June is LGBTQIA Pride month, timed to commemorate the Stonewall riots in June, 1969 that served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement. Celebrations, pride parades, memorials, and much more will take place throughout the country in June, including right here in East Dundee with Pride on the Fox on June 15.
Along with programs and events, Pride month is a great time for reading LGBTQIA related books. Whether this is a regular part of your reading habits or is a way diversifying them, take inspiration from this list with a recommendation for every day of June (Part 2 coming soon). The list includes novels, memoirs, history books. Some are specifically about LGBTQIA themes while others prominently feature characters who identify this way, whether or not it plays a part in the central plot.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of great LGBTQIA titles, so if you’d like more recommendations, see the Information Desk at either library.
- June 1: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon- Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish refugee from Nazi-invaded Prague, and his cousin Sammy Clay, a native Brooklynite, create comic books as their way of fighting back against oppressive forces in the world and expressing their innermost feelings in a contemporary take on the American Dream.
- June 2: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai- Dual narratives connect the tragedies faced by two characters. In 1980s Chicago, Yale Tishman’s artistic career flourishes as the AIDS epidemic devastates everyone in his life. The story also follows Fiona, the sister of one of Tishman’s friends, to contemporary Paris as she attempts to track down her estranged daughter and still grapples with the way the AIDS epidemic changed her life.
- June 3: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson- Nelson’s memoir centers on her relationship with artist Harry Dodge. The autobiographical contents are then used to delve into theorists' views on sexuality, gender, marriage, and child-rearing.
- June 4: David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 years of LGBT music by Darryl W. Bullock- Even before musicians like David Bowie and Elton John helped bring it to the mainstream, LGBT musicians throughout the last century changed the musical landscape and pioneered the evolution of music.
- June 5: Early Stories and Novels by James Baldwin- This book includes Giovanni’s Room, which finds a young man in 1950s Paris coming to grips with the fact that his desires do not match with the conventional morality of the time.
- June 6: The Gay Revolution: the story of the struggle by Lillian Faderman- A history of the gay rights movement spanning the 1950s through the 2010s, this book brings together interviews with politicians, military figures, and members of the entire LGBT community detailing the struggles they still face in this unfinished movement.
- June 7: Logical Family by Armistead Maupin- Maupin, author of the Tales of the City series, writes a memory of his escape from the Old South to San Francisco, and how this journey led him to a life as a gay rights pioneer.
- June 8: Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston- A rivalry between America’s First son and the Prince of Wales heats up, and in order to prevent US/British relations from souring, a fake friendship is orchestrated by their handlers. Soon enough, the pair find themselves truly falling for each other and worried about the political fallout a relationship would create.
- June 9: Boy Erased by Garrard Conley- As the son of a Baptist pastor in small town Arkansas, Conley struggled with his sexuality. When outed to his family, he faces the choices of attending a conversion therapy program (to “cure” him of homosexuality) or be forever estranged from his family and friends as well as his lifelong faith.
- June 10: The Lauras by Sara Taylor- Alex and Ma leave Alex’s father to go on a cross-country trip to visit people and places from Ma’s life before she was a mother. Alex’s own coming of age story unfolds as they re-live these parts of Ma’s past.
- June 11: The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka- PI Roxane Weary investigates the disappearance 15 years earlier of a teenager whose parents were murdered the same night she vanished. The girl’s boyfriend was convicted and sits on death row, but has maintained his innocence even as his coming execution looms.
- June 12: Leading Men by Christopher Castellani- Weaving fact and fiction, Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover Frank Merlo attend a party thrown by Truman Capote in Portofino, Italy. There, they meet Anja Blomgren, and the evening changes each of their lives.
- June 13: Willa & Hesper by Amy Feltman- Willa and Hesper embark on a whirlwind romance that falls apart. Each woman deals with heartbreak by looking to the past, Hesper fleeing to a family’s ancestral lands in Tblisi, Georgia, and Willa to the WWII war sites of Germany.
- June 14: Orlando by Virginia Woolf- Spanning three centuries, Orlando experiences life as a young nobleman in Elizabethan and Jacobean England, then as an ambassador in 18th/19th Century Constantinople, and finally as a wife and mother in 1928.
- June 15: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides- Intersex protagonist Cal learns more about the ways a mutated gene have effected 3 generations of his family and the changes it created in his life. Part coming of age and part family saga, the novel explores gender identity and the American Dream for immigrants into this country.