Book club inspiration

Get To Know Our Clubs: The Reading Corner & LGBTQ+ Resources and Reading Recommendations

Jun 24, 2022

Blog

Author

Annabel Zane

This month we had the pleasure of speaking with Laia Feliu: avid reader, book club leader, and founder of The Reading Corner, a non-profit dedicated to helping people diversify their bookshelves. The Reading Corner places an emphasis on highlighting LGBTQ+ and BIPOC authors and plans to do the same for their newly-created online book club

 

Read on to learn more about The Reading Corner, plans for their book club, reading recommendations by underrepresented authors, and how you can celebrate Pride month all year round.

 

Tell us a little about your organization and where the inspiration to start The Reading Corner came from.

The Reading Corner is born from the need for female, Queer and BIPOC representation in the publishing industry. After years of following male-dominated curriculums while studying English Literature, I have found myself with a deep need to help underrepresented authors raise their voices and share their stories. We want our organisation to be a safe space for authors, editors, and readers, to help them connect with people with the same interests as them and build a community of like-minded literature lovers.

 

You’re a brand-new book club, so tell us your plans/intentions for your club. What topics will you focus on? What can members expect to gain from joining your club?

We will be focusing on fiction books across all genres, as long as they are written by the aforementioned groups. We will be paying special attention to books that can teach us about each other, and can help us understand people who we haven’t really listened to before. Members can expect to find a group of lovely people who want to learn as much as they can whilst having a good time and making friends.

 

What book are you reading for your first meeting and why?

We are reading The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley because it has everything we want to learn about in 300 pages of laughing-out-loud. Clare discusses genre, sexuality, age, race, mental health, and many other topics but keeps it light and fun. Her book is told by different characters with extremely different backgrounds who face completely different struggles and still manage to form beautiful friendships. We wanted our first book to help members bond and we believe this charming book will be perfect to get us started.

 

 

Since June is Pride month, how can our readers best uplift LGBTQ+ voices and stories?

In the era of social media, I think the best thing we can do is share books written by LGBTQ+ authors that we love. Many members come to us because they are tired of logging into their social profiles and seeing the same books spoken about repeatedly. If we could get these amazing creators to share more LGBTQ+ stories, that would have a great impact on the reader community, especially young people who rely so massively on them to create their reading foundations and habits.

 

What are your reading/resource recommendations for someone looking to read, support, or learn more about queer representation in publishing?

I am very fortunate to be doing research about books constantly, so I’ve come across authors like Amy Feltman, Sarah Gailey or Melissa Broder who are amazing queer authors. I also follow some brilliant Instagram accounts like @parisperusing, @lupita.reads or @lexcaitreads, they are always sharing amazing books by queer people and people of colour. As per learning more about queer representation in publishing, I am a huge fan of gaytimes.co.uk who talk about all things queer, they have a wonderful culture area and they shine a light on loads of important issues, literature included.

 

How can we celebrate Pride month all year round?

I think that loads of people will make a big effort of educating themselves during Pride month which is amazing, but then proceed to forget many queer people struggle all year round. There is this trend of “giving people their voice back” but I think they’ve always been talking; we’ve just been speaking over them. Actually shutting up and letting them speak is the best thing we can do to honour them.

 

Any exciting news about your organization or book club you’d like to share?

The Reading Corner is a very new non-profit organisation, but we have big dreams and aspirations. Right now, we are working on building the best team possible to get things to the next level and help as many people as possible. We would love to start a podcast at some point so, who knows?

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

My nightstand is constantly overflowing, I am not joking when I say there are more than 10 books on it. Right now, I am reading The Silence of Scheherazade by Defne Suman, and I’m hoping to start Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen soon!


 

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