Interview with a Queer Reader: Vigdis Talks Reading Boy-on-Boy Yaoi Manga as a Lesbian, Trying to Find Good Queer Books in Norway, and More!

Meet Vigdis, a lesbian reader and writer from Norway! She gave me a really lovely and detailed answer to my “introduce yourself question,” which I thought I would reproduce here:

Well, what can I say? Firstly, I didn’t ‘realize’ I was gay until less than three years ago. For a long time I considered myself bi-curious; I was interested in girls but never knew if I could actually fall in love with one. I fell in love with guys, but I was never comfortable with them, especially in intimate settings, and I guess my feelings wasn’t true love, but just the love you might get for, an actor you really like? Or just someone you find interesting. At the time I just thought I hadn’t found the right one. But then about three years ago I started actively to look for girls to date, and 2.5 years ago I met Siv, and I fell heedlessly in love. That’s when all the pieces fell together. I finally understood why it never worked with guys, and I realized I could never ever go back to them. I had found myself. That relationship didn’t last long though, but shortly after I found the girl of my life, and we are now engaged. My life couldn’t be happier than it is right now.

I’m not actually in any LGBTQ2IA+ communities even so. There was a gay setting where I now live we interacted with for a while, but they seem to have disappeared. I joined the Pride Parade one year and that was great fun, and I would like to do something like that again, and meet other queer folks, even though I do have a few queer friends.

I do not lack hobbies though. After I moved north with my girl, I realized how much I LOVE fishing. When it’s the season, we go fishing all the time. Sadly we have winter a long time up here, and practically go into withdrawal in the winter months as it’s not so easy to go fishing here then. We are however considering making a fishing blog, which would be great fun.

Obviously I also love to read. I’ve always had a huge collection of books, and wish I could have a whole library in my house – which is tricky now as we live in a smaller apartment. In addition to that I love to write, and want to be a published author one day. Even though I am Norwegian I read and write mainly in English, as I find this language so much easier and better. I’ve yet to finish something to publish though, as I’m not always motivated to write, and tend to start on new stories rather than finish other ones. But the hope is there!

As a last mention I’ll say I’m also a gamer. The game I go to the most is World of Warcraft, but I also play lots of other games when the time allows it, like Final Fantasy, Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed.

You can find Vigdis on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Keep reading to hear Vigdis talk about reading boy-on-boy (yaoi) manga as a lesbian, how hard it is to find queer books you’ll really like, looking online for book recommendations, and more!

What was the first LGBTQ2IA+ book(s) you remember reading? How did you end up reading it (i.e., were you searching for queer books or did you just happen across it?)

The first thing I read was actually a longer fan fiction a friend of mine wrote. It was yaoi (boyxboy), and my first introduction to that world. I loved it, and quickly looked up more yaoi stuff. What I mainly read was drawn yaoi, i.e. manga. Is it weird a lesbian girl likes yaoi? I loved it anyway.

What is/are your favourite LGBTQ2IA+ books, and why?

To be honest, I haven’t read many queer books. It’s not that I don’t want to, but I am not sure how to find any good ones. What I have read are mostly collections of short stories, and I haven’t found anything very good there (sadly I do not remember the name of them). So this is a question that is hard to answer. I would love recommendations though!

If we count Manga books though, I have read a lot. This is mainly yaoi again, as I find it so hard to find any good yuri (girlxgirl) manga.

One of my favourites here must be Crimson Spell by Ayano Yamane, a series that is sadly not finished as far as I know. Yellow by Makoto Tateno is also a very good one. Oh, and of course Gravitation by Maki Murakami. Lots of angst but I really like it.

Which LGBTQ2IA+ book have you read that best reflects your experiences as an LGBTQ2IA+ person?

As with the question above, I haven’t read much. I’ve written a few short stories/scenes though, that reflects my own experiences.

Which LGBTQ2IA+ book do you wish you could read but can’t because it doesn’t exist yet?

Maybe it does exist and I just haven’t found it yet? I guess I would want to read something where the queerness so to speak feels all natural. Where it’s not weird or looked down on. Something that is very enjoyable to read.

How do you find LGBTQ2IA+ books? How easy or hard is it in your experience finding the ones that you want to read?

In Norway, I do not think these books are exactly mainstream. I’ve found a couple in bookstores, but it’s hard to find good ones or any at all. I turn to Amazon when I try and find these books, but as I’ve mentioned before I find it difficult to find something I think I’ll enjoy. I read the reviews there, but the few I’ve tried do not meet my expectations. I think there are a lot of books there though, so if I get a recommendation I can download it to my Kindle, which would be very good.

Do you know other LGBTQ2IA+ readers or participate in any LGBTQ2IA+ reading communities (in person or on the Internet)? What’s it like? Why or why not?

I actually haven’t stumbled – or really looked – for any reading communities. I guess I would like to join one if I found a good place though. Of my friends – both queer and not – I don’t think many read these books, as far as I know. My fiancé loves to read, but I’ve yet to see her read a queer book. Though she did have one with short stories she considered throwing away when we moved, but I kept a hold on and am planning to read.

Thanks for sharing with us Vigdis! Okay readers, she is asking for your recommendations (especially ebooks available on Kindle)! Which books do you think Vigdis should read after hearing about her reading tastes?

About CaseytheCanadianLesbrarian

Known in some internet circles as Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, Casey Stepaniuk is a writer and librarian who holds an MA in English literature. She lives and works in the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, BC). Topics and activities dear to her heart include cats, bisexuality, libraries, queer (Canadian) literature, running, and drinking tea. She runs the website Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, where you can find reviews of LGBTQ2IA+ Canadian books, archives of the book advice column Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian, and some other queer, bookish stuff. She also writes for Autostraddle, Book Riot and Inside Vancouver. Find her on Twitter: @canlesbrarian. Some of her old reviews, especially the non-Canadian variety, can be found at the Lesbrary.
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2 Responses to Interview with a Queer Reader: Vigdis Talks Reading Boy-on-Boy Yaoi Manga as a Lesbian, Trying to Find Good Queer Books in Norway, and More!

  1. Alex says:

    I’d recommend River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey. It’s a novella set in an alternate-history USA where the majority (possibly all?) of the ensemble cast is queer and it’s all normal, no one bats an eye. It’s available on Kindle (https://www.amazon.com/River-Teeth-Sarah-Gailey-ebook/dp/B01MRJW3OS)

  2. That’s a lovely interview

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