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Rainbow Reading: Have You Heard About This Queer YA Retelling of Julius Caesar?

illustration by A. Andrews

Hello and salutations! I’m back with my metal detector and my pockets are stuffed full of finds from the literary internet the last couple weeks, and in a rare display of self control from yours truly, I have not mentioned Severance once. That show has taken over my life, and after saying on twitter that it felt like Orphan-Black-meets-The-Office, I’m rewatching the Gay Clone Show again too.

After finishing Laziness Does Not Exist, I’ve been curling up with Michelle Hart’s forthcoming We Do What We Do In The Dark, which arrives May 3, and it’s excellent. I’ve got Quantum Girl Theory on deck after this, and I’m also looking for more queer sports romance and experimental queer nonfiction recommendations if anyone’s got em. Sound off in the comments!

Anyways, let’s make like a boulder and roll. On this week’s Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:

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

“That’s me. You might be wondering how I ended up in this situation—”
Congrats to bestsellers She Gets the Girl and Portrait of a Thief!

The Red Zone: A Love Story by Chloe Caldwell

“I’m really into thinking of writing and this book as a kaleidoscope. So it’s like, turning the lens off of me and onto other people. And each person’s passage is another turn of the kaleidoscope, seeing a new period in a new way through a new person’s eyes.”

Chloe Caldwell in her conversation with Analyssa about periods, PMDD, and that weird blue “blood” in tampon commercials

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

Early Career Queer Spotlight:

Congrats to Kelly McLennon on the publication of her first short story in a literary magazine! You can read her story “A Chance” here at OpenDoor Magazine.

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?

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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. I have really started looking forward to these columns every fortnight – your enthusiasm for books is infectious, Yash!

    Not to put a dampener on that enthusiasm, but after reading a few YA gender-flipped/queer retellings of famous literature/fairy tales etc. (there have been so many! do we need a list!) I am starting to temper my expectations. I will see if my library gets Take Her Down in, but if it does not deliver on the bisexuality and backstabbing, I will be devastated!

  2. gay shakespeare ya! i have a whole shelf for that on my book list! Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake is a book of my heart, and That Way Madness Lies is an anthology edited by Dahlia Adler that’s all retellings!

  3. A couple people recommended Rachel Spangler for queer sports romance last time and I want to third that and plug my two favorites. The first is Thrust, an incredibly sweet and hot second chance romance set in the world of Olympic fencing.

    The second is Fire and Ice which was my first WLW romance checked out of the library because the idea of a “curling romance” sounded so ridiculous it must be good. And it was! A disgraced sports reporter is sent to Buffalo for one last change to redeem herself, much to her dismay the assignment is covering a whole season of curling, something that is definitely not a sport. She antagonizes the whole team but the captain with a heart of gold doesn’t give up on her, romance ensues.

    A good deal of my non basketball/football sporting knowledge comes from Spangler’s books because they are so talented at getting into details of sport without disrupting the narrative. There’s a scene early in Fire and Ice that I love where our bitter journalist insists curling must be easy cause it’s just sweeping a little broom on ice and insists on playing—without knowing the rules—to prove it. That scene gave me the basics but by the end of the book I was capable of explaining not just the rules but the strategy and physics of curling.

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