Tag: LGBT

5 Memoirs That Will Change Your Life

Books have a way of shifting, molding, and changing the way in which we see the world. No genre does this quite as well as memoirs. There’s just something about reading the real-life experiences of another that not only elicits empathy and understanding, but also allows you to experience the world through the eyes of someone with whom you may have nothing in common.

Some of the best memoirs detail harrowing struggles in moving, viscerally honest prose. Others cover the author’s unique and interesting life experiences while offering the reader an intimate look into characteristics of different walks of life. All have the power to completely transform the way in which readers view the world. Without further ado, here are five memoirs which will rock your world.

 

 

1.) Lit by Mary Karr

Image via Amazon

 

Every sentence in this book is like a slap in the face. Karr writes with masterful, excruciating honesty about her lifelong struggle with addiction and the strain it puts on each relationship in her life. Her voice is compelling and strong – the voice of someone who goes through something agonizing and comes out alive on the other side. Her memoir will challenge and change the way you think about addiction, love, relationships, and religion. Lit is the kind of book that leaves you both satiated and starving for more.

 

2.) Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

Image via Amazon

 

Garrard Conley details his struggle with his sexuality and faith after being outed while in college to religious parents in Boy Erased. He attends a 12-step conversion therapy program with the initial goal of changing his sexuality and strengthening his faith. Through his journey, Conley closely examines the intricate ties between family, faith and forgiveness in this powerful memoir.

 

 

3.) Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Image via Amazon

 

Margo Jefferson’s memoir Negroland explores the tensions of growing up in an upper-middle class black household in Chicago. Jefferson boldly studies the crosses of race, wealth and class as she experiences them throughout her childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Negroland is written with sharp introspection and compelling prose, tackling huge issues with brilliance and bravery.

 

4.) Educated by Tara Westover

Image via Amazon

 

In this #1 New York Times Bestseller, Tara Westover tells the story of her pursuit of an education after growing up the child of dedicated survivalists in the Idaho mountains. Westover’s first experience in a classroom comes when she is 17 years old, and in Educated she frames how her own drive for knowledge presents struggles and triumphs as well as connection and isolation as she forges further away from home. Educated is a story of coming-of-age and identity detailing Westover’s navigation between family allegiance and individual passion and drive.

 

 

5.) Abandon Me by Melissa Febos

Image via Amazon

 

Abandon Me closely examines love, intimacy, and relationships with invigorating honesty and vulnerability. Melissa Febos weaves the story of the bonds which mark her life: the tumultuous relationship with the sea captain stepfather who raised her, the passionate and intense affair she has with a woman, and the mystery of her reconnection with her birth father. Febos writes with stunning honesty, crafting a memoir packed full with universal truths sure to strike a chord with any reader.

 

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Pure Gold: Jonathan Van Ness’ Children’s Book Debut

Jonathan Van Ness, the author of Over the Top and star of Queer Eye, has stepped out of his comfort zone. Bringing his signature humor and positivity, Van Ness has written a Children’s Book to inspire kids to celebrate everything that makes them special.

Image result for peanut goes for the gold jonathan van ness

Image Via Amazon

Looking back on his childhood, Van Ness never understood why he was more over the top than the rest of the children. It came to a point when he realized that there was little to no solace in books to make him feel as though his uniqueness was what made him special. This inspired Van Ness to write a book of his own that focused on a gender-neutral character in the form of a guinea pig.

 

Peanut Goes for the Gold is a heartfelt picture book that shows the uniqueness of a gender nonbinary guinea pig named Peanut. Peanut never fails to show their uniqueness. As the blurb states, “Whether it’s cartwheeling during basketball practice or cutting their own hair, this little guinea pig puts their own special twist on life.” By using gender-neutral pronouns, Van Ness gives room for children to insert themselves into the story in ways that they wouldn’t normally be able to.

Image result for over the top jonathan van ness

Image Via Amazon

Although Peanut can love themselves at such a young age, it wasn’t as easy for Van Ness to do the same. In his book, Over the Top, Van Ness shares his experiences with being different from other children. Growing up in a small Midwestern town, his unique personality caused “years of judgment, ridicule and trauma.”

 

Over the Top gives permission for Van Ness to share a side of himself that others haven’t seen. By sharing the pain and passion he felt at such a young age, it made headway for many to gain more insight into the whole Jonathan.

Through the good and the bad, Van Ness has been able to rise above and uplift children who may be experiencing the same.

 

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#Bookstagrammer of the Week: @shelfbyshelf

Want to see your favorite Bookstagrammer featured next? Message @bookstrofficial here.

 

This Week’s Featured creator: @shelfbyshelf

 

Each week Bookstr is going to be highlighting your favorite Bookstagrammers. A Bookstagrammer is someone who shares all of their literary interests, ranging from book reviews and aesthetically pleasing book pictures to outfit pictures featuring their current reads. Anything that evokes bibliophile feels is on their Instagram pages. Make sure to give these Bookstagrammers the love they deserve! This week we are getting to know a Bookstagram account that celebrates diversity and LGBTQ+: Hunter, or as you would know him on Instagram, @shelfbyshelf.

 

Here is his story:

View this post on Instagram

📚Meet The Bookstagrammer📚 Hey, you guys!! It’s been a while since I introduced myself. My name’s Hunter, and here’s some fun facts about me! • I’m from South Georgia, currently living in North Florida with my husband and our dog, Willow. • I’ve always liked reading, but it wasn’t until I graduated high school that I began reading such a high volume of books. All of my friends were off at college, and because I didn’t have the opportunity to start school with everyone else, I started reading again. I’d read somewhere that Marilyn Monroe read so much because she wanted to be cultured and knowledgeable—still not sure if that’s true, but I like the idea—, and I thought I could do the same for myself. • I average about 100 books a year. • When I’m not reading, I’m pretending to do yoga—it’s hard, y’all. I also listen to the same music I’ve listened to for ten years. I also watch Beaches and My Best Friends Wedding on repeat. • I lived with my granny for most of my life. Her mom moved in with us when I was 10, and it was like Grey Gardens in the south. My granny is a mix of Little Edie and Margaret White from Carrie (Piper Laurie edition) • I used to make money doing portraits of people, then I did hair, and now I work for the state. But my dream is to be a writer of books, essays, plays, etc. I also wouldn’t mind acting into Oscar glory. My goal at 18 was to win 17 oscars (by the time I was 21), win a Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the Nobel Prize For literature. And then a Grammy, tony, and Emmy—I wanted to do the full PEGOT. • Anyway, that’s just a little bit about me! If you have any other questions, comment below. And if we haven’t met yet, tell me some fun facts about you! And if we have met, I’m sure there’s still more to learn! Lol so share something new. And thanks to everyone for joining in the fun with me! – – – #books #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #meetthebookstagrammer #yoga #yogi #yogamat #love #hotyoga #pilates #aboutme #epicreads #mysistertheserialkiller #oyinkanbraithwaite #gayboy #lgbt #lgbtqia #gaypride #bookish #doubleday #selfie #thriller #booktalk #books📚 #📚

A post shared by Hunter | Shelf By Shelf (@shelfbyshelf) on

 

image via @shelfbyshelf

 

 

Chapter 1: The Birth of a Bookstagram Account

 

Hunter started out small on Instagram with only his love of books until he received a shout-out from a fellow Bookstagrammer.

 

I’ve been posting about books on Instagram for about seven years, but just in a general capacity. In 2018, my New Year’s resolution was to post a little review for every book I read. I just wanted to share my book thoughts with the few of my friends who read. I had no idea what Bookstagram was, and I thought I was the only one posting about books every day. Then this woman Larissa ( @bklnbooks ) followed me, and at some point she said she wanted to shout-out LGBTQ+ “Bookstagrammers.” I didn’t think I qualified as a Bookstagrammer, but I asked and she said yes. A few months after that, I changed my handle to @shelfbyshelf. It all happened pretty organically.

 

Hunter has a long list of favorite books (never enough favorites, right?), including:

His favorite book cover out of all eleven of those is Fates and Furies.

 

 

image via @shelfbyshelf

 

Hunter’s fun fact is that he is also involved in art.

I occasionally draw portraits—I was known for it for a while, and I have drawings in at least four continents, which I think is pretty nifty.

 

 

Chapter 2: To The Bookstagramming

 

Hunter’s aesthetic features books (of course) and the outdoors.

I didn’t think I had an aesthetic until someone posted a picture and said, “I’m stealing Hunter’s aesthetic!” And it was an angled stack of books. I’m not sure the best way to describe it, but I guess I’d just say, happy Florida green. Which probably isn’t accurate at all.

 

 

So many of Hunter’s pictures are amazing and showcase his personality, but there’s one that makes him feel particularly confident.

My favorite post was when I talked about how so many books that came out in 2017 were about grief of some kind. And my favorite picture is one I posted recently of me in a crop top surrounded by books, because it felt very Call Me By Your Name, and I wouldn’t have had the confidence to post it a year ago.

 

 

 

image via @shelfbyshelf

 

 

Hunter’s personal favorite Bookstagram accounts are both aesthetically pleasing and celebratory of diversity.

I love so many accounts/people on there, but I’ll name a few and why:

@armyofwords – She’s the most thoughtful and widely read reviewer, and the way she engages with the text inspires me to be a better reader.

@thestackspod – an amazing account with an amazing podcast. Also, just a super kind person

@bookedbytim – his account is gorgeous, and he’s a queer icon who is under-appreciated in the community.

@blo288 – Bernie reads a wide variety, and he also posts pictures of himself and his fiancé, and that makes me swoon.

 

 

He wants to tell his fellow Bookstagrammers:

 

Don’t feel pressured to post the right books or read everything the moment it comes out. And remember that there’s a way to be kind in your reviews, even when you hate a book. 

 

 

 

image via @shelfbyshelf

 

When should you look for Hunter’s newest bookish posts and reviews?

I normally just post once a day, and take a break if I need to. I like the consistency—it helps me feel like I’ve accomplished a little something each day—but I also don’t like to feel pressured to post content all throughout each day. One seemed like a good balance for me.

 

Chapter 3: TBR

Hunter’s current TBR books are Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli, Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig, and Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell. 

 

When asked to choose a publisher to supply him with a lifetime of books, Hunter chose Riverhead.

They have gorgeous covers, diverse authors, great content. I’ve loved every book I’ve read from them.

 

 

image via @shelfbyshelf

 

Chapter 4: What does bookstagram mean to you?

 

Hunter’s love for books has helped him define who he is.

I grew up in South Georgia, and as a poor queer boy from a broken family, I wasn’t liked very much. This page is a reminder to me that you can be your authentic self and find your people, and they will love you for everything you used to be so insecure about.

Aside from posting reviews, I always want to facilitate conversations. Whether it’s about why books can be healing, why it’s important to read diversely, what books teach us about language etc. I try to create posts that will generate a thoughtful and nuanced conversation. And before each post, I remind myself of this post from Kristen Bell’s therapist: “Honesty without tact is cruelty.”

 

Hunter hopes his Bookstagram will bring joy to the world.

I think we sometimes struggle to find joy in our world right now, and I try to spread joy and kindness as much as possible. 

 

 

Well, what did you think of @shelfbyshelf? You HAVE to watch his drunk book talk highlights! Do you have a favorite Bookstagrammer in mind? Contact us through any of our social media platforms and maybe you will see them here next week! 

 

Want to see your favorite Bookstagrammer featured next? Message @bookstrofficial here.

 

Featured image via @shelfbyshelf

 

7 Books For International Lesbian Day – Because Love Is Love

To celebrate the holiday of love and awareness, we’re sharing a versatile of books featuring Lesbian characters and the adventures they must have.

These books range from the fantastically adventurous, to romantically dramatic!

 

 

#1 Perfect Rhythm by Jae

 

Perfect Rhythm (Fair Oaks Book 1) by [Jae]

 

When pop star Leontyne Blake loses the love in her love songs, a sudden family emergency brings her back to her tiny hometown of Missouri. Tending to her father, sick in the hospital, Leontyne is finally able to escape the pressure of the music industry, as well as the pressure of finding someone who loves her for her, and not her fame.

Everything changes when she meets her father’s nurse, Holly Drummond, who is not only unimpressed with Leontyne’s success, but is more interested in Leontyne as a person. Holly is a woman different from any that Leontyne has ever met, uninterested in relationships in general, and also Asexual. As the relationship between these women develops, they need to find the perfect rhythm to find something more, a love that both had given up on a long time ago.

A great read for any hopeless romantic!

 

#2 The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

 

The Stars Are Legion by [Hurley, Kameron]

 

This sci-fi epic and Hugo Award winner will take you by storm, throwing you into an all-out war, blood-battles and all, but more than the intense drama of war, this story is about our heroine’s search for truth. Zan wakes with no memory of who she is, and where she has come from. Encaptured by strangers, all women, who claim they are her family and that she is their salvation, Zan must fight her way to the truth to save a dying world.

If action is what you’re looking for, look no further than this book! With twists and turns at every corner, this book perfectly blends the sci-fi genre with action and drama that will blow you out of this world, and there’s a little romance between the protagonist and another of the fierce women of the story.

 

#3 The Price of Salt (Carol) by Patricia Highsmith

 

The Price of Salt by [Highsmith, Patricia]

 

A beloved classic romance for the modern-day, this tale follows two women, lost in the daily monotony, living untrue to themselves and their potential. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a stay at home mother in the midst of a bitter divorce, find each other, and therefore find joy and freedom that they never believed was possible before. Abandoning their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, they together build a love that they have always wanted. However, this is not a fairy tale romance where all it takes is two people falling in love to reach the happy ending, because of Carol’s obligations as a mother, she is forced to choose between her love for Therese and her beloved child.

True love never comes easy in the real world, and this emotional roller-coaster of a novel shows that tenfold.

 

 

#4 The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie  

 

The Abyss Surrounds Us by [Skrutskie, Emily]

 

If that last book was a little too real for you, here’s some fantasy to escape the soul-crushing that is reality.

Combining monsters and pirates together this book follows Cassandra Leung, a trainee in a family of Recokners, trainers of genetically engineered sea monsters to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. When the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water. With plans to make the Sea her own, the Pirate queen orders Cas to train a monster pup to push her plans into action. Torn by her desire to uphold her family’s noble cause and her survival as a captive, Cassandra must choose wisely to live the Pirate life.

 

#5 My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Kabi Nagata 

 

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by [Nagata, Kabi]

 

Intensely personal, this graphic novel is Kabi Nagata’s revealing story, her struggles with depression and sexuality as a young woman. With charming and provocative illustrations, Nagata leaves nothing censored. The true and difficult reality of struggling with mental health and coming to terms with your sexuality is perfectly illustrated, both literally and figuratively, in this book. For any reader of this book, how real and relatable the story is written is moving.

 

#6 Nevada by Imogen Binnie

 

 

Maria Griffiths, a young trans woman, takes a life-changing journey away from her life in New York City after she discovers that her girlfriend has been lying to her. With her life as she has known it forever changed, Maria sets off to escape the painful lies that have been revealed, but with the struggles that trans people face looming over her head, her ventures are much harder than she wishes. Joined by another trans woman on her life journey, they must find their way in the world.

 

 

#7 We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

 

We Are Okay by [LaCour, Nina]

 

Having run from her old life, Marin has kept many secrets about her final moments before she left her family and old friends behind. With tragedy and grief from her past still tormenting her for years since she left, the past finally comes back to haunt her when her best friend Mabel pays a visit to Marin’s lonely apartment. The truth must finally come out, and Marin must face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

 

Images via Amazon

 

 

 

Featured Images via Amazon

Seven Queer Web Comics for You and Your Significant Other

Like comics? Like queer stuff? Like awesome, beautiful, and well plotted stories? Here are some fantastic web comics featuring gay, lesbian, asexual, and trans characters. Weather you’re reading for the representation or because you just like good comics, jump in and enjoy.

 

1. Muted

 

Image via Webtoon

 

It’s your favorite girl gang, coming at you from the Louisiana swamp. We’ve got parties. We’ve got blood magic. We’ve got developing lesbianism. We’ve got cute animals. Powerful witch families play off each other in this lush, grounded fantasy.

 

 

2. The Croaking

 

Image via Webtoon

 

Oh my god, they’re roommates. They meet over the summer, and then find out on their first day of special agent academy that they’re roommates. Feuds, favoritism, and friendships, plus uneasy edging into trust. Not to miss.

 

 

3. Sylvania

 

Image via Webtoon

 

We’ve got witches again, but who’s mad? The Mars colony wants to start growing plants, so a team is recruited to get water and trees going. A family that thinks it would be crazy to leave the forest is actually… all pretty into the idea. Space witches!

 

 

4. Novae

 

Image via ComicsVerse

 

Do you love space? Do you love necromancy? The two meet in this story about a gay astronomy student and a gay ace necromancer. Gorgeously illustrated and gorgeously soft, this period piece is a must read for anyone who wants a feel-good story.

 

5. Dylan & Angeline

 

Image via PixZing

 

Dylan’s got a new name, a supportive family, and a new school, plus a cute new classmate. It’s adorable stuff, and aside from a bureaucratic mess up, there’s no fuss about him being trans. Plus he has an adorable baby sister, and the sibling dynamics are on point.

 

 

6. Facing the Sun

 

Image via Webtoon

 

This is a little more emo. Something bad happens, and the character’s mother makes a support robot for her that she gets quite attached to. The robot starts glitching, or maybe just evolving? Deeply interesting art and moody pacing make this an engrossing ride.

 

 

7. Lorem Ipsum

Image via Tapas

 

After knowing each other their whole lives, these two stop seeing each other in college. When the younger one graduates, he goes to stay with his ‘big brother’. Talk about the friend zone. But don’t worry, they’ll see sense.

 

 

Featured image BBC