Our reading challenge for November is to read a book by an author who identifies as LGBTQIA2S+. Whether you’re reading outside your identity or within it, it’s always a good time to read books from marginalized voices. But lately it seems particularly apropos to highlight queer authors (I’ll use that as an umbrella term for simplicity’s sake). It’s hard not to be concerned about the storm brewing below our border; book bans (or more accurately, attempts at them) are on the rise, the target of which is largely books with queer themes (and books that deal with race—doubly so if a book contains both, such as George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue). PEN America compiled a detailed report earlier this year investigating these attempts at censorship, for those who would like to learn more. Across the pond we’ve also seen an alarming uptick in transphobic rhetoric, a sort of transphobe-mania gripping the UK, famously spurred on by She Who Must Not Be Named.
Books can be tools for exploring the human condition, tools for advocacy and for empathy, for validation and support—and also, just for fun. In June, Vogueasked “Is this the golden age of queer literature?” While the answer is basically “not really”, it’s still certainly a better literary landscape than in the past. Queer authors have always existed in all genres, though not as openly (or as mainstream) as today. We’ll go over some of these genres paired with some recommendations!
You know at first, I was pretty stumped on how to make a list and post for a challenge so…subjective. After all, no matter how well-known a book might be, there are always plenty of people who’ve never read it before, which means theoretically, I could talk about any book.
Thankfully my coworker had the fantastic suggestion to list books by debut authors as well as newly translated books, so here we go! As per usual, all the titles featured in this post will be available at Vaughan Public Libraries, though as they are new, many are on order. Get your holds in now!
A mythic love story set in Trinidad & Tobago, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s radiant debut introduces two unforgettable outsiders brought together by their connection with the dead.
A masterwork of lush imagination and immersive lyricism, shot through with the rhythm of the island, When We Were Birds is a spellbinding novel about inheritance, loss and love’s seismic power to heal.
Beach reads. Is there a more evocative reading mood than the idea of lying on the beach, lazily flipping through a romance or thriller? Or maybe you prefer to beat the heat and sit in the comfort of air-conditioning (at home or at the library), killing time until the sun sets with a book in hand. In the summer, the days are longer, inviting you to fill them with books.