Fall! The leaves are turning colours and everyone is going back to school (well, I am, at least). Fall is also an especially awesome time for book lovers because so. many. books are released in this lovely season. Here are some new queer book releases that I’m excited about:
I thought Okparanta’s debut short story collection was great, so I was pumped to see her first novel was coming out. Today, in fact! Here is the publisher’s synopsis:
Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.
Under the Udala Trees has been reviewed at Lambda Literary if you want to check that out.
I’ve read, reviewed, and enjoyed Farzana Doctor’s two previous novels (Six Metres of Pavement and Stealing Nasreen) and her latest, All Inclusive, sounds like it will be just as innovative and psychologically complex:
What’s it like when everyone’s dream vacation is your job? Ameera works at a Mexican all-inclusive resort, where every day is paradise — if “paradise” means endless paperwork, quotas to meet, and entitled tourists to deal with. But it’s not all bad: Ameera’s pastime of choice is the swingers’ scene, and the resort is the perfect place to hook up with like-minded couples without all the hassle of ever having to see them again.
Despite Ameera’s best efforts to keep her sideline a secret, someone is spreading scandalous rumours about her around the resort, and her job might be at stake. Meanwhile, she’s being plagued by her other secret, the big unknown of her existence: the identity of her father and the reason he abandoned her. Unbeknownst to Ameera, her father, Azeez, is looking for her. The fact that he’s dead is just a minor detail.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting Dirty River: A Queer Femme Dreaming Her Way Home by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha ever since I read her most recent poetry collection Bodymap, which also came out this year. The memoir Dirty River is set to come out in October. This is what to expect:
In 1996, poet Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha ran away from America with two backpacks and ended up in Canada, where she discovered queer anarchopunk love and revolution, yet remained haunted by the reasons she left home in the first place. This passionate and riveting memoir is a mixtape of dreams and nightmares, of immigration court lineups and queer South Asian dance nights; it reveals how a disabled queer woman of color and abuse survivor navigates the dirty river of the past and, as the subtitle suggests, “dreams her way home.”
Topside Press—which is run by and publishes trans writers—has been putting out quality stuff from the very beginning (see the anthology The Collection, Casey Plett’s A Safe Girl to Love, and Sybil Lamb’s I’ve Got a Time Bomb). They’ve recently started publishing poetry, and one of those new collections coming out this fall is Never Coming Home by Tyler Vile. It sounds great:
What do you do when you live in a moldering unfinished mansion with a megalomaniac father and a mostly-unconscious mother and your only sister has quit on you? Maybe you run.
Tyler Vile has been entertaining audiences with her audacious slam poetry for years. Her new novel-in-verse follows her eponymous heroine through the parks, bars and punk houses of Baltimore as she tries to escape her childhood and build a community for herself. Which, given that all she has to work with is people. isn’t going to be easy.
Marnie Woodrow is a queer Canadian author who has been writing for quite some time. I reviewed an earlier novel of hers, Spelling Mississippi, way back when I was first starting this blog. Her newest novel, Heyday, came out in early September, and here’s what you’ll find in it:
Two lively girls meet aboard a roller coaster in 1909 and develop a special connection. A modern-day woman grieves the loss of her lesbian partner with whom she was not in love. Heyday is a double-barreled novel that features separate story lines set in different eras, both of which explore the soul’s quest for pleasure and the power of love to endure through lifetimes.
Zoe Whittall says this about Heyday: “Heyday is both a fun, parallel romantic romp through time, and a heart-wrenching epic about timeless truths of the heart and the importance of seeking out what thrills us while we can. A stunning book.”
I’ve been asked a few questions recently in my book advice column about books with asexual characters and about asexuality, and there’s a new one that was just released in paperback this month, which looks quite promising: The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker. Looking at a bunch of goodreads reviews, a lot of people have very good things to say about this book, which uses no-nonsense, non-jargony language and is geared towards both asexuals and their allies. Although it incorporates research, it’s mostly informed by personal experience, which, of course, is a con for some people, but a pro for others. Here’s (part of) the publisher’s blurb:
When an asexual person comes out, alarming reactions regularly follow; loved ones fear that an asexual person is sick, or psychologically warped, or suffering from abuse. Critics confront asexual people with accusations of following a fad, hiding homosexuality, or making excuses for romantic failures. And all of this contributes to a discouraging master narrative: there is no such thing as “asexual.” Being an asexual person is a lie or an illness, and it needs to be fixed.
In The Invisible Orientation, Julie Sondra Decker outlines what asexuality is, counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts asexual people’s experiences in context as they move through a very sexualized world. It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships, as well as tips and facts for those who want to understand their asexual friends and loved ones.
Bonus! This book was technically released in the summer (August), but I haven’t read it yet and you probably haven’t either: Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam. I probably can’t explain it any better than the official synopsis, but it sounds FANTASTIC:
A vibrant debut novel, set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, Bright Lines follows three young women and one family struggling to make peace with secrets and their past.
For as long as she can remember, Ella has longed to feel at home. Orphaned as a child after her parents’ murder, and afflicted with hallucinations at dusk, she’s always felt more at ease in nature than with people. She traveled from Bangladesh to Brooklyn to live with the Saleems: her uncle Anwar, aunt Hashi, and their beautiful daughter, Charu, her complete opposite. One summer, when Ella returns home from college, she discovers Charu’s friend Maya—an Islamic cleric’s runaway daughter—asleep in her bedroom.
As the girls have a summer of clandestine adventure and sexual awakenings, Anwar—owner of a popular botanical apothecary—has his own secrets, threatening his thirty-year marriage. But when tragedy strikes, the Saleems find themselves blamed. To keep his family from unraveling, Anwar takes them on a fated trip to Bangladesh, to reckon with the past, their extended family, and each other.
Readers, are there any other LGBTQ+ books coming out this fall that you’re excited about?