It’s the second day of the week, and the last Tuesday of June! But before the month ends, let me do final Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesdays was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.
This week’s topic: Freebie
When I learned that this week’s Top 5 Tuesday update is a freebie, I had to think through what topic I should cover for. And then it hit me. Why not feature books about the LGBTQIA+ community? June, after all, is considered the Pride Month. Without more ado, here are some of my favorite LGBTQIA+ books. Happy reading!
I can still recall my first encounter with Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. I was just passing by the bookstore (or not really) when I came across the prominently-displayed book. It immediately caught my attention and even though I barely had any iota on what the book was about or who Yanagihara was, I immediately purchased the book. The book is about the life of four college – Jude, Willem, Malcolm and JB – classmates facing various challenges in New York City. Particularly covering the story of Jude, the book covers a vast ground of subjects such as friendship, brotherhood, romantic relationships, abuse, pedophilia, and even some psychological aspects. I know, many call it overly melodramatic but the book and the characters’ experiences spoke volumes to me.
Just like A Little Life, it was a chance encounter at the bookstore that introduced me to Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I barely had any iota on what the book was about nor have I read any of Alire Saenz’s works before but the book title and the literary awards seals the book was propped with were more than enough to convince me to purchase the book. Although I am no fan of young adult fiction, I am glad I bought and read the book because it was a subtly heartwarming story about love, acceptance, and identity in 1980s Texas. The book is getting a sequel later this year and I am more than excited to know what happened to Ari and Dante.
The moment I encountered Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, I just knew I had to read it. I scoured every book store in hopes of procuring a copy (I was hoping for a hardbound) and the moment I did, I immediately delved into it. Middlesex is the story of Calliope Stephanides. She grew up believing she was a girl until her teenage years when she felt like she was becoming an anomaly. Entirely by accident, she discovered that she had both male and female attributes. Calliope is a hermaphrodite. The novel ruminates on Calliope’s journey into understanding more about herself/himself. It also explored family history, discrimination, and rising above adversities. Simply put, Middlesex is one of my all-time favorite reads.
André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name received quite the attention when it was adapted into a film last 2017. I was initially apprehensive about the buying and reading the book but after encountering several positive feedback, I was finally convinced to dip into Aciman’s masterpiece. The novel zeroes in on 17-year-old American-Italian Jewish Elio Perlman who fell in love with 24-year-old American Jewish scholar Oliver. There is an overwhelming atmosphere of lust and perversion but Aciman navigated these sensitive topics in good taste. Aciman reminded his readers that there exists an Elio in each of us, that we all have deeply sated emotions locked deep inside of us. It takes a whole lot of inspiration to let these emotions flourish.
In the ancient texts, Patroclus, the loyal friend of Achilles, has long been believed (actually it is accepted) to be homosexual and that his relationship with Achilles is more than just that of a friend. In her award-winning debut novel, The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller explored the relationship between the famed Greek hero and his partner. What makes the novel special is that it was Patroclus who gave voice to the story. The readers get to see Achilles through a different lens, a different perspective. Patroclus was an amazing storyteller and character – firm, consistent, and evocative. Miller must be commended for giving voices to ordinary characters readers easily discount as unimpressionable or forget (she did the same in her second novel, Circe).
Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi won me over with their powerful debut, Freshwater. When I learned they are going to publish a work later in 2020, I was on my toes and the moment it became available, I ordered a copy of the book. It is of important note that Emezi is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, identifying themselves as non-binary. In The Death of Vivek Oji, they dealt with a lot of facets of Nigerian society and culture. With a focus on Vivek Oji, it explored identity, grief, and tradition in a rapidly changing Nigeria. It was still a good story and would have been more powerful had Vivek’s voice been more prevalent, more prominent.
I hope you liked my list! May you all have a great week ahead of you!