Book recommendations from Out on the Shelves queer librarians

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Out on the Shelves is a volunteer-run library on the second floor of The Nest dedicated to creating a safe space to enjoy and learn stories about 2SLGBTQIA+ experiences. They offer free library cards where books and DVDs can be borrowed for up to 12 weeks, including renewals. With the sun shining and Pride season in full swing, here are some book recommendations with blurbs from library volunteers.

The pride omnibus by Joe Glass (2021) – Action/Adventure [could use em dashes instead of hyphens for subheads]

Stephen Wainright, aka “Fabman”, is an openly gay crime-fighting superhero in New York City. Unfortunately, Stephen faces widespread homophobia from the citizens, and even other heroes think he’s a joke. Fed up with all the hate towards himself and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, Stephen is assembling a team of 2SLGBTQIA+ superheroes (“The Pride”) to push back against prejudice and show the world that no one should be defined solely by their gender or sexuality. .

The Trouble With Mages: Immortal Quest by Alexandra MacKenzie (2010) – Fantastic/Romantic

Marlen is a 500 year old immortal mage. Unlike her peers, who use their time to help the rich get richer, Marlen is focused on finding a way to make her best friend, Nicholas, also immortal. Meanwhile, Nick is a 20-something detective who doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Gay hijinks and epic witchcraft battles ensue.

The Kingston cycle series by CL Polk (2018–2021) – WLW, MLM, NB/Trans POS

CL Polk’s Historical Fantasy Series The Kingston Cycle combines a world of witches and wizards with an enchanting setting of Edwardian England. Miles Singer, born with magical abilities, hides who he really is and joins the war effort to escape his troubled past. But when desperate measures force him to use his healing powers, his true character is exposed – and there’s no turning back. This historic gaslight fantasy series has themes of Indigenous reconciliation and is written by a non-binary Black Canadian!

Love That Story: Observations of a Beautifully Queer Life by Jonathan Van Ness (2022)

This is Jonathan Van Ness (of weird eye Fame) second memory. They talk about their experiences growing up in small town Illinois, including researching the town’s queer history, being HIV-positive, current events (like how JK Rowling’s TERF views are hurting more than the LGBT+ community) and what it’s been like being on Netflix weird eye.

Darius the Great disagrees by Adib Korram (2018) – Contemporary Fiction

Darius travels with his family to Iran to visit his grandparents. There, he deals with his depression, feels like an outsider in his own culture, and a budding friendship with his grandparents’ neighbor, Sohrab. The two boys become inseparable and spend the spring learning about each other and themselves.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (2020) – Historical Fiction

In 1600s Norway, a huge storm kills all the men in a village. The women must find a way to keep the village alive, while facing off against a witch hunter who comes to town. Maren, a young girl, tries to keep the community together while falling in love with the witch hunter’s wife.

The henna war by Adiba Jaigirdar (2020) – Contemporary fiction

In Dublin, Bangladeshi Nishat comes out as a lesbian and receives an apathetic response from her parents. They’re okay with that, as long as she’s not open about it. Things seem to look up when Nishat’s childhood friend Flávia returns to town – and her crush is rekindled. The problem is that a school competition to start a business is coming up, and both of them choose henna – even though it’s not part of Flávia’s culture. The book explores identity, art, appropriation and understanding.

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (2017-) – Sci-Fi

To sum it up in one sentence: a non-binary mercenary cyborg gains free will and uses that free will to watch soap operas while protecting the (few) people worth protecting. A great series with a really funny narrator, in a dark space opera setting that criticizes megacorporations and the tech industry.

confessions of the fox by Jordy Rosenberg (2018) – Historical Fiction

Transmask scholar Dr. Voth gets his hands on the lost and moldy manuscripts of notorious thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard. He feverishly devotes himself to annotating and authenticating this mysterious stack of papers titled confessions of the fox.


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