As it’s currently Bisexual Visibility or Awareness week, an international celebration that is observed annually from 16 – 23 September, I’ve compiled a line-up of books with bi characters that I’m hoping to finish by the end of this month. For someone who is generally speaking, a slow reader, this list is ambitious but given my excitement to jump into each story, I’m hoping that will provide the momentum needed to get through this highly varied reading list. With that said, here are the 5 Books I’m Reading for Bisexual Visibility Week;
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The Codes of Love – Hannah Persaud
The Codes of Love sounds like an exciting forbidden love story that sees a seemingly happy couple, Ryan and Emily, cross wires with a free-spirited woman called Ada, a woman that this couple didn’t realise how much they needed. This book feels like adult contemporary, domestic fiction which I’m thrilled about because if there’s one thing the adult fiction side of the publishing sphere desperately needs more of, it’s wider LGBTQIA+ representation. Books with any sort of sexual diversity in them are mostly coming-out /coming-of-age narratives that are primarily aimed towards younger readers, so I’m looking forward to reading a queer story that seemingly handles more mature themes.
The Bi-ble Vol.2: New Testimonies – Edited by Lauren Nikodemus & Ellen Desmond
The Bi-ble Vol.1 is a collection of short essays told by various bi and pansexual writers about their experiences navigating their bisexuality in a society that oftentimes rejects them. They each contribute something uniquely individual to the anthology but there’s also a collectivism about it that many bisexual readers will be able to relate to or empathise. To read my review of the first volume, click here! New Testimonies, Vol. 2 continues where the last book left off with even more bisexual experiences to read about and learn from. I loved the first volume so much that I couldn’t not include this book in my bisexual line-up.
Mainstream: An Anthology of Stories from the Edges – Edited by Justin David & Nathan Evans Mainstream is a short story collection that’s all about bringing ‘authors in from the margins to occupy centre-page.’ Not only do I love the philosophy behind this book but I’m also excited to read about the vast array of marginalised voices this book has to offer. Even though short story collections generally take me longer to read, because of its lack of continuity meaning that I’m constantly pausing to process the last story I read before moving onto the next one, I very much enjoy reading them. They sometimes feel more potent than novels because there’s less scope for development and character-building so it takes a lot of talent to create a powerful short story that stays with you, anyway I digress. I’m also obsessed with this cover, particularly the connotations behind the title. I’m expecting a vibrant diversity from these stories but also the confronting and challenging of ‘mainstream’ ideologies to be a recurring theme.
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Color Purple is one of those epic classics that has survived time and generations. Not only has the book had its fair share of acclaim but it was also adapted into a multi-award winning film in 1985. I’ve long shied away from reading this novel given its extremely triggering nature. But not only does it feature bisexual representation in its main character, it also holds the promise of something tender and hopeful. It follows a girl called Celie, born into poverty in the deep segregated South and her story of extreme adversity. She eventually meets a glamorous singer, Shug Avery, whose vivacity and self-love helps Celie to find her own joy. It may have taken me a long time to finally get to this book, but I’m thrilled at the prospect of reading it later this week.
Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett
What queer reading list would be complete without at least one young adult novel, the leading literary sub-sphere for diverse narratives? Full Disclosure is about a HIV-positive girl called Simone, who despite her highly stigmatised illness, is determined to find love and meaningful relationships. This debut novel touches on several different identities that are severely underrepresented within fiction. The erasure of stories such as Simone’s contributes to a lot of ignorance and misinformation among many readers, so I appreciate the importance of this novel but I’m also hoping I’ll enjoy it as Simone works hard to get to a place where she finally accepts that her illness does not define her.
Given the extremely small window of time left I have to read all these books over this coming week, I’ll make this conclusion brief! Let me know what books with bisexual representation you’ve either read recently or enjoyed. Also, have you read any of the books featured on my list? Let me know your thoughts. I’m eager to get under way with this line-up because they all sound so promising and wonderfully diverse. Let’s hope they deliver!
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Book Review! The Bi-Ble, Vol.1 – Edited by Lauren Nikodemus & Ellen Desmond