This year, I embarked on the ambitious adventure of reading 100 books in 2019. By the end of May, I’d already read 50 books. I knew this year of breakneck-speed reading would get a little dull after awhile if I continued to reach for all the same types of books I usually do (AKA extremely dark and twisty works of fiction), so I planned out some themed months to explore different perspectives and genres. June, of course, was Pride Month. My Pride Month reads were super fun, so I wanted to share them with you.
I started off June 2019 with two non-Pride books. Good Talk by Mira Jacob was up first; it’s an excellent graphic memoir (like a graphic novel, but a memoir) that explores what life is like for a multi-racial family in Trump’s America. It manages to be hilarious while also being heartbreaking. Next was American Spy, read for the Books + Yoga book club I attend. Our group found it surprisingly boring for a spy novel, but it was refreshing to read a spy novel with a black female protagonist.
Once I knocked off those two (Mira’s memoir in time for a book signing event she was doing in Rochester, and the spy novel in time for book club), I dove into my glorious Pride Month reads. Many of these came as recommendations from my friend Amanda, who is a librarian, so big shout out to her for the great picks!
1) I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
This was the first time I’d ever read a book by a nonbinary author and featuring a nonbinary protagonist, and I loved it! It was sweet and moving and funny, and I learned a lot.
2) Naturally Tan by Tan France
Tan France’s book is exactly what you’d expect, and you’ll enjoy it if you’re a fan of him on Queer Eye. It’s funny, it’s honest, and he tells some stories that make you cringe a little (like how he quit dozens of jobs in his 20s with no notice). You also get to hear the romantic story of how he met and fell in love with his husband, which I enjoyed.
3) Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I didn’t think this book was particularly good, but as I made fun of it, I enjoyed the heck out of it. It takes itself too seriously and is funnier than I think the author intended. If you read and loved Harry Potter fanfiction, you may dig this. It’s essentially Drarry fanfic.
4) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
A deeply weird book with strange pacing and some interesting ideas. It tries very hard to satirize hipster culture and examines what the end of the world might look like. An interesting read where witches and science battle each other, and ultimately try to find ways to come together to serve and save nature.
5) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
I absolutely adored this read. It was so damn fun. 18 year old Monty goes on a Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend Percy, who he happens to be in love with. Lots of cute will they/won’t they, mixed in with highway robbers, alchemy, pirates, and catacombs in Venice. An epically fun and entertaining read.
6) Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
I’d heard a lot of hype about this memoir and was excited to check it out at last. The style didn’t do much for me, as I found it dragged a bit and you marinate in melancholy. It’s definitely an important book, though, a lifeline to LGBTQ+ kids growing up in conservative Christian households, scared of going to hell.
7) The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
This Mackenzi Lee novel is the second in what they’re calling the Montague siblings duology. It features Monty’s sister, Felicity, who is a badass wannabe doctor. Problem is, it’s the 1700s and women aren’t allowed to enroll in medical school. This story flies, featuring female friendship, a slobbery dog, more pirates, and sea dragons. Plus, we find out our protagonist is asexual. I missed the will they/won’t they dynamic of Monty and Percy from Gentleman’s Guide, but it was still a great story with nuanced characters in a well-researched work of historical fiction.
8) The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg
I’ve always enjoyed Ortberg’s Slate column, “Dear Prudence,” and Texts from Jane Eyre was amusing. I was disappointed to find that I loathed every story in this collection. They’re twisted fairytales and myths, but I didn’t find them purposeful or entertaining. Just alienating, cruel, and disturbing. I put the book down and immediately had to hurl myself into something more uplifting.
That more uplifting read wasn’t part of my official Pride reading, but, I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn was a delight. This YA novel follows Kimi, a Japanese American girl who is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants to do with her life (hint: it’s fashion design). She travels to Japan to meet her grandparents, falls in love with a guy in a mochi costume, and it’s all very cute and happy.
I hope you feel inspired to give one of these awesome books a try! If you click one of the links above, I’ll receive a small commission because they’re affiliate links. That means I can buy more books and support more authors and write more words for you!
One important takeaway for me this month is that we should be reading LGBTQ+ stories year-round, not just during Pride Month! These stories aren’t inherently different from heteronormative stories. Love is love. And these books are excellent.
Did you read any fun books by LGBTQ+ authors or featuring LGBTQ+ characters for Pride Month? I’d love to hear about it! Tweet me your favorites at @servemethesky.