Hello everybody! June is almost here and as many of you probably already know, in June we celebrate Pride. Pride Month, which is held in June every year, is a month long celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and queer culture. And to celebrate, I will be reading a bunch of books that are either writing by queer authors or which feature LGBTQ+ characters and stories. Below you will find a list of all the books that I want to read in June, as well as some info about three fun readathons that I will also be participating in: Howl’s Rainbow Readathon, the Queer Lit Readathon, and the Here and Queer in June readathon (more info about these readathons towards the end of this post).
While all two of the readathons come with fun reading challenges, I haven’t picked my books based on these challenges, opting for a more flexible and general list of queer books to read. I will however try to keep track of all the challenges I end up completing as I go. Just for the fun of it ^^ (I will be posting wrap-ups for the readathons on Instagram, so you can check that out to see how many challenges from the three readathons I end up completing).
Pride Reading List
1. Swimming In The Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski
Official synopsis: Set in early 1980s Poland against the violent decline of communism, a tender and passionate story of first love between two young men who eventually find themselves on opposite sides of the political divide. When university student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer agricultural camp, he is fascinated yet wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance meeting by the river soon becomes an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair. After their camp duties are fulfilled, the pair spend a dreamlike few weeks camping in the countryside, bonding over an illicit copy of James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Inhabiting a beautiful natural world removed from society and its constraints, Ludwik and Janusz fall deeply in love. But in their repressive communist and Catholic society, the passion they share is utterly unthinkable. Once they return to Warsaw, the charismatic Janusz quickly rises in the political ranks of the party and is rewarded with a highly-coveted position in the ministry. Ludwik is drawn toward impulsive acts of protest, unable to ignore rising food prices and the stark economic disparity around them. Their secret love and personal and political differences slowly begin to tear them apart as both men struggle to survive in a regime on the brink of collapse.
Note: Since James Baldwin’s novel Giovanni’s Room features significantly in this book, I’ve decided to read it first before starting Swimming In The Dark. I’m currently halfway through Giovanni’s Room and I really enjoy the writing so far.
2. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
Official synopsis: Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
Note: I was actually supposed to read this book during last year’s Pride Month but didn’t have time to get to it. I’m excited to finally get to read it this year though. And if I do manage to finish the book on time, I’m also planning to see the movie. We’ll see how that goes ^^
3. The Weight Of The Stars by K. Ancrum
Official synopsis: Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends. One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system. Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .
4. The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
Official synopsis: When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not. August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.
5. Dark And Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
Official synopsis: Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves. Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.
6. Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
Official synopsis: The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know. The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan. But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.
7. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Official synopsis: To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
8. The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska
Official synopsis: Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking. Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice. Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city. When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.
Note: Although this book comes out in August, I will be reading it in June because I was luckily sent an advanced copy of it through Netgalley ^^
June Readathons I Will Be Participating In
1. Queer Lit Readathon
This bi-annual readathon is hosted by Kathy at kathytrithardt and Rogan at shan_no_nosays through the queer_lit account on Instagram. The readathon will be happening from May 31st to June 6th. There will also be a Queer Weekend event happening on the 28th and 29th of May. Kathy and Rogan have created a bingo sheet with several reading challenges that you can do throughout the duration of the readathon. Check out Kathy’s video here for more details.
If you would like to participate in the Queer Lit Readathon, don’t forget to use the hashtag #queerlitread to post your reading updates online.
2. Howl’s Rainbow Readathon
During the first week of June, Carolyn over at howlsmovingbookstagram will also be hosting a readathon to celebrate Pride Month. If you participate, you can also choose to fill in a pride bingo sheet that Carolyn has created for the readathon, to enter a giveaway for a chance to win a book of your choice written by a queer author. Check out her original post here for more details.
If you wish to participate, you can use the hashtag #howlsrainbowreadathon to share your reading plans and updates on Instagram.
3. Here and Queer In June Readathon
This readathon is being hosted by Holly at spoopyhol on Instagram. The readathon will be held throughout the month of June and includes a readalong of Call Me By Your Name that will be taking place from the 23rd to the 30th of June. Since I was planning to read this book in June anyways, I will be saving it for the readalong. There are also some fun Instagram photo challenges that participants can join in. For more information, you can check out Holly’s Instagram post here, as well as her announcement video on YouTube here.
If you will be participating, you can use the hashtag #hereandqueerinjune when sharing your reading updates.
Are you also planning to read queer books in June? Comment down below and let me know! And to all of you who will be celebrating Pride in June, both the queer and the queer-friendly, I wish you a very happy Pride Month 😀