Hey hello, friends!
After the romance read-a-thon, my fiction brain has been really fried, so I’ve retreated back into the loving arms of my nonfiction TBR — so much weird, wonderful, genre-hybridizing nature writing (prepare to be sick of me this June when queer Black birder Christian Cooper releases his awesome memoir Better Living Through Birding), so many profound and expansive essay collections, and the like! Particularly with the grim news coming out of my home state of Tennessee, I’ve found particular courage in the work of folks documenting the vibrancy of queer life in the South: Real Queer America, Diary of a Misfit, the anthology Y’all Means All, and in particular Neema Avashia’s memoir from last year, Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place have all been highlights.
This week also marks the run of this year’s AWP conference in Seattle. I won’t be there, but so many other friendly Autostraddle faces will be, and there is a truly delicious lineup of events both during the conference and off-site to celebrate rad queer literature. I hope you’re all having an amazing time! This evening, the Rumpus will be running a sapphic literature event featuring OUR VERY OWN KAYLA, plus Kristen Arnett, Allegra Hyde, and Ariel Delgado Dixon — gonna be a dreamy time!! (Hi, Kayla here! I also wanted to plug the event I’m helping co-host on Friday! It’s going to be a combination reading, short film screening, and DANCE PARTY at the Seattle Film Forum. More deets here, it’s free, and masks required! Okay, back to Yashwina!)
Okiedokie, let’s make like boots and scoot. This week on Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:
Shelf Care: Reviews, Essays, and other Things of Note
- Happy book birthday to our beloved astrologer Meg! Dani wrote about Finding the Fool here, and you can get your mitts on a copy here.
- Kayla also reminded me how much I enjoyed Stef’s Catapult essay when it first ran last summer. RIP to Catapult – thank you for publishing so many wonderful pieces from so many of my favorite literary brains!
“When I first started organizing in my community and getting involved in my local punk scene as a teenager, I resolved to find ways to change the world without hurting anyone in the process. In making that commitment, I fell into the trap that was set out for me before I was even born: I looked for ways to fight back without fighting.”
- Sadie Dupuis will be reading from Cry Perfume at AWP today — remember when I got to interview her for Autostraddle?
- Gay Gym Chaos: If you’ve ever locked eyes with a cutie at the gym and thought “…….but what if-” then you’re going to love Love at First Set, out this May!
- Out this week! Letters to a Writer of Color is a beautiful and galvanizing anthology, featuring some of the most dazzling writers working today. Dig in for essays on queering language, telling versus showing, translation, censorship, activism and resistance, and so much more.
- Homebodies “opens with a sharp and incisive critique of white feminist blog culture, but it’s also a gorgeous and compulsively readable coming-of-age story about a young, Black, queer writer trying to figure out her purpose and her identity.” according to Vogue, and it just got a starred review from Publishers Weekly!
- I’m not done hollering about Hijab Butch Blues, either — it’s a real marvel, and it’s out now!
- Tehlor Kay Mejia’s adult debut, Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review, features a cute bi music critic as she recovers from heartbreak, turns her writing career around, gets back at the high school crush who ghosted her, and confronts the estranged family. This is a really, really lovely romance with so much heart and so much substance; what a great cast of characters!
- Jenn Shapland, author of My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, is back this fall with her next work of nonfiction, Thin Skin – preorder this essay collection now, thank me later.
- It’s no secret how much I adore K-Ming Chang, and her “most mind-bending, madcap tale of mythical sapphic horror yet” is back in paperback this June! If you just can’t wait (which, understandable!), get a copy of the hardcover here.
- “A love story between a scrappy up and coming journalist and a newspaper mogul’s son set against the backdrop of late 1950s New York City”??? Say less! I’m so excited for We Could Be So Good, the latest from Cat Sebastian!
- This forthcoming graphic novel features a fat nonbinary bilingual protagonist and some of the most expressive and charming illustrations I’ve seen in a hot second!
- If you’re looking for a rough-n-tumble mystery in the vein of Fargo or Mare of Easttown, look no further than Where The Dead Sleep and its rural queer detective! This one’s out in August, and I’m feeling very very impatient.
- When Melissa Febos speaks, I listen, and “Dykette is a portrait of queer culture that is part satire, part ode, and full of delightful cringe.” Whew!
- Another gorgeous queer graphic novel – the folks at Levine Querido have such a rad list! Pardalita, coming this April, is a mixed media ode to teenage girls’ curiosity, intensity, yearning, and creativity.
- Destiny Hemphill’s beautiful poetry debut motherworld: a devotional for the alter-life is out now, and you can check out one of her poems here!
- Have you preordered your copy of Robin and Her Misfits yet? Robin Hood ft. Dykes on Bikes is exactly as fun as it sounds!
- A cute nonbinary waiter falls in love at their family’s taqueria??? Love AND tacos??? Oh yeah. Jonny Garza Villa’s latest, Ander and Santi Were Here, is a heartrending and gorgeous story of an undocumented teen, and it’s out in May.
“Your Driver Is Waitingis a rip-roaring story of family — blood and chosen — fighting to survive under capitalism, and saying fuck you to anyone who choose their own comfort and safety over the comfort and safety of others.wp_posts– Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya onYour Driver Is Waiting
Autocorrect: Books content from the last couple weeks at Autostraddle!
Another rad couple weeks on the books beat – we’ve got:
- Casey rounded up 114 queer and feminist books coming out this spring!
- Kayla put together a roadtrip playlist of epic gay roadtrip novels — these are books that make me want to roll the window down and turn the volume UP!
- Nico reviewed Matchmaking in the Archive from Rutgers University Press!
- Lauren interviewed the author of The Color Pynk — more awesome work coming out of the university presses lately!
- Dani reviewed Finding the Fool!
- Kayla reviewed Your Driver is Waiting!
- Chinelo’s latest Queer Naija Lit column covers Jude Dibia’s Walking With Shadows!
- Kayla also gathered a playlist of five gay short stories featuring pop culture!
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@example.com 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.