The AfterEllen Book Club: Choices for June

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These choices for the June book club selection are a total hodgepodge. They’re a jumble of various queer stories; they have no rhyme or reason; there’s some fiction and nonfiction; I offer no apology. While I typically like to have some cohesion to the three choices I pick each month, there have been so many books gathering on my to-read list that it’s getting ridiculous. So I’m just plucking out three and seeing how you guys feel about them. Here we go.

1. Gender Failure, Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon (Arsenal Pulp Press)
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If you haven’t read anything by Coyote or Spoon before, you must get ye to a bookshop, and make that happen now! Some of Coyote’s books include Missed Her and One in Every Crowd; in addition to being a musician, Rae Spoon released First Spring Grass Fire in 2012. Also in 2012, Coyote and Spoon went on a tour together called Gender Failure, and as you can guess, this new book of the same name comes out of their brilliant collaboration. It puts together stories, lyrics, and photos from their respectives travels from gender failure to gender acceptance, and to illuminate with truth and humor that “gender comes in more than two sizes.” It’s received praise from the likes of Michelle Tea, Kate Bornstein, and Ryka Aoki, and I can’t wait to read it.

2. The Gravity Between Us, Kristen Zimmer (Bookouture)
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This is one of those lesbian romance novels that people have been yelling at me to get on for almost a year. (Look, I’m sorry, OK?) Classified as that confusing new genre, “new adult” (which I THINK just means young adult with more sex? But I dunno, maybe that’s just wishful thinking), this story appears to have glimmers of past book club picks in it, such as And Playing the Role of Herself and just last month’s Everything Leads to You, as the main character, Kendall Bettencourt, is Hollywood’s newest, hottest young star. At 19, she moves to LA for her career, and her best friend Payton moves with her to help keep her sane. Only — YOU GUESSED IT YOU GUYS — Kendall actually wishes Payton was MORE than her best friend. And as she starts to walk the rocky road of fame, she’ll have to figure out if she and Payton can figure out and survive as who they really are.

3. In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court, Brittney Griner (It Books)
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Brittney Griner has been one of the most fascinating characters in sports of the last few years, and when I say that I don’t just mean one of the most fascinating queer characters, but one of the most fascinating characters in general, period. But, you know, high five for us that she’s a lesbian, too! In her new memoir, she covers topics that range from being bullied as a kid, to playing for a college that had a policy against homosexuality, to her new life as a pro in the WNBA. And all along the way, even when life can be messy and tough, Griner stands a reminder of the value of staying true to yourself. I’d love to read this for the life stories, for the basketball, and yes, okay, maybe so I could just keep looking at that cover.

So which book sounds the best for kicking off your summer? (Or winter? I haven’t forgotten about you, folks in the Southern Hemisphere!)

Think about it, tell your friends to vote, and I’ll post the winner on Monday, June 2. I’ll also post discussion questions for May’s read, Everything Leads to You, in the next few days. Until then, happy voting and, as always, happy reading!

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