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Rainbow Reading: Even the Crows Are Queer in This Upcoming Speculative Novella

Feature image photo by Tina Hares / EyeEm via Getty Images

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

Hey hi hello everyone!

What a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been — finally, now, I have time to rest, but after months of mayhem, sitting still doesn’t come naturally to me. This can make reading hard. I’ll start a handful of different books and only get 15 or 20 pages into each because nothing is clicking. I’ll read for five minutes and think it was half an hour. I’ll get frustrated because I’m both too restless and too tired to get my brain to cooperate. I want more than anything in the world to be sitting and reading, but it turns out that leisure is a skill, and I am woefully out of practice.

This is where Rainbow Reading feels like a real boon to me — getting to talk with Kayla and the other AS team members about the exciting books on our radars is reinvigorating because 1) I simply love my hot smart friends and 2) I love when they recommend things to me. After all, that’s how I ended up on this week’s Wait Is This A Date, talking about the recommendations my hot smart friends make about dating and love! I had so much fun hanging out with Drew and Christina.

In that collaborative spirit (and because I am a tired little husk), this week’s RR is co-written with light of my heart Kayla I’ll kick it over to her!

Yes, hello lit pals! It’s me, Kayla, here to tag-team RR with my lil mushroom Yashwina! I love this series so much, because queer literature truly means so much to me, and having a space to celebrate it every week fills me with so much joy. Also, helping out with RR this week feels especially fitting because we are almost exactly? two? months? away? from my very first book ever coming out?!?!?! It’s a tiny little novelette called Helen House, and if you like queer horror, well, it’s for you! It’s available for preorder now, and stay tuned for more about it 😎

Alrighty, let’s make like a plane and take off. On this week’s Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:

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

  • It’s the last chance to donate to Feminist Press’s Kickstarter for the It Came From The Closet queer horror anthology! Queer horror fans, get on it!
  • Next week: on 8/30, Kelsey Socha’s debut novella An Archive of Brightness comes out from Lanternfish Press. Y’all, this description: “a series of interconnected speculative queer love stories taking place in Antarctica, Vermont, a lobster boat, and a desert community built entirely out of scorpion bones as told by a group of crows trying to archive the stories. Nearly every character is queer including most of the crows.” [taylor swift voice] DROP EVERYTHING NOW!
  • Keah Brown’s children’s literature debut came out this week, and Sam’s Super Seats sounds so cute!!!
  • Samantha Paige Rosen’s essay in Electric Lit about coming out later in life and the discomfort of recognizing yourself too closely in fictional representation was absolutely gorgeous.
  • Yash plays the long game: A Manual for How to Love Us, a Machado-inflected short story collection from poet Erin Slaughter comes out the week before my birthday in March 2023, but ohhhhh my god look at that gorgeous cover.
  • My Book Crush on Dahlia Adler Continues Apace: What a stunning line-up in this new anthology of fairy tale reimaginings! I’ve loved Dahlia’s books and now am so excited to spend time with the other anthologies she’s edited before At Midnight comes out this November.
  • Who All’s Gay And Reading The Book Eaters Here: I need a buddy to discuss this novel with!!!!
  • Mark Your Calendars: To celebrate the launch of Mistakes Were Made, a delightful gay-MILF-chaos-romance, author Meryl Wilsner and Casey McQuiston are going to be in conversation together at Books Are Magic on October 13!
  • Written by Jyoti Rajan Gopal and illustrated by art twink, My Paati’s Saris is such a sweet story about a Tamil boy who connects to his family and heritage through joyful, gender-experimental play. This quote from art_twink really stood out to me: “Though struggling to fight for queer acceptance is a reality across all cultures, My Paati’s Saris shows an equally true narrative where acceptance is not a question.”

“I’m finally getting to write the sex scenes of my dreams — some really weird, some really tender, and others in between. What’s really fun about writing sex scenes is that it never really feels like you’re getting it wrong, because the language around sex and romance is so inherited, and we have so many internalized cliches and turns of phrases that we all know.”

K-Ming Chang in an interview with Ruth Minah Buchwald

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

Okay, it’s me, Kayla, chiming in once again to just say a few quick words about how incredible the Autostraddle literature section has been lately. Am I biased? Absolutely. But seriously, we’ve kind of been killing it over here, and it just really matters to me personally that there’s a space where queer people can review queer books. If you’ve been enjoying the work you’ve seen or if you have requests for something you’d like to see more of, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line!

Early Career Queer Spotlight:

Arielle Burgdorf’s debut chapbook I Am An Unhappy Male Painter came out earlier this year from Greying Ghost Press, and it feels like it was made in a lab just for me: archives, gay art history, a little surrealism between friends, hybrid nonfiction, everything I love. Congratulations, Arielle!

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. Loved the collaboration on this one! Some great links!
    I hate that feeling of book exhaustion/distraction, not able to settle into anything. Usually i just let myself not read for a few days, but if I want to read and really can’t, my solution is always to draw myself a nice bath (less effective during summer, though i have done it with cool water before!) and put a stack of books and a cup of tea/wine/beer next to the tub. My phone’s in another room and i become a captive audience. And if i still can’t read, then i know that what my brain needed was to zone out in the tub, which is also very therapeutic.

    Just pre-ordered Helen House. It looks beautiful and sounds like it will be right up my alley! The queer raven novella looks very fun too.

  2. Congratulations on your book Kayla!!!

    Also, I realized JUST now that Autostraddle has a Bookshop.org page?!?!? To use a Yash turn of phrase, the scream I scrumpt!!! It looks so good!!

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