This year I promised myself that I would get involved in a lot more LGBT+ literature. I have read very little so far, and I feel like, even though it has taken 27 years, I finally want to fully embrace this community that I am a part of but have never really been in any capacity active in. As the Pride festivities roll out across the globe, I wanted to join in this read-a-thon in order to feel more connected, to educate myself, and to just, in general, read some incredible books.
The books I have chosen are all LGBT+ themed in some way (obviously), and have been ones I have had on my general life to-be-read pile for forever.
So here are the books I have chosen to embark upon this lovely queer journey with me:
A Place Called Winter – Patrick Gale
This selection is very much a cheat, as I’m already half way through this book. I started it last year, put it down, and for some reason never returned. That was ridiculous of me because I was loving the story and the characters. As I’m literally half way through the book I will more than likely just carry on from where I left off rather than starting the whole book again from scratch. This is the story of a man who discovers himself in very much a complicated way, and embarks on a journey away from the life he has built for himself. I am very much looking forward to getting back into this novel, and the writing is beautiful, and the story is truly compelling.
Days Without End – Sebastian Barry
This novel has been winning everything ever since its release, but that being said, I have heard very little about this at all. What drew me to the fact that this book had anything to do with being gay at all was a video by Eric from Lonesome Reader (which you can watch here), in which he expresses his frustration about the way in which the promotion of this book was handled, in that it very much played down the gay aspect of the story. Having read the first few chapters of the book, I can honestly say that this is probably going to end up being one of my favorite books of the year already. Barry’s writing, and the way in which he writes his narrative, are stunningly captivating and I cannot wait to see where the story goes.
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
I have heard a lot of people discussing and raving about the writing of Jeanette Winterson, and this book seems to be the one I hear about the most. I need to confess that this is another cheat choice, as I was already half way through it before I decided to do this read-a-thon but I’ll be finishing it within the week so I’m going to let it count anyway. This book is an autobiographical account of Jeanette’s growing up in the town next door to my own (which is fascinating and really makes me connect with the story on a level I never have with a book before) in the north of England, as a working class girl adopted into a deeply religious family. Her experiences with growing up and discovering herself and her sexuality, and the way that conflicts with all has known, really comes together in this wonderful story. I can’t wait to finish this and move on to even more of Winterson’s work.
The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
I am a lover of delving into books without knowing very much at all about what they’re about, and this is no exception. All I know is – Gay love story + Ancient History. Those two aspects are enough to sell me on anything. I’m really excited for this one as I haven’t read anything sent in Ancient Greece since school. One that I have heard very good things about and I am hoping to love.
Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan
This is probably the first book about anything to do with being gay that I ever heard of. A friend of mine told me about it many years ago, and I have had it on my mind to pick up for literally a decade. David Levithan, from what I understand, is one of the masters of LGBT+ YA, and I feel like its only right that I made the effort to read this now. Its been a very long time coming and I hope its worth the wait (which I’m sure it will be).
You can see my TBR video ‘Queer Lit Read-A-Thon TBR | #LGBTQIAread‘ in which I also mention a classic but as I write this I’ve already missed the first day of the read-a-thon because I was far too hungover from a friend’s wedding on the Saturday so I’ll omit that from this list and blame the festive cheer.
Please please please, if you have any queer book recommendations do let me know via the comments or on twitter or anywhere at all, just throw them at me! I’m really looking forward to delving into these worlds and I can’t wait to see how much I can get through in the coming days.
Please do check out the wonderful organisers of this read-a-thon –
Happy reading guys, and I hope you all have a wonderful Pride.
I’ve started posts like this many times, ‘hello again’, ‘it’s been so long’, ‘I’ve been so neglectful of my blog’ etc. But goddamn it THIS TIME I MEAN IT. This year started off pretty hectic for me, I was approaching the last year of my Open University English Literature & Language degree, as well as working full time, which meant I have had next to no time to read at all.
However, that chapter has closed, and I am NO LONGER A STUDENT. It feels odd, that after three years of solid study that I don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to read a book for pleasure rather than one of the often mundane course books I’ve been drowning in since September 2016. But I have tasted freedom, and I am very much ready for this new bookish chapter (I’m so sorry, that pun was in no way intended).
It is now truly time for me to fall back in love with reading, and chatting about books again on here as well as my Youtube channel . I’m going to start updating this here blog a lot more, and creating videos about the books I’m going to be reading, because I have ACTUALLY BEEN READING SOME THINGS THAT WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT.
I’m very much excited to burst out of the shackles of studenthood and be able to dive into all the hundreds of books I’ve been pining for over the last three years.
I haven’t updated this blog since January, so I’ll leave a quick list of the books I’ve read since then, and the ratings I gave them. Some of these are due to have full length posts of their once I’ve processed my feelings about them because I have read some incredible work already this month.
2017 so far..
Harry Potter & The Cursed Child by John Tiffany, J.K Rowling & Jack Thorne – 4 Stars
Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets (Illustrated Edition) by J.K Rowling – 4 Stars
Esio Trot by Roald Dahl – 2 Stars
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl – 2 Stars
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan – 4 Stars
Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur – 5 Stars
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer – 3 Stars
The Pendle Witches by Walter Bennett – Unrated
All We Know by Donal Ryan – 2 Stars
Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry – Unrated
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – 5 Stars
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins – 3 Stars
The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket – 3 Stars
Through The Woods by Emily Caroll – 4 Stars
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – 5 Stars
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo – 5 Stars
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag – 5 Stars
As you can see I’ve had very much a mixed bag of luck with the books I’ve chosen this year, but since finishing uni (from A Little Life on wards) I have had tremendous book fortune and read some absolutely beautiful works of writing. I’m hoping to keep this momentum going, and I’m really really enjoying getting back into reading between February and May I barely read a thing, now in the past three days I’ve finished one novel and read two others. I’m now 20 books into my 50 book goal for the year (not that that matters at all because who needs that kind of pressure) but if I finish the month off with another five books I’m half way through at the half year mark which is bang on track.
I’ll leave it here for now, so just an update and the usual I’M BACK NOW I PROMISE post, but I am back (for now), and I feel really happy about it. I hope you’re all having wonderful reading days, and I look forward to seeing you much more.
Right, let me start off by saying that I was quite skeptical about this book for a number of reasons.
- Because its YA and my experiences with YA haven’t been overly amazing and I do prefer adult novels
- Because this is a gay love story and in my opinion it is very very rare for a gay love story to be written in an original and beautiful way
- It has a lot of hype around it, and I didn’t want to be let down.
Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret, something I’m going to admit, that no one every really likes to admit but its healthy and you learn from it…I WAS COMPLETELY. UTTERLY. COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE. wrong.
This book is a super quick read, I read this whilst on my way to London for a couple of days with my boyfriend. But it made to five hour journey across the great north to south England divide absolutely enthralling.
I never dog ear pages, ever, but this book is SO DOG EARED. I just kept marking pages with beautiful quotes, and there are so many. Benjamin Alire Saenz has a way with words that I haven’t encountered too much in my reading life, which made me stop and re-read lines over and over again because there were so so wonderful.
Basically, this is a coming of age story of two boys, Aristotle and Dante. Both of Mexican heritage, with which to story explores the idea of racial identity and the way in which some people try to dilute their own race when maneuvering through the world. It explores families who have to deal with their children in prison. It explores anger, and suppression, and all the things teenagers go through in their high school years, and I don’t think there is anyone who could read this book without seeing themselves projecting in some way back to them from the page. It explores sexuality, and coming to terms with the fact you might not be the same as the people around you. It has so many themes and doesn’t fail with any of them at getting the theme across in a stunning way.
This book is one which features later this year on the Banging Book Club’s reading list which I plan on joining with this year, so I won’t go into massive amounts of detail because I’ll be rereading it and I’m sure I’ll notice more things and have more ideas about the book but I’ll just end this little review with a couple of my favorite lines from the book.
My mother and father held hands. I wondered what that was like, to hold someone’s hand. I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand
I wondered about the science of storms and how sometimes it seemed that a storm wanted to break the world, and how the world refused to break
And finally the author’s dedication is as wonderful as his writing;
To all the boys who’ve had to learn to play by different rules
This book is a thing of beauty, and I want to buy and million copies and scatter them across the earth.