Final Bibliographies

Over the Rainbow Short List 2022

The shortlist of titles considered for the Over the Rainbow final bibliography for books published in 2022 are the following:

All My Friends are Invisible. Jonathan Joly. Quercus Publishing, 2022. When Jonathan Joly has what might be described as a hallucination in a crowded airport, he is prompted to recall the world of imagination he escaped into as a child, a world in which he had a friend in the girl who lived inside of him, and his reasons for doing so. Joly does not interrogate his experiences, but rather relates them openly, and reveals that the world of his imagination, and his invisible friends, continue to be a part of his reality. 

All the Things We Don’t Talk About. Amy Feltman. Grand Central Publishing, 2022. Feltman weaves a multiperspective story that is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming. The diverse cast of characters feel incredibly real as they tackle serious issues such as drug addiction, neurodivergence, gender, and sex. 

Asylum: A Memoir & Manifesto. Edafe Okporo. Simon & Schuster, 2022. Forced to flee his home in Nigeria after he is revealed to be a gay man, Edafe Okporo escapes to the United States and seeks asylum from persecution due to his sexual identity. What he encounters in the United States is a cell, and a system that does not work for the humane treatment and integration of immigrants and refugees. Asylum is the story of Okporo’s survival, but also a call to action, and a vision of a more compassionate system. 

Bi: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, and Nonbinary Youth. Ritch C. Savin-Williams. NYU Press, 2022. In its examination of a queer population often misunderstood, this book answers questions that many readers may have about bisexuality. With real-world examples and historical backing, Savin-Williams weaves one of, if not the most, comprehensive guide on bisexuality currently available.  

The Boy with a Bird in His Chest: A Novel. Emme Lund. Atria Books, 2022. Owen always knew he was different; after all, he was born with a bird in his chest. For so long his bird and his mother are Owen’s only companions. Then one day Owen’s mother leaves him with his uncle for his own protection and suddenly it seems like the whole wide world is open to him. Overwhelmed, afraid, and completely curious, Owen begins to explore. This allegorical tale of magical realism tells a story of Owen’s coming of age and coming out. Exploring themes of belonging, isolation, found family, sexuality, and identity, The Boy with a Bird in His Chest is both somber and delightful, unexpected and universal, without being cliché. 

Burn the Page: A True Story of Torching Doubts, Blazing Trails, and Ignite Change. Danica Roem. Viking Publishing, 2022. As the first openly transgender member elected to the U.S. State Legislature, Roem’s memoir is part reflective and part manifesto. Roem describes herself as a transgender storyteller, and this memoir reads like a novel, entwining the stories of Roem’s childhood, transition, and political life. Striking a good balance between humor and politics, Burn the Page has a message that is ultimately hopeful, showing that while we all make mistakes, it is possible for an individual to change the world for the better by sharing their authentic self.

Burning My Roti: Breaking Barriers as a Queer Indian Woman. Sharan Dhaliwal. Hardie Grant, 2022. Burning My Roti is a visually stunning blended-genre book which looks at the experience of queer South Asian women through essays, interviews and illustrations. Part memoir, this is both a broad look at the issues queer South Asian women face, as well as Dhaliwal’s own reckoning with her role in confronting those systems.  

Boys Come First. Aaron Foley. Belt Publishing, 2022. Dominick, Tony, and Remy have been friends for years. Growing up gay and Black in Detroit, when you find your crew, you stick with them; even when it gets hard and even when you have to tell them about themselves. There aren’t many books that embrace and celebrate Black male friendship, discuss intimate partner abuse in gay relationships, and tackle neighborhood gentrification all at once. This book does all that and more, and does it well.

Dead collections. Isaac Fellman. Penguin Books, 2022. Being a transmasculine archivist and a vampire can leave Sol Katz feeling like life is stagnant and unchanging, forever frozen in the early days of transitioning and living in the archives surrounded by remnants of times gone by. When the widow Elsie enters his life, Sol finds himself seeing life in a whole new way. As the two work together unraveling Elsie’s wife’s memorabilia, the two find themselves in a whirlwind romance, which may just be what they both need to heal their hearts. Delightfully humorous while being as real as a vampire novel can be, Dead Collections explores sexuality, gender, identity, and belonging in a way that is unexpectedly charming and heartfelt. 

Fine: A Comic about Gender. Rhea Ewing. Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2022. An honest look at how one’s gender definition can be different from person to person depending on everything from personality, religion, culture, to upbringing. With a diverse mix of authentic perspectives, this book shows that there is an unlimited number of ways to define oneself.

Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith. Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer. Harry N. Abrams, 2022. Following the life of author Patrcia Highsmith as she navigates a world filled with sexism, homophobia, and her own self-doubt, this graphic novel is for all readers regardless if they know her work or not. Not only does it paint the picture of a hard-working and strong woman who made her way in the world and stood up for what she believed in, but it inspires others to do the same.

The Gender Identity Guide for Parents: Compassionate Advice to Help Your Child Be Their Most Authentic Self. Tavi Hawn. Rockridge Press, 2022.  Written by a licensed therapist, Hawn answers many of the questions potential parents may have about gender. The writing is compassionate and kind as it guides readers through scenarios they may encounter, stressing how no one individual has all the answers but that a willingness to listen and learn can go a long way. 

Girl’s Guide to Leaving. Laura Villareal. University of Wisconsin, 2022. Many struggle everyday with how to leave. Leave a relationship, leave home, leave family. How does one separate themselves from something that is harming them, especially when it is rooted in love? Girl’s Guide to Leaving is a collection of poems that tell the story of finding identity in culture, and community in identifying and letting go. It calls out abusive systems without shying away from the reality of trauma and connection, of loving what you fear and holding what you want to let go of.  

I’m So (Not) Over You. Kosoko Jackson. Berkeley, 2022. Kian Andrews is single and ready to mingle. Except, he’s really not. He’s still stinging from his breakup with his ex Hudson Rivers, who, conveniently, needs his help. Hudson’s old money parents are in town, and he needs Kian to pretend to still be his boyfriend. The next thing they know, Kian is invited to a Rivers family wedding, and neither man is ready for what forced proximity will do to their not-real-anymore relationship. A big-hearted second chance romantic comedy that reminds readers that what you want and what you need are often different things, and that asking for them is not a bad thing.

Like a House on Fire. Lauren McBrayer. GP Putnam’s Sons, 2022. Merit has been a dutiful wife and mother for twelve years, and now she’s ready to jump into her career again. When her new boss Jane seems to see her as a whole person, in a way she hasn’t been seen in years, Merit begins to be open to the possibility of a deeper relationship than she’s known. This is a trope-heavy read with great character development, and a relationship experience that is not often explored.  

Love & Other Disasters. Anita Kelly. Forever, 2022. In this classic contemporary romance you follow two contestants on a cooking show competition. Dahlia just got out of a terrible marriage and put her hopes and dreams on this trip through reality TV. London is nonbinary and has to deal with the fallout of coming out on national TV while still trying to win the competition. Sparks fly between them, complicating matters even worse. Will they be able to figure out their relationship before the competition is over?  

Love in the Big City. Sang Young Park, translated by Anton Hur. Grove Press, 2021. A gay millennial experiences love and loneliness in Seoul. Told in four parts, the author explores topics of family, homophobia, sex, HIV status, and activism.

Ma and Me: A Memoir. Putsata Reang. MCD, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2022. This beautifully written memoir alternates between the author’s own story growing up in Oregon, coming out, and finding her way professionally as a journalist, and her mother’s story of escaping genocidal war in Cambodia. The author describes her deep desire to please her mother, while struggling with living between two cultures and coming to terms with her own sexuality. 

Miss Memory Lane: A Memoir. Colton Hayes. Atria Books, 2022. Detailing his start as a small-town kid wanting more, to his time as a well-known television actor, this book reads like a confessional. Hayes’s writing is honest and full of heart as he tells what is like being a gay actor in Hollywood.

Monarch. Candace Wuehle. Soft Skull, 2022. An examination of what it means to be human and how even the hidden parts of ourselves can bring immense changes. Wuehle weaves an immersive and intricate story, covering a range of emotions from love and loss to hatred and uncertainty.

The Other Mother. Rachel M. Harper. Counterpoint, 2022. A family drama told from multiple perspectives. A lesbian couple in the 90’s use a sperm donor to have a baby. After they split up the birth mother abandons the other mother and hides her existence from the child, Jenry. Jenry goes to college expecting to meet his estranged grandfather and learn about his dead father, but discovers more about his family than he could have ever expected. The novel eloquently poses the question: what makes someone family: blood or love?

Our Colors. Gengoroh Tagame. Pantheon, 2022. This tender graphic novel follows 16-year-old Sora Ikeda as he discovers the possibility of living as an out gay man. He sparks an unlikely friendship with an older coffee shop owner, who helps him understand that being out and proud comes with challenges, but it is much better than the alternative. Tagame’s precise lines still allow the story to sing, imbuing a dream-like quality to this gentle coming-of-age.

Our Wives Under the Sea. Julia Armfield. Flatiron Books, 2022.
Miri and Leah are in love and living a happily married life, until Leah leaves on a mysterious deep-sea journey and returns months later profoundly changed. Alternating between the perspectives of the two women, this hauntingly strange novel slowly reveals the bizarre story of what happened to Leah in the ocean depths, and what Miri must do to save the woman she loves. 

Queer Conception: The Complete Fertility Guide for Queer and Trans Parents-to-Be. Kristin L. Kali. Sasquatch Books, 2022. Comprehensive yet approachable title on fertility and conception for all of the LGBTQ+ community including trans* readers. Written by a queer midwife, topics range from making the decision to have a baby to dealing with issues of sperm donors, surrogacy, insemination, early pregnancy, and lactation.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Asexuality. Molly Muldoon and Will Hernandez. Limerence Press, 2022. This graphic novel covers a community that is often misunderstood and lost in today’s sexual world. With humor and plenty of examples, this book breaks down misconceptions to foster understanding.

Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington. James Kirchick. Henry Holt and Company, 2022. A riveting look at gay Washington DC and the fight for equality – from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. Well documented.

Sedating Elaine. Dawn Winter. Knopf Publishing Group, 2022. Frances is in over her head, in more ways than one, and decides the best solution to her problems is to sedate her girlfriend while attempting to evade her drug dealer. Yes, this story is as ridiculous as it sounds, but it is also riotously funny, well-written, irreverent, and at times outright gruesome, with characters that jump off the page with almost no prompting.   

Sex is as Sex Does: Governing Transgender Identity. Paisley Currah. NYU Press, 2022. This comprehensive book is not weighed down by overly jargonized terminology or statistics as it discusses a serious issue for many transgender individuals: how the government regulates gender. Using real-world examples, Sex is as Sex Does details not only the history of gender regulations but also the “why” of it, all of which accumulates in a book that shows the process as the convoluted and often painful mess that it is.

Siren Queen. Nghi Vo. TorDotCom, 2022. Luli Wei knows what girls that look like her end up doing in the movies, and she’s determined to be none of those things – she’s going to be a star. But becoming a star in a world that survives on the currency of the expendable masses reaching for glory requires more than a pretty face and a little luck. It will take allies, cunning, ruthless ambition and an iron fortitude. It will take a monster. Nghi Vo has crafted a world that is recognizable and utterly unfamiliar. This is a book that dwells somewhere between satire and horror, and situated firmly within queerness. It brings to mind questions about secrecy, about the price we’re willing to pay to live authentically, what we’re willing to do to be free, and what paying those prices will do to us.

Sirens & Muses. Antonia Angress. Ballantine Books, 2022. Young art students Louisa, Karina, and Preston plunge headfirst into the New York art world amidst Occupy Wall Street, while veteran artist Robert rejoins it. Tensions abound over talent, taste, romances, and capitalism in the art world.

The Third Person. Emma Grove. Drawn and Quarterly, 2022. A raw memoir of the author’s mental health struggle through bad therapists and self-doubt. With authentic storytelling, this graphic novel addresses how harmful stigmatizing mental health can be as well as the potential damage gatekeeping can be during a transgender person’s transition process.

Walk Me to the Corner. Anneli Furmark. Drawn and Quarterly, 2022. A late-in-life queer love story beautifully conveyed with fairly simple text and pictures, and sometimes no text at all. Furmark allows us to walk with these two women in their fifties as they fall in love, develop a passionate relationship, and navigate that passion with their lives as spouses and parents. It is an emotional journey related with compassion and realism.

You Better Be Lightning. Andrea Gibson. Button Poetry, 2022. You Better be Lightning is a collection of poetry that touches on the deeply personal while seeming to remain vast in scope. To say it is evocative fails to capture the experience of reading Gibson, which is akin to beginning to shake the hand of a friend only to have them pull you close in an enveloping hug.  

Young Mungo. Douglas Stuart. Grove Press, 2022. The story of Mungo, a teenager in early 1990s Glasgow, Scotland. The book flashes between the time when Mungo discovers his feelings for a boy, James and starts to explore that relationship and five months later to a disastrous camping trip to a loch in Western Scotland that his mother sends him on with two neighbors. Mungo faces challenges due to not only his sexuality, but his class, a gang leader brother, an absentee and alcoholic mother, and an undiagnosed facial tic. The book elegantly captures the complicated feelings of a teen boy in a terrible situation. CW: sexual violence. 


2021 Over the Rainbow Fiction and Poetry Longlist

After Rubén. Francisco Aragón. Red Hen Press, 2020. Poems and essays inspired by and in conversation with Nicaraguan writer Rubén Darío.

Amora: Stories. Natalia Borges Polesso, translated by Julia Sanches. Amazon Crossing, 2020. The translations in this book are about love between women in various types of relationships. The strength of these stories is in the everyday life writing, the capture of truths in daily moments.

Box Hill: A story of low self-esteem. Mars-Jones, Adam. New Directions, 2020. On his eighteenth birthday, awkward, clueless Colin literally stumbles upon the confident Ray, a motorcycle-riding “daddy,” 10 years his senior, and thus begins a transformative relationship. On the surface, Box Hill is a sexy gay-male romance about a dominant-submissive relationship, but told with a depth and humor that make it a unique and moving coming-of-age tale.

Cut to Bloom. Arhm Choi Wild. Write Bloody Publishing, 2020. This poem collection looks to explore identities, that of a Korean American and of a queer person. This collection dives into the devastation of trauma and the process by which one can recover and bloom from those same wounds.

The Death of Vivek Oji. Akwaeke Emezi. Riverhead Books, 2020. This novel told from multiple perspectives looks back on the events that lead up to the death of Vivek Oji. The book showcases the experiences of characters with various queer identities in modern day Nigeria and illustrates how efforts to protect can sometimes be as damaging as any threat.

Dispatch: Poems. Cameron Awkward-Rich. Persea, 2019. Poems offered through the lens of the poets that came before, to explore bodies and self navigating a world of violence and disruption.

The Foley Artist: Stories. Ricco Villanueva Siasoco. Gaudy Boy, 2020.  Nine short stories that explore the intersectional identities of the Filipino diaspora in America as they interrogate intimacy, foreignness, and silence in an absurd world.

The Gospel of Breaking. Christmas, Jillian. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020. A deeply-felt, wide-ranging collection of poetry, taking on topics of racism, politics, love, and family history.  Fierce and funny, the book is a celebratory, revelatory word-fest.

Guillotine: Poems. Eduardo C. Corral. Graywolf Press, 2020. Poems exploring gay male life and the experiences of migrants trying to enter America.

Harrow the Ninth. Tamsyn Muir., 2020. Harrowhawk Nonagesimus is the last necromancer of the Ninth House and, as such, has been drafted into an unwinnable war. Now she must become a perfect angel of death even while her health and mind seem to be simultaneously failing her and her own weapon seems to be making her sick. To truly summarize this book in a few words, it is gothic lesbian necromancers in space and all of the drama that comes with such an epic story.

Homesick: Stories. Nino Cipri. Dzanc Books, 2019. An eclectic mix of short stories across genres from romance to horror to science fiction that includes multiple queer identities and characters across the gender spectrum.

Homie: Poems. Danez Smith. Graywolf Press, 2020.  Poetry that explores queerness, friendship, family, illness, race, and death in America.

Indigo. Ellen Bass. Copper Canyon Press, 2020. Indigo’s poems roll off of the tongue and materialize in the mind. Thought-provoking and honest, this work will make you re-evaluate all of your relationships with others and yourself. Clear and precise, Bass poses questions while conjuring eternal themes of life, death, love, and yes, food.

Invisible Kingdom, Volume 1: Walking the Path. G. Willow Wilson with artist Christian Ward. Berger Books, 2019. This sci-fi saga focuses on two very different sects of one society and a small rogue spaceship on the run from both. It also draws the focus on two women from very different backgrounds and how their fates collide and connect with each other — and how the knowledge they unveil could change the very core of their society.

Junebat. John Elizabeth Stintzi. House of Anansi Press, 2020. This collection is a journey through identity exploration, specifically gender, of folding and unfolding, of becoming, of others seeing what you see or feel, and all the emotions and self-doubt that can go along with it. Also featured are a curious junebat, and Hale-Bopp, the queer cactus.

Little Blue Encyclopedia (For Vivian). Plante, Hazel Jane. Metonymy Press, 2019. The narrator, mourning the loss of her beloved friend Vivian, begins a project of writing about Vivian’s favorite TV show, the fictional Little Blue, as a way of remembering and memorializing her friend. Writing about the TV show in encyclopedic form provides a framework for a deep dive into the show, which reveals the life of her friend all the more. Unconventional in form, yet highly readable; playful and with a love of pop culture, the book is a celebration of friendship between trans women.

The Malevolent Volume. Justin Phillip Reed. Coffee House Press, 2020.
Reed’s works are in conversation with other poems, mythology, and effuse emotion and experience.

Plain Bad Heroines. Emily M. Danforth. William Morrow, 2020. A queer, feminist horror-comedy centered on the deaths of five young women at a cursed New England boarding school for girls and the horror film now being shot on the school grounds.

The Prettiest Star. Carter Sickels. Hub City Press, 2020. In the final stages of AIDS, Brian Jackson returns to his small Ohio hometown from New York City in 1986 after a six year absence. The story is told in shifting perspectives from Brian, his mother, and his younger sister. The book showcases the fullness of life in the throes of illness and the potential and limits for growth and forgiveness.

Real Life. Brandon Taylor. Riverhead Books, 2020. Wallace is a young, black man from Alabama attending a Midwestern university to earn his biochem degree. Wallace also happens to be queer. These facts have led to him being understandably distanced even within his circle of friends until the events of one weekend threaten that distance as well as expose very real threats. This book discusses homophobia and racism in a very real way while also delving deeply into the helplessness and trauma that can come along with those experiences.

The Seep. Porter, Chana. Soho Press, 2020. Not your typical alien invaders, The Seep, have brought not destruction, but utopia, to Earth. Trina Goldberg-Oneka, a fifty-year-old trans woman, and her wife Deeba, are living a seemingly nice life under The Seep, with capitalism gone and where anything seems possible, until Deeba decides she wants to be reborn which, yes, is possible. Heartbroken at the loss of Deeba, and questioning utopia, Trina goes on a quest to save a lost boy from The Seep.

Shine Of The Ever. Foster, Claire Rudy. Interlude Press, 2019. Set in Portland in the 1990s, and described as a “literary mixtape,” Shine of the Ever is a collection of witty, bittersweet vignettes about characters young and queer, searching for love and community, making mistakes and sometimes succumbing to insecurities, yet doing it all in style.

The Subtweet. Vivek Shraya. ECW Press, 2020. The story starts with one musician covering the song of another, leading to a friendship that strains when one becomes more famous than the other. The author shows how texts and social media can complicate relationships, and how music can unite and divide.

This Town Sleeps. Dennis E. Staples. Counterpoint, 2020. A romantic mystery, with a supernatural twist, set on an Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota, involving Marion, a midtwenties gay Ojibwe man, and his old high school classmate, the closeted, and white, Shannon. Drawn back to his hometown for reasons he can’t explain, Marion enters into a complicated relationship with Shannon, and becomes entangled in the mystery of another classmate who was murdered years earlier.

Thrown in the Throat. Benjamin Garcia. Milkweed Editions, 2020. A fantastic debut of poetry by the son of Mexican immigrants breaks down the walls and boldly questions who belongs—in closets or in countries—and how and why do either exist?

Upright Women Wanted. Sarah Gailey. Tom Doherty Associates/Tor, 2020. An amazingly queer romp into an imagined future American Southwest which follows a stowaway young woman and the antifascist librarians that she runs away with.

Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery. Rosalie Knecht. Tin House Books, 2020.  After losing her job and having her girlfriend leave her, Vera Kelly sets up a private detective agency and her first case involves a lost foster child, political intrigue and the internal workings of the Dominican community in the US.

You Exist Too Much. Zaina Arafat. Catapult, 2020. A story told in vignettes that goes between the U.S. and the Middle East while following the life of a Palestinian-American woman who when she comes out as queer to her mother is simply told that she exists too much. This book is a powerful look into queerness, trauma, mental, illness, and familial relationships as well as how all of these things affect someone’s search for love.

Honorable mentions

  • Boyfriend Material. Alexis Hall. Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2020.
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea. TJ Klune. Tor Books, 2020.
  • The Kill Club. Wendy Heard. Mira Books, 2019.


2021 Over the Rainbow Nonfiction Longlist

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex. Angela Chen. Beacon Press, 2020. An exploration of what asexuality means and what it reveals about a society that is obsessed with sex. Chen includes a diverse range of identities, and is frank about the book’s biases and why these biases exist.

Angry Queer Somali Boy: A Complicated Memoir. Mohamed Abdulkarim Ali. University of Regina Press, 2019. Ali writes about coming of age while being traumatically uprooted to Abu Dhabi, The Netherlands, and Canada.  The writing is compelling and jarring, offering unique perspectives on immigration, homelessness, addiction, and loss.

Archiving an Epidemic: Art, AIDS, and the Queer Chicanx Avant-Garde. Robb Hernádez. New York University Press, 2019. Even in 2020 we are learning lessons of AIDS’ impact on queer culture. In Archiving an Epidemic, Hernández coins the theory Archival Body/archival Space and reimagines the Chicanx Avant-Garde movement in a queer way and artists’ works as Mexican American memorials. As we are currently in another pandemic, this book provides evidence and memory of what was lost during the AIDS epidemic.

The Art of Drag. Jake Hall. Artwork by Sofie Birkin, Hellen Li, Jashyot, Dingh Hans. Nobrow Ltd, 2020. This beautifully illustrated, hand-sized book takes the reader through a pictorial history of drag, providing brief, reference-like written entries to how drag has been perceived, experienced and has influenced throughout history. Whether it be activism or pop culture, this book celebrates the diversity and queerness of drag.

Before Trans: Three Gender Stories from Nineteenth-Century France. Rachel Mesch. Stanford University Press, 2020. Mesch discusses “trans before trans” and “gender before gender” in this thought-provoking book. Are the ways that we understand gender and the ways that gender has been placed on others the way that those in history experienced it? Unlikely, but Mesch provides detailed research and analysis to help us understand why.

Female Husbands: A Trans History. Jen Manion. Cambridge University Press, 2020.Were women assigned female at birth who took on male roles and were deemed “female husbands” lesbians or transgender? Manion looks at these earliest accounts of queerness that have been told through the lesbian or intimacy between women lens of sexuality, and instead examines these accounts through the lens of gender. How do we make meaning of people and relationships that existed far before the labels we now use? There may be no decisive answer by Female Husbands gives us a lot to consider.

Figure It Out. Written by Wayne Koestenaum. Soft Skull, 2020. This book of brief essays is perfect reading for the times we find ourselves in. How can a text be about nothing and everything at the same time? Introspective stories on things that commonly ground us and bind us together are awaiting.

Gender: A Graphic Guide. Meg-John Barker. Icon Books, 2020.  An excellent introduction to many facets of gender, explained with sensitivity and clarity.  The writing and illustrations are accessible and enlightening without feeling pedantic.  For an introduction, this title covers a lot of ground, including contemporary topics like geek masculinities, trans time, the #MeToo movement, and the #ThisIsWhatNonBinaryLooksLike hashtag.

Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America. R. Eric Thomas. Ballantine Books, 2020. A hilarious memoir about growing up as a gay Christian Black man in the US. The contents range from poignant and personal essays to witty viral Facebook posts.

A History of My Brief Body. Billy-Ray Belcourt. Two Dollar Radio, 2020.  Billy-Ray’s memoir details his early life in the Driftpile First Nation community, sexual exploration and identity, using writing as a survival technique, and love and loss.

Imagining Queer Methods. Edited by Matt Brim and Amin Ghaziani. New York University Press, 2019. This collection of innovative works in the field of queer scholarship aims to showcase the newly emerging field of queer studies. The works in the books cover a diverse array of topics from race studies to psychology to scientific appeals to many more. Brim and Ghaziana have done an incredible job of collecting these scholars into one volume that allows the reader to get an in-depth look into what queer theory is and what it could be.

Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America’s First Celebrity. Tana Wojczuk. Avid Reader Press, 2020.Did you know that America’s first international celebrity was a tomboy and a lesbian? Wojczuk’s Lady Romeo tells the story of famous nineteenth century actress Charlotte Cushman, who played male characters in Europe and across the United States including Romeo on the London stage. This short, but compelling, read takes the reader through the life of Cushman’s career, her relationships with lovers, and a time when Shakespeare was the original binge watching.

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir. Jenn Shapland. Tin House, 2020. While working as an intern in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Jenn Shapland encounters the love letters between Carson McCullers and a woman named Annemarie. The result is this book, an interweaving of a new biography of McCullers, the story of how Shapland approached her research, and a memoir of the way Shapland’s efforts to understand McCullers brought her closer to understanding herself. The result brings the reader into intimate contact both with Carson McCullers and with the author herself, as the uncovering of McCullers’ queer identity mirrors Shapland’s own self-examination.

Something That May Shock and Discredit You. Daniel Lavery. Atria Books, 2020. A delightful mix of transmasculine memoir, biblical and pop culture references, and literary parodies reminiscent of Lavery’s work on The Toast website.  This book is funny, relatable, and moving — often all at the same time.

Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir. Bishakh Kumar Som. Street Noise Books, 2020. This graphic novel memoir takes us through the author’s life from the view she sees herself in, as a woman fully inside and out. This is a work that focuses not on how others perceive a transgender person but rather focuses on how they see themselves.

Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community. Compiled by Jesse Szewczyk. Clarkson Potter, 2020. A recipe book that collects the stories and recipes from 75 chefs and celebrities from across the queer community. The recipes are simple and easy to understand and let the reader experience and connect to the stories in a real and physical way.

Tomboyland: Essays. Melissa Faliveno. Topple Books, 2020. Melissa Faliveno grew up a self-described tomboy in the Midwest, a land of softball, tornadoes, guns, and casseroles. In this collection of essays, the author revisits the internal and external landscapes of her childhood as a queer adult.

What’s Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She. Dennis Baron. Liveright, 2020. A comprehensive and scholarly look at the history of pronouns and their usage in our society. This work puts pronouns outside of he and she into historical context, bringing new understanding to their usage.

Honorable mentions

  • The Fixed Stars. Molly Wizenberg. Abrams Press, 2020.
  • Rib Joint: A Memoir in Essays. Julia Koets. Red Hen Press, 2020.
  • Seeing Gender. Iris Gottlieb. Chronicle Books, 2019.
  • The Times I Knew I Was Gay. Eleanor Crewes. Scribner, 2020.


Over the Rainbow Press Release, ALA Midwinter 2020

CHICAGO-The Over the Rainbow committee of ALA’s Rainbow Roundtable gave careful consideration to 312 books this year.  We chose 29 fiction and poetry titles and 19 nonfiction titles to make up the complete 2021 Over the Rainbow book list.  The titles on this list all exhibit commendable literary quality and significant authentic LGBTQIA+ content.

In the books we reviewed, we were pleased to note the increased diversity of transgender, asexual, immigrant, indigenous, and asexual experiences.  Authors explored history and contemporary politics through new lenses, while we also saw innovations in formats — including a cookbook.

The top ten fiction and nonfiction titles are:

  • Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex. Angela Chen. Beacon Press, 2020.
  • Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America. R. Eric Thomas. Ballantine Books, 2020.
  • A History of My Brief Body. Billy-Ray Belcourt. Two Dollar Radio, 2020.
  • Homesick: Stories. Nino Cipri. Dzanc Books, 2019.
  • Homie: Poems. Danez Smith. Graywolf Press, 2020.
  • My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir. Jenn Shapland. Tin House, 2020.
  • Plain Bad Heroines. Emily M. Danforth. William Morrow, 2020.
  • The Prettiest Star. Carter Sickels. Hub City Press, 2020.
  • Real Life. Brandon Taylor. Riverhead, 2020.
  • What’s Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She. Dennis Baron. Liveright, 2020.
Image of the top ten books of the Over the Rainbow book list
The top ten books of the 2021 Over the Rainbow Booklist


Over the Rainbow Press Release, ALAMW 2020

PHILADELPHIA–The Over the Rainbow committee of ALA’s Rainbow Roundtable gave careful consideration to 324 books this year, 152 fiction and 172 nonfiction. We chose 32 fiction titles and 38 nonfiction titles to make up the complete 2020 Over the Rainbow book list. We are excited by the continued expansion of queer publishing. The depth of substantial topics covered and the number of quality books from all over the genre spectrum is thrilling. No longer is the focus solely upon stories of tragedy. We read about lives filled with joy.
The top ten fiction and nonfiction titles are:
Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Marlon James. Riverhead Books, 2019.
Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement. David K. Johnson. Columbia University Press, 2019.
Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative. Edited by Kate Harrad. Thorntree Press, 2018.
Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers. Jake Skeets. Milkweed Editions, 2019.
Gideon the Ninth. Tamsyn Nuir. Tom Doherty Associates, 2019.
In the Dream House. Carmen Maria Machado. Graywolf Press, 2019.
Introduction to Transgender Studies. Ardel Haefele-Thomas. Harrington Park Press, 2019.
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Machines. Olivia Waite. Avon Impulse, 2019.
The Priory of the Orange Tree. Samantha Shannon. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.
When Brooklyn Was Queer. Hugh Ryan. St. Martin’s Press, 2019.


2020 Over the Rainbow Fiction Longlist

Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Marlon James. Riverhead Books, 2019. Violent, lyrical and intense prose follow a troubled warrior around a high fantasy version of epic Africa. His quest is complex and caught up in stories inside stories, diversions that are literal as well as narrative, and James style tumbles through nonlinearly and evoking raw images. This book is full of pain, fear, rage and their flipsides of strength, grace and beauty. It is a difficult masterpiece. 

Cantoras. Carolina De Robertis. Knopf, 2019. A lyrical novel about five queer women living in Uruguay from the 1970s to 2013. They find sanctuary in a coastal community that is temporary, but allows them to create a found family to sustain them despite dictators, trauma, and fear.

Condomnauts. Yoss. Restless Books, 2018.  A totally zany space opera that is sexy, erotic and sometimes non-erotic on purpose. Follow along with the human crewmembers whose job it is to have sex with aliens, because sex is the way all aliens have been making first contact long before anyone in the galaxy knew about humans. It’s funny, it’s gross, it’s queer, it’s happy, and it’s weird. 

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers. Jake Skeets. Milkwood Editions, 2019. Skeets tells fierce stories of growing up queer and indigenous in the American West. His debut collection of poems is a mix of brutality and tenderness, showcasing the raw beauty and horror of the southwest. Skeets is an essential and ambitious new voice. 

Feed. Tommy Pico. Tin House Books, 2019. The final installation in the “Teebs” tetralogy weaves together a bountiful array of themes in this free-verse, tour-de-force of a book-length poem.  With a style that moves at the speed of a social media feed, Pico kneads his inner dialogue into a beautiful and funny poetic form, with plenty of pop culture references and internet slang, along with a good helping of depth and meaning. This is queer poetry for right now.

Frankissstein: A Love Story. Jeanette Winterson. Grove Press, 2019.  Three intertwined stories explore a transgender doctor falling in love, a cryogenics lab with people frozen and waiting to be revived, and Mary Shelley writes her famous story.  

Gideon the Ninth. Tamsyn Muir. Tom Doherty Associates, 2019.  After growing up in the geriatric 9th house of bone magicians, Gideon longs to be anywhere else. When she plans a daring escape, she is instead forced to fight against the other eight necromancer houses alongside her childhood nemesis to win a deadly trial put forth by the Emperor. 

Girl, Woman, Other. Bernardine Evaristo. Grove, 2019. A joyful read following connected characters in the UK, each with their own lived experience with identities of color and queerness. Each section haș its own voice and style while the connected nature gives varying perspectives of the others.

Grease Bats. Archie Bongiovanni. Boom! Box, 2019. This collection of comics follows the daily adventures of two queer main characters and their circle of friends. These comics explore the realities that queer individuals face in everyday life with dry humor. 

Half Moon Street. Alex Reeve. Felony & Mayhem, 2019. Half Moon Street features a transgender main character, Leo Stanhope. Leo finds his life turned upside-down when the woman he loves is murdered. When local authorities show little interest in the truth of the killing, Leo turns into an amateur sleuth in order to discover what happened. Though this novel is imperfect, it remains a valuable addition to the list of works featuring a transgender main character. 

In at the Deep End. Kate Davies. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. Julia has a tumultuous coming out in her twenties, followed by a high-intensity relationship with the beautiful and confident Sam. As their relationship intensifies, Sam’s need for control begins to stifle Julia’s newfound liberation. This funny and painful coming of age novel does not shy away from the joys of queer community, or the challenges or shame of finding oneself in an abusive queer relationship. An unexpected and sincere read. 

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics. Olivia Waite. Avon Impulse, 2019. After her father’s death and her female lover’s sudden wedding to a man, Lucy wants nothing more than to distract herself with the challenge of translating a famous French astronomy text; however, in Regency England, the men offering to fund the text’s translation refuse to support a female translator. Luckily, she finds an unexpected ally in the Countess of Moth, a widowed artist whose talents were never recognized. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics tells the story of how these two women navigate their differences, their shared goals, and, ultimately, their love for one another. 

Last Night in Nuuk. Niviaq Korneliussen. Black Cat, 2019. Haunting and evocative prose pulls the reader into the messy lives of 5 young Greenlanders and never lets go, propelling with an inventive style and voice that is brand new and mature at the same time. Featuring lots of drinking and drugs, sex, ambiguity and fluidity, these characters and their relationships tell all about contemporary Greenland, as well as what it is like for any young person just trying to figure stuff out.

Leading Men. Christopher Castellani. Viking, 2019. The real-life relationship between Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover, Frank Merlo, is the starting point for this highly fictionalized tale. At a party thrown by Truman Capote in Portofino, Italy in 1953, the couple meets a Swedish actress who becomes a pivotal figure in their lives in this lush, evocative story about love and fame.

Lie With Me. Philippe Besson. Scribner, 2019.  Philippe and Thomas become lovers in their last year of high school in rural France in 1984. Years later, Philippe looks back on their brief, doomed romance after spotting a Thomas look-alike. Translated by Molly Ringwald. 

The Long Road to Liquor City. Macon Blair and Joe Flood. Oni Press, 2019. The Long Road to Liquor City is a graphic novel that follows two hobos, Jed and Thanny, as they search for the fabled Liquor City. Along the way, they run afoul of rail yard sergeant, Ronan O’Feathers, who believes the two to be responsible for the death of his wife. This graphic novel is well-drawn, amusing, and features a unique and endearing cast of characters.

Love Letters to Jane’s World. Paige Braddock. Lion Forge, 2018. This collection pairs popular comic strips from Jane’s World–the first syndicated comic strip with a lesbian main character–with love letters from notable fans. This curated selection of strips from 1998 to 2018 will be a joy for current fans, as well as for new readers. 

The Melting Queen. Bruce Cinnamon. NeWest Press, 2019. The annual crowning of the Melting Queen in Edmonton, Alberta is given an unexpected twist when gender-fluid River Runson is named the newest queen in this modern fairy tale. 

Mostly Dead Things. Kristin Arnett. Tin House Books, 2019. After Jessa-Lynn discovers her father’s body on his taxidermy table, she must step up to run the family taxidermy business while her mother and brother fall apart. While grieving both her father and her brother’s wife–her first love, who married her brother Milo and later walked out without a word–Jessa must navigate the world created by their absence, including her mother’s increasingly sexualized art created out of her father’s prized mounts. This Floridian debut is macabre, intrinsically gay, and shockingly funny. 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Ocean Vuong. Penguin Randomhouse, 2019. Poet Vuong’s debut novel, featured on several long and shortlists for the year, including the National Book Award Longlist, and winner of the 2019 New England Book Award for Fiction. The narrator, a twenty-something Vietnamese-American, is writing a long letter to his Vietnamese mother who cannot read. Vuong’s tender prose spans generations of trauma, exploring the narrator’s family’s experience in war, American poverty, and the narrator’s sexuality and relationships with other men. Vuong redefines form in this dreamlike and groundbreaking novel. 

The Priory of the Orange Tree. Samantha Shannon. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019. The Priory of the Orange Tree is a welcome queer addition to the existing catalog of high fantasy novels. Presented in three unique perspectives, the novel tells a story of magic, dragons, and political intrigue. At over 800 pages, this feminist fantasy tale will delight readers looking for a long read with a unique setting and well-developed characters. 

Red, White & Royal Blue. Casey McQuiston. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2019. The First Son of the United States and Prince of England go from antagonists to lovers in this slightly altered world. Both are very intelligent and quote literary icons in their emails. This was definitely the feel good read of the summer!

Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). Edited by Catherine Lundoff. Queen of Swords Press, 2018. This collection of short stories features themes of pirates and takes place across different settings and times. These stories feature a wide range of subjects from historical piracy on the seas to galactic piracy in space in the far future. Many of the characters featured throughout these stories are queer identified and are written by queer authors.

The Spellbinders. Aleardo Zanghellini. Lethe Press, 2018. This work of historical fiction reimagines the life of Edward II. The story focuses on Edward’s relationship with a soldier, Piers Gaveston, and how this relationship affects and even helps to build his relationship with his queen before Gaveston is murdered by a jealous earl. This book looks at the medieval king’s personal relationships with an honest and unapologetic lens.

Sugar Run. Mesha Maren. Algonquin Books, 2019. When Jodi McCarty is released from prison after 18 years on a manslaughter charge, she has plans for a low-key future, however the world is not cooperative in this noir-inspired tale of flawed characters living in Appalachia.

Thorn. Anna Burke. Bywater Books, 2019. Rowan is kidnapped by the legendary Huntress of local superstition after her father hunts on the Huntress’s lands and steals a cursed rose. Despite being held against her will, Rowan finds herself drawn to the Huntress, a welcome reprieve from the arranged betrothal that awaits her should she return home. Thorn is a brilliant feminist retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

The Tradition. Jericho Brown. Copper Canyon Press, 2019. Jericho Brown speaks the truth through poetry about being a gay black man in America who is also HIV-positive. Poems reflect his own experiences, some incredibly painful, while others provide insights into other members of his community. If the personal is universal, Jericho Brown represents all of us.

Transcendent 3. Edited by Bogi Takács. Lethe Press, 2018. A vivid collection of the year’s best transgender speculative fiction, these fantastical tales include everything from far futures to time travel, ghosts, horror movies, and much more. This anthology features diverse stories from important new voices: K.M Szpara, Rivers Solomon, Indrapramit Das.

Willa & Hesper. Amy Feltman. Grand Central Publishing, 2019. Willa and Hesper are both students in the MFA creative writing program at Columbia University, but it isn’t until a chance encounter one night in Brooklyn that their relationship turns romantic. The unraveling of their brief, intense relationship, and the journeys, both literal and figurative, that the break up propels both of them towards, are just as formative. The story is told with a thrillingly contemporary sensibility, mixing a lot of funny and playful moments with the sad ones.

Without Protection. Gala Mukomolova. Coffee House Press, 2019. Mukomolova mixes modern life as a lesbian in New York City with classic Russian folktales. In this stunning collection, Mukomolova explores her identities and family through the story of Vassilyasa, a young girl who must fend for herself against Baba Yaga. Her poems are compelling and erotic, a mix of mythology and modernity. 

WWJD and Other Poems. Savannah Sipple. SIbling Rivalry Press, 2019. These poems cover themes of what it is like to grow up in Appalachia while queer, female, and fat. She doesn’t shy from the seeming contradictions that evangelical underpinnings carry through her work. 

You are enough: Love Poems For the End of the World. Smokii Sumac. Kegedonce Press, 2018. In his debut collection of poetry using haiku format as a starting point in composition, Sumac shares with us all 2 years of poetry created from the experiences of 2 years of his journey as a Ktunaxa, Two-Spirit trans masculine scholar. Funny, touching, and inspiring poems.



2020 Over the Rainbow Non-Fiction Longlist

The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze. Morgan Lev Edward Holleb. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. This thorough A-Z glossary catalogs the ever-evolving vocabulary used to describe LGBTQ identities and experiences. Holleb has created an essential reference work that recognizes the power in having the language to describe a feeling, as well as dispelling the anxiety some feel around using the “wrong” terminology.

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man. Thomas Page McBee. Scribner, 2018. In 2015, Thomas Page McBee began training to fight in a charity boxing match at Madison Square Garden — the first transgender man to do so. As he recounts his training and the emotions he feels as he learns to box in mostly-male spaces, he also confronts his relationship to masculinity and violence — and begins to chart a path toward a more whole vision of maleness.

American Boys. Soraya Zaman. Daylight Books, 2019. Pairing short autobiographical testimonials with revealing and beautiful portrait photo essays, Zaman presents a diverse array of trans male experiences across America.

Brown White Black. Nishta J. Mehra. Picador, 2019. Mehra is a lesbian daughter of Indian immigrants married to a white woman. The couple adopted a black son. In this candid series of essays she shares with us some of the daily struggles her family is faced with as they navigate the frontlines of cultural conflict. This powerful book serves as a call for a more compassionate understanding of identity and family.

Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement. David K. Johnson. Columbia University Press, 2019. Important study of male physique magazines, and how they facilitated not only gay male community and desire, but also created a market of things to buy and sell, and profits to be made. 

Capturing Mariposas: Reading Cultural Schema in Gay Chicano Literature. Doug P. Bush. The Ohio State University Press, 2019. Bush aims to identify commonalities of genre in the writing of gay Chicano writers.  Providing close readings of the texts of Rigoberto González, Manuel Muñoz, Alex Espinoza, as well as an examination of the market for gay chicano literature and interviews with Muñoz and Espinoza, Bush does important scholarly work while also directing more readers to his featured authors.

Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative. Edited by Kate Harrad. Thorntree Press, 2019. An engaging and clear primer on bisexuality. The book tackles persistent and pernicious myths and misconceptions and explores bisexuality’s intersections with non-monogamy, gender, race, disability, and faith (among other topics). The book includes numerous and diverse testimonials of bisexual people insterspersed throughout the book that provide real-world insights and experiences.

Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime. Alex Espinoza. The Unnamed Press, 2019. Espinoza researches the history of anonymous public gay sex from Ancient Greece to Grindr mixing research and personal memoir in this conversational history.

Drag: The Complete Story. Simon Doonan. Laurence King Publishers, 2019. Doonan amusingly explores drag from a variety of lenses: history, philosophy, classification (glamour drag vs. art drag vs. butch drag). Doonan’s droll narration and the beautiful full color photos interspersed throughout the book provide an engaging and illuminating overview.

Dying to Be Normal: Gay Martyrs and the Transformation of American Sexual Politics. Brett Krutzsch. Oxford University Press, 2019. A look at how the deaths of gay people are portrayed in the media–be it from murder or suicide. Often portrayed as martyrs, the author analyzes their deaths from viewpoints of whiteness, Christianity, and heterosexual assimilation. The book concludes with thoughts of queering memorials with a comparison of the tragedies of the Upstairs Lounge fire in New Orleans in 1973 and the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016.

Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism: Voices from Across the Spectrum. Eva A. Mendes and Meredith R. Maroney. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. An exploration of the experiences of people whose identity include both LGBTQ+ and Autism Spectrum Difference (ASD). The first portion of the book is interview transcripts with ASD/LGBTQ+ individuals and some interviews with family members and loved ones. The authors then analyze to discuss common themes.

Gender Queer: A Memoir. Maia Kobabe. Oni Press, 2019. Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, masterfully uses the graphic memoir format to describe what can seem indescribable. Kobabe charts eir journey from a childhood of feeling “different” to finally understanding eirself as non-binary and asexual with humor and heart, making space for the reader while also making it clear that the story is eirs and eirs alone.

Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister. Anne Choma. Penguin Books, 2019. Read the words and learn about the life of a lesbian from more than a century ago. A woman who discarded the time’s gender roles and expectations and wrote more than 20 highly personal and detailed journal volumes. Some of her diary entries she wrote for all and some she wrote for herself–she wrote in “plain hand” and in “crypt hand” of her own secret code. Anne Lister has recently been recognized and brought to life on the screen of HBO’s Gentleman Jack.

Headcase: LGBTQ Writers & Artists on Mental Health and Wellness. Edited by Stephanie Schroeder and Teresa Theophano. Oxford University Press, 2019. This anthology collects personal reflections and artistic interpretations that focus on mental illness and the LGBTQ community. These stories give a look into the lives of queer individuals and some of them document the process as the authors navigate a flawed and sometimes biased health care system. This collection features many stories that display the raw emotions of the authors with stories that display the experiences of a minority community.

Her Widow. Joan Alden. Hillside Press, 2018*. Told in the form of letters from Joan Alden to her deceased wife, Catherine Hopkins, Her Widow is a raw and powerful memoir of grief. Alden catalogs the intimate details of daily life both before and after Catherine’s passing and invites the reader to share in her devastation and her hope. The memoir is illustrated with Hopkins’ black and white photographs.

Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women. E. Patrick Johnson. Duke University Press, 2019. An oral history of the experiences of African-American women in the South who express same-sex desire. Johnson uses a creative approach to oral history by creating a fictional community liaison/travel companion “Miss B” to converse with in the narrative integrating bee and honey imagery in the prose. Johnson’s study population spans age, social class, and the geography of the American South.

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir. Saeed Jones. Simon & Schuster, 2019. Poet and journalist recounts his experience coming of age and coming out as a gay black man in the American south in the late 1990s and early 2000s through college in Kentucky and the path of his successful writing career. Jones writes with humor and emotional honesty about his complicated relationship with his mother and surviving in an America where “Being a black gay boy is a death wish.” 

In the Dream House. Carmen Maria Machado. Graywolf Press, 2019. Carmen Maria Machado writes about her own experience in an abusive relationship, and also within the broader context of lesbian and/or queer domestic abuse. All the pieces of her life, experiences, and relationships create this “dream house” that also builds a structure to surround the experience. An essential read to highlight domestic abuse within the community. 

Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall. James Polchin. Counterpoint, 2019. Polchin investigates queer true crime stories recounted in the historical press between World War I and Stonewall shedding light on the violence of homosexual criminalization that eventually ignited organization and social protest.

Introduction to Transgender Studies. Ardel Haefele-Thomas. Harrington Park Press, 2019. This textbook is one of the first of its kind to be aimed at undergraduate students. It focuses on the transgender experience on a global scale and poses questions to the reader about how they can relate to this experience. This text also includes many stories and perspectives written by members of the transgender community and has chapters focused on the history of transgender society.

Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas. Dustin Lance Black. Knopf, 2019. A touching and often heartbreaking memoir from the Oscar-winning screenwriter and LGBTQ activist, this book tells Black’s mother’s story as much as his own. Subtitled “a story from our Americas” it foregrounds the cultural, religious and political divides in the country, and looks at them in reference to his own (eventually redeemed) relationship with a conservative, Mormon and anti-gay mother. 

Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. Darrel J. McLeod. Milkweed Editions, 2019. The title of McLeod’s memoir is taken from “the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared.” Accordingly, McLeod’s own story of coming of age as a queer man is also the shared story of his family: his mother Bertha, his siblings, and the life of poverty, abuse, and racism they all experienced as First Nations people in Alberta, Canada. 

No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir. Ani DiFranco. Viking, 2019. The coming-of-age of a musician who always refused to play by the rules, creating her own record label and finding her own way to radio play and the festival circuit. While not as linear as most memoirs, the narrative finds its way from childhood into the 21st century, with a lot of stories of life on the road, triumph and failure, relationships with both genders, and her political views. 

Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity. Edited by Micah Rajunov and Scott Duane. Columbia University Press, 2019. This collection of thirty first-person narratives showcases a wide variety of experiences outside the gender binary, as well as illuminating how these experiences can be influenced by class, race, age, and ability. The result is a collection that is descriptive rather than prescriptive, and will be eye-opening to any reader who is interested in learning more about nonbinary experiences.

Not Just a Tomboy: A Trans Masculine Memoir. Caspar J. Baldwin. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018. This memoir focuses on the authors’ experience growing up in a time when being transgender was not widely accepted in society. It takes an unflinching and personal look at the experiences that transgender people faced from the 90s until today along with showing the journey of transitioning during those times.

Precious and Adored: The Love Letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple, 1890-1918. Edited by Lizzie Ehrenhalt and Tilly Laskey. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2019. An edited and annotated collection of original letters charting the romantic relationship between a Minnesota widow and the sister of President Grover Cleveland. The letters chronicle their sexual attraction and partnership over the years through heartbreak and reconciliation.

Pride: The LGBTQ+ Rights Movement: A Photographic Journey. Christopher Measom. Sterling, 2019. Described as “a photograpic journey” Measom selects a wide range of photos charting queer, mostly American, history from the 1920s through the modern day. A well-curated collection of visually interesting photos, posters, and illustrations charts the joy, sadness, and anger of the past century with informative accompanying text and descriptive captions.

Pride: Fifty Years of Parades and Protest from the Photo Archives of the New York TImes. The New York Times. Abrams Image, 2019. Pride highligts fifty years of LGBTQ progress, struggle, celebration and tragedy through the photographs and images of articles from the New York Times. Starting with the Stonewall riots, the book takes readers on a journey through the first gay liberation marches, the first March on Washington, the AIDS epidemic and ACTUP, modern Pride parades, Marriage Equality and the Pulse tragedy.

The Queering of Corporate America: How Big Business Went from LGBTQ Adversary to Ally. Carlos A. Ball. Beacon Press, 2019. This book traces the evolution of corporate America from being harsh bigots to using their leverage to advocate for equality. In a chonological order, it shows how LGBTQ activists used consumer power and pressure to change the queer rights movement. Employment discrimination, pharmacutical companies during the AIDS crisis, domestic partner benefits, and marriage equality are a few of the issues covered in how LGBTQ force corporations to improve and how in some cases corporations go a step further to become advocates for the community.

Raising Rosie: Our Story of Parenting an Intersex Child. Eric and Stephani Lohman. Jessica Kinglsey Publishers, 2018. When Eric and Stephani Lohman’s daughter Rosie was born intersex, with ambiguous genitalia, they made the decision to allow for Rosie’s informed consent in terms of what cosmetic procedures she would undergo to “normalize” her genitalia. This brief book describes how they came to this decision, as well as their experience with a medical establishment that is still primed to operate on infants who display intersex characteristics. The Lohmans also briefly discuss how they have approached raising Rosie and their openness regarding her condition. 

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story. Jacob Tobia. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2019. Tobia takes the reader on a gender journey showing a hilarious embrace of the genderqueer experience. Tobia provides an example of overcoming gender-based trauma to thrive in a non-binary identity.

The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. Joy Ladin. Brandeis University Press, 2018. Reading the Torah through the lens of transgender experience. Religious texts receive a close reading in this deeply personal search at understanding God. It shows how our own perspectives bring life to the ancient text. The book illuminates an openness and flexibility to gender roles in the Torah. 

The Stonewall Reader. Edited by Jason Baumann. Penguin Classics, 2019. In this book the New York Public Library features LGBTQ+ first-hand accounts from its archives in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Magazine and newsletter articles, diary entries, and stories of major LGBTQ+ trail blazers including Audre Lourde, Harry Hay, Reverend Troy Perry, Frank Kameny, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.

The Stonewall Riots: a Documentary History. Edited by Marc Stein. New York University Press, 2019. Brings together an extensive range of primary sources documenting the Stonewall Riots. Importantly, it also includes documentation of the period leading up to the Stonewall Riots, and what came after, including the first pride parades. Contextualized in eight different chapters, provides insight into the thinking on activism and protest before, during, and after the riots.

Swelling with Pride: Queer Conception and Adoption Stories. Edited by Sara Graefe. Caitlin Press Inc., 2018. This book contains more than twenty personal accounts of how queer, transgender, and nonbinary people make families. Powerful and touching, the stories tell of in-vitro fertilization, adoption, co-parenting, and the many various ways queer families come to be. The editor provides for readers the book of stories that she and her wife wished they had on their journey to parenthood. 

This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man. Lorimer Shenher. Greystone Books, 2019. Lorimer Shenher is the former head of the Missing Persons Unit of the Vancouver Police Department and well known in Canada for their involvement in a serial killer case. Readers will be pulled in by his journey in his gender identity, finishing with gender reassignment surgery in his 50s, and navigating small-town Canadian life in the meantime.

Unashamed: A Coming-Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians. Amber Cantorna. Westminster John Knox Press, 2019. A slim guidebook helping those who identify as Christian to navigate coming out, establishing boundaries, and coping with the shame narrative. Also includes information for allies, families and church leaders who want to put their teachings of love into action.

When Brooklyn Was Queer. Hugh Ryan. St. Martin’s Press, 2019. Ryan recounts Brooklyn’s queer scene from the era of Walt Whitman up to Stonewall. Ryan highlights the lives of well-known queer historical figures like Carson McCullers and Hart Crane along with less well-known figures such as male impersonator Florence Hines, and dancer Mabel Hampton, as he vividly recreates the evolution of Brooklyn’s queer communities.

*Her Widow originally published by Dog Ear Publishing, 2018. 


Over the Rainbow Press Release ALAMW 2019

SEATTLE – The Over the Rainbow Booklist committee of the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (ALA-GLBTRT) considered 469 books this year, 284 fiction and 185 nonfiction titles.  After careful reading, wide-ranging discussion, and due deliberation, the final Booklist consists of 50 fiction titles in 5 categories (Short Stories, Poetry, Literary and General Interest (combined), Graphic, and Genre (all genres)) and 54 nonfiction titles in 4 categories (Academic, Memoirs/Biographies, History, and General Interest).  

With the expansion of queer publishing across the rainbow, we read an incredibly diverse collection of titles from major, independent, and self-publishers.  Themes running through books this year include: the pros and cons of visibility; the resilience of individuals telling complex stories in their own voices that blurred lines between queerness and disability, class, ethnicity, race, religion and age; a ‘second phase’ of publishing, past the introduction of issues, that addressed law and medical practices; resilience in the face of oppression and violence; and the effects of history on both individuals and culture, envisioning a future outside current circumstances.

The top ten fiction and nonfiction titles for the 2018 Over the Rainbow Booklist are:


Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Image Comics

David Bowie Made Me Gay by Darryl W. Bullock, Overlook Press

Harvey Milk by Lillian Faderman, Yale University Press

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, Graywolf Press

House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara, Ecco/Harper/Collins

Living Out Loud, Michael Murphy, editor, Routledge

Mean by Myriam Gurba, Coffeehouse Books

Othered by Randi M. Romo, Sibling Rivalry Press

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith, Macmillan

Trap Door, Reina Gossett, editor, MIT Press





2019 Nonfiction Titles

2019 Over the Rainbow Nonfiction Titles

Academic Works
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Academic Works

Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left. Malik Gaines. NYU Press, 2017. An academic look at black embodiment and its expression, from the silver screen to the political theater. Gaines observes how radical black performers from W.E.B Du Bois to Sylvester communicate resistance to (and transcendence from) hegemonic understandings of gender, race, and sexuality.

Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World. Andrew Reynolds. Oxford University Press, 2018. A unique look at how politics affect the LGBTQ community and the LGBTQ politicians that help bring about the changes needed for the community. Reynolds does an excellent job at not only looking at past politicians but current game changers as well.

Circulating Queerness: Before the Gay and Lesbian Novel. Natasha Hurley. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. A look at the emergence of homosexuality as a genre and the ways in which history and society influenced it prior to and after its exposure.

Darker Side of Slash Fan Fiction: Essays on Power, Consent and the Body. Ashton Spacey. McFarland, 2018. Research exploring the ever-changing complexities of queer fan fiction as a genre and how marginalized voices are both heard and ignored in the fiction and among slash fan communities; delves into subjects including asexual, disabled, male pregnancy, violence between partners, and dubious consent, to a depth not usually plumbed.

For the Hard Ones: A Lesbian Phenomenology. tatiana de la tierra. A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018. This provocative, compelling, straight forward Colombian Lesbian perspective is an excellent addition to any academic library. tatiana de la tierra shares her insight into lesbian relationships and the intersectionality with culture with no regrets and no apologies, and we can always use more of that perspective.

Gay Priori: A Queer Critical Legal Studies Approach to Law Reform. Libby Adler. Duke University Press, 2018. A densely-packed and penetrating study on the reasons behind the priorities of the queer law reform movement and the continuing neglect of those marginalized populations who are most in need (formal equality versus redistribution or equity).

Gay, Inc.: The Nonprofitization of Queer Politics. Myrl Beam. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. Beam presents case studies arguing that the mainstreaming of queer activism is tied to a nonprofit system that actually reinforces institutionalized inequality.

Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace: Transgender and Gender-Diverse Discrimination. Alison Ash Fogarty, Lily Zheng. Praeger, 2018. This work addresses what it is like to be a trans-identifying individual in San Francisco. This informational piece allows a reader to understand potential issues that could arise, but focuses more on ways for employers and workplaces to be inclusive to transgender employees.

Growing Up Queer. Mary Robertson. NYU Press, 2018. Explores a groundbreaking time where children and adolescents are able to identify and explore themselves as the new ‘normal’. This informative work investigates how growing up with this open-mindset has intertwined with other parts of development and culture.

LGBTQ Divorce and Relationship Dissolution. Abbie E. Goldberg, Adam P. Romero, eds. Oxford University Press, 2018. There is a lack in LGBTQ academic study for a basic textbook specifically geared toward covering LGBTQ relationships terminating. This book changes that and covers patterns amongst LGBTQ relationship dissolution giving insight into ways LGBTQ families may handle a variety of issues that may arise during separation. It pulls its information from a variety of essays written by leading experts and is broken into four easy to read segments making it suitable for a classroom text or a single situation reference manual.

Life and Death of Latisha King: A Critical Phenomenology of Transphobia. Gayle Salamon. NYU Press, 2018. An unflinching look at the 2008 murder of 15-year old Latisha King by her classmate. Salamon thoroughly covers reportage and court documents surrounding the event as she peels apart language and even gesture to expose the inner workings of the “transphobic imaginary” at the heart of violence against the gender-transgressing.

Living Out Loud: An Introduction to LGBTQ History, Society, and Culture. Michael Murphy, ed. Routledge, 2018. Excellent beginner textbook for any university LGBT centered course. It covers a variety of topics and is well laid out. The freedom they give to contributors to use whichever acronym fits the situation they are discussing is also unique. You can even find sexual identities not typically discussed like those found in the BDSM and Kink community.

Other, Please Specify. D’Lane Compton, Tey Meadow, Kristen Schilt, eds. University of California Press, 2018. This text is targeted to those in the field of sociology, but offers important guidance for any researcher. Created by those practicing in the field, the book gives insight on how to work with and research within an often-targeted community.

Post-Borderlandia: Chicana Literature and Gender Variant Critique. T. Jackie Cuevas. Rutgers University Press, 2018. Running with the theme of intersectionality this year Post-Borderlandia covers gender identity, race, power dynamics and Trans issues and their effects on current Chicana and Chicanx narratives. It’s a powerful addition to feminist, LGBTQ, and Latinx/a/o studies.

Punishing Disease : HIV and the Criminalization of Sickness. Trevor Hoppe. University of California Press, 2018. This study examines the rise and application of criminal laws, and the public health system support of coercive and punitive responses, to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and gives an overview of how others suffering diseases have been punished historically.

Queering Autoethnography. Stacy Holman Jones, Anne M. Harris. Routledge, 2018. This work illuminates how autoethnography is a hybridizing of the personal and the theoretical – this short, powerful book connects personal queer experience to oppressive places, institutions, and cultural norms of power to advocate a collective fight for justice.

Semi Queer: Inside the World of Gay, Trans, and Black Truck Drivers. Anne Balay. University of North Carolina Press, 2018. Offers a look into the world of long-haul trucking. Through oral history interviews, queer and minority trucker drivers share their stories of their daily lives, as well as prejudice and exploitation they have faced in their line of work. It is also an examination of why long-haul trucking holds appeal for some people from these same communities.

Struggling for Ordinary: Media and Transgender Belonging in Everyday Life. Andre Cavalcante. NYU Press, 2018. Solid research from historical and media rhetoric lenses alongside interviews of people from different eras and age groups in the midwestern United States. He looks at the “tipping point” of transgender identity, the tension between acceptance and queerness, and various solutions for belonging lived by transgender individuals.

Theater of the Ridiculous: A Critical History. Kelly I. Aliano. McFarland, 2018. A scholarly survey of the movement that highlights the radical possibilities of camp, from the development of the genre to the contemporary theatre scene, with special attention paid to Charles Ludlam, Maria Montez, Jack Smith, and Ethyl Eichelberger.

Trans Kids: Being Gendered in the Twenty-First Century. Tey Meadow. University of California Press, 2018 This survey gathers firsthand accounts as to what it’s like growing up as the first-generation with affirming families who have gender nonconforming kids.

Transgender Sex Work and Society. Larry Nuttbrock. Harrington Park Press/Columbia University Press, 2018. Scholarly examinations of topics related to transgender sex workers, in the United States and abroad. Substance use, mental and physical health, crime and violence are some of the topics of study, and several areas needing more research are mentioned.

Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. Reina Gossett, ed. MIT Press, 2017. Visibility and its discontents drive this volume of essays on trans life and culture. Art criticism, queer history, political theory, and personal narrative are woven together, often in a single chapter. A multiplicity of voices means that chapters vary in quality, but Trap Door is more than a sum of its parts. The collection contextualizes queer past and envisions radical futures even as its inhabitants struggle with the darkness of the present.

Turning the Page: Storytelling as Activism in Queer Film and Media. David R. Coon. Rutgers University Press, 2018. Introduces three organizations trying to change how queer media is represented in Hollywood and how it is presented to the general public, in order to strengthen every community and motivate for social justice.

Biographies and Memoirs
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Biographies and Memoirs

Andy Warhol, Publisher. Lucy Mulroney. University of Chicago Press, 2018. This work fuses art theory, queer history, and personal poetics as it explores some of Warhol’s lesser-known work. Mulroney focuses both on the artistic ingenuity and social impact of the collaborative publishing projects facilitated by Warhol. Warhol’s work, often seen in a vacuum, is placed at the intersections of scene, sexuality, and social artmaking.

Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death. Lillian Faderman. Yale University Press, 2018. Harvey Milk and his legacy has been covered extensively, but this new biography stands out from the crowd. Faderman doesn’t lean into hagiography, instead giving a comprehensive and intersectional account of Milk’s life and his relevance in the current political moment.

House of Nutter: The rebel tailor of Savile Row. Lance Richardson. Crown Archetype/Penguin Random House, 2018. An interesting look at a brothers’ relationship with each other, their careers, and their own sexuality. The photographs scattered throughout where an excellent addition and it gives a neat peek into how mental health was viewed through the lenses of the 50’s and 60’s.

Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry. Imani Perry. Beacon Press, 2018. The book takes its name from Looking for Langston, Isaac Julien’s impressionistic film in memorial of Langston Hughes and black queer history. Perry’s newest more than lives up to the legacy she has placed it in. This “third-person memoir” illuminates the life and legacy of groundbreaking black lesbian playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Perry combines a wealth of research with poetics and personal experience in this gorgeous and necessary biography.

Lost Autobiography of Samuel Steward: Recollections of an Extraordinary Twentieth-Century Gay Life. Samuel Steward , Jeremy Mulderig, ed. University of Chicago Press, 2018. An absorbing, funny, and astonishing memoir of a man with many talents and many identities: Samuel Steward, university professor; Phil Sparrow, tattoo artist; Ward Stames, John McAndrews, and Donald Bishop, writing ground-breaking essays in the first European gay magazines; Phil Andros, explicit novelist; and a man who lived life to its fullest.

Mean. Myriam Gurba. Coffee House Books, 2017. Michelle Tea meets Helene Cixous in this surrealistic exploration of the spaces between trauma and eros. At turns caustic and vulnerable, Gurba’s experimental memoir is a queer Chicana coming-of-age story told from outside time and inside her body. Intense, darkly humorous, and very readable.

My Butch Career: A Memoir. Esther Newton. Duke University Press, 2018. The compelling story of a ‘gender outlaw in the making’, a ground-breaking figure in LGBT history, and her struggle to find her identity as an openly queer academic in a particularly intense time of homophobic persecution.

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America. Darnell L. Moore. Nation Books, 2018. Intersectionality is a hot topic in the LGBTQ community but few could understand all the many intersections one may possibly encounter in a life. Darnell L. Moore’s “No Ashes in the Fire” is a memoir that covers many intersections, being a Black man, queer, and growing up in poverty. It is an inspiring work that covers struggles, triumphs and a path not often traveled and even less often talked about.

Out of Step: A Memoir. Anthony Moll. Ohio State University Press, 2018. A well-crafted story that explores the unexpected parallels between life in the military during the years of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and the quest for identity as a bisexual man, in this unwavering, sometimes painful, sometimes funny memoir.

Sinner in Mecca. Parvez Sharma. BenBella Books, 2017. This work shares the journey of a gay Muslim man traveling to Mecca to perform the hajj in 2010, made even more dangerous since he is also a closeted Sunni Muslim. The author documented the journey on a film of the same name.

Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989. Julie R. Enszer. A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018.   This work reveals a friendship between two important African American lesbian poets through their letters. The text offers insight into what it is to be a woman of color during this same time period and the micro and regular aggressions endured within the literary community.

To my Trans Sisters. Charles Craggs, ed. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017. A book by trans women and for trans women – a rare and needed perspective in a world of coming-out-stories framed for cis audiences. This series of letters is full of advice, empathy, strength and hope from trans women speaking to their younger selves and to their larger communities. An uplifting and powerful collection centering the experiences of a community all-too-often made invisible.

Tomorrow will be different: Love, loss, and the fight for Trans Equality. Sarah McBride. Crown Archetype / Penguin Random House, 2018. Sarah is a well-known figure in Washington, D.C and to the Democratic Party. She is an activist and an advocate for Trans rights and visibility. Her memoir shares her experience, looking beyond the privilege she was born with and those she was not, to help others fighting for equality.

Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading. Edmund White. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. A memoir and book of books wrapped up into one, from one of America’s best known “gay novelists,” a phrase he also explores in this book. He digs deep into books that have influenced him, stayed with him, or held meaning for him in various parts of his life. He also shares a lot about his life, friends, other writers and lovers (and ex-lovers!), and talks about how much being a gay man in America has changed since his childhood (born in 1940) and how his reading has changed since a recent health scare left him unconscious for three days.

Wild Mares. Dianna Hunter. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. A memoir about what the author calls the “lesbian land movement” of the 1970s, and her participation in attempts contributing to farm-based “utopian” societies of women only in the rural Midwest. Side commentary on clothing, haircuts, music, depression, and so on bring the reader into the era directly.


General Interest
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – General Interest Nonfiction

After Silence. Avram Finkelstein. University of California Press, 2017. Finkelstein’s latest is billed as “a history of AIDS and its images”. More than that, it is a personal history of the minds and bodies behind the groundbreaking visual protest strategies that accompanied 80’s AIDS activism. Love for collaborators and the movement drives this book even as we are reminded, in the words of activist art collective Gran Fury, “ART IS NOT ENOUGH”.

Calypso. David Sedaris. Little, Brown and Co., 2018. Fans of David Sedaris will be no stranger to the dark camp sensibilities at play in Calypso. What’s surprising, though, is a somber tone at play even in his moments of irreverence. Sedaris’ reflections on mortality, middle age, and familial loss are delivered with characteristic heart. His wit is still present, if muted, making this volume feel all the more intimate. An unexpended and welcome addition to his oeuvre.

Clinician’s Guide to Gender-Affirming Care. Sand C. Chang, Anneliese A. Singh, lore m. dickey. Context Press, 2018. A practical handbook for medical practitioners, including mental health providers. It goes beyond basic definitions to ask clinicians to examine their own biases and misconceptions about transgender and nonconforming clients, and provides example scenarios where care providers handled a medical situation inadequately. Case studies come with suggestions for scripts to navigate similar situations, and reaffirms the importance of the client’s needs and desires coming first.

David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music. Darryl W. Bullock. Overlook Press, 2017. Well-researched overview of queer musicians who have had a major impact on popular music, bringing to light hidden stories and closely examining queer performative movements, making this a compelling and important work.

Gender: Your Guide. Lee Airton. Adams Media/Simon & Schuster, 2018. Many things amazing in life are constantly evolving; including language and gender. In today’s world a book like Gender: Your Guide is an excellent resource for allies looking to understand that evolution. Easily broken into three parts with very clear sections this book is an easy, quick read for anyone trying to learn about gender in today’s world.

Little in Love with Everyone: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Genevieve Hudson. Advocate, 2018. The newest in Fiction Advocate’s series of books investigating “essential readings of the new canon”. This work explores Fun Home’s themes of openness and repression. Hudson illuminates Bechdel’s highly personal text by placing it in historical and literary context. The author also explores her own personal connection to Fun Home and its impact as her roadmap to the world of lesbian literature.

Unbound: Transgender Men and the Remaking of Identity. Arlene Stein. Pantheon, 2018. This work provides a wide range of experiences from personal accounts of transgender men. The author has also included interviews with friends and family members, making the book useful for family members learning to be supportive. The book maintains a narrow focus – patients from one office, all from the United States, making the medical information (insurance strategies, etc) only useful to those in the states.

(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – History

Boys of Fairy Town. Jim Elledge. Chicago Review Press, 2018. This work uses patterns of history and individual biography to illuminate the queer history of Chicago from the founding of the city through World War II; aimed at general readers and anyone interested in queer history brought vividly to life.

Ike’s Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler. Peter Shinkle. Steerford Press, 2018. The searing true story of Robert Cutler, America’s first National Security Advisory under President Eisenhower, who helped create the executive order that banned gay people from working in or being a contractor for the federal government while he, himself, was a closeted gay man.

No Sanctuary: Teachers and the School Reform That Brought Gay Rights to the Masses. Stephen Lane. ForeEdge, 2018. a detailed history of grassroots efforts by teachers and students to reform schools into safe places for queer youth.

Pride: The Unlikely Story of the True Heroes of the Miner’s Strike. Tim Tate. John Blake, 2018. This oral history of the foundation of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) which helped the families of Welsh miners survive a painful strike in Thatcher’s UK, shows the disparate groups overcoming prejudices to show solidarity in the face of aggressive governmental persecution.

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation. Robert W. Fieseler. Liveright, 2018. This book brings to light a historical event that has long been closeted and pushed to the side that deeply affected the LGBTQ community. Fieseler writes in a journalistic style that does due diligence to bringing the facts of the case to a world that may not of heard of the event before.

Berlin’s Third Sex. Magnus Hirschfeld. Rixdorf Editions, 2017. The work provides views into a German sub-culture during 1904. Well-written and full of inspiring views and a positive look at the culture, this work offers insight into a time LGBT stories are often cast in negative light. This is the first translation into English of this classic work.

Out for Queer Blood. Clayton Delery. Exposit Books/McFarland, 2017. This history addresses the murder of Fernando Rios, the trial, and the aftermath. Delery touches on a variety of topics including homophobia, the genealogy of the “gay panic defense,” and hate crimes law.

Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day. Peter Ackroyd. Abrams Press, 2018. An historic look into two thousand years’ worth of queer London history that explores the link between urbanity and non-heterosexuality.

Lesbian South. Jaime Harker. University of North Carolina Press, 2018. A chronicle of the Women in Print movement through its participants and their connections to liberation movements and the American south. Harker links celebrated authors, underground publishers, feminist figures, and readers both in and out of the closet. Well-researched, illuminating and enjoyable.




2019 Fiction Titles

2019 Over The Rainbow Fiction Titles

Genre Fiction
(Download PDF) 2019 Over The Rainbow – Genre Fiction

Alice Isn’t Dead. Joseph Fink. Harper Perennial, 2018. Keisha lives happily with her wife Alice until the day Alice disappears, presumed dead. After months of grieving, Keisha sees Alice in the background of a news report and takes matters into her own hands, becoming a long-haul truck driver, searching for her missing wife. Along the way, she stumbles across a secret American history, an inhuman serial killer, and a supernatural war being waged along the interstate highway system. This novel based on Fink’s podcast of the same name takes a haunting look at the liminal spaces along the open road, affirming the power of love in every mile.

Cabin at the End of the World. Paul Tremblay. William Morrow, 2018. Creepy and violent, Tremblay’s apocalyptic horror story features Eric and Andrew and their daughter Wen in a terrifying home invasion that forces the couple to make some horrific decisions in order to survive.

God Game: A Dan Sharp Mystery. Jeffrey Round. Dundurn, 2018. Private detective Dan Sharp has been hired to find the gambling-addicted husband of an aide in the Ontario legislature in Round’s fifth Dan Sharp mystery. Braving political intrigue and scandal, Sharp finds he has gone too deep into the seedy underbelly of Ontario’s political deal-making and government shenanigans. During the course of the investigation, Sharp’s life is further complicated by planning a graduation trip for his son to the West Coast and his own wedding to Nick, a Toronto cop. Round’s writing transforms Canadian politics into a fast-paced, thrilling page-turner.

Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion. Margaret Killjoy. Tor, 2017. While the apocalypse seems to draw close, Killjoy has already explored how an anarchist utopian might thrive, a group of marginalized outsiders with different races, genders, and sexual identities. When their protective demon familiar begins to destroy them, they band together even more tightly to try and survive. This is a quick and delightfully creepy read for sci-fi fans.

Sodom Road Exit. Amber Dawn. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018. Haunted by the 90’s? Starla returning home to live with her mother after incurring significant university debt. That’s not the only thing haunting her though – as she finds herself drawn to the Crystal Beach amusement park, rediscovering a high school friend who becomes her girlfriend, and a ghost with a need to be seen.

Trick Roller. Cordelia Kingsbridge. Riptide, 2018. The second book in the Seven of Spades series, Trick Roller is a gripping mystery that explores the new relationship between Levi and Dominic and the thrilling exploits of a serial killer who is not yet done with them.

Unkindness of Ghosts. River Solomon. Akashic Books, 2017. This Lambda Literary Award finalist crafts a challenging, oppressive world on a spaceship carrying the last of humanity into space. Dark-skinned and hyper-intelligent Aster, a resident of the lower decks, works as a healer under her upper deck friend Theo (the Surgeon of the ship), until she notices a mysterious illness suffered by the Sovereign of the ship. Then Aster and Theo (indeed, the whole ship) are plunged into a sinister mystery that they could never have imagined. This antebellum space opera is told with a queer, neuro-atypical slant: Aster and Theo are both gender-variant and neurodivergent and utterly brilliant.

Whisper of Bones: A Jane Lawless Mystery. Ellen Hart. Minotaur Books/Macmillan, 2018. Minneapolis PI Jane Lawless goes on a journey to discover a family secret in this twenty-fifth entry in the series. Britt Ickles, visiting genomics professor, remembers playing with her cousin Timmy the last time she visited her mom’s family; however, as an adult when she visits her aunts, they tell her that there was no Timmy. Naturally, Jane is intrigued. She rents a room at the aunts’ home and begins investigating all the inhabitants. Mysterious things begin to happen. With an interesting plot, nice misdirection, and unique characters, Hart writes an enthralling cozy mystery to entertain readers.

Witchmark. C.L. Polk., 2018. The first book in The Kingston Cycle is an Edwardian fantasy in which we are introduced to a class based magical network filled with political machinations that our main character Miles Singer has done his best to try to escape. But you can’t run away from fate or angels. This story is filled with mystery, romance, magic, fantasy, and a touch of science.

Graphic Narrative
(Download PDF) 2019 Over The Rainbow – Graphic Narrative

Bingo Love. Tee Franklin. Image Comics, 2018. Hazel and Mari are teenagers when they first meet in the early 1960s. When their friendship blossoms into something more, they are forced apart by their families and society. Decades later at a bingo hall, the two find each other again and finally embark on the life of which they had been robbed. A graphic novel that will warm your heart.

Gumballs. Erin Nations. Top Shelf Productions, 2018. Nations created an autobiographical graphic novel with his unique square headed style of characters, exploring what it meant to grow up as an identical twin in a set of triplets, and how his life and body shifted when he started his gender confirmation journey. This collection is really fun and accessible, a great overview of one man’s trans experience.

Lie and How We Told It. Tommi Parrish. Fantagraphics, 2018. In this beautifully-rendered graphic novel, old friends Cleary and Tim run into each other at the grocery store one day and reconnect. Over the course of a night, they discuss the choices that they made and the paths each has traveled since they parted. With subtlety and dexterity, Parrish weaves an honest tale, brimming with struggle and self-realization over one’s sexuality and being true to one’s self.

My Brother’s Husband Volume 2. Genoroh Tagame. Pantheon, 2018. At its heart, this is the story of a man coming to terms with the unquestioned cultural assumptions about sexuality he’s harbored all his life and rediscovering the meaning of family, for his own and his daughter’s sake. The genius of Tagame’s art lies in its ability to suggest without insistence that Yaichi’s real journey of discovery has just begun. A joyous and hopeful work.

Sugar Town. Hazel Newlevant. Newlevant Comix, 2018. This fun and colorful graphic novel jubilantly celebrates bisexuality, queer love, and polyamorous relationships. There’s good information about how to make polyamory successful but the story doesn’t get pedantic or weighed down. Topics like sex work, jealousy, and domination add to a sweetly romantic story.

Literary and General Interest
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Literary and General Interest

Bastarda. Trifonia Melibea Obono. Feminist Press, 2018. Seventeen-year-old Okomo lives in the tribal town of Ayá Esang in Equatorial Guinea with her grandparents. From the beginning, we learn that Okomo’s mother is dead, that her father is a scoundrel, and that she is illegitimate because her father did not pay a dowry before sleeping with her mother. She deals with cultural and familial strictures and personal abuse but fights for her life and love. Obono is the first woman writer from Equatorial Guinea to be translated into English. Her novel brings a refreshing take on the coming-of-age story and on feminist and queer culture in Central Africa.

Book of Hats. Dov Zeller. Tiny Golem Press, 2018. In this mystical epic, Ida is a trans boy coming of age during the early to mid-20th century surrounded by her family’s hat-making business. (Although it’s obvious Ida is trans, the pronoun used throughout is she.) When the truth about Ida begins to unravel, she escapes to New York where she falls in with fellow queers who help create the community and family she is seeking.

Boy at the Edge of the World. David K. Yeh. Guernica Editions, 2018. In this dramedy we follow the romantic adventures of Daniel from coming out to his best friend Karen in high school to university in Toronto and the city’s queer culture. Filled with diverse characters on the universal pursuit of love and intimacy.

The Daddies. Kimberly Dark. Brill, 2018. A multi-faceted rich exploration of masculinity, patriarchy, and domination from a lesbian perspective. This work is part novel, part memoir, and part social analysis all combined–a surprising and challenging read.

Drapetomania: or, the narrative of Cyrus Tyler and Abednego Tyler, lovers. John R. Gordon. Team Angelica Publishing, 2018. When Abednego, a house-servant, is sold away, his lover Cyrus, a field-hand, realizes that he must go after him in this thrilling tale of the love between gay slaves in captivity set in the 1860’s. Drapetomania is a groundbreaking tale of black freedom and devotion.

Great Believers. Rebecca Makkai. Viking, 2018. A saga that begins in 1980s Chicago with Yale, a young gay man about to discover the art find of the century while all his friends around him die of AIDS, including his friend Nico. Reaching forward into present day Paris, Nico’s younger sister Fiona desperately tries to rescue her estranged daughter from a cult, and winds up meeting a photographer who documented the AIDS crisis in Chicago. Two spectacular stories intertwine to teach the lessons of love, friendship, community, and family.

Heart’s Invisible Furies. John Boyne. Hogarth/Penguin Random House, 2018. A tour de force about one man’s struggle to accept his sexuality in Ireland’s homophobic society throughout much of the modern era. The story begins in 1945. Cyril Avery is adopted by an eccentric Dublin couple, who always told him that he was not a real Avery. Cyril’s life is told in seven-year intervals. With equal parts sadness and humor, Boyne conveys to the reader the hardship and toll that repression can bring when a people are not able to be true to themselves.

House of Impossible Beauties. Joseph Cassara. Ecco/HarperCollins, 2018. For fans of the FX show Pose or the documentary Paris Is Burning, Cassara lovingly documents the NYC ball scene of the 1980s when queer people of color were able to compete in a vicious and loving environment of fierce queens with even fiercer support. Tough issues like AIDS and racism are addressed head on as the vivid characters navigate love, life, and loss with their wigs tightly secured and their lipstick unsmudged.

Into?: A Novel. North Morgan. Flatiron Books, 2018. Morgan paints an insipid and shallow portrait of a sex, drug, and alcohol-addicted subculture of young gay musclemen. Obsessed with image and social media, each chapter is a groundhog’s day of hook-ups and gym selfies with a side of delusion and childish narcissistic temper tantrums. A wonderfully satirical portrayal of a privileged and selfish – but very visible – segment of the gay community.

Jonny Appleseed. Joshua Whitehead. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018. Finalist: Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, must return to the reservation that he grew up on to attend his stepfather’s funeral. The resulting narrative is a soaring, chaotic, stream of consciousness spanning Jonny’s memories of growing up gay on the rez, remembrances of his kokum (grandmother), his work webcamming, falling in love with one of his best friends, and struggling to build a life in Winnipeg. Whitehead’s vivid, startling prose paints a picture of Jonny’s struggles to reconcile the pieces of his life in this startling debut novel.

Less. Andrew Sean Greer. Lee Boudreaux Books/Little Brown/Hachette, 2017. How should you go about avoiding your problems? Arthur Less, a middle-aged writer who receives an invitation to the wedding of his young ex-boyfriend runs away from them. He has accepted every award and invitation to speak, no matter how obscure the destination. He’ll do anything to make himself unavailable for the next year. He travels from San Francisco to New York, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, and Japan. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan and hilarity ensues. Figuring out who is actually telling the story is one of the most fun parts of this 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

My Ex-Life. Stephen McCauley. Flatiron Books/McMillan, 2018. Gay fifty-something David Hedges is suffering a mid-life crisis of sorts. He has a successful career in San Francisco but he was recently dumped by his boyfriend and his rent-controlled apartment is up for sale. When he receives an unexpected email from his ex-wife describing her high school daughter Mandy’s poor decisions, David decides to head east to New England to help them. During this process, the pair rediscover a strong friendship. Witty and topical, McCauley’s prose is fun and light-hearted. “All couples start off as Romeo and Juliet and end up as Laurel and Hardy.”

So Lucky. Nicola Griffith. Macmillan, 2018. Mara Tagarelli’s life is seemingly perfect until in the space of a week, her wife leaves her, she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and she loses her job. At first, when everything begins to feel threatening and terrifying and Mara feels utterly helpless, she assumes it is simply the vulnerability of the new illness. When other MS survivors begin to turn up on the news, murdered in their own homes, she realizes that the threats are unshakably real. How does anyone defend themselves when their own body can’t be trusted? Griffith’s work is equal parts mystery, horror, and disability narrative.

Sparsholt Affair. Alan Hollinghurst. Knopf, 2018. A tale of honesty and being true to oneself, this novel tackles themes of lust, sex, and societal expectations in post-WWII Great Britain. In 1940, David Sparsholt, a dashing, first-year engineering student at Oxford, has an affair with a man, causing a scandal. David’s son, Johnny, lives with the aftermath of his father’s sordid past. Johnny is an artist and trying to live honestly as a gay man in the homophobic Britain of the 1960s. The consequences of his choices affect all parties involved and expose the cultural and sexual revolutions that have happened in the twentieth century in Britain.

Speak No Evil. Uzodinma Iweala. Harper, 2018. The story focuses upon two privileged teenagers from different backgrounds and experiences. A gay African American, Niru and his friendship with a white heterosexual female, Meredith. We see how shame and silence lead to a tragic event with devastating consequences that change lives forever.

Stray City. Chelsey Johnson. Custom House/William Morrow, 2018. Andrea Morales is a dedicated member of Portland’s thriving 1990s queer scene whose life is utterly changed when she sleeps with a man, gets pregnant, and decides to keep the baby. This warm and heartfelt debut goes back and forth in time between the late 1990s and 2009, showcasing the evolving queer community in Portland as well as the ways in which Andrea grows and builds a life with her chosen family and young daughter.

Tin Man. Sarah Winman. Penguin Random House/GP Putnam’s Sons, 2018. Ellis and Michael are childhood friends who eventually become lovers. As adults, Ellis marries Annie and the three share an unbreakable bond, until Michael vanishes from their lives. This beautifully written tale of friendship and love will break your heart into a million pieces.

White Houses. Amy Bloom. Penguin Random House, 2018. Bloom’s latest novel recreates the clandestine romance between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena “Hick” Hickock. Told in reminiscences after their relationship has ended shortly after FDR died, Hick’s bittersweet narrative conveys to the reader the depth of her continued feelings for Eleanor. Poignant tales of the two together will tug at the heartstrings. The juxtaposition of the relationship between Eleanor and Hick and the world-changing events happening around them are very well-played, driving the narrative forward, but ultimately cause the women’s relationship to end. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.

(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Poetry

Black Queer Hoe. Britteney Black Rose Kapri. Haymarket, 2018. Sit up and pay attention to this in-your-face no-apologies collection of poetry from a proud Black woman. Based out of Chicago, Kapri is a teacher, an award-winning writer, and an outspoken activist for the Black, Queer, and sex-positive communities. This fiery debut trumpets the arrival of an electric new voice.

Carnival of Affection. Philip F. Clark. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018. In this collection of poetry, everyday experiences in the life of a gay man are elevated in lyrical exploration. Clark makes the ordinary trials of a life something utterly new.

Full-Metal Indigiqueer. Joshua Whitehead. Talonbooks, 2017. This collection of queer poetry borrows from myriad influences from the past and present, ranging from Shakespeare to Lana Del Rey. Whitehead deconstructs to decolonize, bringing the lives of two-spirit/indigiqueer youth into sharp focus and giving them a new space.

Junk. Tommy Pico. Tin House Books, 2018. A full-length love poem/break-up poem about stuff: the detritus of a relationship; of consumerism and pop culture; of loss of identity as an indigenous person; even of Chili Cheese Fritos in a constantly shifting barrage of enjambed couplets. Pico uses Junk as a collective term, similar to a junk shop of old things awaiting their next purpose. It’s transgressive, fast-paced, and a constant blending of the somber and the flippant.

Lord of the Butterflies. Andrea Gibson. Buttonpoetry, 2018. Gibson’s fifth collection takes a nuanced look at gender, grief, love, and the personal as political. Gibson tackles every subject (a wide litany: Lyme disease, a family member’s drug addiction, gun violence, mental illness, falling in love, and figuring out their identity as genderqueer just to name a few) with love. Lord of the Butterflies is a celebration of queer community and indefatigable hope. Though the poems are best read aloud (Gibson is a performance poet), they come through clearly on the page.

Not Everything Thrown Starts a Revolution. Stephen S. Mills. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018. Collection of queer poetry explores parallels through time through interwoven haunting narratives from the 18th and 21st centuries. Mills brings the current life and struggles of a 21st century gay man in parallel with the struggles of agrarian life and incarceration.

Not Here. Hieu Minh Nguyen. Coffee House Press, 2018. There are aching confrontations of family, trauma, and history in this collection of poetry from a queer Vietnamese American exploring desire and loneliness. Nguyen imagines himself a monster in his concise even prose that is at once shocking and clear.

On My Way to Liberation. H. Melt. Haymarket Books, 2018. This chapbook of poetry follows the realities of a gender-nonconforming body moving through the world. Melt, a proud and openly trans writer, writes about being misgendered in queer spaces and their family’s home, creating conscious spaces for trans people, and their grandfather’s liberation from Dachau. Melt’s simple, matter-of-fact poems advocate for a larger world of trans literature and shed light on their experiences.

Othered. Randi M. Romo. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018. Romo shares her history of growing up a Mexican American girl with special mention of growing up in the South and the idiosyncratic use of language in that region. She celebrates the lives of lost friends and in her poem “I Am” explains both who she is and how she is labeled by others.

Prayers for My 17th Chromosome. Amir Rabiyah. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017. Rabiyah’s prose poems are easy to read as they describe their journey from being a young girl into non-binary adulthood and self. Their rhapsodic explanation of the experience of chronic illness and living with pain invites understanding and empathy.

Rummage – poems. Ife-Chudeni A Oputa. Little A/Amazon Publishing, 2017. Read Oputa’s poems aloud for the full resonance. She writes loving paeans to the ordinary that require a pause between each, to let her words roll through your mind. Her collection has 4 sections, each taking you through a different cycle of girlhood.

Subject to Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation. H. Melt, ed. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018. An anthology of the work of five unapologetically trans poets: Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Christopher Soto, Beyza Ozer, Cameron Awkward-Rich, and Kay Ulanday Barrett. A selection of poems by each poet is paired with an interview with editor H. Melt discussing their work, identities, and lives. This collection encompasses a wide variety of themes and poetics: a selection of clear, talented voices examining what it means to be trans.

Touched. Luther Hughes. Sibling Rivalry Press. 2018. This collection of poetry takes an unflinching look at the black body, exploring both tenderness and bruising. Hughes uplifts the body, examining it with detailed care.

Short Stories
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Short Stories

Her Body and Other Parties. Carmen Maria Machado. Graywolf Press, 2017. Machado’s 8 short stories weave between the ordinary and the surreal, exploring disgust, delight, and all varieties of queerness. Her characters are both flawed and fantastic, impossible to forget. Her retelling of a classic ghost story is insidious, the reader both knows what will happen and is shocked by it.

London: Skin and Bones. Ian Young. Squares and Rebels, 2017. Collection of colorful short stories featuring gay skinheads and scoundrels of the Finsbury Park blue collar area of North London in the 1980’s.

Merry Spinster. Mallory Ortberg. Holt, 2018. Delightfully dark collection of fairy tales retold, swapping genders, changing roles, and playing irreverently with the classic stories. Both feminist and witty, Ortberg subverts and shifts tales like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” for adults-only.

Night Beast. Ruth Joffre. Grove Press/Black Cat, 2018. Debut collection exploring the lives of queer women in a variety of fantasy, speculative, and realistic settings. A filmmaker waits for her soulmate as a timer counts down, until one day, suddenly, it begins to speed up. Actors in an avant-garde television show wake up together every weekend to begin their show, confusing television with real life. These doomed and unsettling stories are haunting in their simplicity.

Two Moons: Stories. Krystal A. Smith. BLF Press, 2018. Speculative fiction collection of stories. They are ethereal, transcend time, space, and being in whimsical journeys.