As you may or may not know, I work for Book Riot now! I’ve been writing for them for many years, but now I’m an Associate Editor! It’s basically my dream job, and it’s left me a lot of time for writing. And of course, a lot of that time I’m writing about sapphic books. I haven’t done a great job of letting you know about those posts here, though, so I thought I’d start doing semi-regular round ups of my Book Riot writing, and here it is! I’ll be starting with my most recent posts and then working backwards.
I’ve been writing about bi and lesbian books for more than a decade now, and in that time, there’s been a constant refrain that gets under my skin: “There’s no good lesbian books.” This is often said by readers of M/M books who refuse to read any other queer books, but bafflingly, it’s also frequently said by lesbians. This was frustrating to hear when I first began the Lesbrary, but in 2021 I’m left flabbergasted. We are living in a golden age of queer lit, especially YA, and you’re telling me you can’t find ANY good lesbian books?
For me, one of the best parts about picking up a queer fantasy book is the possibility of being immersed in a world that doesn’t have heteronormativity or cissexism, because you’re building a whole different world, so you don’t have to pack in all of the prejudices from ours! I know there are a lot of people looking for queer fantasy set in worlds without any prejudice towards queer people — also known as “queernormative” or “queernorm” books! So I wanted to provide a place to start.
I interviewed about a dozen BookTubers, including lots of queer BookTubers, about the platform!
For CeCe, BookTube has been a key part of her becoming the person she is today. “When I started my channel I was a closeted incoming college junior who had read two queer books. Now I’m an out and proud lesbian, I make content every day about queer books online, and I make that content about books for a living. I’ve made lasting friendships with other BookTubers, viewers, readers, publishers, authors, and so many other people who love making bookish content.
“Getting good at talking to a camera gave me more confidence to speak in person. It gave me the power to be myself, and gave me the chance to help others. I’ve had the chance to meet several people who watch my channel and I’ve had several encounters with people who have said my videos helped them realize they were queer, or even helped them to come out. The weight of that responsibility isn’t lost on me, but I can’t believe the fact that BookTube has given me the ability to have that kind of impact.
“I have always wanted to create a platform that was about love and kindness and uplifting people. And I absolutely believe that making content that fits these things has made me a happier and more open person. I’ve been able to read hundreds of queer books and explore new worlds and stories I never would have dreamed existed when I was a 15-year-old Mormon kid in Utah.”
In my dream version of this, we have an organized group of online educators (with shared resources to link to) that can be called on when needed. After all, if 4chan and subreddits can organize hateful miseducation campaigns, why can’t there be a version for good? There are talking points for the alt-right and organized ways to try to lure people into white supremacy — why do we not have clear, step-by-step guides for educating people away from falling into these rabbit holes? (And if we do, why aren’t they more well-known and circulated?)
Reading books to educate yourself as an ally is great, but it should be considered just the first stepping stone. Once you have educated yourself, the next step is to educate others. It may be satisfying to tell someone to “just google it” and be righteous in knowing more than they do — but it doesn’t do much to move the needle. That requires patience and persistence, not smug superiority.
Sappho, the original Lesbian poet! She is the namesake of not only lesbians, but sapphics in general. Truly a queer icon. While we know almost nothing about her except that she lived on Lesbos, wrote poetry, and professed love for women, her legacy has lived on for thousands of years — as she predicted: “someone in some future time will think of us.”
These days, Sappho is most well-known for her love of women. In fact, her name is synonymous with it. Wearing a shirt with Sappho on it is more likely to be seen as announcing your sexuality than appreciating an ancient Greek poet. It’s worth remembering why she rose to such levels of fame, though: her poetry resonates even now. If you aren’t already familiar, read some of Sappho’s poetry to see for yourself! Then you can move on to more lesbian poetry.
Whether you love Sappho’s poetry or just want to add some lesbian/Lesbian flair to your wardrobe and decor, these Sappho accessories will be the perfect addition. They range from art to clothing to stickers and pins, letting you bring a bit of Sappho with you everywhere you go.
More of my Book Riot posts:
These ones aren’t focused on sapphic books, but maybe you’ll find them interesting anyways.
- Books About Indian Residential Schools In Canada: Fiction and Nonfiction and Picture Books To Teach Children About Residential Schools
- Goodreads Announces Its Top 48 Hit Books of the Year So Far
- Books Don’t Have To Explain Themselves To You (This post and Reading Hard Books Is Good, Actually were both inspired by The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo, which I reviewed here.)
- John Green’s Lifework, Reviewed On a 5 Star Scale
- Overanalyzing Every Book in TED LASSO to Predict Season 2
- The Books That Changed My Life the Most Weren’t Very Good
- My Quick and Easy 34-Step Strategy for Making BookTube Videos