Happy #BiVisibilityDay! Yeah, yeah, 2016 isn’t over yet but I’m pretty sure these books are still gonna be some of my favourites at the end of the year. These book are all either written by bi/pan authors and/or have bi/pan main characters. Tell me about any bi+ books you’ve read this year and loved in the comments!
Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming
I just finished listening to the audiobook version of this memoir, read by the author. The narrating was just as amazing as I’d expected, given that Cumming is a seasoned actor AND has a Scottish accent. What more could you ask for from a narrator, really? It’s a fascinating and sometimes brutal book about Cumming’s relationship with his abusive father and how being asked to appear on a celebrity genealogy show opened up more than one can of worms in his family history. Throughout it’s lovely to hear a bisexual person talk about his life (his ex-wife, his current husband) as if it’s just all normal and no big deal. He even refers to himself using the “b word.” Swoon!
All Inclusive by Farzana Doctor
This is a character-driven novel about Ameera, a woman in her late twenties who’s been living in Mexico and working in the tourist / travel industry for years. Since Ameera arrived, she’s discovered she’s bisexual and enjoys having sex with (mostly man-woman, but sometimes woman-woman) couples, many of whom identify as swingers. She’s from Hamilton, ON and was raised by a single (white) mother, having had an absent (Indian) father. All the good things in her life aside, she is totally lost. It’s such a joy to watch her slowly reconnect with herself and her history as the novel progresses. It’s also remarkable to watch Doctor tackle issues like all-inclusive resorts, bisexuality, swinging and polyamory, spirituality, death, and terrorism, somehow making it all work in the same book.
Corona by Bushra Rehman
Corona—referencing the neighbourhood in Queens, NY, not the Mexican beer—is a “novel” that to me feels more like a collection of inter-related short stories about Razia, a young bisexual Pakistani-American Muslim woman, at different stages in her life. It’s beautifully written, for one thing: “Ravi was sitting in a corner, apart from the crowd. He was going back to India in less than a year, so everything he observed was for the warehouse of his mind. He’d seal the box, label it ‘My Time in America,’ and draw stories from it now and then to entertain the literary crowd in Delhi. That was the night I fell into the box.” There’s a great sense of place, character, and emotion in the book, and damn is it also really funny sometimes, even amidst sadness.
Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald
A graphic memoir about growing up in the late 80s and 90s, Long Red Hair should incite lots of nostalgia for queer girls of that generation: it’s full of pop culture references of the time, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Meags is a kid interested in spooky stuff, so there are also sleepover games like Bloody Mary, séances, and dressing up as witches featured throughout. Coming out is another focus, and young Meags describes the process in perfect teenage agony: “I just want to be gay or straight. Being bisexual is way too confusing … If I’m bi that means I don’t have a soulmate and I’ll never be satisfied loving just one person for the rest of my life. It’d be like … a curse.” The memoir is also a meditation on relationships and the potentials of celibacy. Bonus!: the sepia-toned art is gorgeous.