It’s Pride Month! Not coincidentally, it’s also the American Library Association’s first-ever GLBT Book Month. Tailor-made for #queerpop, am I right? I don’t think all this month’s posts will be book-related, but hey, they might be. I thought I’d start us off with a list of book recommendations, including fiction, nonfiction, and comics. I tried to keep it brief, so as to leave more time to check out reader recommendations, so comment away and let’s celebrate GLBT(+) Book Month!
1) Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan — And half the other things he’s written, of course. Boy Meets Boy is my personal favorite because it’s so optimistic. So utopian, in a way. It’s a realistic-fiction high school love story, but full of acceptance.
2) Dalziel & Pascoe series by Reginald Hill — The series starts with A Clubbable Woman, but you can pretty much start wherever. I started with book 20, Death’s Jest-Book. These have an odd, interesting “blunt-instrument British cops solve sophisticated literary mysteries” style to them. A Clubbable Woman is very basic, but as the series goes on it gets deeper as more recurring characters appear. One of the cops is Wield, another hardcore cop type who’s known for having a terribly ugly face, who’s also gay and in a relationship.
3) Havemercy (and sequels) by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett — High fantasy with a slight steampunk flair. There are enormous metal dragons, okay? It’s awesome. Four complemetary POVs, including a couple of gay ones and a trans character in the sequel.
4) Hero by Perry Moore — A YA superhero story about a gay teenager with powers, interacting with extremely well-done pastiches of DC characters. They’re different enough to be interesting but similar enough that you understand what he’s trying to say, and just a really good book all around.
5) Posted to Death by Dean James — It’s a comedic mystery about a gay vampire who writes history books and romance novels in his spare time, I’m not even kidding! The dialogue isn’t natural, the writing isn’t great, and I picked out the murderer a quarter of the way through, but I really enjoyed reading it and I was sad when it was over. The writing gets better as the series goes on, and it’s super addictive…
6) Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, and its sequels — A “fantasy of manners” series. There’s no magic or dragons or what-have-you, but the countries and customs are made-up. And y’all, this book contains my favorite ship of LIFE. Of LIFE I tell you. St. Vier and Alec, and some of my favorite prose in the world. If you read one book from this list, make it this one!
7) Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach — Mary Roach’s books are always a treat. They’re often not about a topic, but about scientific studies of that topic, if that makes sense. You’ll learn a lot about the science of sex here, but that’s a side effect… It’s a book about all the various scientific studies meant to elucidate the science of sex. It’s hilarious, too!
8) Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America by Rachel Hope Cleves — A biography of two fascinating women from the late 1700s who were, for all intents and purposes, married. They lived together for almost their entire lives and were often referred to as married by their friends and relatives, and were buried under the same headstone, indicating a degree of community acceptance I never would’ve expected. I’m thinking of doing a longer review later this month.
9) Homophobia: A History by Byrne Fone — It’s focused on Western Civilization rather than the all-encompassing history the title might suggest, but with that in mind it’s a very readable and interesting history.
10) Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance by Janet Jakobsen & Ann Pellegrini — Reviewed it here. I’m not using it as a manual or anything, but it’s basically a book about argumentative structure relating to queer advocacy, and it makes a lot of good points.
Hahaha you thought I could stop at ten? I can’t stop at ten.
Comics: I was going to post a long list, but then I realized I already did that for A to Z. A directory of (more than) 26 awesome LGBT+ comics characters and where to read them, collected on one page for your convenience!
Honorable Mentions: Books I haven’t read BUT WILL… Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (sci-fi, appearing on #queerpop next week!), Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale (the ur-recommendation in gay fantasy), The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (it’s unconscionable that I haven’t read this yet), and Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja (another fantasy that’s been recommended to me over and over for like a year. You know who you are, *cough Only Fragments cough*).
Read any of these? Got more to recommend? You know what to do!