This year, I have really been trying to pay more attention to new releases in general. I blog about books, I have to stay up to date on all the book news, obviously. In all seriousness, though, I do really enjoy discovering new authors and trying new books. And I am definitely the kind of person who misses a ton of great books if I’m not paying attention. So, today, I thought it might be fun to talk about some new(ish) LGBTQ+ books on my radar because it’s Pride Month, so obviously it’s the perfect time to read some of these. Or add them to your TBR and read them later.
This post is going up quite a bit later than I had initially planned, but the good news is you can read LGBTQ+ books all year and not juts during Pride Month. So this list is just early for the rest of this year. Hopefully I will get on a better schedule soon, but June has not gone at all how I was hoping (I also had a post planned for Juneteenth, but I can save it for next year). Hopefully I can get back on a better schedule and also get around to reading some of these books.
I pulled together a list of LGBTQ+ books that were released this year (and one from last year) that would make perfect Pride Month reads. Or anytime reads. I think this is a really great list of diverse reads from a wide variety of genres, and I’m excited to talk about them. And maybe even read them.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
I was actually hoping to have already read this one – it was released a month ago, and I preordered it – but my brain is not cooperating with me right now. It’s a contemporary (literary?) romance about a woman who is moving on after losing the love of her life in an accident. The synopsis doesn’t make this clear how this book is LGBTQ+, but people have been tagging it as such, so I’m going with it. Either way, the author identifies as nonbinary and transgender, so it still works for Pride Month.
If I’m being totally honest, this doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of book I will enjoy. But Akwaeke Emezi writes such incredible characters and beautiful prose, that I feel like I might love it anyway. Her writing is so unique and enjoyable to read. I’m excited to see what she does with a story that doesn’t seem so original at first glance.
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
This is the only book on this list that was released in 2021. But it’s on my list, and it came out a the very end of the year, so I’m including it anyway. It was pitched as “Red, White, and Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell“, so you know I’m on board. (No, I have not yet read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell because it’s enormous and intimidating, but I feel like I’ll love it when I finally get around to it.)
I am actually planning on reading this one later this year (as part of an ongoing reading challenge), and I am very excited. It’s gotten great reviews, and just sounds like a really fun read. It’s set in Victorian England (which you know I love). There’s a magical society and a dangerous plot and what sounds like a fun romance. I have way too many books on my reading list this year that are pretty heavy, so I’m very much looking forward to this one. It’s also the first in a series, so maybe I’ll enjoy it enough to pick up the second one when it’s released this fall.
The Boy with a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund
If you know anything about my reading habits, you probably know I like weird books. And this book sounds weird. It’s about a boy named Owen who has a very chatty bird (named Gail) living in his chest. Since that is obviously kind of a bizarre condition, he has to hide away. One day, his life is upended and he has to flee home and kind of start over. It’s a coming of age story about accepting our differences and what makes us unique. I don’t think most of us are unique enough to have our own Gails, but still a great message.
From what I’ve read about this book, it sounds like a classic gay coming-of-age story, just with the weird bird thing. I just love that her name is Gail. And yes, I have already purchased this book because it sounds weird and I need to read it. Maybe I’ll try to squeeze it in this summer. It just seems like one of those new releases that will be fun to discuss. Plus, I like reading and talking about new books that maybe aren’t the most popular.
Rainbow Rainbow by Lydia Conklin
Not gonna lie, I think the cover got me on this one. It’s just cool. It also came out on my birthday this year, and there’s always a part of my brain that feels like those books are for me. (Am I the only weirdo who does that?) Anyway, this is a collection of short stories about the LGBTQ+ experience. Obviously, there’s a huge spectrum covered by LGBTQ+, and I think this book talks about many different experiences. This book is geared at sharing stories that represent those who don’t have a lot of representation in books. Which is something I love and would like more of, please.
These stories range from serious to humorous, from deep and insightful to just kind of fun. There’s a nonbinary person on the eve of their top surgery during COVID. There’s a lesbian trying to have a baby with her partner using a sperm donor and a mysterious rainbow cocktail. But the one mentioned in the synopsis that sold me is the fifth-grader who experiments with gender identity by dressing as an ox (instead of a matriarch) for their class Oregon Trail reenactment. I know they’re not real, but that’s the kind of kid that’s going places in life.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson
You all know I love me some feminist historical fiction. Add in witches and make it queer? Even better. This one is about who are invited to join Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, a secret government department established by Elizabeth I. Which just sounds so fun! I might actually add this to my Halloween reading list this year just to make sure I include something that won’t give me nightmares.
I’ve read that this one also includes a lot of political discussion (especially around the topic of transgender rights). I think that commentary, particularly in the context of Elizabethan England will be very interesting. Based on some of the reviews I’ve seen, there is also Black and disabled representation, which we love to see, especially in a historical novel. (I’m kind of over the authors who act like people of color or disabled people didn’t exist until the twenty-first century. You are writing fiction, you can do almost anything.) Anyway, this sounds great, and it is another one of my birthday releases, so I feel like I probably should try to pick it up at some point.
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
I’m not quite sure if this book is sci-fi or thriller or a combination of both, but it sounds wonderfully creepy. It’s about a woman whose wife was stranded at the bottom of the ocean during a deep sea mission. When she returns, it’s clear that she’s not quite the same. Maybe it has something to do with whatever they were studying at the bottom of the ocean. I kind of don’t want to know much more than that because this seems like the kind of book that’s best experienced as you read. Either way, it sounds like the kind of weird book that’s right up my alley. Kind of giving me Annihilation vibes (which I didn’t love, but I liked the idea of).
The Sign for Home by Blair Fell
I have really been trying to read more books with disability representation. I just think that’s really important and something we don’t see very often. So when I saw a new romance novel with a DeafBlind protagonist, I was very excited. With the help of his gay interpreter and Belgian best friend, Arlo goes in search of the girl who got away.
Honestly, this just sounds like a cute romance with some wonderful diversity. It’s gotten amazing reviews so far, and I think it might make a great summer romance pick. I might add this to my very overambitious summer TBR this year and just pretend I haven’t fallen hopelessly behind with everything.
Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens
There aren’t a ton of books anymore that end up being instant additions to my TBR. But I am kind of obsessed with this one. Which probably means I should actually read it, I guess. It’s about a fourteen-year-old girl named Blanca who dies in a monastery in 1473. Four-hundred years later, author George Sand arrives in the village with her two children and her lover. Blanca, now a ghost who has been hanging around the village immediately falls in love with George. Who, of course, can’t see her.
I can’t remember the last time I read the synopsis for a historical fiction novel and thought “this sounds like it’ll be fun!”, but that’s exactly what happened with this one. A four-hundred-year-old teenage ghost falling in love with a writer who has no idea she exists. I really enjoy books like this that are such creative character studies. It doesn’t technically come out until July 19th, so not a great Pride Month read… but you can always read it during a month that isn’t June. Or save it for next year. I’m going to attempt to get to it this year, either way.
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill
This post ended up kind of being me Googling new releases, seeing ones I already had on my TBR, and then going “that one is LGBTQ+???” This has been on my radar for a while, and I’ve had a copy sitting on my shelf (fine, it’s a pile of books) for a bit. But I don’t think I had read the synopsis much past “the Mass Dragoning of 1955 in which 300,000 women spontaneously transform into dragons…and change the world.” For obvious reasons. To be fair, now that I have read it, it says nothing about any LGBTQ+ characters, so that’s not really my fault. Reviews say two of the main characters are lesbian, though. Honestly, this is a book about a lot of women, I am not the least bit surprised some of them are gay.
Anyway, I am very excited to read the weird, feminist dragon book. And because I am sure one of you will ask: no, I haven’t read The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Yes, it has been sitting on my shelves for like five years, thanks for reminding me. Hopefully the same fate does not befall this book. Because DRAGONS 🐉.
Now, onto the nonfiction!
Girls Can Kiss Now: Essays by Jill Gutowitz
This is a collection of essays about the intersection of queerness and pop culture and the internet – basically what it’s like or what it means to be queer in the world right now. I think it’s kind of a memoir told in essay form, and I’m down for a good memoir. I’ve learned so much from them, and this one sounds interesting. I don’t really have too much else to say about it, but I’m curious to read more.
Conversations with People Who Hate Me: 12 Things I Learned from Talking to Internet Strangers by Dylan Marron
I have a blog. On the internet. And I am absolutely not immune to trolls. It just comes with the territory. So I think the idea behind this essay is hilarious. Just a really creative way to turn something that can be at best annoying into something humorous. I feel like the nonfiction section of this post is going to be shorter because I feel like I don’t have a lot I can say. But I’m sure this post is long enough, so whatever.
Virology: Essays for the Living, the Dead, and the Small Things in Between by Joseph Osmundson
More essays, but this time about science! And we know I love a good science book. It’s been far too long since I’ve picked one up, so maybe I should give this one a try. This book is all about viruses and how we live with them and spread them. And it focuses heavily on the HIV/AIDS crisis. The synopsis says this “draw[s] parallels between queer theory and hard science”. Not really sure what that means, but it sounds very interesting.
Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative by Melissa Febos
This book is “a mix of memoir and masterclass” about “writing intimately” (whatever that means). I am a little curious about the process of writing memoir. I do have a masters in English and creative writing, but focused more on fiction. But I have been kind of wanting to get back into trying to write, so even though I don’t have plans to write a memoir, maybe this book will bring me some interesting perspectives or inspiration. Either way, it sounds great and I’m kind of curious to see what this book can teach me.
Pretty Baby: A Memoir by Chris Belcher
I have really enjoying learning about different perspectives through memoir (if you hadn’t guessed by this list already). And this one is wildly different from anything I’ve read before. It’s about a queer teen who runs away from home in small-town Appalachia and ends up becoming a famous lesbian dominatrix. Basically, not at all my life experience. I am very curious about this book. Just a warning, I do think it has some very NSFW content, so if that’s not your thing, this probably isn’t the book for you. But if you are interested, it’s coming out July 12, so you can pick it up then.
Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller
Last, but certainly not least, we have the book that made this history lover’s heard skip a beat. I need this book. It looks into not the gay heroes and martyrs and exemplary historical figures, but the bad ones. We all know Oscar Wilde, but what about Emperor Hadrian? This is all about the gay bad boys from history and I am so into it. This is another one of the books that shares my birthday, so I think I might just have to treat myself. I actually do have to squeeze in a nonfiction book before the end of the month, so maybe this one?
Alright, that’s it for this post! I hope you enjoyed it and that you found a new LGBTQ+ book or two to add to your reading list. Are there any I didn’t mention you think I should check out? Are you planning on reading any of these?
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