To kick off Pride Month, I thought it would be nice to recommend a few books on or about LGBTQ+ individuals. For those of you looking for a book to pick up. I’ve read a few, myself, I have a few on my To Read list, and I have one sitting in my Currently Reading list.
These five books are ones that I’ve read and enjoyed. Some from last year, one from this year, and one from a few years ago. Even if they aren’t what you are looking for personally, I hope I have one that might peak your interest.
Miss Memory Lane: A Memoir by Colton Haynes
This was a read that I really wanted to get in 2022. Though my views on CW’s Arrow have changed over the years, Colton Haynes, who played Roy Harper, was always one of my favorite aspects of the show. Even though he wasn’t utilized as well or as often ad I would have hoped.
That said, this was my favorite biography/memoir to come out of 2022. It is a decent sized read at 256 pages and discusses an array of experiences the actor has gone through. And he doesn’t hold his punches either. Reading this, I could see that he went through quite a bit in life.
If you are looking for an insightful memoir, I would recommend Miss Memory Lane.
Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake
I read this book earlier this year. I had read this around the same time as Back in a Spell, the third book of Lana Harper’s The Witches of Thistle Grove series. I was kind of debating if I wanted to one or both of them. With The Witches of Thistle Grove series, I liked the first book and was mixed on the second, while I wasn’t that impressed with aspects of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care the first book from Ashley Herring Blake’s Bright Fall series. In the case of the former, I am uncertain that I will read the fourth book, In Charm’s Way. I wasn’t all that interested in Back in a Spell and so far, the first book is the only one that I really like.
However, in the case of Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail, I ended up enjoying it more than Delilah Green Doesn’t Care. I will most likely pick up the third book Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date, when that comes out later this year.
It does have a rather romcom and/or formulaic concept, but it was still a fun read. I feel like the relationship between Astrid and Jordan felt better explored to me and it wasn’t tied to a bet like it initially was with Delilah and Claire (though they did genuinely fall in love in the end). I also enjoyed how it approached the conflict between them having to do with the show they are on, Jordan’s past relationship and marriage, and Astrid trying to figure out what she truly wants in her life instead of what her mother wants her to do with her life. Which I feel was handled better than the conflicts in Delilah Green Doesn’t Care.
So while it may have a simpler story, I would certainly recommend giving this book a read.
Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley
Granted, this book isn’t explicitly about the relationship between the two leading ladies of this story, CeCe and Chrissie. However, it does involve CeCe figuring out who she is, without Star, and what she wants. And while the main plot of the story is CeCe investigating her birth family, readers do get to see her realizing that she may have feelings for Chrissie, who she meets during her travels and offers to help her.
CeCe’s story is one of self-discovery and realization. While Kitty’s, the person from the past who’s connected to CeCe’s family, is to make it on her own and ends up finding love.
This is my second favorite book in the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley, so I would recommend this book, along with Moon Sister and Seven Sisters, regardless. However, I would also recommend it if you are looking for a read about an LGBTQ+ book about someone realizing and embracing that they are. Just now that while CeCe and Chrissie do not officially get together at the end, their relationship is confirmed in a following book (I believe in Moon Sister, but it could have been Sun Sister or Missing Sister. I can’t remember which, but it is confirmed).
Sandman by Neil Gaiman
I wanted to recommend a graphic novel series, which brings me here. I had considered the 2009 Red Robin series since Tim Drake has come out as bi in 2021 and that being one of his more beloved series. However, with the Netflix adaptation of Sandman debuting last year with a planned second season in the works, and the fact that I am am reading and enjoying it, I thought I would recommend Sandman instead.
Now, it is worth noting that this series does tackle a few sensitive topics. It is a series that can be dark when it needs to and can be. However, it does have moments where it can be lighter and inspiring moments. It’s also worth noting that the series did come out in the 80’s. So some of the language used may be dated.
The series itself follows entities of Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. Mainly Dream, also known as Morpheus. It’s also a horror fantasy series. I’m currently a few volumes in and have read the Death spinoff/side story.
When it comes to LGBTQ+ representation, it comes in the form of the non-Endless characters as well as the Endless, Desire. Desire is nonbinary and is referred to as They/Them, and has been even before the Netflix adaptation. And speaking of the Netflix adaptation, Desire is played by Mason Alexander Park, who is nonbinary.
Sandman has representation. Both in the comics and the Netflix adaptation. So if you are looking for a graphic novel series, I would recommend it. Again, just be aware that it covers some sensitive/mature topics.
The Avatar Kyoshi Duology by F.C. Yee
The Rise of Kyoshi and The Shadow of Kyoshi is a duology based on the Avatar the Last Airbender, Kyoshi. This Earthbending Avatar (two Avatars prior to Aang) has become a popular Avatar among fans. Her to the point nature and understanding that, sometimes, tough choices must be made, is recognizable. She has become a meme for her assertiveness and willingness to choose a violent route more times than not (which may be a bit of an overexaggeration, but a fun one at that).
These books explore the life of Kyoshi through the years. When Kuruk, Kyoshi’s predecessor and Waterbending born Avatar, dies young and suddenly, finding the next Avatar is a must. After Kyoshi’s childhood friend is mistaken for the Avatar, Kyoshi is thrown into an unexpected journey where it is revealed that Kyoshi is actually the Avatar. Along the way she deals with a looming conflict and teams up with a troupe that her late airbending mother was apart of. Traveling with her is Rangi, a firebending ally and friend, who Kyoshi realizes she has feelings for as her journey goes on.
This Duology is written by F.C. Yee and one of the co-creators of Avatar the Last Airbender, Michael Dante DiMartino has an acknowledgement/preface in it. If you were a fan of the series and a fan of Kyoshi (or not), I would recommend this duology. And for further reading, F.C. Yee has an Avatar Yangchen duology with The Dawn of Yangchen which was released in 2022 and The Legacy of Yangchen which is set to be released on July 18th of this year.
Though not the only LGBTQ+ books I’ve read, these are five, technically six on account of the Kyoshi duology, that I would currently recommend. I may have more at the end of June or in a later post, but for now, I hope you fins something to enjoy.
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