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Rachel’s Reads – June 2023 #PRIDE

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”  – Audre Lorde

Books, like people, come in all types of packages. There are different sizes, lengths, and genres. There are picture books (and graphic novels) where the image takes center stage, and fiction that paints a picture through words. There are those that evaluate large periods of time, and memoirs that tell about a specific moment in time for an individual. Yet across all of the definable differences, all books have the ability to move us not just as humans but also as individuals. For those of us who love to read, we are lucky to have a plethora of books that provide stories of different times, lives, and perspectives. As we enter Pride Month, I wanted to share books that I have loved that put LBGTQ+ people center stage. Below is a list of seven books from seven different genres that show the wonderful range of humanity being celebrated this Pride Month. 

A Very Gay Book: An Inaccurate Resource for Gay Scholars by Jenson Titus and Nic Scheppard
This humor book, published by our own Andrews McMeel, paints a satirical portrait of the world where everything from trees to soup is gay. I thoroughly enjoyed this hilarious and irreverent look at history and everyday culture. 

How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess
This wonderfully illustrated graphic memoir is witty and empowering. It follows Rebecca as they grow up and navigate a culture that places a lot of focus on sex. It moves from school bullying and trying to fit in, to experiencing anxiety, and then, eventually, to coming into their sexual identity. 

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
This debut novel centers around three women: Reese, Katrina, and Amy/Ames. It probes interesting questions about motherhood, fatherhood, queer parenting, along with the making and breaking of relationships. 

The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak by Grace Lau
This beautiful poetry collection tackles a variety of complex issues and identities. Influenced by the Bible, pop culture, technology, and Hong-Kongese history, it meditates on the shapes and forms that love can take. 

Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham by Emily S. Bingham
Written by her great niece, this biography of Henrietta Bingham details her life as a princess of one of the most powerful families of the American South. Almost living the life of a character in a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, she drank and danced her way through love affairs with both men and women. She was selfish, shameless, seductive, and endearing, but ultimately had to deal with the judgment of her affairs with women. 

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
This young adult novel centers around Liz Lighty. Liz decides to campaign for a scholarship awarded to the prom king and queen when her financial aid unexpectedly falls through. As an outsider, she wants nothing less than to run the social gauntlet, but the new girl in school, Mack, makes it bearable. This coming of age story is incredibly sweet. 

¡Hola Papi!: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer
John Paul Brammer is the voice behind the Hola Papi advice column, and that becomes the framework for this collection as each essay answers a question. The answers give insight into John Paul, and how he lives in the many intersections that make him who he is. It effortlessly tackles the complexity of relationships in ways that are vulnerable and funny.

Happy Reading!


Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family in 2019. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).

Bailey Pianalto Photography