Tag: lgbtq

#Bookstagrammer of the Week: @shelfbyshelf

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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:

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📚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 Beautifully Inspiring Books About Loving Unapologetically

Love is never easy, but we all deserve to love and be loved in return no matter how we identify ourselves and who we choose to love. Sorry, there was a lot of “love” in that sentence, but what the world needs now is just that, and on this National Coming Out Day let’s spread the sentiment to everyone—lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and everyone else a part of the rainbow flag.

 

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Image via gyfcat

 

In honor of National Coming Out Day, let’s celebrate these stories that remind us all to be ourselves and love who we love.

 

 

 

1. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

 

 

Giovanni's Room (Vintage International) by [Baldwin, James]

 

A historical classic in Gay and Queer literature, this story follows a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality in 1950s Paris. Published in a time when homosexuality was not accepted in society and even considered a mental illness, Baldwin’s book about sexuality and acceptance was groundbreaking and meant the world to thousands upon thousands of LGBT people, especially for gay men.

 

 

2. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

 

Two Boys Kissing by [Levithan, David]

 

Focused on two ex-boyfriends trying to make a new Guinness record⁠—making out for a 32-hour marathon⁠—this optimistic tale centers around universal questions of love, identity, and belonging that our teenaged characters struggle with. An unconventional read, Two Boys Kissing will leave you with bliss and hope that love will find a way.

 

 

3. Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

 

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel: A Novel by [Farizan, Sara]

 

Leila is trying to make it through and fit in at her high school, and struggling to accept her Iranian-American descent when she is at school is tough enough, but she is hiding the fact that she is also gay. Everything goes according to plan until the beautiful new girl Saskia shows up. Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, including coming out to one of her best friends about her feeling for Saskia. Finally coming out, Leila learns that every one of her classmates are keeping secrets of their own.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rubyfruit Jungle: A Novel by [Brown, Rita Mae]

 

With parents who love her deeply, beauty and wit that makes all the ladies swoon, Molly Bolt is paving her own life the way she wants it. This inspiring coming-of-age tale teaches us to be true to ourselves and, against the odds, strive for a happily ever after.

 

 

5. For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu 

For Today I Am a Boy: A Novel by [Fu, Kim]
To Peter Huang’s parents, he is the exalted son in a sea of daughters⁠, expected to portray the ideal masculine man, but there’s an issue with that⁠, aside from toxic masculinity⁠—Peter does not identify with being a boy. While his sisters find their own way in life, Peter knows that freedom will not as easy for him. However, with their help, and the help of many he finds along the way, Peter works towards changing his life so he can finally feel comfortable in his own skin.

 

 

6. Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinbe

 

 

This biographical novel follows the real-life struggle of Jess Goldberg. With the rigorous gender pressures of society, Jess questions her identity her entire life, trying to find where she fits in and where she can survive.

 

 

 

 

7. Prom and Other Hazards by Jamie Sullivan

 

Prom and Other Hazards

 

Let’s be honest, not everyone was excited for prom. The same can be said for non-binary high schooler Sam, who wants nothing to do with it. If it weren’t for her best friend Tash, who has been dreaming about the perfect, romantic prom night, Sam would never consider going. After finding the perfect suit to match Sam’s androgynous and suave style, Sam puts a plan in motion to not only pay off the ridiculously expensive suit, but also to build up the courage to tell Tash how deeply in love she has been with her for years.

 

 

 

 

Granted not all of these books have romance as the focus, coming out is not always about having some romantic partner encouraging you to be true to what you want. There are times when you have to find it yourself. Either way, in this day and age, let’s hope that all can celebrate being who they are, and loving who they are, unapologetically.

 

 

Images Via Amazon

 

Featured Image via the vermillion

3 Inspiring Queer Bookstores Across the World

For years queer bookstores have served as community centers for members of the LGBTQ+ community to meet and discuss literature, films and other art forms in a safe space created just for them. Now, as more queer writers produce more and more queer literature, these bookshops remain a place to gather and find a community for members of the community and allies alike all around the world.

 

 

Gay’s the Word, London

 

Image result for gays the word

Image via Diva Magazine

Opening in 1797, Gay’s the Word has hosted the Lesbian Discussion Group and the Gay Black Group for years. Located in Central London’s Bloomsbury, this shop continues its mission of inclusion and discussion. The catchy name comes from a 1951 West End musical produced by Ivor Novello and Alan Melville.

 

 

Les Mots à la Bouche, Paris

 

Image result for les mots à la bouche

Image via VINGT Paris

Located in the heart of Paris’ queer neighborhood is Les Mots à la Bouche. This book shop (roughly translating to “at the tip of the tongue”) focuses on archival material. In addition to its large selection of current fiction and nonfiction, Les Mots à la Bouche also houses historical relics including comics, DVDs and magazines. Tourists rejoice as many of these relics are offered in English so Americans on a queer lit holiday may rejoice in these relics with their French counterparts.

 

 

Prinz Eisenherz Buchladen, Berlin

 

Image result for Prinz Eisenherz Buchladen, Berlin

 

Image Via GayCities Berlin

Located in the central Schöneberg area, Berlin’s resident queer bookshop was opened in 1978 as a way to make queer literature and content commonplace in Berlin’s book scene. After three moves and a constantly growing collection, the center now prides itself on its extensive collection of fiction, zines, autobiographies, and films that serves as the center of Germany’s queer scene.

 

Featured Image via World Literature Today

LGBTQ Books Are Being Censored and Authors Are Fighting Back

According to Entertainment Weekly Middle Schools across the country are resisting teaching LGBTQ material in the classroom. One incident occurred with an author called Jen-Petro Roy, who had booked a trip to Texas in order to talk with students about her book, P.S. I Miss You.

 

P.S. I Miss You

Image Via Goodreads

 

The novel follows an eleven year old girl who begins questioning her faith and sexuality, discovering she may not be straight and what that means for her identity. But, out of the blue, the school cancelled the scheduled visit.

According to Roy, the school had decided that by featuring her work, they’d be promoting an LGBT ‘agenda’ and she didn’t end up going to Texas after all. This is only the latest in a long string of controversies in children’s literature. Despite children’s books pushing forward with progressive attitudes, many LGBTQ voices are being silenced.

 

Image via Entertainment Weekly

Authors all over the country have noted they are suffering from being banned from even discuss LGBTQ material and many feel like they’re being gaslit. Schools often give excuses for teachers writing this material to not appear, making excuses that include scheduling conflicts or students study time. She describes this practice as ‘soft censorship’ and notes its really quite troubling, essentially enacting a ban on what literature young people are exposed to. She discovered parents had become upset at her for featuring pride flags on social media and they complained to the school, which likely helped make the decision.

 

Renegades

Image Via Amazon

 

The author further noted that bans might get more attention for the schools, making it extra motivation to allow them to get media attention they wouldn’t otherwise receive. Anonymous employees for schools revealed they had pulled books they did not ‘line up’ with school values, with nearly one third being tossed out or banned. For example: Renegades was banned because the main character has two dads.

The authors noted that kids are suffering the most for this and that this banning of content will ultimately hurt kids in the future. What do you think of these schools and their policies? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Barnes And Noble 

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