Title: The Queer Bible

Author: Jack Guinness

Publisher: Harper Collins/HQ

The Blurb

‘We stand on the shoulders of giants. Now we learn their names.’

Read by Jack Guinness, Amelia Abraham, Paula Akpan, Munroe Bergdorf, Joseph Cassara, Juliet Jacques, Paris Lees, Freddy McConnell, Paul Mendez, Mark Moore, Graham Norton, Matthew Todd & Russell Tovey. 

THE QUEER BIBLE is a collection of essays written by queer icons, about the queer trailblazers throughout history who inspired them.

From Elton John on Divine to Graham Norton on Armistead Maupin; Russell Tovey on David Robilliard to Lady Phyll on Moud Goba; Tan France on the Queer Eye cast to Mae Martin on Tim Curry, today’s queer heroes write about the icons that provided a creative inspiration to them. Other contributors include Amelia Abraham, Paula Akpan, Courtney Act, Munroe Bergdorf, Mykki Blanco, Joseph Cassara, David Furnish, Paul Flynn, Paris Lees, Juliet Jacques, Gus Kenworthy, Freddy McConnell, Paul Mendez, Mark Moore, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hanne Gaby Odiele and Matthew Todd. Each essay is accompanied by exclusive, bespoke illustrations by queer or ally artists, to create a truly beautiful celebration of queer culture.

Based on the popular website QueerBible.com, founded by model and activist Jack Guinness, this timely collection, edited by him, continues his mission – to create a space dedicated to the celebration of queer history.

The Queer Bible is a love letter to the LGBTQI+ community and its allies.

The Review

I have read a lot of Queer literature this year, I love LGBTQIA fiction but I have to say that it has been the non-fiction that has stuck with me. I decided to listen to the audiobook of The Queer Bible and I con honestly say that I think it was the best decision for me. I got something from the audiobook that I don’t think would have had the same impact had I read it on a page. I heard the passion behind each of these essays. Whilst not all of them were read by their author you still got the feeling of importance. It was joyful.

The audiobook opened on an essay about George Michael and straight away I was sold. The rest of the book highlights queer icons. What is fantastic is that you are hearing/reading queer icons talk about their own queer icons and the impact that they had. It is both educational and entertaining and by far one of the most positive books I have listened to in a long time.

The Queer Bible by Jack Guinness is available now.

For more information regarding Jack Guinness (@JackGuinness) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQ Stories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: We Can Do Better than This – 35 Voices on the Future of LGBTQ+ Rights

Author: Amelia Abraham

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK

The Blurb

How can we create a better world for LGBTQ+ people? 35 extraordinary voices share their stories and visions for the future.

We talk about achieving ‘LGBTQ+ equality’, but around the world, LGBTQ+ people are still suffering discrimination and extreme violence. How do we solve this urgent problem, allowing queer people everywhere the opportunity to thrive?

In We Can Do Better Than This, 35 voices explore this question. Through deeply moving stories and provocative new arguments on safety and visibility, dating and gender, care and community, they map new global frontiers in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

Pabllo Vittar pleads for the end of hate murders, Olly Alexander champions inclusive sex education in schools, and Beth Ditto calls for a revolution in representation. Elsewhere, Mykki Blanco sets out a vision to end HIV stigma, Owen Jones demands improved LGBTQ+ mental health services, and Travis Alabanza imagines a world without gender policing.

Moving from the UK and USA to Russia, Bangladesh and beyond, this is a guide to understanding the crucial issues facing LGBTQ+ people today. But it’s also a passionate call to action and an important manifesto for how – together – we can start to create a better future.

Edited by journalist and author Amelia Abraham, with writing from:

Peppermint – Wolfgang Tillmans – Olly Alexander – Jonathan Anderson – Pabllo Vittar – Naoise Dolan – Amrou Al-Kadhi – Shura – Beth Ditto – Owen Jones – Riyadh Khalaf – Tom Rasmussen – Mykki Blanco – Phyll Opoku-Gyimah – Travis Alabanza – Yasmin Benoit – Mazharul Islam – Kate Bornstein – Adam Eli – Shon Faye – Fox Fisher – Hanne Gaby Odiele – Sasha Kazantseva – Andrew Gurza – Holland – Levi Hord – Juliet Jacques – Leticia Opio – madison moore – Matthew Riemer (@LGBT_History) – Vincent Desmond – Juno Roche – Bobbi Salvör Menuez – Carl Siciliano

The Review

During PRIDE month I read a fair bit of LGBTQIA+ writing. Come to think of it a large portion of my reading does link to the LGBTQIA+ community regardless of month. And much like the other texts that I have read We Can Do Better than This really hot home to me how far things have come but equally how far they still have to go.

With impassioned voices fighting the cause, We Can Do Better than This highlights the issues that are still so relevant and that I, as a cis white female, sometimes take for granted. It isn’t my lived experience. What I can do is be an ally.

We Can Do Better than This is a call to arms to get people to join in this fight for equality. It is essential reading and you should read it now.

We Can Do Better than This by Amelia Abraham is available now.

For more information regarding Amelia Abraham (@MillyAbraham) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhouse.com.

Title: What’s the T?

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Wren & Rook

The Blurb

Discover what it means to be a young transgender and/or non-binary person in the twenty-first century in this frank and funny guide for 14+ teens, from the author of This Book is Gay. In What’s the T?, Stonewall ambassador, bestselling trans author and former PSHE teacher Juno Dawson defines a myriad of labels and identities and offers uncensored advice on coming out, sex and relationships with her trademark humour and lightness of touch. Juno has also invited her trans and/or non-binary friends to make contributions, ensuring this inclusive book reflects as many experiences as possible, and features the likes of Travis Alabanza and Jay Hulme. 

The companion title to the This Book Is GayWhat’s the T? tackles the complex realities of growing up trans with honesty and humour, and is joyfully illustrated by gender non-conforming artist Soofiya.

The Review

Something I always worry about is whether or not I say something that could offend someone. If I do, it is a genuine mistake and never intentional. However, with so many marginalised people in society it is such an easy thing to do. And here is why: there just isn’t enough education out there. That is why I am so grateful for the non-fiction books that Juno Dawson has written. The Gender Games, Mind Your Head and This Book is Gay have widened my knowledge about topics that I don’t have the lived experience of. It is the same with her fantastic new release What’s the T?.

We are seeing more and more people – young people – realising that they can be their true selves and that there is help available for them to achieve that – both medical help and help for their mental health when dealing with huge life changes. What’s the T? is essential reading for anyone who works with children or teenagers for many reasons some basic ones being that they know what terms to use, what terminology is unacceptable and how to help and support someone who is questioning their gender.

In her inimitable no-nonesense style, Juno Dawson tells you straight how to be an ally and if you aren’t being an ally then you really are just a weenie (a term I personally feel we need to bring back into fashion.

What’s the T? by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Wren & Rook (@wrenandrookbook) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: To Be A Gay Man

Author: Will Young

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

In To Be a Gay Man, Will Young speaks out about gay shame, revealing the impact it had on his own life, how he learned to deal with it, and how he can now truthfully say he is gay and happy.

We know Will as a multi-platinum recording artist, Olivier-nominee, and the first winner of the Idol franchise. But his story began long before his first audition. Looking back on a world where growing up being called gay was the ultimate insult and coming out after a lifetime of hiding his sexuality, Will explores the long-lasting impact repressing his true self has had.

As Will’s own story demonstrates, internalised shame in childhood increases the risk of developing low self-worth, and even self-disgust, leading to destructive behaviours in adult life. 

Will revisits the darkest extremes he has been to, sharing his vulnerabilities, his regrets, tracing his own navigation through it all and showing the way for others who might have felt alone in the same experience.

Here you will find a friend, champion and mentor, breaking taboos with frank honesty, and offering invaluable practical advice on overcoming the difficult issues too often faced within the LGBTQ+ community.

The Review

I always wonder with celebrities who write books how much of what they say is the truth and what is made up and – more importantly – what it kept back. For the first time they are in control of the narrative of their own story rather than being at the hands of headline grabbing journalists with questionable morals. With Will Young’s To Be A Gay Man I really feel that he has bled his life on to the pages of his book.

To Be A Gay Man shows Will Young at his most vulnerable. He talks about his sexuality, how the shame of this affected his mental health and his descent into needing to seek medical care because he lost control. The terrible thing about all of this is that they things that caused his distress are not things to be ashamed of and speaks volumes about how the society we live in still treats ‘the other’ with disdain that when you identify with this mythical ‘other’ you develop internal hatred. It really is heartbreaking.

Will Young should be congratulated on his candour in To Be A Gay Man. This is the kind of book that will help others.

To Be A Gay Man by Will Young is available now.

For more information regarding Will Young (@willyoung) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

Genre: YA Fiction/LGBTQIA+

The Gist: A bunch of superstitious theatre students put on a performance of Les Miserables.

Short Review: A delightful young adult fiction that celebrates the love of theatre, falling in love and the growing up.

Long Review: Aspiring stage manager Melody McIntyre promises her crew that she won’t fall in love during their upcoming performance of Les Miserables because they are worried that it is bringing on a theatre curse. However, when popular student Odile Rose starts showing interest in Melody McIntyre her resolve begins to crumble. However, when strange and unusual things begin to happen during the performance rehearsals Melody starts to believe that the curse is real.

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre is a great read. It doesn’t try to be anything other than it is. A fun theatre romp that looks at the love lives of teenagers. One aspect of the novel that I really appreciated is that LGBTQIA+ relationships are central to the plot however Robin Talley does not emphasise this as an issue. I think more YA novels need to have non-heteronormative relationships at the heart of their stories without it being the main point. It shows that LGBTQIA+ relationships are the norm. By taking away what she my see as an issue Robin Talley has moved the goalposts to where they should be for other authors writing fiction with LGBTQIA+ relationships at the heart of it.  

A fantastic read. Be warned though, you will be singing the soundtrack to Les Miserables for days afterwards – I don’t see how that is a bad thing. 

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley is available now.

For more information regarding Robin Talley (@robin_talley) please visit www.robintalley.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.