Looking for something to read during Pride month? We have many new titles to keep you reading throughout the month and year(s). There's plenty to enjoy in these new novels, poetry and short story collections and memoirs written by LGBTQI+ authors representing a range of experiences and voices. Happy Pride!
You exist too much : a novel / Zaina Arafat
On a hot day in Bethlehem, a twelve-year-old Palestinian-American girl is yelled at by a group of men outside the Church of the Nativity. She has exposed her legs in a biblical city, an act they deem forbidden, and their judgement will echo on through her adolescence. When our narrator finally admits to her mother that she is queer, her mother's response only intensifies a sense of shame: 'You exist too much,' she tells her daughter. Told in vignettes that flash between the U.S. and the Middle East—from New York to Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine—Zaina Arafat’s debut novel traces her protagonist’s progress from blushing teen to sought–after DJ and aspiring writer.
With teeth : a novel / Kristen Arnett
Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, Sammie Lucas lives with one wary eye peeled on her son Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best--driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school--while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie's life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels.
Stone fruit / Lee Lai
Bron and Ray are a queer couple who enjoy their role as the fun weirdo aunties to Ray’s niece, six-year-old Nessie. Their playdates are little oases of wildness, joy, and ease in all three of their lives, which ping-pong between familial tensions and deep-seeded personal stumbling blocks. As their emotional intimacy erodes, Ray and Bron isolate from each other and attempt to repair their broken family ties ― Ray with her overworked, resentful single-mother sister and Bron with her religious teenage sister who doesn’t fully grasp the complexities of gender identity.
Lies with man / Michael Nava
Los Angeles, 1986. A group of right-wing Christians has put an initiative on the November ballot to allow health officials to force people with HIV into quarantine camps―and it looks like it’s going to pass. Rios, now living in LA, agrees to be counsel for a group of young activists who call themselves QUEER [Queers United to End Erasure and Repression]. QUEER claims to be committed to peaceful civil disobedience. But when one of its members is implicated in the bombing of an evangelical church that kills its pastor, who publicly supported the quarantine initiative, Rios finds himself with a client suddenly facing the death penalty.
SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN / Shelley Parker-Chan
Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan's She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.
Honey girl / Morgan Rogers
With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that. This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her parent’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
Let's get back to the party : a novel / by Zak Salih
"Estranged childhood friends Oscar and Sebastian--both too young to have a personal relationship with the AIDS crisis but too old to have enjoyed the freedom of an out adolescence--spend a year grappling with cultural identity, generational change, and what they see in, and owe to, each other
AFTERPARTIES : STORIES / So, Anthony Veasna
Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.
Sorrowland / Rivers Solomon
Vern--seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised--flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world. But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes. To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future--outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.
THE MEMBRANES : A NOVEL / Chi Ta-wei ; translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich
It is the late twenty-first century, and Momo is the most celebrated dermal care technician in all of T City. The world is dominated by powerful media conglomerates and runs on exploited cyborg labor. Momo prefers to keep to herself, and anyway she’s too busy for other relationships: her clients include some of the city’s best-known media personalities. But after meeting her estranged mother, she begins to explore her true identity, a journey that leads to questioning the bounds of gender, memory, self, and reality. First published in Taiwan in 1995, The Membranes is a classic of queer speculative fiction in Chinese. Chi Ta-wei weaves dystopian tropes―heirloom animals, radiation-proof combat drones, sinister surveillance technologies―into a sensitive portrait of one young woman’s quest for self-understanding.
FILTHY ANIMALS / Taylor, Brandon
In the series of linked stories at the heart of Filthy Animals, set among young creatives in the American Midwest, a young man treads delicate emotional waters as he navigates a series of sexually fraught encounters with two dancers in an open relationship, forcing him to weigh his vulnerabilities against his loneliness. In other stories, a young woman battles with the cancers draining her body and her family; menacing undercurrents among a group of teenagers explode in violence on a winter night; a little girl tears through a house like a tornado, driving her babysitter to the brink; and couples feel out the jagged edges of connection, comfort, and cruelty.
THE CHOSEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL / Nghi Vo
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
We want it all : an anthology of radical trans poetics / edited by Andrea Abi-Karam & Kay Gabriel
Editors Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel offer We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics as an experiment into how far literature, written from an identitarian standpoint, can go as a fellow traveler with social movements and revolutionary demands. Writing in dialogue with emancipatory political movements, the intergenerational writers assembled here imagine an altogether overturned world in poems that pursue the particular and multiple trans relationships to desire, embodiment, housing, sex, ecology, history, pop culture, and the working day.
Burning sugar : poems / Cicely Belle Blain
In this debut collection, activist and poet Cicely Belle Blain intimately revisits familiar spaces in geography, in the arts, and in personal history to expose the legacy of colonization and its impact on Black bodies. They use poetry to illuminate their activist work: exposing racism, especially anti-Blackness, and helping people see the connections between history and systemic oppression that show up in every human interaction, space, and community.
THE ESSENTIAL JUNE JORDAN / edited by Jan Heller Levi and Christoph Keller ; afterword by Jericho Brown
The Essential June Jordan honors the enduring legacy of a poet fiercely dedicated to building a better world. In this definitive volume, introduced by Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown, June Jordan’s generous body of poetry is distilled and curated to represent the very best of her works. Written over the span of several decades―from Some Changes in 1971 to Last Poems in 2001―Jordan’s poems are at once of their era and tragically current, with subject matter including racist police brutality, violence against women, and the opportunity for global solidarity amongst people who are marginalized or outside of the norm.
Black girl, call home / Jasmine Mans
With echoes of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sonia Sanchez, Mans writes to call herself—and us—home. Each poem explores what it means to be a daughter of Newark, and America—and the painful, joyous path to adulthood as a young, queer Black woman.
Life as a unicorn : a journey from shame to pride and everything in between / Amrou Al-Kadhi
Life as a Unicorn is a hilarious yet devastating story of a search for belonging, following the painful and surprising process of transforming from a god-fearing Muslim boy to a queer drag queen, strutting the stage in seven-inch heels and saying the things nobody else dares to.
The secret to superhuman strength / Alison Bechdel ; with the extremely extensive coloring collaboration of Holly Rae Taylor
Comics and cultural superstar Alison Bechdel delivers a deeply layered story of her fascination, from childhood to adulthood, with every fitness craze to come down the pike: from Jack LaLanne in the 60s ("Outlandish jumpsuit! Cantaloupe-sized guns!") to the existential oddness of present-day spin class. Readers will see their athletic or semi-active pasts flash before their eyes through an ever-evolving panoply of running shoes, bicycles, skis, and sundry other gear.
THE NATURAL MOTHER OF THE CHILD : A MEMOIR OF NONBINARY PARENTHOOD / Belc, Krys Malcolm
Krys Malcolm Belc has thought a lot about the interplay between parenthood and gender. As a nonbinary, transmasculine parent, giving birth to his son Samson clarified his gender identity. And yet, when his partner, Anna, adopted Samson, the legal documents listed Belc as “the natural mother of the child.” By considering how the experiences contained under the umbrella of “motherhood” don’t fully align with Belc’s own experience, The Natural Mother of the Child journeys both toward and through common perceptions of what it means to have a body and how that body can influence the perception of a family.
Punch me up to the gods / Brian Broome
Broome’s recounting of his experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in. Indiscriminate sex and escalating drug use help to soothe his hurt, young psyche, usually to uproarious and devastating effect. A no-nonsense mother and broken father play crucial roles in our misfit’s origin story. But it is Brian’s voice in the retelling that shows the true depth of vulnerability for young Black boys that is often quietly near to bursting at the seams.
We are here : visionaries of color transforming the art world / Jasmin Hernandez ; principal photography by Sunny Leerasanthanah
Confidently curated by Jasmin Hernandez, the dynamic founder of Gallery Gurls, We Are Here presents the bold and nuanced work of Black and Brown visionaries transforming the art world. Centering BIPOC, with a particular focus on queer, trans, nonbinary, and BIWOC, this collection features fifty of the most influential voices in New York, Los Angeles, and beyond.
Through candid, intimate correspondence with friends, lovers, and family, Emezi traces the unfolding of a self and the unforgettable journey of a creative spirit stepping into power in the human world. Their story weaves through transformative decisions about their gender and body, their precipitous path to success as a writer, and the turmoil of relationships on an emotional, romantic, and spiritual plane, culminating in a book that is as tender as it is brutal. Fairest : a memoir / Meredith Talusan
Black boy out of time : a memoir / Hari Ziyad
Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City.
All descriptions provided by the publishers.