesbian pulp novels that connect the two timelines in delightful ways. Also AS gets a shoutout!! One of my favorite books last year! (Also anything by Robin Talley, I friggin love her)

    -Birthday by Meredith Russo — Morgan and Eric have the same birthday. And over the course of 6 birthdays we see them grow and change as Morgan (AMAB) starts living as her true self, Eric figures out who he is, and the two find how they fit together. Bonus — Russo is a trans woman

    -A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo — murder and queer girls and poc girls oh my! Involves unrequited crushes on really toxic bffs, a murder, and a main character who draws comics.

  5. Shameless plug incoming for my queer book review podcast my BFF and I are making! Lavender Lit Club! Check us out on all your podcast apps!

    We review three books I’d recommend for a summer queer beach read:
    1. “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon. It’s a quick, fun YA sci-fi read with amazing representation.
    2. “Tomboy Survival Guide” by Ivan Coyote. I can’t sing Ivan’s praises enough. This is a sweet memoir that often fills you with that summer longing sort of feeling.
    3. “The House of Impossible Beauties” by Joseph Cassara. Done binging Pose and want more? Here you go!

  6. Shameless plug incoming for my queer book review podcast my BFF and I are making! Lavender Lit Club! Check us out on all your podcast apps!

    We review three books I’d recommend for a summer queer beach read:
    1. “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon. It’s a quick, fun YA sci-fi read with amazing representation.
    2. “Tomboy Survival Guide” by Ivan Coyote. I can’t sing Ivan’s praises enough. This is a sweet memoir that often fills you with that summer longing sort of feeling.
    3. “The House of Impossible Beauties” by Joseph Cassara. Done binging Pose and want more? Here you go!

    • Thanks for sharing Julie!! Glad to see someone is filling the niche of queer book podcast. Do you want to try the link again? I’m just seeing a weird symbol on my end that’s not a hyperlink.

  7. Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton is one of my favourites for summer, it’s funny and romantic and wonderfully sweet. I highly recommend her newest book The Goodmans too.

    I want to finally get around to reading The Price of Salt this summer and I’m looking forward to the release of CB Lee’s Not Your Backup.

    And happy birthday Al(aina)!

  8. Here are my LGBTQ Reads so far this year:

    “When Katie Met Cassidy” – Just finished this yesterday! Lesbians deserve breezy, romantic beach reads, too! Based on the cover art, I thought this story was a #femme4femme story, but Cassidy is actually a GNC power butch. This book is also a great reflection on the importance of queer spaces and “the disappearing lesbian bar”.

    “Autobiography of Red” – Honestly, I read this because of Jenny in the L Word.

    “Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story” – A memoir that subverts the “classical trans narrative” (the author’s term, not mine.)

    “Hit So Hard” – a memoir by Patty Schemel, lesbian drummer of Hole

    “We Were Witches” by Ariel Fiona Gore. A memoir about single motherhood, realizing you are a lesbian, and witchcraft.

    “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” – Patrisse Khan-Cullors is queer and we do not deserve her <3

    "Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls" – Another memoir that I just loved by TK Madden, a biracial lesbian

    I also just read "The Hours" by Michael Cunnigham last week. I guess I was only 12 when the movie came out, so somehow I missed the fact that this book is about THREE BISEXUAL WOMEN

    Recommended with Reservation:

    "The Female Persuasion" by Meg Wolitzer – I dunno, kinda felt like the lesbian best friend was reduced to tokenism. The prose was tight and well constructed, though. I also read this book in a magical cabin in Topanga Canyon pretending to be Joni Mitchell over New Year's. For this reason, I might love the memory of reading the book more than the book itself.

    • I felt the same was about The Female Persuasion. The character really had some possibilities but I felt like got sidelined. I don’t feel like every main character *needs to be* LGBTQ. But for some reason this just really started off as having so much potential and ended up feeling like a box that was just ticked off. Though to be fair I felt the main plot really was anti-climactic as well.

  9. AHHH! I just added so much to my TBR list. For my part I strongly suggest:

    + Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown
    + People’s Future of the United States-a speculative short story collection with lots of queer goodies in it.
    + Becoming Dangerous (essay collection on femme witchy things)
    + The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding which is a VERY cute YA romance.
    + All of the Lumberjanes graphic novels if you haven’t yet.

    ALSO super cheap plug, but if you’re learning tarot this summer, my Queering the Tarot book is out!

  10. On March I had a great honor, Angela Davis was on Uruguay for several lectures and I almost dropped dead when she shook my hand. So I’ve been going through her bibliography, particularly Joan Little: The Dialectics of Rape, Women, Race, & Class and Women, Culture & Politics.

    Yes, I know, probably not the kind of books for “happy reading in the summer”…

  11. I didn’t get to go to A-Camp this year because I was in surgery on the day the site opened and then by the time I was sufficiently recovered to look at it again, it was booked. Oh well, I probably couldn’t spare the time from work anyways this year.

    Honestly lately I’m mostly reading fanfiction because it’s easier to find stuff I like than for published books, though I also have some original fiction that’s being published online. Here’s my carefully-curated list of recs. I have posted (parts of?) this list before, but I have some new items I’ll have to add later because I need to go to work. Some of these are not finished and probably won’t ever be finished, but I enjoyed reading them nonetheless.

    The only thing I’ve read recently that’s been notable on the more-traditionally-published route is the mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy, which I have feelings about that are too long for this margin. Does anyone have recommendations for queer-centric and/or trans-centric SFF, preferably on the lighter end? There are a bazillion middling-quality paranormal romances for straight women, I just wish there were as many queer counterparts.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/11715078/chapters/26385285, Korrasami: Mermaid AU, I love the clever melding of mermaids with the Avatar setting and the plot twists (which I will not spoil). Features Korra being hot and complicated feelings.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/10375578/chapters/22917603, Clexa AU: Lexa is a law student, Clarke is a succubus. The main plot driver here is figuring out Clarke’s story. I enjoyed this fic’s emphasis on consent in a scenario that could easily have gone dub-con or non-con in creepy ways.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/5493998, Carmilla/Laura: It’s a Carmilla/Pacific Rim fusion. You’re probably wondering how that can be any good, but it’s really really good! Believe the slow burn tags, we’re 230k words in and the leads haven’t kissed, but their friendship is developed beautifully, there are interesting spins on many other Carmilla characters, and there’s also dark hints of a plot.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/12473736, Carmilla/Laura: I don’t like zombie apocalypses, but this one won me over with the characterization and the development of their relationship. I’m really interested to see where it ends up.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/6445774, Scully/OFC: Scully is very bisexual in this one, which the teenaged girl inside of me likes a lot. Set after the X-Files ends, Scully is falling in love with the daughter of Reyes and Doggett while trying very hard to deny it. Has some dead-on dialog for Mulder and fun cliffhangers.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/11445675, Max/Victoria: Vampire AU, with an interesting take on vampires and Victoria herself. Victoria tries to be aloof and fails utterly when it comes to Max. Has a strong arc and characterization, only a pity it isn’t longer. It is, however, finished.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/5853712, Carmilla/Laura: The premise of this fic is pretty dark, but it also manages to be very true to the series. Honestly, if I had never seen anything past season 1 and someone had told me this was a novelization of the rest of the series, I would have believed them. The push-pull of Laura’s and Carmilla’s relationship gets a lot of time, all of it merited.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/2703230, Caroline/Elena: A beautifully-done meet-cute superhero AU.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/1557668, Buffy/Faith: Honestly, I’ve always been more invested in Buffy/Faith than Willow/Tara. Maybe someday Hollywood will remake BtVS with a canon queer protagonist, but until then there’s fanfic, and this is a great take on the concept. Also has one of my favorite titles in fanfic.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/617498, Lightning/Fang: this is a crackfic with sparkling, hilarious prose.

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/270104, Hanna/Sophie: Aged-up AU with some plot and a lot of exploration of what Hanna and Sophie might be like when they’re a little more grown up, featuring Sophie coming out to herself: “[Y]ou don’t know what’s up or what’s down any more, and the only thing that makes sense is the one thing that’s making you confused.”

    * https://archiveofourown.org/works/690853, Laura/Erica: A cute character study where they end up telepathically bonded.

    • I have recs!

      Fantasy

      Seafarers’ Kiss by Julia Ember – Queer reimagining of the little mermaid from Ursula’s POV, with Norse mythology. It was fun but also darker and bloodier than I was expecting from the cover.

      Peter Darling by Austin Chant – Queer, trans reimagining of Peter Pan.

      The True Queen by Zen Cho

      SF / space opera

      The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – merry band of adventurers in a space ship, with a low key, interspecies f/f romance.

      The Slipstream Con by Reesa Herrhbert and Michelle Moore – m/m/f space opera heist romp. Imagine a queer, poly Thomas Crowne affair, in space, with nanobots.

  12. I loved Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me. I adore Mariko Tamaki in general, but it was a really cute and fun read.

    I will never stop plugging the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire, as it’s my favorite fantasy series of the moment, and has a lot of queer characters, including an asexual character, a nonbinary character, and a trans boy. Seriously, everybody should go read it.

    Other queer books I’ve read recently:

    I *Just* picked up Life Isn’t Binary by Meg-John Barker and Alex Iantaffi, because I’ve been having a lot of Nonbinary Feelings I’m trying to figure out lately. It’s been an interesting read so far.

    Best Bi Short Stories edited by Sheela Lambert

    Meal by Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho, a really cute queer graphic novel about cooking with insects(I unexpectedly met Blue briefly at Wiscon a few weeks ago and had a major fangirl moment)

    Also, some queer webcomics you can read for free.99:

    Mooncakes(queer, Chinese-American paranormal romance)

    Shaderunners(queer bootleggers in a 1920’s-ish world where color is a controlled substance)

    How To Be A Werewolf(gay midwestern werewolves, lesbian witches!)

    O Human Star(by the aforementioned Blue Delliquanti… gay and trans AI in a futuristic world)

  13. I’ve been reading a lot of queer romance lately. Here are a few of the best wlw ones.

    Mrs Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan – Victorian era #MeToo revenge fantasy / slash romance between two English women in their 60s and 70s.

    Proper English by KJ Charles – lesbian romance / Edwardian house party murder mystery. Like Agatha Christie but with more lesbians and less racism and classism.

    A Duke in Disguise by Cat Sebastian – m/f regency romance with an unapologetically bi heroine. Can’t say enough good things about Cat Sebastian and her appearances mission to queer regency romance.

    Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai – m/f contemporary with a bi, Muslim heroine. It’s the 2nd in a series (the first was a het romance and I skipped it but I probably missed some stuff).

    Proper English by Rachel Spangler – this one is a contemp romance set in England

    And Patience and Sarah is really good!

    • Ooh I’m a pretty new romance reader so I appreciate these recs! I have loved all the other Courtney Milan books I’ve read so I’m excited to read that one you mention. I also loved the first and third book in Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Heart series with Wrong to Need You. The first one features quite a bit of Sadia the bi heroine from Wrong to Need You as she’s the BFF of that heroine and the third one ties up some overarching plot stuff.

  14. Always, “Stone Butch Blues”, which used to be available for free on Leslie Feinberg’s website but I can’t seem to find right now.

    “Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold” is an oral history about the working class lesbian bar scenes in Buffalo NY around the time of Stone Butch Blues – I want to reread these two books close together to see how they complete and compete with each other’s narratives.

    I’ve been meaning to get around to “Gay New York Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940”, which is a history of the LGBTQ community there pre-Stonewall era.

    “Gentleman Jack, the Real Anne Lister” is a great read for anyone like me, without an HBO password. The women who put together the show wrote a companion novel that may lack the visual appeal of a (soft?) butch strutting across a field, but keeps all the salacious details.

    Finally, I’m hoping to raid the Zine shelves of the local feminist/queer bookstore; and see what my local amazing creators are getting up to!

    • Ah-ha! https://archive.org/details/StoneButchBlues

      I wanted to find this since it seems the website that used to host all of Leslie Fienberg’s things is down, and making this free was, per that old site, part of hir lifelong struggle for communism and equality.

      One thing I will note is that this book is quite old and uses terminology that today may be considered offensive. Fienberg seemed to have intended to discuss that in an introduction to the 20th edition; however, ze passed away before that could be completed.

    • I read that Anne Lister book, and liked it too. It also is good for people who do watch the show, as it clarifies who a lot of the minor characters are, and fills in some of the gaps in the narrative. I was surprised at how much of the stuff in the show, that I thought was added to create drama (like being walked in on by Mrs. Priestly, or being attacked by a thug), were actually historical.

      I made a comment a little further downpage about some of the other Anne Lister books, if you’re interested.

  15. I am really not a book ready. I wish I was, but I am not. I may try audible to get back into reading books. On the other hand, give me a riveting long-form article or story to read, especially in the outdoors. Perfect! That reminds me I have one of those Mi-Fi portable hotspots(it was cheaper to be on a business plan than a family plan). I could take my Surface to the beach or mountains and read there now(pending I have reception).

    How’s everyone’s week going? It’s been pretty mundane here and I am kind of fine with it. Not a fan of the June gloom in the mornings, but loving the heat cause it means more time in the water. I also got my new to me bike upgraded for safety, thank you REI! I plan to ride more and maybe hike less? An acquaintance runs and hosts bike events, and I think they are really cool. I plan to ride it Sunday at fire road recommended to me by the dude fixing my bike. Then maybe hit the water to cool off. I also realized, now that I have a bike my next car lease will have to be an SUV or wagon, which is fine by me. But, so far Subaru doesn’t offer a Forrester Hybrid(pref one that has more power and better mileage) or STi/XT and become the stereotype. lol

    I spend most of my Sunday at Cuties coffee and sadly most the regulars I hang out with have moved away. While it was a nice time as always it was quiet. I invited a person of OKC/Tinder(message me on both) to meet me there, and they said sure, but that never happened nor did I get a reply back. I feel like some people have weird and bad dating etiquette. Like just be honest, if I or anyone really came on too strong? I kind of did that the other week when the first message a woman sent on tinder was she wants to, “sample what I have to offer down there.” Like nope, sorry I need a little convo and dining before we can get to that convo. Unless you are Carrie Brownstein, Laura Jane Grace, or any LGBTQ comedian, not man/man aligned and racist. lol

    Thank you for reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

  16. Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy is a lovely anthology of love poems about a relationship between women.

    I love Sarah Walters especially Nightwatch.

    Trumpet by Jackie Kay is about Joss Moody, a trans man jazz musician from the 20th century. (I understand gender is a complicated thing when dealing with historical figures, he lived his life using male pronouns and living a life passing as male so I believe he was trans)

    When I was a teenager, I loved Annie on my Mind. When I was a teenager, I read any lgbt book I could get my hands on and spent one summer reading them all in America, the place I went had so many gay books in bookshops when that was rare back home so it was very exciting for me to come across them.

    Queer: a Graphic History is a text book with illustrations about the history of the lgbt community and about queer theory.

    This year I’ve enjoyed Will Grayson, Will Grayson about two guys who meet up and have the same name. One of them is gay

    I really like Alice Walker’s The Color Purple which has a beautiful relationship between Celie and Shug

    I also wrote a poetry book about my own relationship with a girl, not going to plug it here because of social anxiety but I like that I did that because we need more lgbt books out there.

    Happy birthday Al(aina).

    I was planning on going to pride tomorrow. I’ve written a list of reasons to go and not go.

    Go:

    1 they have an autism tent for if it gets too intense on a sensory level
    2 get to be in an environment which isn’t heteronormative or cis normative
    3 I feel like we should all go if we can. It’s a bit like voting, people have fought for us to have the right to do it
    4 they have lovely food there
    5 I’ve been looking forward to it for ages and it only happens once a year
    6 I have four outfits planned out for goodness sake, I might as well wear one of them.
    7 might meet people there

    Not go:
    1 I had been planning on going with my family but mum’s ill. I have social anxiety and Asperger’s and it’s hard to go to things alone
    2 It’s going to rain heavily tomorrow and it’s all outside
    3 My parents are over protective and won’t want me there alone
    4 Like I said my mum’s ill. I’ve been looking after her. I don’t trust my stepdad to do a good job of it, he’s not very good with poorly people 🙁
    5 My auntie is coming tomorrow and I don’t know if my energy levels will be up to doing three things (if mum is well enough we’re going to the theatre in the evening)
    6 meeting new people is scary

    • Oh boy. I really love The Color Purple. Alice Walker is magic. I read that book so many times in college and forgot about the relationship between those two. I need to re-read this.

      I was going to encourage you to go to pride, but even I am torn by your pro/con list. Although as a mom to Aspies, I would tell you that sometimes going outside your comfort zone is an important experience. Whatever one you chose, I hope you enjoy your weekend. And hope your Mum gets better!!

      • I went to watch, I wish I’d taken part because it felt like all the other lgbt people except a few cis guys were in the parade? Maybe me not noticing people though.

        She’s slowly getting better, we watched it in our neighbourhood.

    • Also torn by your pro / con list!! I hope you can be okay with whatever decision you make. Pride often feels kinda like New Years to me in that there’s so much pressure to have the best day ever it’s always disappointing in some way?

      • I feel a bit like this tonight. I ended up going but I didn’t go to the after party and it feels like how at NYE I stay in with my parents instead of going to the New Year party.

        I wouldn’t feel that way except for the show I went out to watch had flashing lights and I couldn’t watch it because of that. So no evening out. I don’t have the energy level, either.

  17. Anyone else inspired to read about Anne Lister? I read the “companion” book for the show first, which was good, then just finished the Steidele biography of her. It kinda messed me up, because for all the things I love about Anne Lister, she does not come off well by the end of that biography. They say “don’t meet your heroes,” and I kind of feel like I did 😕 I wish we had access to those later diaries directly, instead of reading through the author’s interpretation.

    Anyway, now I’m working on Whitbred’s “Secret Diaries of Anne Lister,” which is much more direct diaries, without much editorializing.

    • I read Steidele’s biography a few months ago and almost didn’t watch the show because of it. I’m glad I did because it’s an amazing show and I appreciate that they’re not making her come across as perfect. It means I can sit back and enjoy watching Suranne Jones stride about the place in that top hat and coat without feeling uncomfortable.

      • Yeah, show Anne isn’t perfect, but she’s no where near the selfish a-hole that Steidele Anne is. I think that Anne’s self-confidence and self-interest enabled her good qualities and achievements (like going on adventures, writing a detailed diary, standing up for herself, learning about things considered the domain of men, running an estate, etc.), but also lead to her bad qualities (snobbishness, fickleness in love, judgy-ness, reckless spending, elitism). The problem with the Steidele biography is that it focuses so much more on the bad. You have to take both, as they are two sides of the same coin.

  18. Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: a song of ice and fire intrigue but less sexism and slowburn lesbian romance. It’s a brick and a ton of fun

    Monstress by Marjorie Lu and Sana Takeda: edgy, grimdark fantasy series graphic novel. Malka has a thing for her BFF… who married Malka’s aunt for politics. Honestly this has been my fav read of the year so far. There’s three volumes out so far.

    The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai: science fiction, gay, weird. A little too much for me but I loved the worldbuilding.

    Prism Stalker by Sloan Leong: Scifi, weird, interesting discussion of indigeneity. Loved it.

    The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders: scifi, unrequited love, cool story about communication and power struggles.

    When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll: Erotic gothic romance horror in graphic novel form.

  19. Read ALL the things!! I’ve been actively reading piles of queer books for the last couple of years. Here are some of my favorites:

    Sci-Fi/Fantasy:
    The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. This is all about chosen families…in SPACE! It features a variety of alien cultures that are so elaborate and beautiful it’s hard to believe that they don’t actually exist.

    Santa Olivia and Saints Astray, by Jacqueline Carey. Santa Olivia is about a superpowered teen who takes on an oppressive government by pretending to be the town’s patron saint. It has great character development and thrilling action sequences. Saints Astray is the sequel but I like it better because it has (spoilers) an incredibly joyful queer relationship between two increasingly badass women.

    Mask of Shadows, by Linsey Miller. A badass genderfluid thief enters the competition to become one of the Queen’s assassins in a high fantasy setting filled with politic intrigue and horrifying magic. I also really enjoyed the sequel, Ruin of Swords.

    Dreadnaught, by April Daniels. A closeted trans teen accidentally gets incredible super powers that also affirm her gender, which also outs her…She has to deal with bad guys ranging from her abusive dad to actual supervillains to a TERF on what’s supposed to be the good-guy team, and she does so with badassery and help from a very attractive cowgirl-themed vigilante classmate.

    Known Associates, by thingswithwings on Archive of Our Own. Okay, so this is a Marvel fanfic… and it is also one of the best novels I have ever read. The first part focuses on Steve Rogers in the 1940s, with a meticulously researched and gorgeously written view of queer activist New York City, full of drag clubs and union meetings. The second part is a heartbreaking and, eventually, empowering view of what happens when he wakes up seventy years later, when everything he knows is gone and he struggles to figure out who he is and who he wants to be.

    In the Otherland, by Sarah Rees Brennan. It features an obnoxious genre-savvy pacifist bi boy who goes to a militaristic fantasy world and starts asking questions like “wait, why are we fighting? Have we tried…talking about our conflict yet?” The worldbuilding is delightful and the fantasy stuff is great fun, but the real payoff is in the character development of this lonely boy who is trying so hard and means so well, but has never had a role model for what love and friendship and healthy relationships actually look like. I laughed, I laughed more, and I cried.

  20. I read “In Other Lands” by Sarah Rees Brenan earlier this year and absolutely ADORED it! I thought “They Both Die at the End” was also a good, quick read.

    I’m looking for historical LGBTQIA+ fiction, along the lines of “The Song of Achilles” and “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue,” so if anyone has recs please LMK! I also loved those books and highly recommend them!

    • I also love Song of Achilles! And I’ve heard good stuff about The Gentleman’s Guide, I will have to check it out.

      If I may recommend my book (it’s historical and LGBT+) — it takes place in 1887 in the Washington Territory and all the main characters are queer. It’s called The Best Bad Things and I’m really trying to get more queer readers to find it! 🙂

    • I really enjoyed Gentleman’s Guide and have heard good things about Achilles.

      Here are a few other recs:

      Patience and Sarah by Isobel Miller – mentioned by Casey. Set in early 19th C upstate NY and Connecticut, loosely based on a real lesbian couple.

      Labyrinth by Alex Beecroft – Queer reimagining of the myth of the minotaur from the point of view of the people of Crete. It has a romance between a man and nb person. It’s definitely on the fluffier side and I enjoyed it a lot.

      KJ Charles has written a lot of mm historical romance and fiction. I think her books closest in tone to Gentleman’s Guide are Wanted, A Gentleman and The Henchmen of Zenda (swashbuckling, queer retelling of the Prisoner of Zenda) but most of her stuff is very good.

      The True Queen by Zen Cho is set in Napoleon era Malaysia and England, with magic. It’s the 2nd in a series but it mostly works as a stand-alone.

  21. Happy Birthday Al(aina)!!

    I am scribbling down these furiously and followed those of you who kindly linked your goodreads.

    My mom asked me the other day what I have been reading lately and I said, mostly gay stuff. 😉 With a thread like this, I can see this continuing and I am So glad!!

    The three books that are on my must read this summer are all mentioned here, but I will mention them again because it’s fun to see the same names over and over again.

    -Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
    -Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
    -The Priory of the Orange Tree

    I will get to more, but sadly I read more in the winter than the summer. Too much yard work and beach time calling my name. Plus I am in the midwest so I just tend to hibernate in the winter and live it up in the summer.

  22. I recently read “Disoriental” by Négar Djavadi and I loved it. It’s really fantastic storytelling. I’m also still in love with the delightful “How to Be Both” by Ali Smith, my favorite book from last year. As for queer reads this summer, I feel like my to-read pile is ever-changing, but Jeanette Winterson and Kristen Lepionka are near the top!

  23. More than a little cranky since I posted a comment before work today so people on the East Coast would see it, but it’s still stuck in moderation (because, I assume, everyone on Autostraddle staff is at A-Camp). Portion of the post without links/fanfic recs follows:

    I didn’t get to go to A-Camp this year because I was in surgery on the day the site opened and then by the time I was sufficiently recovered to look at it again, it was booked. Oh well, I probably couldn’t spare the time from work anyways this year.

    Honestly lately I’m mostly reading fanfiction because it’s easier to find stuff I like than for published books, though I also have some original fiction that’s being published online. Here’s my carefully-curated list of recs. I have posted (parts of?) this list before, but I have some new items I’ll have to add later because I need to go to work. Some of these are not finished and probably won’t ever be finished, but I enjoyed reading them nonetheless.

    The only thing I’ve read recently that’s been notable on the more-traditionally-published route is the mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy, which I have feelings about that are too long for this margin. Does anyone have recommendations for queer-centric and/or trans-centric SFF, preferably on the lighter end? There are a bazillion middling-quality paranormal romances for straight women, I just wish there were as many queer counterparts.

    • I’m so sorry your first comment was stuck in moderation for so long. I didn’t even realize I could approve a comment until now. It’s up now, hopefully better late than never!

      I am also definitely more interested in Buffy / Faith than Willow / Tara so I will be checking out that one. And thanks for suggesting fan fics! I’m glad to have that diversity. 😃

  24. I’m currently reading Out from Under: Sober Dykes and Our Friends (an anthology compiled in the late 80s). Also, I just picked up a copy today of Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett. I never buy new books but have been looking forward to this so much that I got it from my local independent bookstore. As expected, I’m really enjoying it!

  25. So many great suggestions!

    I want to recommend a few:
    The Black Tides of Heaven: a great queer fantasy novella
    Her Royal Highness: cute YA romance with an American student and a Scottish princess
    We Set the Dark On Fire: queer feminist fantasy/dystopia of sorts
    How to Repair a Mechanical Heart and its sequel A&B: these came out a few years back but are SUPER CUTE.
    Echo After Echo: Mystery during a theater production. I’m also about to read a King Arthur retelling by this same author (called Once & Future)
    Not Your Sidekick series and Dreadnought series: These are two really good superhero series!
    Radio Girls: Historical fiction set in the 1920s at BBC Radio. The queer content is limited (not the main character) but it was really good anyway!
    I saw people mention Red, White, and Royal Blue and Hot Dog Girl earlier and also want to +1 those!

    (more recommendations here if anyone is interested: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/18443429?shelf=lgbtqia)

    This summer some of the queer books I’m planning on reading include These Witches Don’t Burn, Tell Me How You Really Feel, The Fifth Season, Once & Future, Not Your Backup, Who Is Vera Kelly, Girls of Paper and Fire, and the other books in the Black Tides of Heaven series.

  26. I should be asleep, but I’m not.

    Resisting the urge to cross reference everything not fanfic to my local library so I might be asleep soon.

    Still going to gush a bit about a new recipe I tried.

    Baked oatmeal with fruit, was supposed to be a simple breakfast dish I can prepare ahead and just slice out portions during the week, but NOPE it’s so fucking tasty it’s dessert worthy.
    I could show up to Sunday dinner with it and some vanilla ice cream all attendees would be raring for seconds of the oatmeal.

    Simple breakfast dish? More like ambrosia in a baking pan.
    I could eat all of it in one go and only regret there’s no leftovers for tomorrow.

    Even cold out the fridge it’s a test of willpower not snarf the whole thing like Gollum.

    Song stuck in my head lately is Juri Han’s theme from Super Street Fighter 4

    she is of course a villain

  27. Ever since Gentleman Jack debuted, I’ve read every single book on Anne Lister. My favorite out of the four of them was “No Priest but Love”. It provides great context while also providing ample diary entries. Aaaaand you also get to read more about Anne’s “anatomy studies” in Paris.

  28. I wish I was the kind of person to be confident with getting drunk and dancing and hooking up with girls because that’s the kind of person who gets to be out at the after party tonight 🙁 I feel a bit like an outsider to my own community, felt the same because I was watching the parade instead of marching in it.

  29. Forgot to mention You, Me, U.S. by Brigitte Bautista. Lovely and unusual friends to lovers lesbian romance set in Manila.

    And I’m looking forward to the new Elizabeth Gilbert novel.

  30. this is my favorite FOT topic ever ever ever. I’ve made so many lists of queer books for all my friends over the past decade or so — and it’s amazing how much our world has changed and how many amazing books there are!!
    I only have a couple of titles/authorsto passionately add:
    — Anything by Emma Donoghue (similar to Sarah Waters in some ways)
    — We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (YA)
    — Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
    — Mary Oliver’s poetry
    — Looking for Lorraine by Imani Perry (biography of Lorraine Hansberry)

  31. I LOVED Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me! It was so cute and refreshing! I demolished it in a single sitting.

    Recently I’ve really enjoyed some Australian queer fiction, which might not be available in the US but is always worth seeking out. (I’m biased, but I think we do literature well here.) Erin Gough’s book Amelia Westlake is a cute YA offering, and Holly Throsby’s book Goodwood captured first queer love so beautifully. Both of them are worth seeking out if you’re after a non-US perspective.

  32. There aren’t a lot of graphic novels or comics on here so now I my time to shine.

    -Someone did mention Lumberjanes and I second that as it is completely adorable and so much fun for kids and adults that just want something light to read. Basically boils down to badass queer summer camp.
    -Backstagers, this one is a guys that are the backstagers of their high school theater and all of the magical and queer things that happen behind the scenes.
    -My favorite thing is monsters was my favorite book of last year (my book club already has october marked off to read the second volume) This one is more heavy, both in terms of material and the fact that the book is massive.
    -Goldie Vance, lesbian lady detective.
    -Rachel Rising has one of my favorite queer characters of all time in aunt Johnny, she is the best. This is also a horror series.

  33. I absolutely loved the Lillian Byrd Crime series by Elizabeth Simms. Mystery series with a lovable but fallible protagonist. Great writing, smart and funny. If you can listen the the audibook, the narration by Dina Pearlman is terrific.

  34. Omg I will undoubtedly spend a lot of time reviewing this suggestions and make sure they are all on my Goodreads. Thank you!!

    I am a librarian and check a lot out, but one book I bought and have been underlining in nonstop is Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepnza-Samarsinha. I love their poetry and this essay collection has articulated things that I have not been able to find the words for and it’s a great comfort to read and to feel like there is a direction forward in the communities of care disabled queer femmes create and sustain. Bani Amor wrote about it for Autostraddle in Nov 2018 in case you missed it 🙂

    “Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice” Draws Real-as-F*ck Maps of Justice and Care

    Also just started reading Native Country of the Heart, a memoir by the queer writer and cultural activist, Cherrie Moraga and Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James, a middle grade novel by Ashley Herring Blake!

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