Hiya book bees! Today’s list of books are the books I intentionally chose to read last year during Pride month and a little bit about them!
1. The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North (Goodreads)
This book is about a fictional filmmaker named Sophie Stark, told from the perspective of various people who knew her in life. Sophie was in life bi or pansexual (I can’t recall if she ever presented herself with a label) and thus the assembled cast of characters include past flames of multiple genders. For the most part, I didn’t wholly understand the story this book was telling but at least the representation of Sophie’s sexuality was clear. After some brief digging into the author I have been unable to figure out if Anna North herself is LGBTQ+ or not.
2. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom (Goodreads)
I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. First of all, the aesthetics of the cover are gorgeous! Then there’s the subtitle: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir. The writing is so intriguing and the story told unforgettable. It focuses on a young, Asian trans girl who runs away from home and finds herself sheltered by a queer community. A coming of age meets dangerous narrative meets inspiring and revolutionary tales.
3. The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis (Goodreads)
This book begins in Italy but is largely set in Buenos Aires. It focuses on Leda, later Dante, who is sent to Argentina to marry only to discover a dead husband and no money waiting. Leda becomes Dante, a youthful violinist who joins a band of musicians and becomes quite the ladies’ man. Dante also falls in love with another musician, a woman defiant of her gender and wearing men’s clothing to perform. Dante’s identity is left a little murky due to the historical setting, but I think it’s clear he identifies as a man if primarily due to attraction to women. He lives as Dante for the rest of his life regardless of circumstances, and chooses to be buried as Dante. The author is herself LGBTQ+ with Uruguayan origins.
4. Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg (Goodreads)
This book is told through a really interesting framing device. Half of the perspective is that of a university professor, a trans man living in what seems to be a semi surveillance state in which the academic institution poses a threat and doesn’t want to be told uncomfortable truths about the past. The professor has discovered a manuscript about an infamous historical figure that demonstrates The Fox was also a trans man (acknowledging that such an identity isn’t entire accurate due to the historical lack of language to describe that experience). The combination of the conspiracies surrounding both historical thief and professor make for a very interesting story. Jordy Rosenberg is a professor in queer studies.
A short list, as you can see, but these were the books I managed to read out of a selection of several options (based on what I had access to). Out of these, I think Confessions of the Fox may have been my favorite. I really liked the idea of the split narrative between the professor and the jailbreaker.
This year I did not make a Pride month list due to lack of time honestly, but it is one of my goals to add more books by LGBTQ+ authors to my TBR for reading throughout the year. If you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments! Own voices especially preferred!