Must-read books and inspiring stories for a colorful June!
What are you reading lately? That’s one of my favorite questions to ask and answer during small talk. You’ve heard me say it before: I read a lot. And I love talking about books. For a recent birthday, I installed a Little Free Library in my yard with the goal of having more book conversations with my neighbors.
I’ve already stocked it with a few books that are perfect to read during Pride Month.
If you want a few good things to read this June, here are this month’s recommendations from the CUES staff.
Isaiah Keyes, marketing coordinator at CUES, suggested the following article, essays and short video:
- How One Mother’s Love for Her Gay Son Started a Revolution by Kathryn Schulz for The New Yorker in April 2023
- I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This, but You Are Bi Enough, a guest essay by Zachary Zane published in The New York Times, June 17, 2021
- In 17 Years, I Will Still Know My Own Heart, by Jennifer Finney Boylan for The New York Times, June 1, 2021
- The Saint of Dry Creek, a beautiful, short video from StoryCorps & the It Gets Better Project
CUES Senior Editor Lisa Hochgraf recommends checking out CU Pride, which hosts an educational and networking event on the first Friday of each month.
And here are some books to pack on your next vacation:
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune: After finishing this, I hugged the book and then felt compelled to press it into as many hands as I could. This sweet story takes place in a world where magical creatures walk among us. Our hero is Linus Baker, a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He is assigned to investigate a group home of last resort for magical orphans. This book has a love story between Linus and the man who runs the orphanage, but I fell in love with the children. There’s a gnome, a sprite, a dragon, a were-Pomeranian and more. At its heart, this is a book about acceptance, belonging and finding your family. As the mom of a neurodivergent child, I saw many parallels between these so-called “dangerous” children and my own sweet son. I laughed out loud many times reading this.
The Guncle by Steven Rowley won the Thurber Prize for American Humor this year. This book is so funny, I cried. Several times. It’s the story of Patrick O’Hara, “GUP” to his niece Maisie and nephew Grant. The children come to live with their Gay Uncle Patrick for the summer after their mother dies of cancer and their father deals with his own health crisis. When I say I cried, I really cried during this one. Yes, there was a scene with a bidet that had me clutching my stomach and weeping with laughter. But it’s also very sad at times, and the relationship between Patrick and the children is so sweet. Read it! But have your tissues nearby.
Less is the Pulitzer-prize-winning novel by Andrew Sean Greer. Arthur Less is a failed novelist looking for an excuse to be out of town during the wedding of his ex-boyfriend, without looking like he’s avoiding attending. So he accepts every single invitation to a variety of literary events in what turns out to be an epic trip around the world, all while coming to terms with his looming 50th birthday. It’s a fun trip for the reader. I’ve got the sequel, Less is Lost, from my library to read next.
Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis is historical fiction that takes place in totalitarian Uruguay in the 1970s when homosexuality was a dangerous transgression. Five women find each other and an isolated spot on the coast where they can live authentically. The book follows the friends over the next 35 years and the ups and downs they all experience.
The works of nonbinary author Akwaeke Emezi, are vibrant and full of emotion. I enjoyed You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty, a romance with bisexual characters that explores finding love again after tragedy.
Finally, my husband recommends Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby. This is a thriller about a Black father, a white father and their two murdered (and married) sons. They don’t have much in common except that they both served time in jail, and neither was very accepting of their sons. They each have regrets and decide to team up for vengeance.
What are you reading to celebrate Pride? Tell me in the comments!
For more good reading, check out these past blog posts:
- Books to Read During AAPI Month
- What We’re Reading for Women’s History Month
- Celebrate Black History Month with These Recommendations from CUES Staff
Theresa Witham is VP/publications and publisher at CUES.