Rainbow Reading: August 8

Bite-sized reviews of the LGBTQ books I’ve read in the past week. All titles are linked to their Goodreads page.

Between August 1st and 7th, I read:

Honeybee by Trista Mateer (2018)
Genre: poetry
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Mateer is bi
Thoughts: Honeybee is almost a memoir in poems rather than a straightforward poetry collection. Mateer writes about falling in and out of love and moving to a new continent to escape those memories. The back copy talks about “walking away and still feeling like you were walked away from” – the pain of the leaver, rather than the one who was left. There were some very memorable lines. I thought it did get a bit repetitive, but that might be my aro-ness coming out (how much can you say about a breakup??). Overall I liked it, though.

Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers by Anne Balay (2014)
Genre: nonfiction
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Real gay, bi, lesbian, and trans people; Balay is a lesbian
Thoughts: This was a fascinating mix of ethnographic study and the history of the steel industry. I enjoyed the history and background of the industry specifically and working-class America in general as well as the interviews and thoughts of the forty LGBTQ steelworkers that Balay interviewed. Both the dangers of steel work and of being a queer steelworker were harrowing, but the vast majority of the interviewees expressed pride in and satisfaction with their work. Very interesting book and not overly academic.

The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards (2018)
Genre: fantasy
Audience: adult
Queer rep: The MC and an important secondary character are gay or bi; the world is described as one where “exclusive heterosexuality is as rare as exclusive homosexuality”, i.e., everyone is bi
Thoughts: I was hooked by the paragraph-long prologue, but then I got a little bit lost in the first few chapters in terms of the world-building. It is a complex world and I could’ve used a bit more explanation of some of the dynamics up front. But the story kept me reading until I got my bearings a bit. It was quite dark in places, much more so than you’d think from the blurb, but I like dark fantasy. This is the first in a series and I look forward to reading the next book, but this installment wraps up the main story line well – no cliffhangers! There is definitely a lot more to explore though, particularly with regard to Rune’s past.

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne (2018)
Genre: fantasy
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Two of the ensemble main cast are lesbians or bi
Thoughts: I was very disappointed by this. It was a humorous/satirical fantasy, but I found a lot of the humor to be forced – it was trying too hard to be funny, rather than being organically amusing. A lot of it felt like the authors patting themselves on the back about how clever they were being. The humor was often very crude, as well. The more I read the more it all grated on me. I liked a few of the characters, but overall I did not like this book. It’s book one in the Tales of Pell series and I won’t be reading any more.

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White (2018)
Genre: fantasy/sci-fi
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Two of the ensemble main cast are in a same-sex relationship; another is bi
Thoughts: This was fun. I was expecting straight sci-fi, but nearly everyone has magic. Magic and spaceships, what more could you want? Admittedly, there was a bit more murder and graphic violence than I was expecting, but it fit the world-building. The treasure hunt-slash-murder investigation moved along at a good clip and I enjoyed the twists along the way. I’ll be keeping an eye out for book 2 in December.

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