Our Queerest Shelves

3 Illustrated LGBTQ Primers, 56 Queer-Owned Bookstores, and 100 Trans Book Recs

Stay cool out there, friends. Right now my entire city is sold out of air conditioners and fans, and we’re going through record-breaking heat. We’re muddling through with a dog pool (the kiddie pools were also sold out!) spraying ourselves and the dogs down with water every 5 minutes (to my dogs’ displeasure). I hope wherever you are, you’re keeping safe.

If you’re looking for some queer reads to distract you, hopefully you find some in today’s newsletter! This week had the 5th Tuesday of the month, which always means a smaller stable of books going out, but there are some great ones (including our sponsor!).

As we exit Pride month, I got to thinking about the baby gays out there and the people just beginning their journey to figuring out what the ever-expanding LGBTQIPAA2S+ initialism means. It can be intimidating to start educating yourself when there’s so much to learn, so here are a few accessible ways to get started.

Beyond the Gender Binary pocket change collective cover

Beyond the Gender Binary (Pocket Change Collective) by Alok Vaid-Menon

I love the Pocket Change Collective for tackling big subjects in tiny, accessible packaging. These really are small enough to fit into your back pocket, but give enough depth to not be simplistic. Pair this one with Continuum for two different perspectives of non-binary genders and gender non-conformity. These are great for starting conversations.

Sexuality: a Graphic Guide cover

Sexuality: A Graphic Guide by Meg-John Barker

Don’t be fooled by the eye-catching illustrations: this and Queer: A Graphic History don’t shy away from big ideas and philosophical concepts, but the accompanying comics help to make it feel more manageable. These aren’t 101 definitions of terms, but instead look at the theory and history behind these topics. This is a great way to get a little bit more depth in your understanding of queer identities and sexuality.

A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities cover

A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G and J.R. Zuckerberg

This one is the most accessible book on this list to someone who really doesn’t know anything about queer and trans identities. The illustrations (snails!) are friendly, and the text assumes very little background. It’s a balance between being aimed at cis/allo/het, questioning, and newly-out readers. Also relevant to your interests: A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns.

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LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Stranger Things: Rebel Robin cover

Stranger Things: Rebel Robin by A.R. Capetta (Lesbian YA Fantasy)

If you are a Stranger Things fan, you’re probably ordering this as we speak, because obviously Robin was the stand-out character of the series. This is a prequel story, where she’s trying to sneak off to Europe for the summer to live her full (lesbian) life: Operation Croissant. It also has an accompanying podcast voiced by the actor! I love A.R. Capetta’s previous YA books, like Once & Future and The Lost Coast (both VERY queer–big queer casts with trans, non-binary, asexual, gay, lesbian, bi, etc characters), so this one is sure to be a hit.

Cover of Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta (Sapphic YA Science Fiction)

Think Pacific Rim with an F/F enemies-to-lovers romance between two Asian teenage girls who give each other tattoos as a form of affection. It’s about a dystopian world dominated by Godolia overlords, who enact their will using giant mechanized weapons called Windups. Eris is a Gearbreaker, a rebel who destroys them from within. When she’s caught, she meets Sona, a Windups pilot who’s secretly on the rebels’ side. If you liked Crier’s War, this should be at the top of your TBR.

Bone House by K-Ming Chang (Queer Micropress/Chapbook Wuthering Heights Retelling)

Storm Bound (Cedarwood Beach #4) by Rhys Everly (M/M Romance)

Warn Me When It’s Time (A Charlie Mack Motown Mystery #6) by Cheryl A. Head (Lesbian Mystery)

Cinders of Yesterday by Jen Karner (F/F Fantasy)

A War of Swallowed Stars (Celestial Trilogy Book 3) by Sangu Mandanna (Sapphic YA Science Fiction)

How We Do Family: From Adoption to Trans Pregnancy, What We Learned about Love and LGBTQ Parenthood by Trystan Reese (Trans Memoir)