Happy Pride Month! 🏳️🌈 I know we’re already halfway through June, but I have to remind myself that no one actually cares that this is late. Also, if you’re only reading LGBTQ+ books in June, you need to step up your game. Because we should totally be celebrating Pride all year. Oh, and you don’t have to be queer to read any of these books. I am straight and cisgender, and I still love reading queer stories. Not just because they are just as enjoyable (there shouldn’t necessarily be a distinction of “literature” vs “queer literature” – unless you’re actively looking for queer stories). But also because it just puts a smile on my face to see representations of marginalized groups in books. Even if I am not a part of that group. It’s important that everyone is able to identify with characters and feel like they belong.
I have recently been doing these posts where I not only share my personal recommendations, but also the books I am planning to read (just not right this second because work has been melting my brain). Honestly, I had trouble narrowing my selections down. I tried to get a decent amount of representation in my list, but I also know there is a lot more reading I need to do. So feel free to add to this list down in the comments. For now, here are my recommendations:
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
There are not a lot of books I have attempted to force other people to read. But I successfully made my book club read this one. And everyone loved it, and I felt vindicated. I honestly don’t want to give too much away because I think it should just be experienced as it is. But you should read it. It is amazing and it will make you cry. (This is a warning to NOT do what I did and sneakily read this on your phone while at work, because I was unsuccessful in holding back my tears and ended up sobbing on my way home.) One of my favorite books of all time.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Now, this one is fun. It is about a failed novelist who is about to turn fifty. And when an invitation arrives to the wedding of his ex-boyfriend of nine years, he does what any sensible person would do. He accepts every single literary invitation that is sitting on his desk. And now he has a trip around the world and a perfect excuse not to attend his ex’s wedding. This book is just adorable and real and I really enjoyed it! It’s a great summer read, in case you were looking for one.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
This book is so, so, so good. It is also about a lesbian relationship during a time no one was really taking about lesbian relationships. When this book was published in the eighties, it was still kind of revolutionary. I wasn’t alive when this came out, but from everything I’ve learned about this book, it was kind of impactful in society. It’s also just a really lovely book. It’s entirely possible that I read them around the same time and they’re linked in my brain for that reason, but I think fans of Where the Crawdads Sing might really enjoy this book (or vice versa, if you’ve already read this).
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I love anything that has anything to do with mythology. And this book is one of the best. It’s about the relationship between Achilles and his “friend” Patroclus. If you know anything about Ancient Greece, that was definitely not the most platonic relationship (it is very clearly romantic in this book). But beyond just this story being tragic and also making me sob, this book is so beautifully written. It just completely sucks you into the story. And while the story itself is definitely very sad, I was also kind of upset that this book was over. It is that good. If you haven’t read it yet, definitely give it a go.
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang
I’ve talked about this before because I did not expect to enjoy this when I picked it up (it is for a massive reading experiment that will be up much later this year). Westerns are just not really my thing. But I was very glad to be proven wrong. I read this entire book in one day, which is a feat in itself, but especially for historical fiction. This book is about two children of Chinese immigrants who are orphaned during the Gold Rush and become outlaws. And one of them is trans. Which was super cool to read, because I don’t come across a lot of diversity in historical fiction. It made me so happy to read. I loved this one!
On My TBR
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This has been sitting on my shelves for like a year maybe? Actually, they accidentally sent two, and I keep forgetting to bring the second copy whenever I go see my cousin (she’ll enjoy this), so I’ve had two copies sitting on my shelves for a year-ish. However, this memoir may or may not be popping up in an upcoming reading experiment. I don’t remember what month that post is planned for (September?) but I will be reading this book then.
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
Oh look! Another LGBTQ+ memoir (that I will be reading for a different reading experiment – shhhh). I’ve heard amazing things about Untamed, but I’m honestly more excited about this one, because it’s about the author’s experience of being in an abusive same-sex relationship. I really don’t think I’ve heard any stories like that before, and it’s an important one to tell. The writing is also supposed to be kind of experimental or something (I honestly haven’t looked too much into it), so I think I might love this one.
The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
I did put this on my TBR for this month, because it sounds amazing. It’s about two slaves who fall in love on a plantation. Of course, it doesn’t go very well and everyone gets mad at them and that’s kind of all I know. But I do really, really want to read this. However, I have heard it’s slow, which is fine, but I’m not sure it’s the best thing for me to pick up right this moment. But I will definitely be reading this at some point.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
Last year, when I realized the copyright on The Great Gatsby was expiring and we’d be getting a ton of retellings, I decided I wasn’t really interested in reading any of them. But then I saw this one. Which centers around Jordan Baker who, in this version, is both queer and Asian. Honestly, I’m pretty sure she is queer in the original, but I am here for a diverse retelling. This is not at the top of my TBR for this year, but I do still really want to read it.
That’s it for this post! I hope you enjoyed it! Have you read any of these books? Are you planning on reading anything for Pride Month (or have you already)?