LGBTQ Book Recommendations

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I watched a webinar a while back about libraries being more inclusive to LGBTQ folks. The presenter mentioned that you should not have to wait for pride month to highlight folks within the community. I do try to include some books with L,G,B,T or Q folks in all of my posts, but why not have a post dedicated to those books in the middle of March? I kept the list of books to those that are available online or aren’t already checked out, since recalls aren’t allowed during the pandemic. It was a bit of a challenge to find available books, so I think this post is well timed. Comment below if you want more tailored recommendations, have any recommendations yourselves, or have any requests for future posts.  

Quite a few of the books require using a platform called Overdrive and downloading an app named Libby, but I promise it’s worth it. You can read a ton of ebooks and audiobooks that are provided through the U-M Library. And if your local public library has an account (which it probably does), you can get access to their e-collection as well by logging in with your library card. 

**are books I’ve personally read or listened to

 

Fiction

**Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst.  Audiobook that requires using Overdrive. This book was honestly the inspiration for this list. I was so excited to find a fantasy book with lesbian characters and a happy ending. Princess Dennaleia (Denna) is betrothed to the prince of Mynaria in order to protect her kingdom. When she travels to Mynaria she has to be trained to handle the intimidating warhorses that Mynaria is famed for. And who is her teacher, but the prickly Princess Amaranthine (Mare), sister of Denna’s betrothed. Sparks fly, quite literally because Denna is also hiding a secret magical power that starts fires. No one can know her secret because magic is seen as dangerous and an imprisonable offense. Can Denna keep her secret and navigate this new court with Mare’s help? 

**The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin - first in a trilogy. I will use any reason to recommend this book. It’s a hard book to blurb though. The book follows three women: Essun, Syenite and Damaya. Each of them live on a supercontinent called the Stillness, which is a completely black society. Each of them are also something called an orogene, which is someone who can control energy in a way that allows them to move earth or even kill with their powers. Orogenes are seen as dangerous outsiders in this society and trained at a special school. The book creates such a creative and well defined world that just pulls you into the story immediately. It’s included on the list because of a polyamourous relationship and trans side character. I really hope you check out this series. 

**Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers. Ebook that requires using Overdrive. To celebrate getting her PhD in astronomy, Grace Porter goes on a trip to Las Vegas with two of her friends. On this trip she gets drunk, gets separated from said friends and ends up married to a random girl she just met. This was most definitely not a part of her life plan. This novel is the story of her dealing with that spur of the moment decision and trying to figure out exactly who she married that fateful night. On top of that, Grace is having trouble deciding what direction she wants her career trajectory to be going. The author does an excellent job portraying someone in the midst of a life crisis. 

**Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. Ebook that requires using Overdrive. “Luc O'Donnell is tangentially—and reluctantly—famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he's never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad's making a comeback, Luc's back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship...and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He's a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he's never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened. But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating.” -Overdrive synopsis

**If I was your girl by Meredith Russo. Amanda Hardy moves in with her dad and is starting at a new school. She had a bad, abusive experience at her old school coming out as trans, but at her new school she can keep her transition a secret. Now she’s insistent on starting over and not getting close to anyone for fear of them discovering her secret. But of course she meetings a boy named Grant who starts to break down the walls she has built. Will Amanda share her past with Grant and if so what will his reaction be?

Solve for i by A. E. Dooland. Audiobook that requires using Overdrive. “Math wiz Gemma Rowe has found the one problem her math can't solve: she's fallen for her female and very heterosexual best friend. Gemma Rowe is a shy math nerd from Sydney who, despite having an affinity for probability and logic, only just worked out at twenty-eight that she's not actually straight. Not only is she not straight, but she's developed feelings for her best friend Sarah. Sarah and Gemma go way back-since they met at university, they've been completely inseparable. They've traveled together, landed jobs at the same company, and shared each other's triumphs and sorrows. There was even that one memorable night when Sarah, completely drunk, told Gemma she couldn't live without her. To Gemma, romance seems like the natural progression. There's just one teensy little problem with this whole equation: Sarah is straight. Gemma knows the logical thing to do is to get over Sarah. She wants to be in her own happy relationship and not caught up on her straight best friend. But how is she supposed to get over Sarah when, despite all those advanced problem-solving skills, she can't even figure out who she's attracted to anymore? Contains mature themes.” - Overdrive synopsis

 

Nonfiction

Funeral Diva by Pamela Sneed. Ebook that requires using Overdrive. “In this collection of personal essays and poetry, acclaimed poet and performer Pamela Sneed details her coming of age in New York City during the late 1980s. Funeral Diva captures the impact of AIDS on Black Queer life, and highlights the enduring bonds between the living, the dying, and the dead. Sneed's poems not only converse with lovers past and present, but also with her literary forebears—like James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde—whose aesthetic and thematic investments she renews for a contemporary American landscape. Offering critical focus on matters from police brutality to LGBTQ+ rights, Funeral Diva confronts today's most pressing issues with acerbic wit and audacity. The collection closes with Sneed's reflections on the two pandemics of her time, AIDS and COVID-19, and the disproportionate impact of each on African American communities.” - Overdrive synopsis

**Sister Outsider -- Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde. Audiobook that requires using Overdrive. “Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature. In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde's philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.” - Overdrive synopsis

Identity: a story of transitioning by Corey Maison. "What do you do when you are born as one gender, but feel yourself to be another? Gender dysmorphia affects thousands of people worldwide, but has been ignored or ridiculed in our culture. With this graphic novel, Corey Maison boldly shares her story of transitioning, so that other kids with gender dysmorphia and related conditions will no longer feel so isolated, hopeless, or lost. Corey Maison was born a girl, trapped in a boy's body. Growing up, Corey was more interested in dolls than trucks; in dresses than jeans. Everything about Corey was female . . . except her physicality. Known as gender dysphoria, this condition is devastating if not acknowledged. But society is slow to be sympathetic to the idea that a person's gender is not entirely based on physiology, but instead is fluid, and a combination of emotional and psychological self-awareness along with, or sometimes more importantly, physical characteristics. IDENTITY tells the complex and moving tale of a young person who knows that their true gender is not the one they were assigned at birth. With unconditional love and support from her mother, Corey successfully starts the transition process with hopes of being comfortable in her own skin, being accepted by others, and raising awareness of young people who wish to transition. At 16-years-old, Corey has become a voice for other trans teens, battling bullies and helping others who are on their own individual journeys of identity."--Provided by publisher.

How to They/Them by Stuart Getty. Ebook that requires using Overdrive. “In this charming and disarming guide, a real-life they-using genderqueer writer unpacks all your burning questions in a fun, visual way. No soapboxes or divisive comment-section wars here! Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, always human, this gender-friendly primer will get you up to speed. It's about more than just bathrooms and pronouns—this is about gender expression and the freedom to choose how to identify. While they might only be for some, that freedom is for everyone!” - Overdrive synopsis

Born Both: An Intersex Life by Hida Viloria. "From Hida Viloria, writer and intersex activist, a candid, provocative, and eye-opening memoir of life, love, and gender identity as an intact intersex person, as well as a call to action for justice for intersex people. Hida Viloria was raised as a girl but discovered early on that he/r body was different. Unlike most people who are born intersex in the first world--meaning they have genitals, reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomal patterns that do not fit standard definitions of male or female--Hida had the freedom to explore the person s/he was born to be because he/r parents did not agree to have he/r sex characteristics surgically altered at birth. It wasn't until s/he was 26 and encountered the term "intersex" in a San Francisco newspaper that s/he finally had a name for he/r difference. That's when s/he began to explore what it means to live in the space between genders--to be both and neither. As s/he began to reach out to others like he/r, however, Hida discovered that most intersex people had been scarred, both physically and psychologically, by infant surgeries and hormone treatments meant to "correct" their bodies. Eager to help end this practice, Hida came out as intersex at a national and then international level. By answering the question "Are you a boy or a girl?" with "I'm both," Hida's helped blaze a trail for people--particularly intersex and genderqueer/non-binary people--to celebrate the middle space where male and female are not separate and opposite but entwined."-- Provided by publisher. 

Mouths of rain : an anthology of Black lesbian thought edited by Briona Simone Jones. An Ebook from Proquest’s Ebook Central. “A groundbreaking collection tracing the history of intellectual thought by Black Lesbian writers, in the tradition of The New Press's perennial seller Words of Fire African American lesbian writers and theorists have made extraordinary contributions to feminist theory, activism, and writing. Mouths of Rain, the companion anthology to Beverly Guy-Sheftall's classic Words of Fire, traces the long history of intellectual thought produced by Black Lesbian writers, spanning the nineteenth century through the twenty-first century. Using “Black Lesbian” as a capacious signifier, Mouths of Rain includes writing by Black women who have shared intimate and loving relationships with other women, as well as Black women who see bonding as mutual, Black women who have self-identified as lesbian, Black women who have written about Black Lesbians, and Black women who theorize about and see the word lesbian as a political descriptor that disrupts and critiques capitalism, heterosexism, and heteropatriarchy. Taking its title from a poem by Audre Lorde, Mouths of Rain addresses pervasive issues such as misogynoir and anti-blackness while also attending to love, romance, “coming out,” and the erotic.” --Ebook Central Description.

1 Comment

Scott Martin
on March 16, 9:25am

This year's Lambda Literary Award finalists have been announced! https://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/current-finalists/

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