Hi everyone! I’m Yashwina, a longtime reader and new team writer here at Autostraddle, and it’s rad as hell to make your acquaintance and welcome you to Rainbow Reading, my new bi-weekly column surveying the lay of the literary land. It’s a real honor to follow in the footsteps of Lez Liberty Lit, the brainchild of Autostraddle’s beloved Ryan Yates which recently wrapped its nine (nine!!!!!!) year run.
Every other week, I’ll run my metal detector over the literary internet, dig up whatever beeps, and present to you my findings, whether that’s The Essay Everyone On Twitter Is Grumbling About, a new poem or short story from an up-and-coming queer writer, a thought-provoking book review, or a list of more cool queer books to get excited about. There may even be the occasional glint of book-world gossip. Who’s to say what all’s out there.
First of all, what am I reading right now? I just got my copy of Laura Horak’s Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressed Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema, which Laura brought to my attention in the comments of my piece last week about the Hot Tomboys of Early Hollywood. When the comments section comes through, it really comes through — I’m having the time of my life reading about gender-transgressive old movies, my to-watch list has quadrupled in length, and I’m awed all over again at the wonderfully fascinating and deliciously readable queer texts coming out of university presses like Rutgers and Duke right now. You can join me and get your copy of Laura’s book from her publisher here, or have the fine folks at A Room of One’s Own bookstore in Madison, WI order it for you for the added satisfaction of supporting a superb queer- and trans-owned bookstore.
Alrighty, folks, let’s get this show on the road. On this week’s Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:
Shelf Care: Reviews, Essays, and other Things of Note
- Pantsless queer icon Winnie Thee Pooh is in the public domain, so now we can all write about how fruity the Hundred Acre Wood is!
- Britni de la Cretaz and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo’s new book Hail Mary tells the story of the National Women’s Football League, and over at Jezebel, de la Cretaz wrote about how interviewing and researching these queer elders helped them leave their marriage in this essay at Jezebel. (A word of warning — while Britni’s essay is very worth a read, many of the comments are emphatically not. More projectors than a movie theater in there.)
- Jean Chen Ho on her new story collection Fiona and Jane: “You know what I mean, speaking of Asian American representation, maybe what we need is more representation of Asian American bimbos.” Read more in her BOMB interview, and then check out Ilana Masad’s review of the book in NPR.
- Hanya Yanagihara’s latest novel To Paradise is both hotly-anticipated and hotly-debated: after the intensity (read: emotional trauma) of A Little Life, critics are looking at the author’s new novel with more than a little skepticism about her treatment of queer characters and her fascination with their suffering. Whether you love it or love-to-hate it, helloooo, discourse.
- Vulture by Andrea Long Chu
- AV Club by Erin Somers
- Los Angeles Times by Lynn Steger Strong
- Washington Post by Ron Charles
- Wall Street Journal by Sam Sacks
- Harper’s by Rebecca Panovka
- Vanity Fair by Elizabeth Nicholas
- The New Yorker profile by D. T. Max
- In memory of her brother, Roxane Gay has endowed three $25,000 fellowships for writers at Substack — more info on this awesome opportunity here!
A Dream of a Woman is a love story. It’s not girl-meets-boy-meets-happy-ending. It’s not even girl-meets-girl-meets-happy-ending. Instead, it’s a trans love story in the most literal sense — it’s about how we love and how we attempt to love.
Drew Gregory in her essay, Casey Plett’s “A Dream of a Woman” and Forgiveness as a Love Story
Anne List-her’s List of Lists (Gentleman Jack shout-out, anyone?)
- Most Anticipated Most-Anticipated Lists:
- Autostraddle’s, duh
- Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books of 2022 according to Michelle Hart over at Electric Literature
- real ones know that Michelle’s own queer debut novel comes out this year too — don’t forget to check that out after reading her list!
- 19 Hot LGBTQ+ Books from the First Half of 2022 over at Buzzfeed
- LitHub‘s behemoth list of basically every book ever
- 61 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2022 by the one, the only, R. O. Kwon for Electric Literature
This last one was sent to me by a handful of the others; clearly all of us at Autostraddle were stoked for this one! Carmen and I had to take a moment to compare notes about the cool books coming down the pipeline by WOC this year:
- Approximately Two Thousand and Twenty One Lists Rounding Up 2021’s Releases (Kidding):
- Autostraddle‘s 75 Best Queer Books of 2021 by lesbrarian-in-residence Casey!
- Oprah Daily
- New York Times
- The New Yorker
- Washington Post
- Real Simple
- that’s enough of that but y’all know there’s more where these came from!
Rainbow Reading Superlikes:
As part of Rainbow Reading, I want to shine a light on a queer social media creator from Booktok, Bookstagram, and beyond whose work I think is worth a follow — this week, I’m kicking things off with @lupita.reads, who shares delightful and insightful recommendations on Instagram and TikTok for compulsively-readable books by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC authors!
Autocorrect: Books coverage from the last couple weeks at Autostraddle!
I wouldn’t want you to miss out on any of Autostraddle’s recent highlights just because you’ve been up to your eyeballs in Kayla’s Yellowjackets recaps or trying to find out what Bath & Body Works Classic Scent you are!
- Casey rounded up 80 Queer and Feminist Books coming out in Winter 2022
- Kayla assembled the first of her new short fiction playlists series!
- Drew reviewed Casey Plett’s A Dream of a Woman
- I interviewed National Book Award winner Malinda Lo about Last Night at the Telegraph Club
- Kayla gathered 7 Brilliant Books about Chaotic Queers
- Analyssa reviewed Crystal Maldonado’s No Filter and Other Lies
- Meg collected her favorite Witchy Books of 2021
- Amari reviewed Lindsey Ellis’s Truth of the Divine
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
As a writer, reader, and former publishing assistant who is no longer on Twitter: This is the queer book world dispatch of my DREAMS THANK U
Hello to Rainbow Reading!!! I love the puns especially! (and the thoroughness). And including a social media creator is a great idea!* Also THE essay on To Paradise to read is the Harper’s one 10/10
*(the image link does seem broken, at least for me, however)
The link was broken!! We spent all day trying to fix it (first day jitters, I suppose!) — but we should have it ironed out by the time we next run the column!
Excellent, glad to see a new column starting to bloom here. I’m excited to dig in to all these links!
So excited for this!🤩🌈
YESSS SO EXCITED FOR THIS!!
this is amazing!! also so glad to see love for @lupita.reads!!!!
Love the rundown, thank you!
I read a lot (mainly??) of romance lesfic and especially indie published stuff, so one book that just came out that deserves some love is ‘Whipped’ by JJ Arias. Nice workplace romance meets roller-derby, and it just was a nice comfort read.
Thank you for book world gossip lol I always see tweets reposted on instagram but I’m far too lazy/out of touch to find out.
this is literally my dream column
Love this! The literary round up is fantastic, and Rabbit as a butch icon is truly the queer content we all deserve.
So excited for this column!! What a treasure. 🏳️🌈📖
Yayayayay so excited for this!
This is so good and promising. Thank you
omg this is way too overwhelming for me to actually figure out what I should read- I need more limited options <3