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Want to Start a Queer Book Club? Here’s How

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Hannah VanVels

Staff Writer

Hannah VanVels is a literary agent, editor, and writer. Her life is consumed by all things books, and when she’s not working on books, she can usually be found curled up with a good book and a good cup of coffee. Hannah lives in Michigan with her partner, two German shepherds, and two cats.

Looking for a queer book club or even want to start your own? This is how to get started.

What is a queer book club?

Book clubs are a fab way to see those friends you’ve been meaning to get together with, meet new people, and start chipping away on your TBR pile. Some book clubs are fun and relaxed, and others are highly serious and academic. Choosing a theme for your book club is a necessary part of focusing it and deciding the purpose of the book club.

Enter Queer Book Club.

Although the number of queer books has grown over the past few years, there is still a lot of work to be done in publishing and promoting books by queer authors, particularly queer authors of color. A lot of literature about the queer community depicts characters from the queer community as victims and targets of violence or as wanting to fit in the world in the same way as straight folks. But for most people in the LGBTQ+ community, stories don’t easily fit into molds. Queer life is wonderfully messy and speckled and human. Queer stories are human stories. And a queer book club can shine the spotlight intentionally on these stories.

How to Find a Queer Book Club

If you are looking to join a book club that focuses on literature written by members of the LGBTQ+ community, there are a number of ways to go about it. Whether you’re looking for a topical read or a fun read with queer characters simply living their best lives, there are some unforgettable reads available.

queer book club

In-Person Queer Book Clubs

One great way to find a queer book club to join is through a local Meetup group.  There are thousands of members all over the world, and one just may be meeting in your community!

Online Queer Book Clubs

If in-person book clubs aren’t your thing, have no fear. Lambda Literary hosts an online book club. Each month, the book club highlights a different queer book, mixing the classics with new releases and books that have flown under the radar. There are also free (!!!) book club apps!

Start Your Own

If you’re the entrepreneurial sort, you should consider starting your own book club. Whether you are looking to start something more informal at your indie or looking for library support, there are a number of resources available to help you get started. The Rainbow Round Table (RRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) is a great resource to get started and are a great source of professional support. Be sure that each member of your book club is aware of its purpose: to celebrate queer stories and queer stories with every read.

Queer Book Club: The Starter Pack

Now that you’re ready to start reading, where do you start? Below are only a small number of our favorite queer recs to help you get started.

Red White & Royal Blue book coverRed, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

The tagline for this book is What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? Need we say more? Red, White, & Royal Blue is a fun book filled with romance, humor, and tenderness and has become a favorite romcom on our shelf.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

A beautiful, character-driven coming-of-age story, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe has earned a permanent place in our hearts. A gut-wrenching portrayal of life as a teenager, this book not only discusses pertinent LGBTQ+ themes but also explores race.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Some mornings Riley wakes up feeling like a girl, other times feeling like a boy. Symptoms of Being Human is a wonderful representation of nonbinary and genderfluid identity. In addition to giving a face to genderfluidity in Riley, Garvin also writes honestly about functioning with anxiety.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Deep, dark, and beautifully human, Pet shows what the world would look like free of abusers and monsters. The world is never as perfect as we might want it to be, but we should never stop fighting to make it that way.

Gravity by Juliann Rich

Seventeen-year-old Ellie has a shot at competing for the Olympic gold in ski jumping, but when she suffers a potentially career-ending injury. Gravity is an unapologetic look at a teen lesbian romance and explores how we cope with loss in the face of adversity.

Hunger by Roxane Gay

In Hunger, Roxane Gay writes a deeply personal memoir about what it’s like to be overweight and unseen. Sharing her own struggles and truths about a Black woman’s body, Hunger is a story that that is intensely personal and intensely relatable.

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

A raw and devastating memoir, Saeed Jones is hard to read and even harder to put down. Recounting his story as a gay Black man, Jones takes readers on a journey against racism and homophobia with a rawness and vulnerability that left us sobbing.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

The main character in Juliet Takes a Breath is a self-proclaimed Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. But she’s not out to the world quite yet. Filled with queer brown dance parties, fun, and sexy flings, this poignant YA novel explores race, identity, and captures queer life in all its messy splendor.

Your book club’s queer picks do not have to be limited to Pride Month only. Consider starting a Queer Book Club that reads a different LGBTQ+ book every month! Whether you are reading something more serious or something fun and fluffy, the LGBTQ+ canon is growing more each year. What are some of your favorite queer books?