Hello, and welcome to October, otherwise known as LGBTQ History Month, which aims to celebrate queer people in history from Gilbert Baker, the man who designed the rainbow flag in 1978, to Ethel Smyth, who was born in 1858 and was a member of the women's suffrage movement in England.
For LGBTQ History Month I decided to read an interesting work of historical fiction that tells the story of a transgender man and notorious thief from 1724 London, England. Though it is not historical fiction, the other novel I chose to read for October is about a two-spirit/Indigiqueer who tells stories of growing up on the reservation while figuring out his sexuality/gender identity. I'm planning to read a mystery/romance for November, which should be a lot of fun.
All that said, I hope you find one of these unique books of interest!
Books I've read recently
Title/Author: Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
Summary: Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the "rez," and his former life, to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The next seven days are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother) as he learns how to put together the pieces of his life.
Book Format: Print
Length: 220 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer
Violence: There is some minor abuse of children by adults.
Well written/Editor Needed: Well written
Would I Recommend?: Yes
Personal thoughts: This book certainly won’t be for everyone. Normally, I’m not a fan of books that are nonlinear without a real plot line in sight. However, this book, once I got a few pages into it, really sucked me in. The stories Jonny tells of his friends and family growing up on the rez (reservation) are real, bringing with them pain, heartache, love, and laughter. Jonny might have moved off the rez and taken up a job as a cybersex worker, but he is still an NDN (Indian) boy of the rez at heart. This novel is at once raw and intimate. He pulls no punches, showing off what he does for a living. This is real. And well worth the read.
Title/Author: Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg & Aden Hakimi (Narrator)
Summary: Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. No one knows Jack's true story-his confessions have never been found, until Dr. Voth discovers a stack of papers titled Confessions of the Fox. Dated 1724, the manuscript tells the story of an orphan named P sold into servitude at twelve. When P falls in love with Bess, a sex worker looking for freedom of her own, P transforms into Jack, a notorious thief and escape artist, and the two drown themselves in the London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with London's newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of an oncoming plague abound.
Genre/sub-genre: Historical Fiction
Book Format: Audiobook
Length: 352 pages/11 hours
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Transgender male
Well written/Editor Needed: Well written, but odd in format
Would I Recommend?: Maybe
Personal thoughts: This book won’t be for everyone either. I chose the audiobook over the print copy. The narrator, Aden Hakimi, is wonderful. I love his voice! However, the format of this book doesn’t lend itself well to the audiobook experience. Here’s why: There are two plot lines running throughout the book. The first is the story of Jack Shepard, notorious thief of 1724. The second is Dr. Voth’s life, which lives out in the footnotes he places throughout the book. The footnotes are also used to explain various sexual terms and to point out real references that support Jack’s story. The stories themselves are intriguing, and do make you want to know what’s going to happen next. There were only a couple of things that didn’t work for me with the characters: The relationship between Jack and Bess was insta-love, and I would have liked to have seen their relationship grow a lot more than what we saw. The same is true for Jack’s instant prowess at thieving. Dr. Voth’s life story is fairly haphazard and non-linear. It’s interesting, though I think I would have preferred it in alternating chapters rather than spread randomly throughout the footnotes. Beware; if this bothers you, there are a lot of references to sex in 1700’s lingo, which then get repeated in modern text in the footnotes, doubling the number of references, sometimes needlessly. In short, this was good, but somewhat awkward.
Books I’m looking forward to
Title/Author: Object of Desire by Dal Maclean
Summary: Tom Gray is one of the world's top models–an effortless object of desire. Self-contained, elusive and always in control, he's accustomed to living life entirely on his own terms. But when Tom comes under suspicion in the gory death of his employer, his world spirals into chaos. Someone's framing him. Someone's stalking him. And as old secrets come to light, Tom finds his adversary always one step ahead. Will Foster is the only man Tom trusts to help. But Tom brutally burned all bridges between them two years before, and Will paid a bitter price. If he wants to survive, Tom must prove his innocence to Will–and to the world.
Genre/Sub-Genre: Mystery/MM Romance
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
Reasons I’m Excited About It: I read her debut mystery/romance novel, Bitter Legacy, and loved it. The mystery had me sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time, flipping pages to see what was going to happen next. The same goes for the romance. I really wasn’t sure the main characters would get their happily ever after until the bitter end. So, I’m looking forward to her second book!
Books mentioned above
Title/Author: Bitter Legacy by Dal Maclean
Genre/Sub-Genre: Mystery/MM Romance
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay