For this month’s book club, I wanted to lean into what has been happening politically. June is the month of LGBTQ+ pride, but right now there are people protesting in the streets for their right to feel prideful of the color of their skin, and I think that should be celebrated this month as well.
So, I wanted to spotlight those two ideals in the month of June. This month there are three books; Juliet Takes a Breath, Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda, and The New Jim Crow.
“Juliet Takes a Breath” by Gabby Rivera
Diversity is immensely important. I have seen very few books with a queer woman of color as the main protagonist, which is why when I found this book, I knew it had to go on this month’s reading list.
At the beginning of the novel, “Juliet Takes a Breath” is about a 19-year-old queer Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx who comes out to her family.
It follows her coming-out journey as she begins an internship across the country from her significant other. With the ongoing pandemic, many people have been separated from their loved ones for various reasons. I thought people would be able to relate to this sort of longing for another.
The book deals with love and loss, as well as a character of color trying to navigate America without losing who she is as a person.
“Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda” by Becky Albertalli
This book is much more lighthearted than “Juliet Takes a Breath.” It is a coming of age (and coming out) story. This book got a lot of hype in 2018 with the movie adaptation – but like any good book, it is better than the movie.
Simon is a high school student that knows he’s gay but hasn’t come out to anyone. The book follows the subsequent struggles of trying to hide one’s own sexuality from friends, family and a random kid that stumbles upon your notes back and forth with another closeted kid at the same school.
“The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
While having nothing to do with LGBTQ+ pride month, “The New Jim Crow” is a book exposing the events that led up to the mass incarceration of people of color, specifically African Americans. If the current public unrest and protests have you confused, this is a great book to help provide some background for the war on drugs and the negative effects of having a ‘colorblind’ justice system.
I originally read this a few years ago for my rhetorics of racism class and this book, as well as the class in general, opened my eyes to the prejudice and systemic racism in the U.S. that is still present in the current administration.
I look forward to rereading this month’s book list and hope you enjoy them as well. Stay safe during protests and if you have any book suggestions for the month of July, feel free to send them to [email protected]