Book Recommendations for the Queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race

Rachel Smalter Hall

Staff Writer

Rachel Smalter Hall may be a professional Book Rioter, but she still hangs out in the public librarian clubhouse. Two of her top three loves include audiobooks and knitting, and her favorite song is Cold Hearted Snake as performed by Alyssa Edwards and Coco Montrese on season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She co-runs a boozy book club in Lawrence, Kansas, in her spare time. Twitter: @rach_smalls Website: Rachel Smalter Hall

Reading is Fundamental, Riot children, and no one knows that better than a drag queen! This week the seven sisters of RuPaul’s Drag Race became six, and the remaining queens are battling their way to the top with charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.

We at Riot headquarters are standing by with the best secret weapon of all: personalized reading recommendations to help each queen make her bid for that glamorous rhinestone tiara. So grab an Absolut cocktail, slip into your sexiest librarian drag, and crack open one of these books in the Interior Illusions Lounge:

alyssa edwards rupaul's drag raceAlyssa Edwards

Alyssa was probably a freight-hopping crust punk in her former life, but now she’s a beautiful fairy princess who stole guest judge Leslie Jordan’s heart. Alyssa will never snatch the crown on her intellect alone. She’s a dancer at heart, and she’d better play to her strengths if she’s going to claw her way to the top.


ONCE A DANCER by Allegra Kent

Allegra Kent’s memoir of dancing in the New York City Ballet with Baryshnikov and Balanchine is the perfect marriage of Black Swan meets drag. The exquisite, demonic ballerina dishes about art, dance, sexual intrigue, disastrous marriages, high drama, and botched plastic surgeries. She’s both bizarre and fascinating, making her the world’s best literary role model for Alyssa Edwards.



coco montrese rupaul's drag raceCoco Montrese

Coco’s a flawless pageant queen with magically color-changing eyes, but her bitter feud with Alyssa Edwards has cost her several major missteps. Girl loves to play the victim, and RuPaul ain’t buying what she’s selling. If Coco’s going to win the crown, she’d better pack her best sequin gown for her spiritual journey. Otherwise she’ll be sashaying away.


DEMIAN by Hermann Hesse

For Coco, we have some heavy-handed German Bildungsroman! DEMIAN is secretly all about Hesse’s own mental anguish and spiritual awakening after spending two years in intensive psychotherapy with a Jungian analyst. Coco doesn’t have two years to spare, but hopefully she can make it through the book a little quicker than that.



roxxxy andrews rupaul's drag raceRoxxxy Andrews

Underneath Roxxxy’s flinty pageant exterior, she’s just a thick and juicy queen who’s still dealing with the emotional fallout of getting left at a bus stop by her mom when she was three years old. For Roxxxy to go the distance, she needs to stay naked and vulnerable.


NAKED by David Sedaris

Sedaris fans are often divided on NAKED, but I think it’s his very best work. In it he achieves the perfect balance of bitchy snark and tragicomic family realness. Roxxxy would do well to take a page out of the Master of Mean Girl’s book and embrace her own vulnerability while lip syncing FOR HER LIIIIFE in a slinky sequins dress.



jinkx monsoon rupaul's drag raceJinkx Monsoon

Jinkx-y is a brilliant camp queen, which means she’s got a giant bulls-eye strapped to her forehead. Ru, Michelle, and Santino have been known to blast previous comediennes. For Jinkx to win, she’s going to have to tone down the Grey Gardens and crank up the Marilyn Monroe.



Because she’s so brainy, Jinkx is sure to eat up this high-fashion political exposé of the most glamorous diva of all time. Sandwiched between the juicy historical bits, Jinkx will find TONS of inspiration for sky-high hairdos, flawless makeup, and glamorous crimes against fashion.



detox icunt rupaul's drag raceDetox

Detox admits to being more silicon than not, and it shows. She’s called herself “edgy and editorial mixed with Jem and the Holograms and Patrick Nagel on crack.” I can’t resist a good Jem reference any more than the next girl, but really? Detox needs to put her money where her mouth is. Lightning earrings and frumpy jellyfish dresses do not a drag superstar make.


Detox needs to read something as outrageous as she claims to be, and PARTY MONSTER might just fit the bill. With club kids, divas, drugs, and blunt objects, PARTY MONSTER is about as gonzo as drag gets. So don’t get all true crime on us, Detox, but do serve a little more Misfits realness, please.



alaska rupaul's drag raceAlaska

Alaska has slowly been molting her Sharon Needles cocoon, and finally became a beautiful butterfly when she severed ties with Ro-Laska-Tox. The crown can be Alaska’s if she stays true to herself and doesn’t step back into anyone’s shadow.


THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

I think Alaska has a real shot at the crown, which is why I want her to sit down and read THE HUNGER GAMES right this very minute. Katniss Everdeen has all the ingredients of a fierce drag diva: reality TV fame, sickening wardrobe, a fighter’s spirit, and a heroine’s heart. Just follow the Girl on Fire’s lead, Alaska, and may the odds be ever in your favor.



Did we get it right? What books do you recommend for your favorite RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant?