This is a post to introduce a new part of Casey the Canadian Lesbrarain which I’m pretty excited about. I’m going to call it “Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian” and here’s why. I get asked on a fairly regular basis for book recommendations, LGBTQ and not. Recommending books for your grandma or your sister who likes “chick lit” or to the really nervous looking teenager asking about lesbian books was the best part of my now long-ago job at Bolen Books (by the by, a great mother and daughter owned independent bookstore in Victoria, B.C.). Some of my friends treat me as their own personalized book recommendation service, which I couldn’t be happier to provide. I love recommending books, and I decided that it would be fun and beneficial to share some of my responses to these requests!
Sometimes these recommendations can get pretty specific, and they’re usually the kind of thing only a person could recommend to you, rather than an algorithm-based thing, like when goodreads gives you suggestions based on what you’ve read. Sure, you can do a google search for young adult novels with bisexual girls in them: but how are you going to know which ones are offensive, stereotypical representations, and which ones are awesome? What about all the books with bisexual content that simply don’t label themselves or their characters at all, or mislabel them as gay or lesbian? Finding queer content in and of itself can be really frustrating, as I wrote about in detail here and here.
Maybe you’ve recently read a great queer book and want to find more like it in a way that might be difficult to qualify. Like a comparable style, or narrative voice, or a similarly kick-ass character, or maybe it’s just a feeling or a vibe that you get from the book that’s hard to describe. Maybe you’ve read all the books by your favourite lesbian author and you want to find a new author who’s similar. Maybe you’re looking for a parent-friendly book by a trans woman. Maybe you really love a certain genre and wish you could find some books that combine that with some lady-loving-ladies.
To answer all those questions and more, I give you “Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian.” Please send me questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian” in the subject. If you want the challenge of 140 characters, feel free to ask me on twitter too: send it to @canlesbrarian. Anything queer and book related I will answer in a post on my blog for maximum benefit to all queer book lovers. Your questions need not be limited to Canadian books, though of course Canadian related queries are very welcome. If you have some kind of question about queer literature or LGBTQ book resources (like other blogs) that isn’t necessarily asking for a book recommendation, feel free to send that along too! I do have half a PhD in Canadian and women’s literature, so if I’m qualified to do anything, it’s tell you about literature. If I don’t know the full answer, I will be sure to ask some other authorities and give you all the info you need.
Look for the first post in this series soon!