In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
With the the year getting under way, it’s time to start planning what we’ll be reading next! From stories about love & loss to romance being in the air with a bucket load of baggage, we’ve got you covered for the month of February with a list of LGBTQ+ books you should read.
Special shoutout goes to Netgalley, the premiere source of getting books in advance if you’re looking to review books. All the summary’s were sourced from Netgalley and we hope this helps get readers interested in these creative queer writers!
1. The Queens’ English by Chloe O. Davis
Summary: The Queens’ English is a comprehensive guide to modern gay slang, queer theory terms, and playful colloquialisms that define and celebrate LGBTQIA+ culture. This modern dictionary provides an in-depth look at queer language, from terms influenced by celebrated lesbian poet Sappho and from New York’s underground queer ball culture in the 1980s to today’s celebration of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The glossary of terms is supported by full-color illustrations and photography throughout, as well as real-life usage examples for those who don’t quite know how to use “kiki,” “polysexual,” or “transmasculine” in a sentence. A series of educational lessons highlight key people and events that shaped queer language; readers will learn the linguistic importance of pronouns, gender identity, Stonewall, the Harlem Renaissance, and more.
2. 100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell
Summary: Transgressive, foulmouthed, and brutally funny, Brontez Purnell’s 100 Boyfriends is a revelatory spiral into the imperfect lives of queer men desperately fighting the urge to self-sabotage. As they tiptoe through minefields of romantic, substance-fueled misadventure—from dirty warehouses and gentrified bars in Oakland to desolate farm towns in Alabama—Purnell’s characters strive for belonging in a world that dismisses them for being Black, broke, and queer. In spite of it—or perhaps because of it—they shine.
Armed with a deadpan wit, Purnell finds humor in even the darkest of nadirs with the peerless zeal, insight, and horniness of a gay punk messiah. Together, the slice-of-life tales that writhe within 100 Boyfriends are an inimitable tour of an unexposed queer underbelly. Holding them together is the vision of an iconoclastic storyteller, as fearless as he is human.
3. Detour to Love by Amanda Radley
Summary: High-flying executive Celia Scott is on her way to Tokyo to accept a prestigious award heavy with emotional baggage. She’ll make the trip, but she doesn’t have to like it, and she certainly doesn’t have to make nice with a stranger on a plane.
Artist Lily Andersen is excited to finally meet her online crush, the only person in the world who truly gets her. She just needs to survive the eleven-hour flight from London to Japan with a testy seatmate who by turns annoys and fascinates her.
Fate, upgrades, and a troupe of traveling clowns bring them together for a journey memorable for all the wrong reasons. Not only do they have nothing in common, they really can’t stand each other. But people are not always as they seem, and Celia and Lily are about to realize, there’s more than one path to love.
4. Royal Family by Jenny Frame
Summary: For Veronica Clayton, the sudden death of her mother has turned her naturally bright and happy-go-lucky view of the world bleak. As the Police Protection Officer for the Queen’s children, she has purpose, but for the next six months, the Queen’s family is the focus of a documentary on royal life. The last thing Clay wants is a camera pointed in her face.
Katya Kovach, a refugee to Britain, knows all about death and grief. She saw her family shot in front of her and has never recovered from those dark memories. Now trained at London’s most prestigious childcare school, she’s happy as the nanny to Queen Georgina and Queen Bea’s children.
Clay is usually good-natured, but the rule-oriented Katya is not only a pain, but annoyingly beautiful, and they find themselves facing the awkward reality that everyone else is a couple except them while their every move is being filmed. Loss has defined both their lives, but guarding their hearts may prove to be the biggest heartbreak of all.
5. Kink: Stories edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell
Summary: Kink is a dynamic anthology of literary fiction that opens an imaginative door into the world of desire. The stories within this collection portray love, desire, BDSM, and sexual kinks in all their glory with a bold new vision. The collection includes works by renowned fiction writers such as Callum Angus, Alexander Chee, Vanessa Clark, Melissa Febos, Kim Fu, Roxane Gay, Cara Hoffman, Zeyn Joukhadar, Chris Kraus, Carmen Maria Machado, Peter Mountford, Larissa Pham, and Brandon Taylor, with Garth Greenwell and R.O. Kwon as editors.
The stories within explore bondage, power-play, and submissive-dominant relationships; we are taken to private estates, therapists’ offices, underground sex clubs, and even a sex theater in early-20th century Paris. While there are whips and chains, sure, the true power of these stories lies in their beautiful, moving dispatches from across the sexual spectrum of interest and desires, as portrayed by some of today’s most exciting writers.
6. Afloat by Isabelle Adler
Summary: No place is safe anymore. Matt and his crew know it all too well—and it’s especially true now as the war with the Alraki has reached the heart of Federation space and struck close to home. Suddenly, Matt is faced with a difficult choice. He has the opportunity to sway the tide of the war and rectify a past wrong by helping the Fleet obtain a groundbreaking Alraki technology. But to do so, he must risk his ship and the lives of his crewmates.
With Matt’s archenemy, the infamous Captain Rodgers, still on the loose and bent on revenge, the Alraki aren’t the only ones who pose a deadly threat to Matt and the people most dear to his heart. With danger and betrayal haunting their steps, Matt and Ryce must find a way to save their friends even as sinister secrets from the past threaten to tear them apart. This time, the price of staying afloat might be higher than what Matt is willing to pay.
Afloat is the third book in Isabelle Adler’s exciting debut series, Staying Afloat, and concludes the series. For best enjoyment, advise reading the books in order.
7. Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih
Summary: It is 2015, weeks after the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, and all Sebastian Mote wants is to settle down. A high school art history teacher, newly single and desperately lonely, he envies his queer students their freedom to live openly the youth he lost to fear and shame.
When he runs into his childhood friend Oscar Burnham at a wedding in Washington, D.C., he can’t help but see it as a second chance. Now thirty-five, the men haven’t seen each other in more than a decade. But Oscar has no interest in their shared history, nor in the sense of belonging Sebastian craves. Instead, he’s outraged by what he sees as the death of gay culture: bars overrun with bachelorette parties, friends coupling off and having babies. For Oscar, conformity isn’t peace, it’s surrender.
While Oscar and Sebastian struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing world, each is drawn into a cross-generational friendship that treads the line between envy and obsession: Sebastian with one of his students, Oscar with an older icon of the AIDS era. And as they collide again and again, both men must reckon not just with one another but with themselves.
8. Dawn’s Light by Shannon Blair
Summary: Moranthus is an elf who has lost everything. With his lover dead and his career stagnating, he jumps at a chance to redeem himself by rescuing a human prince from the goblins hunting him—even if failure means death or eternal exile from his homeland. Gerrick, a human soldier who bears an uncanny resemblance to his prince, has always chosen duty over desire. As the sole parent of his young daughter, he needs the extra coin that working as the prince’s body double provides—even if it may one day cost him his life.
When a case of mistaken identity puts the prince in the hands of a goblin raiding party, Moranthus’s and Gerrick’s paths collide. With winter closing in and miles of hostile goblin lands ahead, they must set aside their differences and work together to bring the prince home safely. Their deepening connection comes with a growing certainty that rescuing the prince may be fatal. Moranthus and Gerrick must each find a way to reconcile his heart’s desires with his homeland’s needs—or die trying.
9. Butcher by Natasha T. Miller
Summary: Natasha finds an unexpected solace in the kitchen after losing her best friend and brother, Marcus. Here, using the cuts of the cow as a metaphor Miller, explores addiction, family & tragedy.
Butcher takes the body of a cow and cleaves it into 5 parts: envisioning the cuts as relationship with family members and social forces. Her Mother the rib, her Brother the brisket, her queerness as the tongue and cheek. Butcher is raw and tender. It’s a book that tells the story of a woman who redefined success after losing the most valuable thing to her.
10. Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Summary: With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her parent’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
In New York, she’s able to ignore all the constant questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)