Hey howdy everyone!
The last two weeks have felt like two months, but in a full and warm and enriching way. Thinking about queer utopias sent me back to rereading the books that make me hopeful about human nature and nature generally — Taproot, Ursula Le Guin, midcentury gardening handbooks by Katherine White (wife of E.B. White!) and Vita Sackville-West, Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David (and then of course the work of David-devotee Laurie Colwin too!) etc. That’s what a Becky Chambers eco-utopia will to do the soul… The energy here is very “listen i love you joy is coming“. My houseplants are thriving. The windows are open. I’m putting new art on the walls. Summer dopamine takes me by surprise every year!
This is also a really exciting and special Rainbow Reading for me, because this installment features our first-ever exclusive cover reveal on this-here column! It’s a nice treat to get to be involved so early in the process, and I can’t wait for y’all to join me in celebrating the breathtakingly gorgeous memoir that just ROCKETED to the top of my TBR. I’m so stoked to throw the full weight of my enthusiasm and support behind this incredible book! Here is photographic evidence of me being a cool and chill and normal email-sender when I first read the description copy…
SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO: Let’s make like a lizard and wiggle. On this week’s Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:
✨EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL OF LESBIAN LOVE STORY: A MEMOIR IN ARCHIVES BY AMELIA POSSANZA✨
It is a truth universally acknowledged, and official Rainbow Reading canon, that I love all things archives. Historical investigation and imagination are endlessly fascinating to me, and I’ve been waiting so long for a book like this one. Amelia Possanza‘s debut memoir Lesbian Love Story: A Memoir in the Archives is everything I’ve wanted: intimate and voracious and utterly magnetic.
When Amelia Possanza moved to Brooklyn to build a life of her own, she found herself surrounded by queer stories: she read them on landmark placards, overheard them on the pool deck when she joined the world’s largest LGBTQ swim team, and even watched them on TV in her cockroach-infested apartment. But these stories rarely featured lesbians who could become her role models, in romance as in life.
This is the story of Possanza’s journey into the archives to recover the stories of lesbians in the twentieth century: who they were, how they loved, why their stories were destroyed, and where their memories echo and live on. Centered on seven love stories for the ages, Possanza’s hunt takes readers from a drag king show in Bushwick to the home of activists in Harlem and then across the ocean to Hadrian’s Library, where she searches for traces of Sappho in the ruins. Along the way, she discovers her own love—for swimming, for community, for New York City—and adds her own record to the archive.
At the heart of this riveting, inventive history, Possanza asks: How could lesbian love help us reimagine care and community? What would our world look like if we replaced its foundation of misogyny with something new, with something distinctly lesbian?
We’re all in luck: Lesbian Love Story comes out in Spring 2023, and you can preorder soon and follow Amelia on Twitter HERE.
Shelf Care: Reviews, Essays, and other Things of Note
- Y’all, my queer utopias prayer was ANSWERED!!! Sim Kern’s interconnected short story collection Real Sugar is Hard to Find is arranged in a progression from dystopian to utopian worlds. IS THAT NOT THE COOLEST STRUCTURE?
- I’m in love with the gorgeous cover of this forthcoming bisexual supernatural YA The Immeasurable Depth of You!
- LUMBERBUTCH ROMANCE YEEHAW: In The Event of Love comes out at the end of August and it has a hot slouchy LHB on the cover. Clear my schedule.
- I’m so excited for Kayla’s forthcoming review — All This Could Be Different came out last week and I’m going to pick up my copy after work!
- Biracial queer gender-swapped Frankenstein? Oh hell yes!
- If you are in your Stranger Things feelings, here is your next read.
- NEW MASON DEAVER: If you loved I Wish You All The Best, then great news! Deaver is back with The Feeling of Falling In Love, which sounds for the world like a queer riff on the same premise that made me fall so hard for Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date….
- Five cousins decide the fate of the family home in the gorgeous Vermont countryside in The Family Compound, out on August 23rd!
- Alexis Hall strikes again! Husband Material is out now!
- If I don’t text you back, it’s because I’ve started reading The Book Eaters and I’m having a delightful time. What happens to a secret community of people who literally eat books when one of them graduates to trying to devour human minds? Moody moors, literary vampirism; this one’s got it all.
- Okay, over the course of drafting this, I’m realizing that much as I love summer, I’m also ready for Over The Garden Wall and eerie autumn things. Look at this — queer YA haunted house horror? Yes please! These Fleeting Shadows came out this week!
- Me and My Dysphoria Monster is going to help so many kids give voice to their feelings and experiences sooner — this children’s book about dysphoria is beautifully illustrated and very, very thoughtfully well-written. Here are a few sample pages shared on Goodreads:
“The book had me at lesbian Sasquatch, and then it took me for an even wilder ride than I ever could have predicted. All the best monsters live on reality television, and this novel knows that well.”
Autocorrect: Books content from the last couple weeks at Autostraddle!
- Dani gathered the perfect poems for a summer picnic!
- Chinelo reviewed Under the Udala Trees!
- Kayla reviewed Patricia Wants to Cuddle!
- Stef reviewed Knocking Myself Up!
- Ashni reviewed The Romance Recipe!
- Stef reviewed Fire Island: A Century in the Life of an American Paradise!
- Kate reviewed The Golden Season!
- Abeni reviewed The Bruising of Qilwa!
- shea reviewed Body Language!
- Sally reviewed the Out There anthology!
- and cozycore craft hero and icon Darcy shared a tutorial on how to make miniature books which has absolutely been my highlight of the internet the past couple 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 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.
Just a note – the link for ‘the book for you for it you’re in your Stranger Things feelings’ (probably not exact wording) leads to The Feeling of Falling in Love, not sure if it’s supposed to? (Ignore me if it is!)
Also, Lesbian Love Story sounds incredible! And just reading the first paragraph of this article made me feel very calm and hopeful.
Good eye, Cara! We wanted to shout out Dead Flip by Sara Farizan, and that link should work for you now :)
Love this column!!
Please, please, please credit the cover artist and designer when doing cover reveals. You are literally revealing their work. If the author doesn’t know, have them ask their team! It is so disheartening to see covers without credit and so uplifting to see work credited.
For the record, Lesbian Love Story appears to be designed by Dana Li, per Amelia’s own tweet. (Amelia, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU.)