"Love who you want to love, and do it unapologetically, including that face you see every day in the mirror.” —George M. Johnson, All Boys Aren’t Blue
June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and promote inclusivity and acceptance. It's a wonderful opportunity to educate ourselves and raise awareness about the unique experiences and challenges faced by individuals within this diverse community. Keep reading for a list of public LGBTQIA+ book clubs looking for members and recommended titles to explore with your book club during Pride Month.
Public LGBTQIA+ book clubs meeting in person and/or online:
- BIPOC Book Space
- Both Ends of the Rainbow Book Club
- Diversify Your Reading
- Dungeons & Queers
- Friends of Dorothy Book Club
- Queer Canon
- Queer Men’s Wine & Dine Book Club
- Queer Picks
- Queer Reads
- Queerious Readers Book Club
- Queer Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Queer Tho(ugh)ts
- LGBTQIA+ Book Club
- Love is Love Book Club
- Magpie Queer Book Club
- Mermaids of the Black Lagoon
- NYC Queer Book Club
- On The Margins Book Club
- Proud Readers
- Rainbow Shelves
- Rainbow Skies
- Straits Pride Book Club
- The Coolest LGBTQ Ppl Book Club
- The Literary Queers
- The Reading Corner
- The Undeniably Queer Romance Society
- Sapphic Bookends
- What We Read
- WJML Romance Book Club
- WLW Books
Our picks for must-read books for Pride Month:
On the night of her high school graduation, a young woman follows her older sister Debbie to Salvation, a Los Angeles bar patronized by energy healers, aspiring actors, and all-around misfits. After the two share a bag of unidentified pills, the evening turns into a haze of sensual and risky interactions--nothing unusual for two sisters bound in an incredibly toxic relationship. Our unnamed narrator has always been under the spell of the alluring and rebellious Debbie and, despite her own hesitations, she has always said yes to nights like these. Falling deeper into the life she cultivated with her sister, our narrator gets a job as an emergency room secretary where she steals pills to sell on the side. Cue Sasha, a Jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union who arrives at the hospital claiming to be a psychic tasked with acting as the narrator's spiritual guide. The nature of this relationship evolves and blurs, a kaleidoscope of friendship, sex, mysticism, and ambiguous power dynamics. With prose pulsing like a neon sign, Ruth Madievsky's All-Night Pharmacy is an intoxicating portrait of a young woman consumed with unease over how a person should be.
"Nothing short of sublime, and the territory [Mans'] explores...couldn't be more necessary."--Vogue
From spoken word poet, Jasmine Mans comes an unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity. 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. Black Girl, Call Home is a love letter to the wandering Black girl and a vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.
It's the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who's working as an intern for Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
In defiance of the brutal military government that took power in Uruguay in the 1970s, and under which homosexuality is a dangerous transgression, five women miraculously find one another—and, together, an isolated cape that they claim as their own. Over the next thirty-five years, they travel back and forth from this secret sanctuary, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs, with lovers in tow or alone. Throughout it all, they will be tested repeatedly—by their families, lovers, society, and one another—as they fight to live authentic lives. A groundbreaking, genre-defining work, Cantoras is a breathtaking portrait of queer love, community, forgotten history, and the strength of the human spirit.
A queer book conservator finds a mysterious old love letter, setting off a search for the author who wrote it and for a meaningful life beyond the binary in early-2000s New York City.
It's 2003, and artist Dawn Levit is stuck. A bookbinder who works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she spends all day repairing old books but hasn't created anything of her own in years. What's more, although she doesn't have a word for it yet, Dawn is genderqueer, and with a partner who wishes she were a man and a society that wants her to be a woman, she's struggling to feel safe expressing herself. One day at work, Dawn discovers something hidden under the endpapers of an old book: the torn-off cover of a lesbian pulp novel from the 1950s, with an illustration of a woman looking into a mirror and seeing a man's face. Even more intriguing is the queer love letter written on the back. Dawn becomes obsessed with tracking down the author of the letter, convinced the mysterious writer can help her find her place in the world. Her fixation only increases when her best friend, Jae, is injured in a hate crime for which Dawn feels responsible. But ultimately for Dawn, the trickiest puzzle to solve is how she truly wants to live her life. A sharply written, page-turning, and evocative debut, Endpapers is an unforgettable story about the journey toward authenticity and the hard conversations we owe ourselves in pursuit of a world where no one has to hide.
Just out of high school, Emi Price is a talented young set designer already beginning to thrive in the L.A. film scene. But her artistic eye has failed her in one key area: helping her to design a love life that’s more than make-believe. Then she finds a mysterious letter at an estate sale, and it sends her chasing down the loose ends of a movie icon’s hidden life. And along the way, she finds Ava, and at long last, Emi’s own hidden life begins to bloom.
Mickey Hayward is a black, queer author who dreams of writing stories that matter. She has a flashy media job that makes her feel successful and a devoted girlfriend who takes care of her when she comes home exhausted and demoralized. It's not all A-list parties and steamy romance, but Mickey's on her way, and it's far from the messy life she left behind in Maryland. Despite being overlooked and mistreated at work, it seems like she might finally get the chance to prove herself--until she finds out she's being replaced. Distraught and enraged, Mickey fires back with a detailed letter outlining the racism and sexism she's endured as a Black woman in media, certain it will change the world for the better. But when her letter is met with overwhelming silence, Mickey is sent into a tailspin of self-doubt. Forced to reckon with just how fragile her life is--including the uncertainty of her relationship--she flees to the last place she ever dreamed she would run to, her hometown, desperate for a break from her troubles. Intimate, witty, and deeply sexy, Homebodies is a testament to those trying to be heard and loved in a world that refuses to make space, and introduces a standout new writer.
The dazzling, heartfelt memoir of a trans pageant queen from the Philippines who went back into the closet to model in New York City--until she realized that living her truth was the only way to step into her full power. As a young femme in 1990s Manila, Geena Rocero found her place in trans pageants. When her competitors mocked her as a "horse Barbie" due to her statuesque physique, tumbling hair, long neck, and dark skin, she leaned into the epithet. By seventeen, she was the Philippines' highest-earning trans pageant queen. A year later, Geena moved to the United States where she could change her name and gender marker on her documents. But legal recognition didn't mean safety. In order to survive, Geena hid her trans identity, gaining one type of freedom at the expense of another. As her star rose, her sense of self eroded. She craved acceptance yet had to remain vigilant in order to protect her dream career. The high-stakes double life finally forced Geena to decide if she wanted to reclaim the power of Horse Barbie once and for all. A dazzling testimony from an icon who sits at the center of transgender history and activism, Horse Barbie is a celebratory and universal story of survival, love, and pure joy.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.
The raw poems inside Song of My Softening study the ever-changing relationship with oneself, while also investigating the relationship that the world and nation has with Black queerness. Poems open wide the questioning of how we express both love and pain and how we view our bodies in society, offering themselves wholly, with sharpness and compassion.
Set in early 1980s Poland against the violent decline of Communism, a tender and passionate story of first love between two young men who eventually find themselves on opposite sides of the political divide—a stunningly poetic and heartrending literary debut for fans of André Aciman, Garth Greenwell, and Alan Hollinghurst. When university student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer agricultural camp, he is fascinated yet wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance meeting by the river soon becomes an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair. After their camp duties are fulfilled, the pair spend a dreamlike few weeks in the countryside, bonding over an illicit copy of James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Inhabiting a beautiful, natural world removed from society and its constraints, Ludwik and Janusz fall deeply in love. But in their repressive Communist and Catholic society, the passion they share is utterly unthinkable. Shifting from the intoxication of first love to the quiet melancholy of growing up and growing apart, Swimming in the Dark is a potent blend of romance, postwar politics, intrigue, and history. Lyrical and sensual, immersive and intense, Tomasz Jedrowski’s indelible and thought-provoking literary debut explores freedom and love.
Before Alex Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, they think their position is clear. The child of two lawyers, they are staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley's face flashes on the screen as they review old tapes--the moment they hear him speak of his crimes -- they are overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by their reaction, they dig deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar. Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alex pores over the facts of the murder, they find themself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky's childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky's case, they are forced to face their own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors their view of Ricky's crime. An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact of A Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed -- but about how we grapple with our own personal histories.
In the shared and private spaces of Iowa City, a loose circle of lovers and friends encounter, confront, and provoke one another in a volatile year of self-discovery. Among them are Seamus, a frustrated young poet; Ivan, a dancer turned aspiring banker who dabbles in amateur pornography; Fatima, whose independence and work ethic complicate her relationships with friends and a trusted mentor; and Noah, who "didn't seek sex out so much as it came up to him like an anxious dog in need of affection." These four are buffeted by a cast of artists, landlords, meatpacking workers, and mathematicians who populate the cafes, classrooms, and food-service kitchens of the city, sometimes to violent and electrifying consequence. Finally, as each prepares for an uncertain future, the group heads to a cabin to bid goodbye to their former lives--a moment of reckoning that leaves each of them irrevocably altered. A novel of friendship and chosen family, The Late Americans asks fresh questions about love and sex, ambition and precarity, and about how human beings can bruise one another while trying to find themselves. It is Brandon Taylor's richest and most involving work of fiction to date, confirming his position as one of our most perceptive chroniclers of contemporary life.
Manuel Betancourt has long lustfully coveted masculinity--in part because he so lacked it. As a child in Bogotá, Colombia, he grew up under the social pressure to appear strong, manly, and, ultimately, straight. And yet in the films and television he avidly watched, Betancourt saw glimmers of different possibilities. From the stars of telenovelas and the princes of Disney films to pop sensation Ricky Martin and teen heartthrobs in shows like Saved By the Bell, he continually found himself asking: Do I want him or do I want to be him? The Male Gazed grapples with the thrall of masculinity, examining its frailty and its attendant anxieties even as it focuses on its erotic potential. Masculinity, Betancourt suggests, isn't suddenly ripe for deconstruction--or even outright destruction--amid so much talk about its inherent toxicity. Looking back over decades' worth of pop culture's attempts to codify and reframe what men can be, wear, do, and desire, this book establishes that to gaze at men is still a subversive act. Written in the spirit of Hanif Abdurraqib and Olivia Laing, The Male Gazed mingles personal anecdotes with cultural criticism to offer an exploration of intimacy, homoeroticism, and the danger of internalizing too many toxic ideas about masculinity as a gay man.
In their debut collection, K. Iver tells a story of queer love and queer grief in the deep South that cuts right down to the bone. Their poems chronicle the lives of two young queer and trans people, with all their wounds and joys and scars. It is both elegiac and celebratory, a fierce love song about queer resilience, as well a mourning song about familial abuse and the violence inherent in the gender binary.
Before she became the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention in 2016 at the age of twenty-six, Sarah McBride struggled with the decision to come out--not just to her family but to the students of American University, where she was serving as student body president. She'd known she was a girl from her earliest memories, but it wasn't until the Facebook post announcing her truth went viral that she realized just how much impact her story could have on the country. Four years later, McBride was one of the nation's most prominent transgender activists advocating inclusive legislation, and addressing the country in the midst of a heated presidential election. Informative, heartbreaking, and profoundly empowering, Tomorrow Will Be Different is McBride's story of love and loss and a powerful entry point into the LGBTQ community's battle for equal rights and what it means to be openly transgender. McBride weaves the important political and cultural milestones into a personal journey that will open hearts and change minds. As McBride urges: "We must never be a country that says there's only one way to love, only one way to look, and only one way to live."
In Uncle of the Year, Andrew Rannells wonders: If he, now in his forties, has everything he’s supposed to need to be an adult—a career, property, a well-tailored suit—why does he still feel like an anxious twenty-year-old climbing his way toward solid ground? Is it because he hasn’t won a Tony, or found a husband, or had a child? And what if he doesn’t want those things?
In deeply personal essays drawn from his life as well as his career on Broadway and in Hollywood, Rannells argues that we all pretend—for friends, partners, parents, and others—that we are constantly succeeding in the process known as “adulting.” But if this acting is leaving us unfulfilled, then we need new markers of time, new milestones, new expectations of what adulthood is and can be.
A story of queer love and working-class families, Young Mungo is the brilliant second novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain.
Acclaimed as one of the best books of the year by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, Time, and Amazon, and named a Top 10 Book of the Year by the Washington Post, Young Mungo is a brilliantly constructed and deeply moving story of queer love and working-class families by the Booker Prize–winning author of Shuggie Bain. Growing up in a housing estate in Glasgow, Mungo and James are born under different stars—Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic—and they should be sworn enemies. Yet against all odds, they fall in love as they find sanctuary and dream of escape in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. But when Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip to a remote loch with two strange men, he will need all his strength and courage to find his way back to a place where he and James might still have a future.
These books provide a glimpse into the rich experiences, struggles, and triumphs of LGBTQIA+ individuals. They promote empathy, understanding, and a celebration of diverse identities. Pride Month serves as a reminder to honor and support the LGBTQIA+ community, not just during June but throughout the year. Let's engage in these powerful narratives and continue to foster inclusivity, acceptance, and love for all. Happy Pride Month! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
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