2019 marked the second year of Rainbow Reads, a queer reading circle and book club for adults put on by the LGBTQ+ Services Committee. This year, we’ve already read three books as a group and shared out over a dozen others with each other and the rest of the library community.
Every third Sunday, a group gathers at Exo Roast Co. on the patio to share their love of LGBTQ+ literature, whether it’s to go into deep discussion about a specific book, or to gush about recent and long-past reads by and/or about queer people of all kinds and backgrounds. It’s not always the same group; some come once, some come every time. But we always have fun and leave with a lot more books to read, even if we’ve only come to talk about a specific book (somehow, we always end up sharing about other recent reads).
So far, we’ve had three book clubs and three book chats.
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
The February book is always a book by an author attending the Tucson Festival of Books. Last year, it was The Gods of Tango by Carolina de Robertis (whose upcoming book, Cantoras, I’m super excited for). This year, we went with this beautiful story that combines fairytales like “Snow White and Rose Red” and “The Wild Swans” and brings it into a modern world of magical realism featuring Latinx families and queer characters.
Mean by Myriam Gurba
In April we read an intense and somehow comically upsetting book of poetic memoir, about the author’s coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. This was the first work of nonfiction we’d read in Rainbow Reads, and the combined tone and subject matter provided mixed responses in attendees. (It was also the last Rainbow Reads facilitated by our former LGBTQ+ Services Committee co-chair, Mary, who moved away just weeks later :()
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
June saw us talking about Alison Bechdel’s also intense and also comically upsetting memoir, this time in graphic format. We met on Father’s Day, and it was hot, so we had a smaller turnout, but the conversation was thoughtful and meaningful.
Curious about the next three book club picks? Check out the full list:
The other half of the year, we meet and share round-robin style about books we’ve read since last we talked (or any time before that, if there are newcomers or we’ve just been in a slump). These are the times when TBRs really explode. Whoever is facilitating the meeting pulls together a list of titles on the library website, to make sure we can come back and check out any books we thought were interesting.
Here’s the one from May:
We gathered for the May Rainbow Reads meeting on May 19 and shared our favorite recent LGBTQ+ reads (and a film or two). Join us every odd month for the round-robin share out and even months for a dedicated book club at Exo Roast coffee.
What was your last favorite queer read? Come join us on July 21 to share!