Read Different Challenge & LGBT Pride Month
Last month we decided to join in with the Hachette’s Read Different campaign and we invited you to join us in an informal reading challenge to expand your reading horizons. The month of June happens to be LGBT pride month so what better time to highlight some of the great books by LGBT authors or with LGBT characters?
Recent research (described here in the Scientific American) suggests that reading literary fiction (as opposed to popular fiction increases empathy. Researchers claim that literary fiction focuses more on the psychology of characters and requires readers to understand psychological motivations of these characters. This ability then transfers to the real world, with readers of literary fiction being better able to empathize with others who may be different from them.
Books with LGBT characters are underrepresented in all genres of fiction. I am a heterosexual woman and I have no difficulty seeing myself and my type of relationships inside the books I read. The majority of books I’ve read that feature romantic relationships are centered around heterosexual relationships. Given the recent events in Orlando, empathy is clearly a quality that is much needed in the world. I’ve been thinking about how I could do my small part in showing my solidarity with the LGBT community. I filled our Little Free Library with LGBT books this month and I plan to make a conscious effort to seek out LGBT literature.
This month I’ve read two books that could qualify: Nimona and In Love and War. Nimona is a young adult graphic novel that is quirky, irreverent, and has the added benefit of featuring a cool relationship between two male heroes. I’ll be reviewing that book at some point soon. In Love and War by Alex Preston is set in Italy during WWII and features a bisexual main character. I reviewed this book a few weeks ago and you can read that review here. I hope to try and read Guapa by Salem Haddad. This book is a debut novel that tells the story of Rasa, a young gay man coming out in the Middle East. It was featured on Book Riot this month and sounds incredibly interesting.
Want to join me this month? Here are some lists of recommended LGBT books:
50 essential works of LGBT fiction by Flavorwire
16 LGBT Books that will actually change your life by Buzzfeed
New LGBTQ Fiction: Highlights from the 2016 Lambda Literary Awards by Book Riot
Finally, I’d like to recommend that you check out the work of two of my favorite authors: Jeanette Winterson and Colm Tóibín. Both are openly gay authors who have been very outspoken about gay rights and whose books often feature beautiful and complex homosexual relationships.
We want to hear from you! Those of you who are joining us in the read different challenge, what books have you read this month that are represent reading differently for you? Have you read any books featuring LGBT characters this month? Do you have any recommendations for books?