During the month of July and August, Penguin Platform is hosting a Pride Book Club which involves participants reading (and listening) to a series of books based around LGBTQ+ stories. I have decided to take part and although I planned on blogging after the readathon, I figured it would make sense to write an introduction post talking about the books so you guys can get involved too! Even if you can’t read all of the books, reading at least one and posting about it on social media with the hashtag #PrideBookClub will really help spread the word and bring these important stories to the forefront. So here’s the eight books that are being featured!
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
(1st – 7th July)
This book is the second book in the Creekwood series (the first book being Simon vs!) It follows the story of Leah, a closeted bisexual teenager who is navigating through her last few weeks in high school before she goes away to college. It features the characters from the first novel plus some new ones and explores the world of teenagehood, relationships, family issues and sexuality.
On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual
by Merle Miller
(8th – 14th July)
This non-fiction novel explores what it is like to be homosexual in America. Originally published just two years after the Stonewall Riots, Merle Miller originally posted this as an essay in response to a homophobic article in Harper’s Magazine. This was one of the earliest works that explored the importance of coming out and homosexuality as a whole.
Free To Be Me by Dom & Ink
(15th – 21st July)
This isn’t a work of fiction but an LGBTQ+ journal filled with activities, quotes from real life gay icons, instructions on how to throw your own Pride party and most importantly, information on the history of gay rights. You’ll also be introduced to the world’s sassiest LGBTQ+ dinosaur: Brett the Sassysaurus! What more could you want?
Surge by Jay Bernard
(22nd – 28th July)
This collection of award-winning poetry explores the author’s experience with being a black, queer person in Britain. Delving into the history of the New Cross Fire of 1981 where thirteen young black people were killed in a house fire all the way to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. This collection explores injustice, racism and sexuality and shines a light on history that has been buried over the years.
Jack of Hearts by Lev A.C. Rosen
(29th – 4th August)
This YA contemporary follows the story of seventeen year old, Jack Rothman. He loves make-up, partying and boys and his sex life makes him the talk of the school. However, after starting an online advice sex column, Jack starts receiving some creepy messages. His secret admirer seems to know everything about him – who he’s sleeping with, where he lives, who is mum is dating. This mysterious person demands Jack ‘curb his sexuality’ or they will force him to. Jack must find this stalker before his life becomes in danger.
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
(5th – 11th August)
This memoir by well-known activist Audre Lorde explores her journey from a child in Harlem to her later years when she has her first lesbian experiences. She writes about the women in her life who shaped her and made her who she was and the difficulties of growing up in Harlem being black, poor and queer. Written in beautiful prose, this book has definitely been overlooked.
Naturally Tan by Tan France
(12th – 18th August)
This memoir written by Queer Eye star Tan France explores his experiences with growing up gay in a Muslim family, especially as one of the few people of colour in Doncaster, England. We follow his coming-of-age tales all the way to how he came out to his family at the age of 34. We also see how he met the love of his life and all this is told with humour and wit and a touch of heartbreak. In Tan’s own words: “This book is meant to spread joy, and most of all, understanding.”
(19th – 25th August)
A collection of interviews told in interview and documentary style exploring what it means to be LGBTQ+ in Britain to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The interviews are curated by Ben Hunte – including stories from LGBTQ+ guests such as Paul O’Grady, Stephen K Amos, Ruth Hunt, Peter Tatchell, Stephanie Hirst and Calum McSwiggan. Gay Brittania also features essays exploring gay relationships and much more.
And that’s everything! Will you be taking part?
Full reviews of the books will be posted at the end!
Lots of Love,