Here is ARC’s special selection of 5 LGBT+ books to read during this hot summer. All published in the last two years, suitable for all audiences, these books will be your best beach pastime or travelling buddies.
For the poetry lover
TAKE ME WITH YOU – Andrea Gibson
Andrea Gibson explores themes of love, gender, politics, sexuality, family, and forgiveness with stunning imagery and a fierce willingness to delve into the exploration of what it means to heal and to be different in this strange age. Take Me With You, illustrated throughout with evocative line drawings by Sarah J. Coleman, is small enough to fit in your bag, with messages that are big enough to wake even the sleepiest heart.
Divided into three sections (love, the world, and becoming) of one liners, couplets, greatest hits phrases, and longer form poems, it has something for everyone, and will be placed in stockings, lockers, and the hands of anyone who could use its wisdom.
For the fantasy enthusiast
REIGN OF THE FALLEN & SONG OF THE DEAD - Sarah Glenn Marsh
Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it's Odessa's job to raise them by retrieving their soul from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised: the Dead must remain shrouded. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, a grotesque transformation begins, turning the Dead into terrifying, bloodthirsty Shades. A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears around the kingdom. Soon, a crushing loss of one of her closest companions leaves Odessa shattered, and reveals a disturbing conspiracy in Karthia: Someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is forced to contemplate a terrifying question: What if her magic is the weapon that brings the kingdom to its knees? Fighting alongside her fellow mages--and a powerful girl as enthralling as she is infuriating--Odessa must untangle the gruesome plot to destroy Karthia before the Shades take everything she loves. Reign of the Fallen is a gutsy, unpredictable read with a surprising and breathtaking LGBT romance at its core.
For the Netflix binger
NATURALLY TAN: A MEMOIRE – Tan France
In this heartfelt, funny, and touching memoir, one of the stars of Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning smash-hit Queer Eye reveals how an Englishman raised in a traditionally religious home became a fashion icon―and the first openly gay, South Asian man on television―simply by being Naturally Tan. In this memoir, Tan France tells his origin story for the first time. With his trademark wit, humor, and radical compassion, Tan reveals what it was like to grow up gay in a traditional South Asian family, as one of the few people of color in South Yorkshire, England. He illuminates his winding journey of coming of age, finding his voice (and style!), and marrying the love of his life―a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City.
From one of the stars of Netflix’s runaway hit show Queer Eye, Naturally Tan is so much more than fashion dos and don’ts―though of course Tan can’t resist steering everyone away from bootcut jeans! Full of candid observations about U.S. and U.K. cultural differences, what he sees when you slide into his DMs, celebrity encounters, and the behind-the-scenes realities of “reality TV,” Naturally Tan gives us Tan’s unique perspective on the happiness to be found in being yourself. In Tan's own words, “The book is meant to spread joy, personal acceptance, and most of all understanding. Each of us is living our own private journey, and the more we know about each other, the healthier and happier the world will be.”
For the committed reader
THE LIE: A MEMORY OF TWO MARRIAGES, CATFISHING & COMING OUT – William Dameron
A candid memoir of denial, stolen identities, betrayal, faking it, and coming out.
“Do you know me?”, the email began, sparking tremors of fear that turned into a full quake of panic when William Dameron discovered that his selfie had been stolen by strangers. On social networks and dating sites, his image and identity—a forty-year-old straight white male—had been used to hook countless women into believing in lies of love and romance. Was it all an ironic cosmic joke? Almost a decade prior, William himself had been living a lie that had lasted for more than twenty years. His secret? He was a gay man, a fact he hid from his wife and two daughters for almost as long as he had hidden it from himself.
In this emotional and unflinchingly honest memoir of coming out of the closet late in life, owning up to the past, and facing the future, William Dameron confronts steroid addiction, the shame and homophobia of his childhood, the sledgehammer of secrets that slowly tore his marriage apart, and his love for a gay father of three that would once again challenge the boundaries of trust. At the true heart of The Lie is a universal story about turning self-doubt into self-acceptance and about pain, anger, and the long journey of both seeking and giving forgiveness.
For the adventurous bookworm
FRANKISSSTEIN: A LOVE STORY – Jeanette Winterson
In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love – against their better judgement – with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI. Meanwhile, Ron Lord, just divorced and living with Mum again, is set to make his fortune launching a new generation of sex dolls for lonely men everywhere. Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryonics facility houses dozens of bodies of men and women who are medically and legally dead… but waiting to return to life.
But the scene is set in 1816, when nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley writes a story about creating a non-biological life-form. ‘Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful.' What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet? Jeanette Winterson shows us how much closer we are to that future than we realise. Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein is a love story about life itself.