Happy Pride! | My Recs + TBR + Wishlist

Hello Blogosphere! Christine here, bringing you the obligatory Pride Month post…with a bit of a twist.

Here’s the thing: I don’t talk about this stuff offline.

Although a few close people know about my invisible sexuality, I’d still consider myself pretty closeted. As a cis woman married to a man, my identity as (some sort of) bi just doesn’t seem to matter most of the time. I have never felt fully part of the queer community, yet I’m drawn to it at the same time because I don’t really belong anywhere else. And yet, Pride Month is the time of year when I’m reminded to be proud of all the things that make me an outcast everywhere else.

So today, I’m talking about queer books that mean something to me, as well as sharing what’s on my reading list for this month.

My Queer Recommendations: Books I’ve Read & Loved

Note: to see more queer books, check out my shelf on Goodreads!
💫= intersectional 🗣= queer author (that I’m aware of)

Gay

Lesbian

Bisexual/Pansexual

Transgender/Non-Binary + Intersex

Ace Spectrum

My (Overly Ambitious) Pride Month TBR

This month, I’ve decided to attempt to read one book from every letter of the queer alphabet. I don’t know that I’ll be able to actually do it, but here are the books on my list for this month:

L – People in Trouble by Sarah Schulman🗣
G – You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
B – Small Town Hearts by Lilli Vale
T – I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver🗣
Q – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
I – Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman
A – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
P – Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss🗣

My Queer Wishlist

What’s on your TBR this June? Do you have a favorite queer book I haven’t mentioned here? Let’s chat in the comments! Until next time,

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Each week, bloggers come together to build a list on pre-selected topics. If you’d like to join in, check out That Artsy Reader Girl’s post for more info!

Back in February, I said I was going on a book buying ban. That definitely didn’t happen. A bunch of books that have been on my digital TBR for months (and years!) popped up on Book Outlet, plus there was Barnes & Noble Book Haul… I went on a bit of a shopping spree.

That being said, I’ve got a lot of physical books in my life right now and I feel so blessed to get to read them soon. Below are the top 10 books I’ve purchased in 2019 that I want to read this spring.

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The Book: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I purchased this back in December and I don’t know why I’ve been waiting so long. I’m a sucker for YA contemporary, and while I haven’t read any of Mafi’s work yet, I’ve heard nothing but good things, especially about this story that follows a Muslim teen directly post-9/11.

The Book: Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
Why I’m Excited to Read It:This book dropped onto my radar from our local interest table at work and I’ve been dying to read it ever since. It’s set in Tulsa, both in present day and during the race riots in the 1920s. This is such an important book, because no one in Oklahoma wants to talk about our racist past and we need to educate the younger generations so they don’t repeat our mistakes.

The Book: 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy & Ava Dash
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I was initially hesistant about this one—mostly because I avoid anything that has James Patterson’s name on it—but when I found out that it’s based on Indian myth and that pretty much every character is diverse, I had to have this one. It’s supposed to be a bit fluffy, and we know I’m always in the mood for that.

The Book: Again, But Better by Christine Riccio
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I got approved for the ARC on NetGalley! Which is the first time that’s happened with this reiteration of my book blog. I’m not really into Booktube, but I think it’s really cool that one of the original Booktubers wrote a story about a 20-something. I always have a hankering for books about this age group, especially set in college (because it gives me nostalgia). I’m excited to see how this one turns out.

The Book: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This ARC has been burning a metaphorical hole in my shelf all year. The story centers around a Jamaican British woman who feels caught between two cultures and just trying to get her emotional life in order.

The Book: You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I loved the first book by this author, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about her sophomore novel. The lovely Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books has raved about this story that’s a m/m romance with a heavy element of academic pressure—something we don’t see enough of in YA.

The Book: You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This has been on my radar since its release in 2017 and I finally bought myself a copy as encouragement to prioritize it. It follows three generations of Indian immigrants in America as they struggle to hold onto their culture and deal with racism. Apparently it also has strong feminist vibes, so I’m definitely excited for that.

The Book: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Why I’m Excited to Read It: Speaking of feminist vibes…this book follows a teen whose mom came of age during the Riot Grrrl 90s, and I’m excited to see this take on new feminism vs. old. I think that’s always an interesting discussion: how can we get better, but also how can we learn from our mothers and grandmothers.

The Book: Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I loved American Street so much and I’m a huuuuge Austen lover, so this book is obviously on my radar. This book is an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice that’s set in contemporary Brooklyn, featuring an Afro-Latina main character and discussions of gentrification.

The Book: All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This is another one that sat on my digital TBR long before I finally got my hands on a copy this year. This won’t be an easy read—it’s about rape culture, and how society tends to blame the victims rather than the perpetrators—but it’s one that I think is important, regardless of your age, gender, etc.

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There are so many more books on my TBR for this spring, but these are a few of the books that have recently (or not so recently) come into my life. I’m excited to dive in! Did you participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? What are some books on your spring TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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January 2019 Wrap-Up + February TBR

wrap-up

Somewhat surprisingly, January went pretty well for me. I always anticipate that January will be a really hard month for my mental health, what with it being the month when winter really kicks in here in Oklahoma, but I think the excitement of the new calendar year kind of overwhelms that a bit.

I tried to focus the first month of the year on investing time and energy toward my own health. I participated in 30 Days of Yoga for the third year in a row, logging 10+ hours of solid time spent with myself🧘 I also made a point of spending more time with my family, especially my older brother, my future sister-in-law, and my 8-year-old niece. This past month, even more then during the holidays, made me so grateful that I live close to my family again.

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in my writing life

January was a rocky road for my writing. Toward the end of 2018, I began revising/re-writing a story I started for NaNaWriMo 2016, the most ambitious, non-autobiographical story I’ve ever attempted. But by January, I’d really lost motivation to work on that story, and instead I was focusing more on getting this blog going again. My mental health does not do well when I don’t have a writing project, and fortunately I stumbled on a solution toward the end of January. For the first time ever, I’m going to be devoting my writing life purely to nonfiction. My goal before I (potentially, hopefully) start grad school in the fall: to finally write the book about my life in coffee that I’ve been threatening to write for at least seven years.

This is a completely new experience for me, but I feel confident I can stay focused. Writing nonfiction, similar to writing this blog, is less of something I have to be in the right mood to do, and more something I can fit in around the other aspects of my life. Plus it gives me an excuse to read all the sociology books that have been collecting dust on my digital TBR since I graduated college six years ago🤓

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in my reading life

My goal for January was to read 7 books total. I managed this goal by the skin of my teeth, finishing the last book on the last day of the month.

For the first time, I also started keeping a bookish journal. Right now, it’s just a small notebook where I record various aspects of my reading life, but it’s a fun little project, and I hope to get more creative with it in the future.

from the Unread Shelf

  • The Good Life by Jay McInerney – literary fiction – ⭐️⭐️⭐️.🌙
  • Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney – literary fiction – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.🌙
  • My American History by Sarah Schulman – nonfiction: queer history – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.🌙
  • The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald – literary classic – ⭐️⭐️⭐️.🌙

books I borrowed this month

books I purchased this month

Okay, so I may have gone on a couple book-buying sprees at work this month. But I’ve promised myself that I won’t buy a single book in February…with the possible exception of a couple books I ordered through work that haven’t arrived yet…

spotlight: My American History: Lesbian and Gay Life in the Reagan/Bush Years by Sarah Schulman (1993)

This book is a fascinating, extensive collection of the author’s writings from 1980-1993. Originally published in various (and often now defunct) gay publications, Schulman formulates passionate arguments about the political fight for gay recognition and even the ability to stay alive. She chronicles the AIDS crisis, particularly the way the straight world ignored and demonized the deaths of gay men as well as drug users, but also the way that HIV+ women were often unable to access any resources. While this information was tough to read, even in the context of 2019, I enjoyed Schulman’s thoughts on what it means to be a political activist as a writer. She talks a lot about how sexually explicit lesbian writing isn’t published in the mainstream, and what needs to change in the publishing world when it comes to gay and lesbian writing. I would argue that much of what she says on this topic is still completely valid for today’s world, and is particularly interesting in the context of the #OwnVoices movement. I hope to post a bit of what I’ve learned from this book later in February.

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on the blog

In January, I “revived” this blog from the dust of what I left behind on its now non-existent predecessor, The Story Salve. My goal was to invest more time in connecting with other bloggers, but I’ve definitely fallen short on that promise to myself. I have a lot of work to do when it comes to re-integrating blogging into my regular life, but I hope to connect with more people in the coming months! So far, I’ve focused most of my posts on #MentalHealthMonday, but I’m looking forward to talking more about my writing here as well.

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coming up: a look at next month’s TBR

Working in a bookstore, I’ve acquired a decent amount of physical ARCs for the first time in my life. Since they’ve been piling up, I thought I’d focus February around getting through some of these titles. I’m also focusing on sociological research for my WIP, and I’m looking forward to diving into the thick of academic writing again. Since I’m already behind on my classics goal, I started reading The Beautiful and Damned at the tail end of January, and I hope to finish that soon as well. Finally, February is Black History Month, so I plan to read as many authors of color as I possibly can. Obviously one month is not long enough, but all I can do is try.

TBR – backlist ARCs

TBR – nonfiction

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How was your January? What are the books you’re most looking forward to reading in February? Let me know in the comments!