What I Read in April 2022, Part 2 (Queer Nonfiction and Romance)

This is every book that I read in April 2022! Almost every book I've read had explicitly queer characters or themes. Since I read so many books in April, I split this into two newsletters.  This is Part 2, and you can find Part 1 here.

I’ve sorted books book by order I read them in - and hey, maybe your next read isn’t speculative fiction. These reviews don’t contain content warnings or representation notes; please check those at a site that provides a robust content warning tool.

You Exist Too Much by Zania Arafat

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Literary Fiction
Available at Bookshop.org*
Recommendation: Borrow

A Palestinian queer woman struggles with her “love addiction” after she implodes yet another relationship by pining after unobtainable crushes. Told by interviewing memories of childhood and the present day plot, this novel shows the main character making bad relationships decisions, while providing context for them via memories. However, it’s still a lighter read - good if you’re into domestic or literary fiction.

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

Genre: LGBTQIA+ YA Romance
Available at Bookshop.org*
Recommendation: Borrow

Another enemies-to-lovers book on my list, but this one is a high school romance between a basketball player and the lead cheerleader. I was definitely not the target audience for this, as I found it hard to relate to the main character and how poorly she treated the other people in her life, particularly the love interest. There is character growth by the end, but it didn’t feel satisfying enough to me.

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals about Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Nonfiction
Available at Bookshop.org*
Recommendation: Buy

This book discusses asexuality and some of the specific contradictions asexuality exposes about US cultural beliefs around sex, romance and relationships. For a book about asexuality, it does spend a lot of time talking about sex! However, I think that people who don’t identify as ace would get a lot out of this book, particularly with how it tries to draw out nuances in our cultural normativities and what alternative options exist. This ended up being a “buy” recommendation instead of a “borrow” because it’s a dense read. I recommend giving yourself time to work through it chapter by chapter without the lingering sense you need to return it soon.

The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcom Belc

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Memoir
Available at Bookshop.org*
Recommendation: Buy

When I was younger, I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to have kids. However, after my transition, I realized it was because I never wanted to be a mom - I wanted to be a dad. Krys Malcom Belc reflects on similar experiences as a nonbinary transmaculine person who gave birth to one of his children. While I don't have children yet, how he talks about bodies, his children, his father, his mother, and the way these relationships shaped him made me ache for the day that'll I (hopefully) be able to have a family of my own. The structure of this book is also well-done, as each section examines the physical artifacts (legal paperwork, ultrasounds, baby photos) that define our lives and how complicated these artifacts are when you're trans.

Next Week's Review: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

*Transgenre Books is a Bookshop Affiliate, which is an online book marketplace that supports independent bookstores with profit sharing. If you make a purchase through a link to Bookshop.org, I earn approximately 10% in commission. Choosing to buy via my affiliate link helps keep this site free and running, but I also strongly support use of your local library and used bookstores.

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