Queer TBR of June | #PrideLibrary20

I’m joining in on some of the #pridelibrary20 prompts, hosted by The Library Looter, Michelle Likes Things and Anniek’s Library throughout June. Here’s a link to a summary of my posts from last year.

This is way too many books, especially for someone who have a pretty full-packed June at the moment, but things might change and I might make a dent in this list. First off, I have to let the graphic novels be because I’m travelling and can’t order them to me, while preferring to read physical graphic novels so much more than digital. Heartstopper vol. 3 and Mooncakes – I’ll read them this fall instead.

  • When we were magic by Sarah Gailey: queer female witches
  • Sawkill girls by Claire Legrand: horror-ish fantasy with enemies to lovers and queer girls
  • Out of salem by Hal Schrieve: nonbinary mc, lesbian mc, queer side characters and also lots of zombies. I don’t know how that works out either, going to find out I guess.
  • Every heart a doorway by Seanan McGuire: asexual mc and children diseappearing into magical lands
  • Wilder girls by Rory Power: a horror book set at an all girl’s school and a queer mc that i can’t quite figure out more about without potentially spoiling myself. This book review says; “feminist horror” and “hella gay”, so we’ll go with that.
  • Felix ever after by Kacen Callender: transgender mc, dealing with self-discovery and falling in love for the first time.
  • Brave face by Shaun David Hutchinson: memoir by a gay author.

Wolfsong by T. J. Klune: m/m romance, contains werewolves.

The last true poets of the sea by Julia Drake: my thought-process seeing this book was “hey look at that interesting title, wonder if it’s mermaids” then I investigated further and realized it’s a more serious story dealing with mental illness and the aftermath of a suicide attempt in the family, along with the mystery of uncovering a shipwreck and a f/f relationship.

Magic for liars by Sarah Gailey: urban fantasy/murder mystery standalone with bisexual love interest, a magical witchy school and lots of blood and violence and other questionable things.

Ship of smoke and steel by Django Wexler: a YA fantasy book with a bisexual mc that’s more of an anti-heroine, and also on a mission to steal a legendary ghost ships. I mean – bi pirates, basically.

The library of the unwritten by A. J. Hackwith: pansexual mc, also a former anti-heroine/badass who’s now settled down into being the Head Librarian of a “neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside” (from the synopsis). I have to love this, I mean – “power struggle between Heaven and Hell” sounds delightful.

Mask of shadows by Linsey Miller: genderfluid mc, also a badass thief. Fantasy with assassins and royalty and vicious circus acrobats apparently.

Poetry collections by queer girls

  • Aphrodite made me do it by Trista Mateer
  • Please don’t go before I get better by Madison Kuhn
  • Almost home by Madison Kuhn
  • Shame is an ocean I swim across by Mary Lambert
  • Soft on soft by Mina Waheed

Spring TBR!

I didn’t think I would create a TBR because who knows when I’d get time to read because of university. And then it all went to hell and I need more structure in my life so here we gooo – a Spring TBR it is.

  • By grand central station I sat down and wept by Elizabeth Smart
  • The stranger by Albert Camus
  • All the lonely people by David Owen
  • The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • On earth we’re briefly gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • Permanent record by Edward Snowden
  • To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • Notes from underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The incendiaries by R. O. Kwon
  • Red, white and royal blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The serpent king by Jeff Zentner
  • Catch and kill by Ronan Farrow
  • So far so good by Ursula Le Guin
  • Hermosa and Tesoro by Yesika Salgado
  • The bell jar by Sylvia Plath

2019 Wrap-Up & TBR Update

I made a TBR for the whole of 2019 at the beginning of the year, thinking it would be the thing that finally made me follow a TBR. My big problem is that I usually don’t work with planning things out. I can have a general direction or options, but if it’s dinner, books or anything in between, I never respond well to a strict plan.

GOALS – to read more widely with science books, poetry, books about writing, new YA releases and some classics, along with the fantasy books I love. I also had a very personal goal of reading about physical pain, which I find very difficult to describe, and wanted different authors’ take on it. That last bit just didn’t happen at all, let’s start with pointing that out.

Books I read from the TBR:

I read 15 out of 47 books on my 2019 TBR … and 48 other books not on it. 63 books in total, which I’m really happy with considering the last four months of the year was very unproductive in reading-sense because of starting university.

Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson was a dnf/kind of read. It’s built on “letters to a young poet” and was interesting at times, but also dated and dry.

Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman (review) was a great intro read, as Feynman explains physics concepts very well. I didn’t like his six not-so-easy pieces as much.

Alex’s Adventures in Numberland is a book I’ve kind of paused, because I didn’t finish it before summer vacation ended and now I’m surrounded by math, but it was really promising.

Branches by Rhiannon McGavin was the only of the TBR poetry collections I got to and it’s amazing.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson I just picked up this christmas, but he’s one of my fav authors.

Women in Science (review) is one of the best books I’ve read this year. So cute illustrations, so many brilliant women. Can be gifted to any age.

New releases

The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown (review) was a great book. I had my issues with The Wicked King by Holly Black (review). These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (review) was not everything I hoped for, but nearly.

Heartstopper vol. 1 by Alice Oseman (review) was stunning and queer and great. I also read vol. 2. I recently devoured The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, the sequel to Truly Devious, and liked it. Solitaire by Alice Oseman (review) was the let-down of the year – I love the author, but it’s obvious it was written by a teenager.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was my ultimate favourite book this year! Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (review) was another let-down. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard (review) was a refreshing YA book.

Did I achieve my goals?

I read enough books this year. And I had a period of reading more poetry, even if it was mostly not the ones on the list. I definitely read more science books as well, and most of the new YA releases I wanted to get to. Where I failed hard was books about writing, partly also because I’ve been writing less than expected. I regret not reading the classics I wanted either. Thing is, this big TBR and goals worked a lot better than they seemed to. During September and October I read zero fiction books, which is rare for me. In November I read only two. About 30% of the books on my TBR was read this year, but everything considered – it wasn’t terrible.

The biggest surprise and win of this year of blogging was the June Pride Library 2019 Challenge (all the posts I did here), which I suddenly decided to join amidst exams and also made me do A LOT more investigation into which types of queer books were out there.

June Wrap-Up #PrideLibrary19 🌈

So let’s see what kind of pride posts & books we’ve had this month –

Yay! Considering how hella busy June has been for me, I’m really happy with the amount of posts I made. I mean – I finished my last exams and packed everything for moving at the same time. That I started out the month writing a lot of posts saved me.

I also made a bi-weekly update talking briefly about how I came out as bisexual to mom as the first in my family this month, which I’m really proud that I went throught with. I didn’t feel relieved as much as I felt that the life I live now and the one I want to have is one step closer together, which is comforting. As for right now I’m visiting extended family and that’s always — sigh. Let’s not go there.

The TBR

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz: read & review coming, five out of five stars!

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan: still to be read, but I’ve finally gotten it in the mail at least.

Running With Lions by Julian Winters: read & review coming, I loved how different it is from what I normally would pick up with its sports. four out of five stars!

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: currently reading, I’m 15% in and it’s promising.

Karamo Brown’s Memoir: still not read, I started it and then realized I wasn’t in the headspace of anything too heavy emotionally, so I’m going to save it for a time I am

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee: still to be read, it’s probably going to be a while before I get around to it tbh

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: read & reviewed, 3.5 out of five stars

Other queer books I’ve read

Heartstopper vol. 1 (and then the rest online): five out of five stars. review.

Fence vol. 1-3 by C. S. Pacat: three, three and two stars out of five.

Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore: DNF’ed at 70%

Some great videos

Summer 2019 TBR | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

My Summer TBR doesn’t have a lot of summer books this year? So I’m going to write another post with summer recommendations to give you all the fun & warm vibes of it, and not the university-preparing, trying-to-get-better-at-writing, learn-to-cook reality that this TBR turned out to be, haha! Some of the science books, like “physics of the impossible” and “alex’s adventures in numberland” was recommended by physics youtuber Simon Clark (here’s the link to the other books he recommended as well!)

Science books

A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking

  • Yes, I’ve read other books by Hawking like “The grand design“, no I’ve never gotten to read this one. Why? Don’t know, it’s a disgrace that I have to change quickly.

The body in pain by Elaine Scarry

Alex’s adventures in numberland by Alex Bellos

Physics of the impossible by Michio Kaku

Six not so easy pieces by Richard Feynman

  • I read and absolutely loved how “Six easy pieces” (review here), the easier first book of this type, explained concepts and hoping to watch a lot of Feynman’s lectures this summer as well.

Food

Frida’s fiesta by Marie-Pierre Colle and Guadalupe Rivera

  • Guadalupe Rivera was Diego Rivera’s daughter and because of that has a close connection to Frida Kahlo, so I’m so excited to see what kind of cookbook this is.

Salt fat acid heat by Samin Nosrat

  • Ilustrated cookbook! I need it! Also heard a lot of great things about it and Nosrat seems like a person that knows her stuff when I heard from her at the Reply All podcast, hosting another very limited podcast. Ah I love how much effort went into that joke and episode.
  • It’s also a Netflix show by the same/similar name, which I have yet to watch.
  • I love how Nosrat love salt. That speaks to my heart. I’ve read a couple pages of this book, all of the different types of salt there are, beautifully illustrated. SALT! Ok, let’s move on now –

Fiction

The vanishing stair by Maureen Johnson

  • The sequel to Truly Devious (review here), which I loved.
  • A part of my 5 star predictions post, so I’ll have to read it to find out, don’t I?

The serpent king by Jeff Zentner

  • Another of the 5 star predictions post

Writing

A poetry handbook by Mary Oliver

  • I don’t write poetry. I’m going to read it anyway, she’s my fav poet and I’ve got a feeling it could help me write and compose stories in general.

On writing by Stephen King

  • Here’s a secret – I’ve never read a Stephen King book. I don’t know why! I have no explanation. I started reading this one more than a year ago and found the perspective very helpful, but I didn’t have time for doing the writing practices he proposes so I’ll go back now this summer when I have time to really delve into it and commit.

Five Star Predictions ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

After predicting Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro would be a five out of five stars and ending up being a disappointment, I looked at my TBR and what other books I think will be new favorites.

Hopefully I’ll revisit this in not too long and see if I predicted right! (And I might have already read some of the books when this is posted because a couple posts were postponed because they clashed with posts for the Pride Library challenge.)

Heartstopper vol. 1 by Alice Oseman: I’ve heard such great things, actually only great things, about this graphic novel and already know the art style is right in my alley! I love the colors so much, and Oseman is a great storyteller.

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson: The previous book, Truly Devious, was one of my favourites last year, with boarding school & mystery it was probably one of my all-time fav YA books. So I have high hopes for this one as well, Maureen Johnson is a great author overall.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: This book has a great synopsis with queer witches that seem badass and I just hope I love this new release.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: Also a book I’ve heard great things about, with a close friendgroup and the main character (as me) looking at graduation with mixed feelings. It’s also another debut novel.

Fence vol. 1 by C. S. Pacat: I’ve seen so many book blogs love on these graphic novels as well. I’ve fallen in love with queer sports teams before, and fencing shouldn’t seem to be an exception? Also I’ve had mixed feelings about C. S. Pacat’s books before, but to me it’s no doubt that she has talent in making catchy characters.

June TBR #PrideLibrary19 🌈

The Pride Library 2019 Challenge is hosted by Library Looter, Anniek’s Library and Michelle Likes Things. Join in on it anytime or link your post in the comments so I see it! Also all reviews I’ve written will be linked.

I wasn’t going to make another monthly TBR for a while, because I suck at them, but then I went through the queer books I’ve been wanting to read for a while so here it is and I’m crossing my fingers that I get to go through more than 40% haha –

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

goodreads

It’s 65 pages short and definitely caught my eye because of how much that title makes my eyes turn into hearts. From what I can see it has an asexual woman falling in love with a robot?? I need to know how that works.

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

goodreads

Because it got a muslim lesbian teenage girl as main character dealing with family not accepting her, sending her to Bangladesh into an arranged marriage.

Running With Lions by Julian Winters

goodreads

Because it seems similar to The foxhole court by Nora Sakavic and I really am a sucker for friendgroup bonding like a family and having drama. With bisexual and gay male main characters on the team.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

goodreads.

Because it’s magical realism (which I love!!!) with two bff’s turned romantic, where one is a queer girl and one a trans boy. 

Karamo Brown’s Memoir

goodreads. 

It’s Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, so it’s gay af. But also dealing with mental health and a lot of healing, which I’m going to need to listen to on audiobook while I’m packing up memories and moving.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Because I liked the first book, and this sequel is following Felicity, the nerdy aromantic-asexual sister trying to become a doctor in 1700s Europe. I don’t know where the piracy plays in, but excited to find out.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

goodreads.

Because it’s a new release with a queer girl main character who’s also a witchSupernatural disasters in the city happens, dark magic is appearing, and also a cute new ballerina arrives, all throwing her off the normal state of things. I’M SO EXCITED TO READ THIS!

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and if you liked them. And if you have any other LGBTQ books to recommend!

Waiting on May | The Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro (currently reading)
  • The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (currently reading)

Movies and TV series I’ve watched:

It was easter break, so I had time! Homecoming by Beyonce was fantastic and inspirational even for someone who isn’t a hardcore Beyonce fan. The stamina! The comeback right after having twins! The vision!

Someone Great on Netflix is trash heart-break. It’s drug-filled fun trash, but the romance is boring, the actors too great for this, the “edgy relatable millenial” lines so cringy and even a lesbian romance with little screen time didn’t spice things up. If Jaboukie and Gina Rodriquex was in charge of this movie themselves, with no director experience, it 100% would have been three times better.

I’ve really fallen into two sesons of The Last Kingdom on Netflix and it’s vikings and great. Not the best, but great.

Added to TBR:

  • I should have honor: a memoir of hope and pride in Pakistan by Khalida Brohi. I found out about this book through an interview with Khalida on the Fresh Air podcast where she talked about her cousin being killed by her uncle for dishonoring her family by marrying someone she loved instead of who they had chosen. I definitely cried listening to her stories, as she did. It’s just so important to listen to the impact education has on women’s lives, how it gives them opportunities. Khalida is such a great story-teller along with being an activist for such an important cause. However, the first time I listened to this podcast it was because it autoplayed after another one (I had downloaded it) while I was asleep and I had the most vivid dreams on being murdered by family and didn’t realize what had happened before hours had passed.
  • Americanah (rec by Naty’s bookshelf) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who I’ve readDear Ijeawele from.
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • The hidden power of fucking up by the Try Guys
  • Island’s end by Padma Venkatraman: I realized that the author of A time to dance has written more and interesting-looking books
  • Pan by Knut Hamsun: because this norwegian needs to read more norwegian books
  • Radicalized by Cory Doctorow: recommended on Do by friday

Posts I recommend by other blogs:

Three things on my mind:

  • I’ve been going so far down the stand up comedians on youtube rabbit hole listening to Joey Diaz and that group’s stories (Bobby Lee, Ari Shaffir, etc). I don’t think I’m the target audience for this, but it’s such great story-telling
  • I’m going to be partying the whole month of May because that’s tradition for graduation students here and I have so much else schoolwork to do before that period, to the point where it’s definitely going to pour over into May. No preparations are done either. I need to jump into the ocean, iron stickers on pants, buy ear plugs and a random list of other small and annoying things before then. This is going to be chaos.
  • I cried so hard watching this:

What Makes Me Pick Up A Book? | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

Seeing book bloggers I have similar taste as recommend it!

This one explains itself. Every time I see a good review, even if it’s a book on my TBR already, it’s bumped up a lot of places. I have to pick up “never let me go” Kazuo Ishiguro soon because of it, I think I’ve promised so many I would, haha.

“Strong” female protagonists (that know how to fight)

Know how to fight is mostly within the fantasy genre, but I guess in general as well. It’s my weakness for immediately getting new favourite characters – Inej Ghafa of “Six of Crows” immediately comes to mind.

Mermaids! Or Sirens!

I’ve yet to read a book about mermaids/sirens/sea creatures that I immediately fell in love with. I have some recommendations left to read, but I would love more!

WLW couples

I mean – lesbians/bi characters in general. I started reading more queer books a couple years ago, but realized that the books I liked mostly included gay men, with authors like Shaun David Hutchinson and Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I’m going to sit down and compile a list of wlw books I’ve loved sometime, but Nina LaCour was really the first I read who did it so amazingly! The romances are great, the plots are exciting! Her books are everything

Based on fairytale & folklore

I’ve kind of given up on “fairytale retellings” because if it’s obvious enough which fairytale it’s based on when I pick up the book, it’s always boring. But books like “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik, I didn’t realize before after, and I loved it.

Norse mythology

This is more of a continuation of the last point, but I’ve grown up reading norse mythology stories (I’m from Norway, so it makes more sense) and it’s fantastic seeing how well and badly done retellings and inspiration can be. I mean – there’s a difference in quality between authors having read some of the poetic and prose Edda (where the real stories mainly are) and having seen Thor from the Marvel movies. Both are usually entertaining in different ways though, haha.

Small-town witches

Protagonists with other cultural backgrounds

That kind of includes everything else besides about american-based fantasy or young adult books as well. I read mainly in english, so I get that it’s a lot of that, but books based on other cultures are more attractive because I want to learn more about the world when I read.

Science themes!

Any book with a scientist or quantum in the title, to the point where it’s definitely a weakness. I was burned on “Dark matter” by Blake Crouch because it’s an entertaining book, but certainly with a deceptive title!!

Disabilities?

I saw Siobhan mention disabilities right before I posted this and really felt I was missing that point. First off- I love characters having disabilities in books with other types of plot, already. Because it normalizes it so much. My problem has been that – as a person who’s grown up with physical illnesses and disabilities – I’ve run far away from the kind of books that is about disabilities. Which is bad, but I recently realized why – it’s the same reason I haven’t read many lgbt books before the last few years (not that it’s comparable, ohgodno). Every queer book I read wasn’t well-written, or comparable to my experience. NOW with #ownvoices authors I’ve really started to love queer books as someone who isn’t straight, because they’ve become so much better! I really want to read more books with disabilities as well, from authors that know how it’s like. Because with any theme that is intertwined with your own life as a reader, it’s so noticeable and, when I was a child honestly damaging, when it’s done badly. You know the whole “magically cured”, “she wasn’t sick all along”, “disability being their own fault in any way” kind of tropes. I really hope I can find authors and books that I can trust now! 🙂

How is my TBR going? Spring Update

At the start of 2019 I made an ultimate TBR for the whole year. As we’re three months in and some more, and it’s starting to become spring everywhere else than where I live (there’s still danger of snow until long into May here) – let’s have a look of how I’ve followed it. I’m actually not sure if I have made any progress.

Books I’ve read so far

Books that were also on my TBR:

  • Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman (review)
  • BRANCHES by Rhiannon McGavin (review coming)
  • Women in science (review)
  • The wicked king by Holly Black (review)
  • Girl mans up by M-E Girard (review)
  • Legion by Brandon Sanderson (I’ve read first and second out of three books)
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (just started reading)
  • The truth about keeping secrets (currently reading)

So from having read a total of 22 books this year, that’s 9 out of 47 books from the TBR list. I’m 19% there? Maybe a bit more considering that some of these books are norwegian and one of the goals was to read more (especially poetry) in my first language. That’s not too bad actually, I’m kind of surprised, even if I’d hoped for better.

My wish for the rest of the year

Is to read some books that becomes favourites! A lot of books have been enjoyable, but from the straight up fiction section I feel let down so far. It can also be because I have been reading a lot less than usual, in total page numbers, because I’ve had a lot to do.