I thought I’d do a recommendation list for day 4, which focuses on orange covers. All the books on this list are queer; I tried to have a bit of a cross-section, identity-wise. This list definitely shows my bias towards contemporary queer fiction, esp romance, but also includes speculative fiction, essays, YA romance, litfic, aromantic comedy, memoir, and poetry. I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted trigger warnings, so you can easily find those. If I have not yet reviewed, I am using affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money on that sale (which I plan to use to buy more books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.
I’m listing marginalized representation at the end of my descriptions. If you spot something incorrect, please do feel free to let me know. I am not intending to out anyone; I get author info from the web and the book bio. If an author would like me to remove any info listed, please do let me know. I want to note that I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor when listing rep, and use the word queer when a character or author identify that way or when I am unclear about their identity but know they fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.
For folks looking for stories with no on-the-page sex, I am putting three asterisks*** . (There’s only one book that qualifies in this post; orange covers seem to lean high heat, compared to other colors.)
- Nevada by Imogen Binnie (literary fiction novel) This gorgeous gut punch of a novel cracked open my brain, kicked my ass, and made me really think about writing translit specifically for trans audiences and how that might change the story. This is a hugely important and influential piece of trans literature, and I adore the deeply flawed and hugely compelling protagonist so much. (Rep: Queer trans woman MC. Queer trans woman author.)
- Syncopation by Anna Zabo (contemporary m/m novel) Intensely riveting, complex characterization, so well written! This is one of my most favorite musician stories because of how central music was in the story, and because the writing about the music was incredibly gorgeous and resonant. This book has one of my favorite depictions of a D/s relationship that I’ve ever read; it gets at the ways D/s can build you up and create intimacy and be a positive force in your life, a source of strength as you deal with chaos. I had trouble with some bits of the aromantic representation, but really liked other aspects of it, and loved so much else about this book; see my review for details. (Rep: Gay man trauma survivor MC with synesthesia, former sex worker. Pansexual aromantic man MC, former sex worker. Bi/pan non-binary author.)
- Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee (superhero YA f/f romance)*** This queer superhero book is wonderful. Full of crushes and awesome friendships and mysteries to solve and characters I adored, with a lovely f/f romance at the center and of course, taking steps to save the world. The first in a fabulous series, this one had my heart from the beginning, and I’m so excited for book four, which circles back around to the love interest in this book. (Rep: Chinese-Vietnamese biracial bisexual girl MC. Queer girl MC. Black trans boy secondary character. Chinese-Vietnamese biracial bisexual woman author.)
- American Fairy Tale by Adriana Herrera (contemporary m/m romance novel) A contemporary m/m romance with billionaire, meet-cute, one night stand to relationship, workplace romance, and single parent tropes. Overall, it was a really enjoyable, engaging ride, and I was blown away by the realism in the depiction of intimate partner violence work; I honestly have never seen that part of myself depicted in a way that resonated that much before, and it felt really wonderful to have that on the page. I adored Milo to pieces, and enjoyed the way this felt like a twist on a fairy tale. (Rep: White-passing biracial Dominican American queer man MC. Cuban-Jamaican American queer man trauma survivor MC. Many secondary characters of color, including several queer ones. This book has pretty much an all-POC cast. Afro-Latinx Dominican American woman author.)
- Speaking Sex to Power: The Politics of Queer Sex by Patrick Califia (essays) This book of essays about queer sexuality blew me away when I first read it, and it’s a text I return to again and again. Califia’s discussion of kink is unparalleled and deeply affirming to me as a queer kinky person, and this collection of essays is my favorite of his. I’m looking forward to trying the audiobook. (Rep: Disabled queer trans man author.)
- Cinnamon Blade: Knife in Shining Armor by Shira Glassman (superhero f/f erotic romance) I beta read this f/f erotic romance starring a bi Jewish superheroine, and fell hard for it from the start. Cinnamon Blade is such a lovely companion to my most favorite f/f romance ever, Knit One, Girl Two. In fact, it takes the fandom shared by the MCs of K1G2 and brings their favorite ship to life. It’s funny and sexy and had all these lovely little resonant moments for me as a Jewish queer reader. (Rep: Bi Jewish woman MC. Latinx lesbian woman love interest. Bi Jewish woman author.)
- Imago by Octavia Butler (science fiction novel) This is the third novel in a trilogy imagining an alien colonization of Earth that includes aliens procreating with humans in a five part sexual and romantic partnership including an Oankali third gender ooloi partner. Imago is told from the point of view of the first ooloi child of this kind of partnership, Jodahs. Jodahs lives in exile for most of the book, feels very much alone, and goes through an intense depression, before finding a reason to have hope and reconnect with others. Jodahs is very fluid in its gender, in a way that’s quite responsive to people and context. I identified quite strongly with Jodahs. It’s a very intense read that evokes so many feelings every time I reread (about once a year). (Rep: Non-binary MC. Black woman author.)
- Ms. Behave by Cathy Yardley (contemporary m/f romance novella) I absolutely adored this latest edition to Yardley’s geeky romance series. This is a second chance friends to lovers romance between a lawyer and an actor who were best friends for most of their youth, had one intense bout of making out in high school and then were out of contact for years. It’s got this lovely romance arc that begins at a Halloween party, and a bi heroine who loves to wear suits that I fell really hard for. (Rep: Bisexual woman MC. Biracial Asian American woman author.)
- The Trouble by Daria Defore (contemporary m/m aromantic comedy novella) I enjoyed this book so much! It centers a gay aromantic musician who is into his TA, and its hilarious and sweet and the characters are drawn in beautifully complex ways, have this awesome chemistry together, and the MC is endearingly flawed in the ways he makes spectacular mistakes. Really lovely domestic scenes and the band feels very much like a chosen family. (Rep: Korean American gay allosexual aromantic MC. Korean American gay MC. Aromantic author.)
- From the Same Star by Nicole Field (contemporary f/f romance novel) This is a gorgeous romance that centers D/s and a beautiful grief arc. I love the ace representation and the vulnerability of the dominant love interest, and seeing the submissive MC Angela grow throughout the story. There are very few kink romances with ace lead characters, and it was lovely to read this one. (Rep: Queer woman MC. Ace spec queer woman love interest. Demisexual polyamorous queer multigender author.)
- Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde (memoir) Lorde calls this book a biomythography, It is a very important book that is also very beautiful. I highly recommend it, especially to queer folks interested in lesbian life in the 50s, and folks interested in Lorde and her place in queer history and thought. In all honesty, I highly recommend all of Lorde’s books, they each have really important things to offer. I remember being struck in this one by some of her childhood stories & her stories about factory work & dating as a young lesbian, & also the way she talked about disability. (Rep: Black disabled lesbian author.)
- Welcome to Crash by Lina Langley (speculative queer fiction novel) This speculative fiction novel centering a delightfully flawed queer man MC w/epilepsy completely wrecked me. I could not put it down, devoured it all in one gulp. Its kind of undefineable, genre-wise. If I were to pick a genre it would be queer. If you care about art and like angst, this book is your jam. It had very compelling disability rep. I especially appreciated how it grappled with the ways parental control of disabled kids impacts them as adults. (Rep: Queer man MC with epilepsy. Multiple queer characters. Latinx queer enby author.)
- Consensual Genocide by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (poetry) This is the author’s first poetry book and it’s dear to me. I am a big fan of all of Piepzna-Samarasinha’s poetry, but this one is the first I read. These poems are deeply queer, full of heart, and simply gorgeous. (Rep: Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma queer disabled femme survivor author.)