Well, Pride month is here. I’d like to preface the first of my posts by saying that this isn’t a year for celebration. It doesn’t feel right to celebrate our freedom and identity when others are fighting right now to have the right to the same freedom. I hope this year everyone is challenging themselves to look back at our history and discover how we got here. That you look back and thank god for Marsha P. Johnson and the other Black trans women who rioted for our rights at Stonewall, that you look back at the violence that got us where we are today, and you reflect on why that means we now need to stand up for the Black people who are suffering today and support their actions. Change doesn’t come easily, and it doesn’t come if we just sit around waiting for the right time. There is never an easier time.
To the white queer people who follow me, when celebrating this month, I want to ask all of us to use our platforms to support Black people and lift their voices. This is a month when our platforms get more views, when those outside our community try to support us: so use that focus to amplify the voices of Black people in your communities. We need to help fight their cause, because we owe them for how far LGBTQIA+ rights have come since Stonewall.
Racism is a problem everywhere. I’m seen too many people on my timeline saying “thank god we’re not as bad as the US”. You are wrong. So look to your local community and find out what you can do to help. We all need to do better. Be prepared to get shit wrong, be prepared to feel guilty, be prepared to be uncomfortable. It won’t even be close to the pain and trauma millions of people have lived with.
So this month, use your platform to speak out about racism. Support Black authors. Support Black content creators. Give money if you can. Raise their voices on Twitter. Spread information. But most of all, don’t forget about this in a few weeks time.
How can you continue your support and activism in future? I am considering this question too and will be trying to find ways in my local community here in Australia to help support and fight racism in a country that was founded on it.
Over Pride, I’ll be posting every day on both here and my Instagram account. Every book featured will (obviously) be queer – and currently there’s almost 200 books that I’ll be talking about across the month so I hope your TBRs are ready. There will be lots of recommendation posts and I’ve tried to keep different titles in every single post so there will be new books every day to avoid being repetitive, which is how we ended up with almost 200 books and many hours spent working on these posts for the month.
Last year during Pride, I read the most books I’ve ever managed for one month (15), so today, here’s my ambitious TBR for the month. However, I’m very doubtful I’ll manage to finish all these because there are a couple of pretty massive fantasies in here (yes, I’m finally vowing to read Priory). This Pride, I’m also really trying to expand my reading outside of my usual genres, so we’ve got memoirs, literary fiction, contemporary, fantasy, historical, science fiction, and mystery! And thank you to my library of reopening on June 1 so I can collect all the books I had reserved and read them this month.
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
This will be the very first memoir I’ve ever read and I am absolutely thrilled it’s by Carmen Maria Machado. I’ve heard incredible things about her writing so I’m sure this memoir about the author’s experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship will be so so powerful.
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
Real Life is on many ‘most anticipated books of the year’ lists and I predict it’ll be one of my favourites of the month. This is a book about a Black queer biochemistry student from Alabama who studies at a very white Midwestern university and his dealings with both overt racism and the more subtle microaggressions in his friendship group.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
In my efforts to read more widely, I’m trying to read more queer literature classics (or more like books not released in the last five years), and this 2002 sapphic Victorian murder mystery sounds very up my street.
Goldilocks by Laura Lam
Goldilocks is set in a future where the Earth is close to environmental collapse and there’s lots of restrictions on the freedoms of women, so a group of women steal a spaceship which is going to explore a potentially habitable planet.
When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele
And now for my second memoir, this one by cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Khan-Cullors. When They Call You a Terrorist is a memoir about being a Black woman in America and what led her to cofound the movement aiming to transform the US.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
I’ve been meaning to read this book since it was released and finally picked up a copy last month. This is written as a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read about the son’s life as a Vietnamese-American growing up in the US.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Is this one of my monst anticipated books of the year, YES IT IS!! This is a contemporary YA about two girls who set up rival henna businesses for a school project, but one of them is appropriating the other’s culture.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
And another of my most anticipated books of the year on this months reading! I’m also pretty sure this is my favouritve cover of the year (although more on gorgeous queer covers later this month!) Felix Ever After is about a trans teen who decides to catfish his bully and ends up in a quasi-love triangle.
The Gods of Tango by Carolina de Robertis
The Gods of Tango is set in Argentina, and follows Leda, a genderfluid/trans man (it isn’t clear from the blurb) who moves to Argentina to be married but finds their husband dead. So they dress up as a man called Dante and join a a group of tango musicians, but find the lines between Leda and Dante begin to blur and feelings they have supressed begin to reveal themselves.
Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight
If you want a dark sapphic book about poisons this is for you. This is about an expelled phD candidate who studies poisons and antidotes and the obsessive relationship she has with her mentor.
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
This is the sapphic book everyone is talking about and I’m very excited to read it this month! I haven’t read The Winner’s Trilogy so very new to the world and universe of The Midnight Lie but everyone seems to love this book so fingers crossed I do too.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Here there be dragons. I still can’t believe I haven’t read this book. But it’s finally the month, because since we’re all isolating I don’t need to carry this chonky book about on public transport to read.
Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger
Pretty sure this will end up being one of my favourite ever books because it sounds brilliant: diverse fantasy discussing colonialism from the perspective of both colonised and coloniser, five nations all inspired by different Asian nations, talking animal companions?!! This is going to be incredible.
Everfair by Nisi Shawl
This sounds like the sprawing, decades long, heavily political epic historical fantasy that I love. This is a steampunky, alternate history set in the Belgian Congo if native populations had learned about steam technology earlier.
Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
Scavenge the Stars is another of my favourite covers of the year! This is a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, which I haven’t read, so going into this totally new! All I really know is that one of the main characters is bi, and that that’s a pretty badass dagger, so this book already rocks.
What do you plan on reading this month?