6 Little-Known Books Worth Reading This Pride Month

Today is Pride Month, and more than 50 years after the Stonewall riots, it's still important for us to remember that LGBTQ Pride is a protest - and it's especially important this year as 515 anti-LGBTQ bills are being considered across the country. As a reader and writer, I firmly believe that writing is a form of activism and that books and stories have the power to expand worldviews, challenge prejudices, and shift beliefs toward tolerance—a power that can only come through the fear they instill in those who read them confirmed. Prefer the status quo. This makes it even more important to ensure these stories are not suppressed. (At PEN America, you can find detailed information about books banned from schools and libraries.)

Of course, we should be reading and recommending queer authors year-round. But I wouldn’t not take advantage of the opportunity to make them the stars of this month’s column! Below, you'll find several inventive novels—all with trans protagonists—that take the novel form; a funny and sexy lesbian rom-com; a heartwarming story about immigration and identity; and a shocking book ’s memoir, which tells the story of three women fishing for a prolific catfish; and more. (Be sure to check out Bustle’s Best Books of the Summer list, which includes two LGBTQ books coming out this month that should be here if I haven’t already raved about them: Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh and Bobby Finger "Four Squares ").

old stuff

Jody Rosenberg "Confessions of a Fox "

I've been known to forget what a book was about just hours after reading it, but Jody Rosenberg's 2018 debut novel is a rare exception. Part speculative, genderqueer historical fiction and part meta-analysis of queer history itself, Confessions of a Fox imagines the notorious 18th-century British thief and prison escapee Jack Shepherd as trans. Many of his wild hijinks in London are described in discovered “confessions,” which are being analyzed by a fellow trans scholar of modern literature. Six years after first lifting the cover of this book, I can not only extract details from this exhaustively researched book, but I can remember exactly what it felt like to read it: thrilling, sexy, thrilling, inspiring, and completely new .

Confessions of Fox Bookstore

Summer Fun by Jeanne Thornton

When this book comes out, I won't shut up about it. Despite delving into some of our heaviest questions about identity and belonging, this novel is ultimately—as the title suggests—very funny. Gala, a trans woman in her thirties, lives and works in a hotel in New Mexico, but most importantly, she's a huge fan of Get Happies. The epistolary novel consists of Gala's daily letters to the lead singer of the now-defunct '60s band, ostensibly to convince him to get the band back together, but also to confirm the relationship with the band that has brought her so much. Human connection. Joy - sharing but also finding yourself. It's impossible not to fall in love with Gala, and I will always recommend this book as the perfect summer read.

Summer Joy Bookstore

new things

Hombrecito Santiago Jose Sanchez

When young Santiago moved from Colombia to Miami, his father stayed behind and his mother - struggling to find work - was mostly absent, leaving him and his brother Manuel to fend for themselves. The brothers' reaction to the move was divided. Manuel resented this and began to act out, but Santiago found himself in this new home and, as he grew older and eventually moved to New York, embraced a very active dating and sex life as a gay man. However, his understanding of himself falters when he returns to Colombia with his mother and considers the impact of his alienation from his birthplace and his parental abandonment. It's a beautiful, tender coming-of-age story that is deepened by Sanchez's exploration of Santiago's mother's necessary sacrifices and their complicated relationship.

Hombrecito bookstore

Kate Young's Experience

Kate Young's wildly popular debut tells the story of late-blooming Bette, whose girlfriend Mei suggests they take a break so Bette can explore coolness before she decides to settle down. Dating scene. Betty didn't realize she was gay until she was almost 30, so this sexual journey is a replay of her tumultuous 20s — and made messier . Sexy, funny, and full of romantic tension, Seasoned is a ton of fun.

Experienced bookstore

"Without Ethan " Anna Akbari

Okay, this memoir is not LGBTQ, but I had to mention it. In 2011, successful and attractive sociologist Anna Akbari fell in love with Ethan Schuman, although they only communicated through text messages, Gchat (RIP), and email. When weeks of postponed meetings turn into months, she begins to realize that Ethan is not who he says he is - and soon she forms a bond with two other women who have fallen into his trap. I listened to the audiobook in one sitting, and while it was almost painful to hear Ethan's manipulative messages—which range from cruel to eye-rolling sullenness—it was impossible not to feel affection for these women. How did they let this go on for so long? ? ? You might be tempted to yell, but who among us hasn’t ignored red flags in our pursuit of true connection? Regardless, this look at the emotional toll Catfish takes is fascinating, and the revelations truly shocking.

There is no Ethan Bookstore

something unexpected

Abu Jamel's Daughter and Other Stories: Arab Folktales from Palestine and Lebanon , Retold by Jamal Slim

I've been flipping through this book since I brought it home a few weeks ago. Shortly before her death, the Palestinian novelist and poet Jamal Sleem Nuweihed copied 27 traditional Arabic stories that she had handed down over the decades. Conversational and magical, filled with daring adventures and starring witty women, this series proves the value of oral tradition and the importance of preserving it.

Abu Jamel's Daughters and Other Stories Bookstore