So first of all, to everyone (but particularly Brits in London right now), HAPPY PRIDE!
This time of year is very special to me - and I'm devastated that I didn't get to go at all because I was working. It would have meant the absolute world to me if I could have done. But we did a lot of really fun stuff at work, and I still got to dress up!
In honour of the London Pride celebrations, I decided to create a couple of posts based around LGBTQ+ books that I've read and recommend to those that want to diversify their reading, and those that I'm hotly anticipating (which you'll find tomorrow).
So without further ado, here are a few of my fave LGBTQ+ reads...
One of my very first ever M/M romances was Benjamin Alire Sáenz's 'Aristotle & Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe' and I was absolutely addicted to this book. It's beautifully written, emotional, romantic and quickly becoming a classic in the world of LGBTQ+ fiction. I'd definitely recommend to those looking to read more gay YA.
My next chosen novel might be one of my favourite of all time, and I particularly adored Robin Talley's 'Lies We Tell Ourselves' because not only did it portray a gorgeous F/F romance, but it also perfectly captured the essence of racial tension and segregation in the late 1950s. I can't shout enough about how those first few chapters following a group of PoCs simply trying to get to class was one of the most harrowing things to read of all time. If you read and ended up liking this, do also try out Talley's 'As I Descended', a lesbian retelling of Macbeth set at a boarding school. It's fabulous!
Next on the list has to be a more recent read of mine, a collection curated by trans icon Juno Dawson - 'Proud'. You'll find stories, art and poetry-a-plenty in here. All contributors are #OwnVoices and all are fiercely talented. Favourites included 'Penguins' by Simon James Green (gay love and gayer penguins), 'I Hate Darcy Pemberley by Karen Lawler (I am always here for a lesbian retelling of Jane Austen's 'Pride & Prejudice') and 'The Phoenix's Fault' by Cynthia So (LGBTQ+ goodness in an asian historical fantasy setting). Read. This. Book.
For those of you that find graphic novels to be more your thing, then do make time for Alice Oseman's 'Heartstopper'. It is phenomenal. I love the British grammar school setting and the characters are just masterfully crafted. If you've read some of Oseman's novels (I totally recommend it if you haven't), then this focuses on Nick & Charlie from 'Solitaire' but also features Aled from 'Radio Silence' which is a lot of fun! Vol. 1 & 2 are available in paperback (they capture chapters 1-3) but the whole thing so far can be read in WebComic format on tapas.io and tumblr.
I wanted to include some sci-fi & fantasy LGBTQ+ reads too because I find it's often harder to find those - especially very good ones. So let's start with Becky Chambers 'The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet', a space opera that totally made me realise that I should read more sci-fi. I loved the characters in this, each one stole my heart. It is a character-driven novel - slow on the plot - but Chambers found so many new and interesting ways to represent diversity and 'other' while creating each species and I lived for it.
Malinda Lo's 'Ash' is also an absolute gem of a read - deeply rooted in fae magic and a f/f retelling of the classic fairytale 'Cinderella' are just two reasons why this book remains one of my favourites. I loved the sinister take on the fairy Godmother, the similarities and differences to the original story and of course the fact that Lo replaced Prince Charming with Kaisa, the King's Huntress.
And there you have it - a few of my favourite queer reads! What do you think of my choices? Do you have any that you want to shout about? Let me know!