Our Queerest Shelves

Playing with Pronouns

I live in the warmest city in Canada. We usually only see a dusting of snow around February. So why is there white on the ground on this, the second week of November?? Absolutely ridiculous. Luckily, there’s no such thing as bad reading weather.

This week, as I think about the people who don’t necessarily have cozy homes to escape the cold in, I want to spotlight The Okra Project. They offer “free, delicious, and nutritious meals to Black Trans people experiencing food insecurity.” You can help out at their donate page.

Bookish Goods

a phot of an I Read Gay Banned Books sticker

I Read Gay Banned Books sticker by DamiAnimatedShop

There’s a lot of “I read banned books” merch, but few of them feature the books getting banned right now: queer books, books about racism and antiracism, and sex ed books. So I appreciate this more specific sticker! $3

New Releases

the cover of The Foghorn Echoes

The Foghorn Echoes by Danny Ramadan (Gay Fiction)

Ten years ago, Hussam and Wassim’s lives are changed forever when they’re caught by Hussam’s father in a romantic moment. Now, Hussam is a refugee in Canada, struggling with a controlling sponsor, but able to be openly gay. Wassim is still in Syria, living on the streets. There, he stumbles on someone else’s buried secrets.

Cover of Even Though I knew the End by C.L. Polk

Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk (Sapphic Historical Fantasy Novella)

From the author of Witchmark and The Midnight Bargain comes a new supernatural noir story. Helen sold her soul to save her brother. Before she spends an eternity in hell, though, she has one shot to have a happily ever after (at least in life) with the woman she loves. All she has to do is find the White City Vampire, a serial killer in Chicago. But she only has three days to do it.

Girlcrush by Florence Given (Bisexual Jekyll & Hyde Retelling)

This I Promise You (Noahverse #4) by Jordon Greene and Kalob Dàniel (M/M Romance)

the cover of The Stars Undying

Christmas Mouse by Rachel Spangler (F/F Holiday Romance)

The Fruit (Wrath & Athenaeum #3) by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun (Gay, M/M Fantasy)

The Last Hero (The First Sister #3) by Linden A. Lewis (Sapphic Fantasy)

The Stars Undying (Empire Without End #1) by Emery Robin (Queer Space Opera)

I Can’t Believe I Slept With You! Vol. 3 by Miyako Miyahara (Yuri Manga)

Holding Space: Life and Love Through a Queer Lens by Ryan Pfluger (Queer Photography)

the cover of My Paati's Saris

The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee (Trans YA Historical)

Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston by Esme Symes-Smith (Nonbinary Middle Grade Fantasy)

My Paati’s Saris by Jyoti Rajan Gopal and Art Twink (Gender Nonconforming Picture Book)

A Song for the Unsung: Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the 1963 March on Washington written by Carole Boston Weatherford and Rob Sanders, illustrated by Byron McCray (Gay Nonfiction Picture Book)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I recently finished listening to the audiobook of Critical Role: The Mighty Nein — The Nine Eyes of Lucien by Madeleine Roux, which came out last week. I didn’t include it in last week’s newsletter because I wasn’t 100% sure if it had queer content or what the representation was. Now that I’ve finished it, though, I can tell you it has a genderfluid pansexual main character!

The main character’s queer identity is only mentioned in passing a few times in the book, and not until about halfway through, but there is another genderfluid side character in the story, and they change pronouns throughout, cycling through she, he, or they depending on the day. It was the first time I’d seen that in a book.

So, this week I’ve decided to highlight some books that use pronouns in ways I rarely see represented.

In the Watchful City cover

In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu

This is an experimental sci-fi story with multiple nonbinary characters, one of whom is also integrated into the city’s security system. The main character, Anima, uses æ/ær/ær pronouns. The other character, Vessel, uses se/ser/ser pronouns.

The Heartbreak Bakery book cover

The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta

This is the first book I’ve read with a main character who doesn’t use pronouns at all, and writing my review afterwards, I realized how difficult I found writing without them. This is a delightful, magical, and oh-so-queer YA book about a baker who accidentally bakes heartbreak into brownies, which cause everyone who eats them to break up.

Meet Cute Diary Book Cover

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

I loved this queer and trans fake dating YA novel — especially the deeply flawed main character. Another thing I appreciated about it was that a side character experiments with different pronouns throughout, which I don’t often see represented in books, though it sure happens a lot in real life!

As always, if there’s a topic you’d like queer books recommendations for, let me know on Twitter and it might be my next Riot Rec!

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Reads: Happy Native American Heritage Month!

10 Fabulous LGBTQ Magical Girl Comics for Queer Readers

When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar was reviewed at Autostraddle

Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk was reviewed at

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi was reviewed at Autostraddle as part of their Queer Naija Lit series

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!