Summer is here, the Jubilee celebrations have finally calmed down here in the UK, and I’m ready for a sugary sweet TBR to make me feel like my heart is bursting.
This week’s Coffee Time Tuesday is sunny and full of potential, as I go through my Scribd and Kindle picks for the colourful joy that is Pride Month.
This month is all about being happy with who you are and celebrating your identity, but also supporting and honouring the wonderful spectrum of identities that exists outside your own.
LGBTQ+ literature is one of my favourite genres and I almost always have a book on the go that features characters (or whose author is) from the community.
So join me in choosing my three must-reads for June, get involved in the bookish minimalism debate I’ll be covering later, and discover my pick for the hot new release of the week.
My Rainbow TBR
Every month, I choose just three books I absolutely must read, leaving myself some space to play around. I don’t like deciding on all of the books I plan to read a month in advance, because I know I’ll go off track. But there are some books on my must-read list, so planning a semi-TBR works to keep me accountable.
For my audiobook of choice, this month I’ll pick up Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, a wonderful coming-of-age story about a transgender boy navigating his identity as he falls in love for the first time. I haven’t read many books with trans representation, so I always like to use Pride Month as a reminder to actively look for books with characters I’m not so used to.
Because LGBTQ+ literature isn’t only about queer romance, I’m also picking up a memoir this month, which I’ve had on my long-term TBR for ages. Life as a Unicorn by Amrou Al-Kadhi is the heartfelt story of multiple layers of identity, and how the author came to terms with their identity as a Muslim queer drag queen. Special thanks to Anangsha Alammyan, my trusty fellow fan of queer books, who recommended this memoir to me.
And, quite uncharacteristically for me, I’m also planning to read a graphic novel this month, and my title of choice is all about queer and trans activism. Our Work is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer and Trans Resistance by Syan Rose gives a colourful and symbolic face to the diverse and powerful queer trans activists who have been fighting oppression for decades. What drew me to this book is Syan Rose’s choice to tell their story through their own memorable words.
Bookish Reflections: To Keep or Not to Keep?
With the risk of becoming a bookish world pariah once again, I’ll repeat that I don’t own many physical books and I don’t intend to change that in the near future. I sometimes get the well-known bookworm’s urge to buy books, but most of the time, they’re second hand, if I really want the physical copy.
I have several reasons why I’m, I guess, a bookish minimalist (only owning, at the moment, about 10 physical books).
- One, I don’t have a permanent home and books are heavy and hard to move without a car or help.
- Two, I can’t afford to buy new books to the extent to which I’d like to read them. My budget simply wouldn’t keep up.
- Three, environmental issues. As much as I love the publishing industry, it’s no secret digital books are more eco-friendly.
- And four, portability. I’m an immigrant, so I go abroad at least twice a year. I like the portability of my Kindle and my Scribd app.
I’m moving house again in a couple of weeks, so I’ve been donating a lot of the books I’ve accumulated in the house I’ve lived in for two years. As much as it makes me sad to part with them, I don’t think decluttering books is a bad thing.
In the UK, most second-hand shops are called charity shops, because they donate the profits to different charities. This makes it very easy to simply donate things you don’t need anymore. Knowing my books will get bought at a very low price (so they become accessible for people with smaller budgets too) and the money made will go to a charity makes decluttering them a lot less painful.
The only physical books I keep are books I’ve been gifted, books I bought because I love them so much, that I needed to own them, and books signed by authors. Absolutely nothing else.
But I know this is a huge debate in the bookish community. Of course, in an ideal world, I would love to have a room with walls filled with shelves full of books. But realistically, I don’t see that happening any time soon, if ever. Is it weird to be a bookish minimalist? Does that make me a less dedicated reader? I’m not sure.
What’s your take on the debate?
Hot New Release
This week’s hot new book release is Kate Khavari’s A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons, a historical mystery about a clever woman in STEM who finds herself pulled into a murder investigation. When a professor’s wife is poisoned at a party and Saffron’s mentor becomes the main suspect, she begins a search for what exactly killed the victim and what it says about the murderer.
All of this while fighting to challenge the misogynistic perceptions of her suitability as a botanist. Sign me up.
And that’s it for today’s Coffee Time Tuesday! On to you now: what’s on your TBR for June? Do you have any Pride recommendations? And please tell me it’s not a crime to declutter my bookshelves!