It’s the final installment of my pride month series, and today I am sharing 5 nonfiction books that helped me learn more about the queer community and that you should most definitely read. All of these books cover slightly different areas of history and queer culture, and all of them are equally important. Knowing your history can help you to make better political choices for the future!
Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers
My Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: June 1st 1992
You Should Read This Book If You Like… in depth looks at history, factually backed up novels, long books
Goodreads Summary: Lillian Faderman tells the compelling story of lesbian life in the 20th century, from the early 1900s to today’s diverse lifestyles. Using journals, unpublished manuscripts, songs, news accounts, novels, medical literature, and numerous interviews, she relates an often surprising narrative of lesbian life. “A key work…the point of reference from which all subsequent studies of 20th-century lesbian life in the United States will begin.”—San Francisco Examiner.
My Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: December 29th 2020
You Should Read This Book If You Like… early Tumblr era, trans studies, niche internet culture
Goodreads Summary: Literary Nonfiction. LGBTQIA Studies. Art. In this first volume of REMEMBER THE INTERNET, a series that tells a complete history of the Internet, one book at a time, journalist Ana Valens introduces us to the erotic gifs, hashtag fetish fan art, and sex worker resource blogs that combined to transform Tumblr into the vanguard of a user-generated sexual revolution. As she tells the story of her own online sexual and political awakening, Valens investigates how Tumblr’s technical architecture made it a convenient laboratory for social justice and sexual freedom, one that would ultimately clash with the government’s crackdown on sexuality online.
The Queer Bible
My Rating: 3 stars
Release Date: June 15th 2021
You Should Read This Book If You Like… famous queer people, personal essays
Goodreads Summary: A gorgeous collection of essays written by today’s queer heroes – featuring contributions from Elton John, Tan France, Gus Kenworthy, Paris Lees, Russell Tovey, Munroe Bergdorf, and many others. ‘THE QUEER BIBLE’ is a celebration of LGBTQ+ history and culture, edited by model, performer, and ‘GQ’ contributing editor Jack Guinness.
Our queer heroes write about theirs.
In 2016, model and queer activist Jack Guinness decided that the LGBTQ+ community desperately needed to be reminded of its long and glorious history of stardom – and he was spurred to action. The following year, QueerBible.com was born, an online community devoted to celebrating queer heroes, both past and present. “So much queer history is hidden or erased,” says Guinness. “THE QUEER BIBLE is a home for all those personal stories and histories.”
In this book, contemporary queer icons pay homage to those who helped pave their paths. Contributors include ‘Vogue’ columnist Paris Lees (writing on Edward Enniful), singer and songwriter Elton John (writing on Divine), author Joseph Cassara (writing on Pedro Almodóvar), and many others, honoring timeless queer icons such as Susan Sontag, David Bowie, Sylvester, RuPaul, and George Michael through illuminating essays.
‘THE QUEER BIBLE’ is a powerful and intimate essay collection of gratitude, and an essential, and enduring love letter to the queer community.
We stand on the shoulders of giants. Now we praise their names.
Girls Can Kiss Now
My Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: March 8th 2022
You Should Read This Book If You Like… early 2000s lesbian culture, celesbians, humor in essays
Goodreads Summary: Perfect for fans of Samantha Irby and Trick Mirror, a funny, whip-smart collection of personal essays exploring the intersection of queerness, relationships, pop culture, the internet, and identity, introducing one of the most undeniably original new voices today
Jill Gutowitz’s life—for better and worse—has always been on a collision course with pop culture. There’s the time the FBI showed up at her door because of something she tweeted about Game of Thrones. The pop songs that have been the soundtrack to the worst moments of her life. And of course, the pivotal day when Orange Is the New Black hit the airwaves and broke down the door to Jill’s own sexuality. In these honest examinations of identity, desire, and self-worth, Jill explores perhaps the most monumental cultural shift of our lifetimes: the mainstreaming of lesbian culture. Dusting off her own personal traumas and artifacts of her not-so-distant youth she examines how pop culture acts as a fun house mirror reflecting and refracting our values—always teaching, distracting, disappointing, and revealing us.
Girls Can Kiss Now is a fresh and intoxicating blend of personal stories, sharp observations, and laugh-out-loud humor. This timely collection of essays helps us make sense of our collective pop-culture past even as it points the way toward a joyous, uproarious, near—and very queer—future.
Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality
Release Date: June 28th 2022
Genre: Nonfiction Research
You Should Read This Book If You Like… easy-to-read history, well researched facts, casual tone in nonfiction
Goodreads Summary: Despite all the welcome changes that have happened in our culture and laws over the past few decades in regards to sexuality, the subject remains one of the most influential but least understood aspects of our lives. For psychologist and bestselling author Julia Shaw, this is both professional and personal—Shaw studies the science of sexuality and she herself is proudly and vocally bisexual.
It’s an admission, she writes, that usually causes people’s pupils to dilate, their cheeks to flush, and their questions to start flowing. Ask people to name famous bisexual actors, politicians, writers, or scientists, and they draw a blank. Despite statistics that show bisexuality is more common than homosexuality, bisexuality is often invisible.
In BI: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, Shaw probes the science and culture of attraction beyond the binary. From the invention of heterosexuality to the history of the Kinsey scale, as well as asylum seekers trying to defend their bisexuality in a court of law, there is so much more to explore than most have ever realized. Drawing on her own original research—and her own experiences—this is a personal and scientific manifesto; it’s an exploration of the complexities of the human sexual experience and a declaration of love and respect for the nonconformists among us.