To mark Pride Month in June, Bookshop recently asked independent bookshops across the UK for their top LGBT+ books to read throughout the month.
Bookshop is a site that empowers book buyers to financially support independent bookshops when shopping online.
Strangely, the fabulous gay coming-of-age travel adventure Changing Trains isn’t on the list, but we’re sure that’s just an oversight, right? It was written by Mediashotz Editor Mark Johnson, and is a colourful retelling of an Interrail trip across Europe in the 1980s.
The book-buying site hosts curated lists created by independent booksellers for those who are looking for new, inspiring books to read.
For Pride they’re recommending titles spanning novels by LGBT+ authors, LGBT+ stories, queer poetry, graphic novels, educational non-fiction, and LGBT+ books for children.
Nicola from Children’s Bookshop (Lindley, Huddersfield), an inclusive children’s bookshop which came to life more than 45 years ago, offers a wide range of LGBTQ+ titles for children and young people:
“It’s vitally important that our children and young people grow up valuing the richness and diversity of our communities”, Nicola said.
Meanwhile, in The Girl With Two Dads by Mel Elliott (age 3 – 5), Pearl is looking forward to going to Matilda’s house for tea, as Matilda has two Dad’s which sounds super exciting.
However, she discovers that it is not much different from home, same rules, healthy food for tea, in fact they’re a bit boring, just like her own Mum and Dad.
Imogen from Mostly Books (Abingdon), a friendly, independent bookshop located in the heart of Oxfordshire who won an Independent Bookshop Innovation Award in 2018, recommends The Outrage by William Hussey for YA, a queer 1984-style dystopian appealing to young readers.
Rosie from the not-for-profit bookshop making space for marginalised voices, Shelflife Books & Zines (Cardiff), suggests trying some graphic novels this Pride Month: Our Work is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Trans Resistance by Syan Rose; Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe; and I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy.
Her non-fiction recommendations include A Little Gay History of Wales by Daryl Leeworthy; The Bi-Ble, edited by Lauren Nickodemus and Ellen Desmond; Life Isn’t Binary by Meg-John Barker and Alex Iantaffi; In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado; and Close to the Knives by David Wojnarowicz.
For fiction, Rosie recommends Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto; Pet by Akwaeke Emezi; The Seep by Chana Porter; Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Riviera, illustrated by Celia Moscote; and Lot by Bryan Washington.
Lighthouse Books (Edinburgh) is a queer-owned and women-led independent community bookshop, named Scotland’s Best Independent Bookshop in 2020.
Unapologetically activist, intersectional, feminist, antiracist, LGBT+ they feature over 10,000 titles for readers of all ages. On their Bookshop.org page, they feature a number of LGBT+ related lists, including It’s A Sin: Queer British History, Our Stories and Trans Lives, Loves, Living.
Nicole Vanderbilt, Managing Director of Bookshop UK, said: “Bookshop.org is all about real people and real love for books, bringing a human touch to online shopping.
“We believe the personal recommendations you get from booksellers are one of the key reasons why it’s so important to support indies.
“Humans who have read, responded to and recommended books will always be a better way into books than algorithms alone.
“We are excited to share the recommended reads for Pride Month from some of our indies, and we hope they’ll inspire, entertain, and further the understanding and empathy of readers of all ages.”