Five books we recommend for terrific reading during Pride Month

BookTrib welcomes Pride Month! This year, members of the LGBT community and their allies have much to celebrate: since January, same-sex marriage has been legalized in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Oregon, bringing the total number of states (and the District of Columbia) that allow same-sex marriage to 19. Additionally, laws banning marriage equality have been ruled unconstitutional in Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Arkansas, and Idaho, though these decisions are all awaiting appeal.

While we’re still elated about these victories, we were sad to hear that Giovanni’s Room, the oldest LGBT bookstore in the country, closed its doors in May. Founded in 1973, this Philadelphia bookstore occupied a historic building in the center of the city and shelved thousands of LGBT titles, more than any store in the country. While Giovanni’s Room might be gone, there are still many great books to recommend for terrific reading during Pride Month.

redefining_realness-175Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, by Janet Mock (Atria, February)

Following her early and unwavering conviction about her gender, a turbulent adolescence, and sex reassignment surgery at the age of 18, Janet Mock moved to New York to attend college, where she kept her past a secret. In 2011, in an interview with Marie Claire, Mock publicly stepped forward as a transgender woman and became an outspoken advocate for an often silent minority. Her memoir, a New York Times bestseller, details her life before and after her surgery and offers a new perspective on what it means to be a woman today.

 lawfully_wedded_husband-175Lawfully Wedded Husband: How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family by Joel Derfner (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013)

Once same-sex marriage became legal, Derfner and his boyfriend expected to encounter the same joys and frustrations of other couples planning a wedding. Beyond decisions of what to wear or whom to invite, they found themselves in our current political climate faced with larger questions about the definitions of marriage and family. This funny memoir ultimately goes beyond questions of same-sex marriage in America to explore what it means to be a human.

 summer_we_got_free-175The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie (Black Girl Dangerous Press, 2012)

Winner of a 2013 Lambda Literary Award, which recognizes the best LGBT books of the year, this debut novel tells the story of Ava Delaney, whose family is ostracized by their community and their church after a violent event shakes their world. After a 17-year feud a mysterious woman stirs up the past and reminds Ava of the passionate artist and wild girl she used to be.

last_nude-175The Last Nude by Ellis Avery (Riverhead, 2012)

This novel, Avery’s second, is set in Paris 1927 and imagines an affair between the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka and her muse-turned-lover, a struggling American expat named Rafaela Fano. Set in the years before the crash, as the forces of history close in on Paris, the novel is a provocative look at artistic genius, love, and desire.

 skim-175Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books, 2008)

This graphic novel delves into the teenage angst and heartache of 16-year-old “Skim,” whose best friend’s boyfriend has killed himself, likely because he was gay, and who begins a fanciful romance with her English teacher Ms. Archer. Skim is an articulate outsider, eager to find acceptance; the novel explores racial, cultural, and sexual issues using artwork that Publisher’s Weekly calls “swooping” and “gorgeous.”

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