June is Pride Month, and what better time to highlight overlooked voices? Here are a few books at the intersection of Black and queer that you can get at the library!
Real Life by Brandon Taylor (2020, 327 pages). Wallace is a black man in the predominately white setting of academia, pursuing his degree in biochemistry. He keeps himself at a necessary remove even from his friends, as he navigates a hostile world of racism and homophobia. The sadness and loneliness he feels stem from his difficult childhood in Alabama, which he has left physically behind him with a migration to the Midwest, but from which he may never truly escape. Caught between trauma and longing, Taylor’s debut novel asks difficult yet important questions about what it means to live authentically– and what we stand to lose whether or not we succeed.
Lot by Bryan Washington (2019, 222 pages). (Large print.) In this searing collection of short stories, the young son of a Black mother and Latinx father survives abuse, loss, and the discovery of his own identity. In Houston, Texas, he encounters people of many backgrounds and ponders the nature of community and love in all its forms. Full of insight and transcendence, this book won a Lambda Literary Award in May 2020!
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus (2019, 308 pages). After being caught with her secret girlfriend, sixteen-year-old Audre is sent to live in Minneapolis by her religious Trinidadian mother. There, she meets fellow student Mabel, who falls quickly in love with Audre. This lyrical debut alternates between the perspectives of Audre and Mabel, dissecting a young queer love story with all the complications of illness and trauma.
Surpassing Certainty by Janet Mock (2017, 224 pages). The second of Janet Mock’s memoirs, Surpassing Certainty covers the decade of her twenties as she strikes out on her own in her career and romantic life. As a young trans woman, she finds the world is full or peril and failure, but it only makes her hard-won successes that much more affirming and satisfying for the reader when they arrive.