Happy pride month, y’all! Here are a few titles our booksellers have read this June by LGBTQ authors—recommended reading for this month and every month beyond!
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
I’ve never read a novel in verse, at least not one written this century. It immediately threw me back into the rhythm and ease of when I used to write poems nearly every day, the way the words stick in your mind with the careful emphasis of each syllable. The freedom of poetry. How no one can tell you you’re wrong for how you phrase things. It’s the perfect medium for this story. The freedom and expression of each thought, the honesty of each worry. This book will stick with me, the rhythms of the words on repeat in my mind.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
I had so much fun reading this!!! I love, love, love reading books where the author’s pride for their culture shines so brightly. Nishat’s excitement about her henna business and her banter with her sister were so comforting to read. Jaigirdar captured so many complexities of being a queer teenager of color and all the beauty and pain that comes with it, the support and the struggle. Nishat and Flávia debating cultural appropriation over their warring henna shops and combating discrimination is the perfect rival to lovers dream come true.
You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
Wow–this book is an amazing debut novel. Polished, poetic prose is deftly coupled with the story of a young woman who sets the stage of her life with this thought: “Ambiguity was an unsettling yet exhilarating space.” Zaina Arafat lets the reader inhabit this space of ambiguity with this queer Palestinian American woman whose name is absent. We come to know her in a more intimate way, however. We come to know her as she gives us the names of those around her–the people she uses as a lens through which to see herself. We see her growth, painful as it is. We see her existence and find that we might inhabit and exhibit ambiguity ourselves, regardless of the ways in which we define ourselves. You Exist Too Much is a necessary read, not only for those who in the LGBTQ community who have been told that they are aberrations in the norm but for anyone who has ever been made to feel that that they exist too much.
Sissy: a Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia
This book started a conversation I had zero tools, resources, or experiences to start. At least, when I started the book I thought I didn’t have any experiences that would help me relate. I already know that this book will be my cornerstone in learning more about gender and where I do or don’t fit within it. Jacob has a kind and welcoming heart. You can feel their open arms on every page, inviting you to challenge what you know and grow. Also, they reposted when I quoted this book on their Instagram story so that was really interactive and affirming. If you’ve ever, even for a second, questioned your gender, or more importantly, if you never have, this book is required reading. It will open the doors to knowledge the world tries to hide. Jacob is f***ing brilliant, compassionate, and hilarious. They’re really in tune to the world around them and what steps we can take to improve on it. This book has a permanent space on my shelf.
Be sure to shop these recommended reads and more when you shop online at BookPeople today.