I’m Done With 3 Star Queer Books

At Book Riot, I write a weekly LGBTQ books newsletter called Our Queerest Shelves! Every week, I round up the most interesting queer bookish links from around the internet plus the newest LGBTQ posts on Book Riot, highlight some of the week’s queer new releases, and talk about whatever queer bookish topics that come to mind.

Our Queerest Shelves sign up form

This week (the post going out today), I talked about why I’m done with reading 3 star queer books. If you’d like to keep up with the latest queer book news and new releases–and you want to help ensure I can keep writing these every week!–sign up for it here.

Our Queerest Shelves: My Weekly LGBTQ Newsletter

As you may or may not know, I now work full time at Book Riot, where I have been writing for years. It’s truly a dream come true! One of the things I do there is write Our Queerest Shelves, a weekly newsletter about queer books that just launched in June! It’s kind of a mash-up of things I’ve been doing already, but looking at all kinds of queer rep, not just sapphic books. If you’re interested in LGBTQ lit in general, consider signing up!

Every week, I round up the most interesting queer bookish links from around the internet plus the newest LGBTQ posts on Book Riot, highlight some of the week’s queer new releases, and talk about whatever queer bookish topics that come to mind. This week (the newsletter going out today!), I talked about illustrated LGBTQ primers, like the Pocket Change Collective. Last week, I discussed how all my favorite books as a kid turned out to be queer (looking at you, Baby-Sitters Club!)

I’m really enjoying writing it, so I hope you sign up to another place I talk about queer books all day! (Podcasts, videos, blogs, newsletters–I’m slowly collecting every format possible.)

My Latest Sapphic Book Riot Posts

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.

A Pinterest pin reading If you say there are no good lesbian books, you're bad at picking books.

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?

If You Say There are No Good Lesbian Books, You’re Bad at Picking Books

Tree surrounded by phosphorescent mushrooms

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.

Queernorm Worlds: 35 Fantasy Books With No Homophobia or Transphobia

A Pinterest pin reading The Past, Present, and Future of BookTube, According to BookTubers

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.”

The Past, Present, and Future of BookTube, According to BookTubers

A photo of a sign at a protest reading Step 1 of being an ally is showing up

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.

It’s Not Enough To Educate Yourself as an Ally. You Also Have to Teach.

Pinterest pin of a collage of Sappho accessories and decor

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.

Suffering Sappho! Sappho of Lesbos Decor and Accessories to Collect

More of my Book Riot posts:

These ones aren’t focused on sapphic books, but maybe you’ll find them interesting anyways.