While I am not excited about the fact that it is almost summer, I am looking forward to some summer reading this year. And of course I had to put together a fun Pride Month/June reading list. I am not a part of the LGBTQ+ community, but I have very much enjoyed reading more books by LGBTQ+ authors as well as books that feature LGBTQ+ characters. One of my reading goals this year is to read more books by trans authors (or with trans characters, but I feel like that experience is so different than what I’m familiar with that I’d prefer to learn from authors who are themselves trans).
Anyway, I am pretty happy with the list I put together this month. I think there’s a pretty good mix of things while still being very diverse. It’s also probably a little over-ambitious, especially since I am working on a new reading experiment that should be up soon(ish). Fingers crossed June is a good reading month, because I have way too many books I want to get to this year, and I’m falling behind.
Here are seven of the things I’m hoping to read this month:
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
This has been on my radar for a while, and I figured I’d read it because it is both very short (and hopefully quick). It also fits into the Buzzword Reading Challenge prompt for June, which is a book with “all” in the title. I weirdly couldn’t come up with another one that I felt like reading, so I’m sticking with this one. I don’t really know too much about it, except it’s about a character called Murderbot and it’s sci-fi.
But I was feeling a tiny bit weird about including this one on this list. It felt like it stuck out on list where everything else was very clearly LGBTQ+ literature. So I did some digging and it turns out, this book also works for Pride Month! I’ve found a few articles that mention Murderbot being genderless. Apparently it also comes out in a way similar to the trans experience. I don’t think I’ll end up counting this one towards my goal of reading more trans literature. But still glad I found a short book that works for this month’s reading list.
Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
Just look at the cover of this book, you know why I couldn’t resist reading this book. This was absolutely a cover pick and I’m not even mad about it. It’s by a debut trans author. And is about a gang of trans women who survive by hunting feral men and avoiding the evil TERFs. Kind of giving me Ring Shout vibes with the monsters called Ku Kluxes. I like this trend of making monsters actual monsters in books. More of it, please.
I have actually already started this one since I’ve had a rough week and needed something fun. As of my writing this, I’m not too far in, but it is interesting so far. It’s also very gross, so definitely not a lunchtime reading book. I’ve heard mixed things, so I’m curious to see how I end up feeling about this book because it could go either way.
Pew by Catherine Lacey
I have absolutely no idea how I came across this book, and it doesn’t even sound like a book I’m going to particularly love. But I was intrigued enough that I keep thinking about it so I’m going to try and read it this month. It’s about a small Southern town where one day, a stranger is found sleeping on a pew in the church. The person is genderless, racially ambiguous, and refuses to speak. So the town names them Pew. Over time, people start to confide in Pew, but grow uneasy about this person’s origins. I really just want to find out what happens, so I guess I will have to read the book. Who knows? This might end up being a favorite.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Honestly, I just really want to read this since I’m trying to be better about reading new releases. I feel like I don’t get to them quickly very often and then I either lose interest or forget about them. Also, it works for Pride Month reading, so I’m going with it. This is about a woman moving on after the love of her life dies in an accident. Which doesn’t particularly intrigue me all that much, but I know Akwaeke Emezi will do something interesting with that story.
This is tagged as LGBT on Goodreads, though the synopsis doesn’t really reveal how the story is LGBT. But Akwaeke Emezi is both nonbinary and transgender, so it works either way. I am actually hoping to read two of their books in 2022 – I put The Death of Vivek Oji on my reading list for this year because I’ve been staring at it on my shelves for way too long. I have absolutely no idea how I have yet to read another Akwaeke Emezi book since Freshwater blew me away back when it was released four years ago. And I even talked about it in a recent post. Definitely need to fix that.
A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt
You know me, I always have to have a nonfiction book on my list. I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while, and after I kept not getting around to it, I decided to just save it for Pride Month. It’s a memoir by a gay, Indigenous author. I’ve been wanting to read more memoirs, and really loved the one by Vivek Shraya (another great trans author to read for Pride Month) that I read earlier this year. So I’m very excited about this one. I don’t really know too much about it, but I’m kind of okay going into a memoir and discovering it as I go.
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
One of the reading goals I am very behind on is reading classics. I set a goal to read six this year and have so far read… one. So I thought I’d try and pick up a few LGBTQ+ classics, and the one book that comes up in basically every search is Orlando. So I think I’m going to finally try and read some more Virginia Woolf this month. I read A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas years ago, loved them, and then never read another one. Orlando was not at the top of my list, but maybe I’ll get into it a little more than when I tried To the Lighthouse.
It’s about a high-ranking nobleman who one day wakes up and finds that he’s now a woman. And it’s kind of like a farce or satire about gender roles in the 18th and 19th centuries. Which sounds like my kind of classic. Apparently the character of Orlando is also based on Virginia Woolf’s lover, Vita. Sounds like it’s going to be a fun read, so even though classics tend to take me longer to get through, hopefully the humor keeps me going with this one.
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
I have no idea what it is with my brain, but I try to not pick up multiple books by the same author in the same year. So I’ve been resisting this one because I read The Fire Next Time back in February. And then I realized that was stupid and this is the perfect classic to read during Pride Month and also get back on track with my goal. It’s also pretty short, so that’s a win because this list is long.
Giovanni’s Room is touted as “a classic of gay literature” so it kind of feels like it’s the ideal classic to read for Pride Month. It’s about a man struggling with his sexuality and whether he should give up the conventional life he envisioned for himself for where his heart is leading him. I loved Baldwin’s writing in The Fire Next Time, so I have fairly high hopes for this one.
I hope you enjoyed this post! I’m very excited about this reading list and everything I’ll be reading this June. Hopefully this is a fun reading month. What’s on your June reading list?
And check out my bookshop, where you can buy books and also shop my curated collections of my personal favorites AND all of the books I’ve read for my reading experiments. Or you can just buy whatever books you want to. I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, and you get to support your choice of indie bookstores – it’s a win all around!