Hey hi hello, friends!
I’m one lucky gal. Last week, I got to interview thee Sadie Dupuis of sad13, Speedy Ortiz, Wax Nine, and fucking-good-poetry fame about her latest collection Cry Perfume, and in a beautifully unplanned twist of fate, I was in Cleveland Ohio visiting family over the weekend just in time to catch the final stop on her book tour with the brilliant Michael DeForge! It was a perfect night —even though my beloved baseball team lost, there’s nothing that some breathtaking bar-basement literary hijinks (and Halloween-themed cocktails afterward!) can’t cure.
I also want to congratulate our beloved Kayla on the launch this week of Helen House, her beautiful queer horror novelette! If you haven’t taken a look at her interview with Nico about it or Stef’s beautiful review, get on in there! You can get your copy of Helen House here <3
Okiedoke, this week’s roster is a long’un so let’s make like disco and boogie! This week on Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:
Shelf Care: Reviews, Essays, and other Things of Note
- Annie Ernaux won the Nobel Prize, Shehan Karunatilaka won the Booker Prize, and the winners of the National Book Award will be announced at the beginning of November! Awards season is ticking along!
- More Helen House love, this time in the Chicago Review of Books!
- Coming this November: A Short History of Queer Women, spanning centuries and setting the record, ahem, straight.
- Jeanna Kadlec’s memoir Heretic comes out next week — get those preorders in!
- HISTORICAL GAY BAR MYSTERY??? Be still, my Vera-Kelly-loving heart! Holy shit, y’all, this book sounds made in a lab for me. Lavender House features a detective disgraced after being discovered in a gay bar during a 1950s vice raid as he helps a widow find her wife’s killer.
- Happy publication day to Chelsea Manning, whose memoir README.TXT is out now!
- “Food has become dangerous and thrilling at the same time. I refuse to let my fear steal my joy and am determined to have a maximalist life.” Alice Wong, the memoirist and activist behind #DisabilityVisibility, absolutely blew me away with this breathtaking essay about food and pleasure after being put on a feeding tube.
- As TERF-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named continues to be The Worst™, a good point here about the importance of voting with your wallet and divesting from bigotry.
- A dreamy cover, a dreamy premise, dreamy everything —When the Angels Left the Old Country is a queer immigrant fairytale for fans of Good Omens!
- Chaos has befallen literary magazine Hobart Pulp after they published an interview so #yikes their editorial staff quit about it. (The one remaining editor has taken over the twitter account and is #TweetingThroughIt, which, well…)
- Got me in my feelings: In a new documentary from the BBC, 70s musician Labi Siffre shares his poignant story of queer love and loss.
- Are you, like me, counting down the minutes to the sequel to The Scapegracers? The wait is almost over — The Scratch Daughters is out next fucking week!!!!
- Mistakes Were Made, Meryl Wilsner’s delightfully steamy chaos-MILF romance, came out last week to much fanfare — plus, my romance-novel-connoisseur friends tell me that this is one of the few traditionally-published novels to feature really really hot strap-on sex. Get it, chaos MILF!
- This biography just cleared my whole TBR —Life in Every Breath is the true story of Ester Blenda, a pioneering undercover journalist in the early 20th century whose career was silenced after her lesbian love affair was discovered. Gonna share a whole paragraph from the description here, just because I need y’all to feel just-how-hooked I was:
“But just as Ester’s star was rising, her forbidden love affair with a woman ended in heartbreak — and her powerful voice was silenced. Her spectacular adventures and untamed spirit belied an inner turmoil that came to define the later years of her life — until, at the very end, when she was reunited with the great love of her life and died by her side.” !!!!!
- An interesting and intense episode in the ongoing book-banning saga: “It should be noted that innocent authors and librarians are currently under attack by extremists who accuse them of being sexual predators simply for stocking books with queer characters. I could not sit back and watch these authors and librarians navigate such disgusting accusations while an author who is accused ofactual groomingquietly profits from publication.” After author Erin Entrada Kelly brought public attention to the scheduled publication of a children’s book by a predatory former-teacher, the title has been pulled and will not be proceeding. (Thankfully.)
- Still more love for Our Wives Under the Sea — I know Drew’s started the book now, and I loved revisiting it through this review in LARB!
- Out last week, Before All The World by Moriel Rothman-Zecher conjures a gay bar in 1930s Philadelphia, where two men fall in love and reach for a better future after profound trauma and loss.
- Another gorgeous Kristen Arnett essay — What I’ve Learned From a Life Filled With Hurricanes at TIME!
- Love Triangle Time: In Three’s A Crowd, a girl in search of the brother she barely knew starts falling in love with his girlfriend after turning up to stay, uninvited, at his apartment.
- Hot Anthology Fall continues apace — this week, This Arab Is Queer hits bookshelves!
- A debut tragicomedy in verse?! Sign me up! “Visiting all the fixtures of fashionable 21st century queer society–picnics, literary readings, health conferences, drag shows, punk houses, community accountability processes, Grindr hookups–The Call-Outalso engages with pressing questions around economic precarity, sexual consent, racism in queer spaces, and feminist theory, in the service of asking what it takes to build, or destroy, a marginalized community.”
- Beloved poet Fatimah Asghar’s debut novel is out now — When We Were Sisters is the story of three young Muslim women raising themselves and each other as they reckon with gender, family, and building a future in the wake of loss.
- Really interesting piece here on the lack of accurate and accessible publishing industry data!
- Chicago Review Press has published the first biography about the founder of the first U.S. gay rights organization!
- Calling my fellow Billy Ray Belcourt stans… A Minor Chorus came out on 10/4, and I need friends to fangirl over this book with!
- Speaking of good queer history, I’ve been hoping to see more queer YA delve into queer history — One Last Stop set the bar high!
- Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken: A queer teenage girl in Germany stumbles into an underground bar the summer before WWII begins, and her coming-out and coming-of-age set her on a path of perilous and profound resistance
- The Edge of Being: A gay teenager in search of the father he never knew takes his boyfriend to San Francisco in search of answers, and learns about his father’s participation in pre-Stonewall riots
- Have you preordered your copy of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself yet? DO IT NOW. Future-you will thank me come January 2023… (You’re welcome.)
- One of my favorite queer essayists, Ross Showalter, was featured on an episode of the NYT’s Modern Love podcast to discuss his essay about falling in gay love while Deaf!
- Historical gay vampire mystery-fantasy! In C. L. Polk’s Even Though I Knew The End, a magical monster-hunting detective hunts a vampire in exchange for a chance at a future with the love of her life. This one’s out 11/8, so preorder now!
- Hoooooly shit, what a premise — in this queer retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher, T Kingfisher conjures an eerie world of “fungal growths and possessed wildlife surrounding a dark pulsing lake” as a soldier, a mycologist, and a doctor work together to unravel the haunting of an ancestral estate.
- Quarter-life crises, grief, and “hilarious and heartbreaking adventures” — Jade Is a Twisted Green sounds perfect for fans of Yerba Buena, Queenie, and All This Could Be Different!
- Ending on the most delightful note here —When Franny Stood Up, a beautiful rom-com about a WWII-era stand-up comic whose jokes magically transform her audience, is such delightful dessert.
“The narrative itself is a fresh take on the haunted house/haunted person story, which makesHelen Housefeel especially extraordinary. But what is truly special about this big little story is the way Upadhyaya builds profound atmospheric tension in a small amount of space and flips certain tropes in stunning directions.”
— Stef Rubino in their review of Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya’s Helen House!
Autocorrect: Books content from the last couple weeks at Autostraddle!
I KNOW I SAY THIS EVERY WEEK BUT IT’S NOT MY FAULT I’M ALWAYS RIGHT: It’s been a rad couple of weeks for books coverage here at Autostraddle, our team of (hot, charming, brilliant, wonderful) readers is on their absolute A-Game, and now’s your time to get all caught up on the goodies!
- Nico interviewed Kayla about Helen House and writing a lesbian horror protagonist who has been to therapy!
- Stef reviewed Helen House!
- I interviewed Sadie Dupuis about Cry Perfume!
- Darcy reviewed The Family Outing! (Darcy, where you read, I will follow 😜)
- Casey assembled a list of 10 Queer Haunted House Books!
- Autumn wrote about reading Nightwood! (Djuna Crew 4 Lyfe!!)
- Christina interviewed Meryl Wilsner, author of the chaos-MILF romance Mistakes Were Made!
- Nic wrote about transness and vampires!
- Sally gathered up all the best queer books databases to make your TBR that much gayer!
- shea worked through The Polyamory Workbook!
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.