Happy Pride book lovers! 🌈
We’ve now reached the tail end of June but there are still some LGBTQ+ books that I’m planning to read before the end of this most important month.
June is historically noteworthy as the month when Pride is celebrated in honour of the gay and queer rights activists who fought for equality during the Stonewall riots of 1969. Pride is observed in June not just in its country of origin the United States, but in many other countries across the world. June is also the month of Juneteenth or Emancipation Day, that signalled an end to slavery in the United States in 1865. It is a time to commemorate the millions of Africans who were enslaved during the slave trade and also to call attention to the modern-day oppression that continues to thrive despite our supposed ‘freeness,’ but that’s a discussion for another day.
Here are the 4 books that I am hoping to read or at least start before the end of June;
Under The Udala Trees – Chinelo Okparanta
I’m bursting with excitement at the prospect of reading this highly acclaimed novel, I love queer novels set in African and Caribbean settings and so we have Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta which is about an ethnically diverse lesbian romance, told against the backdrop of Nigerian Independence during the 1960s. This story suggests the underpinnings of a happy ending, which despite my love for darkly realist fiction is drawing me to this novel all the more.
Date Me, Bryson Keller – Kevin Van Whye
This book was kindly gifted to me a few months ago and I’ve had it on my shelf ever since, so I’m hoping to finally read it this month. Date Me, Bryson Keller looks like a buoyant, coming-of-age novel that is sure to fill me with a heady sense of optimism by the end. It is set in an American high school called Fairvale Academy and it’s about a popular student called Bryson Keller who accepts a dare to date a new person every week and unwittingly starts dating the closeted Kai Sheridan in secret. I’m looking forward to reading how this accidental romance develops and experiencing what challenges, typically incidental to youth, these characters will face and how they overcome them.
Real Life – Brandon Taylor
This debut novel comes in highly recommended as it was nominated for the 2020 Booker Prize and other awards. It seems to carry a biting realism, suggested not only by the tile but also the premise. It follows a promising university student called Wallace, who comes from Alabama and travels to the Midwest to pursue his studies. He adopts a conformist persona as a mask for his queer identity which becomes threatened after a series of damaging encounters. I feel slightly on-edge at the prospect of going into this book but I also love hard-hitting narratives that make far-reaching statements so I’m equally excited for it as well.
The Parcel – Anosh Irani
The Parcel seems like it has the rich diversity I’m always drawn towards in modern-day contemporary novels. It’s set in the Indian red-light district of Kamathipura and follows the story of a transgender eunuch called Madhu, who grew up working as a prostitute. Many years later, she receives a call from a highly feared brothel owner instructing her to train a young girl, newly trafficked into prostitution by her aunt, for life in the trade and it forces Madhu to confront the turmoil of her past. The main character of this novel identified as ‘hijra’ or member of the third sex and I’m intrigued to understand more about the philosophy behind that orientation. I expect it to be a fearless and mindful novel.
Have you read any of the books featured in today’s post? What were your thoughts?
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you’re reading this Pride month x