When picturing Pride Month, the first thing many imagine is a joyous celebration filled with love, radiance, and a whole lot of rainbow. But with Houston’s iconic Pride Festival and Parade postponed until fall, June will look a little different from what many were expecting.
Though there’s no doubt that Pride pop-ups and celebrations will still take place throughout the month, many of us are still searching for alternative ways to make our loved ones in the community feel especially appreciated without that extravagant celebration. Well, what better way to celebrate than to curl up with a good book that supports local LGBTQA authors while educating you in the process?
Whether you’re a bookworm or someone who prefers to stick to a short, simple read, we guarantee that one of these Houston authors has written a book that will have you rushing to the nearest bookstore (or Amazon shopping cart) in no time.
I Can’t Date Jesus, Michael Arceneaux
Though Arceneaux has had the pleasure of calling D.C, Los Angeles, and New York home at certain points throughout his life, he prides himself on being a forever Houstonian wherever he goes (seriously, check out his Instagram bio). In his widely-celebrated memoir, which has had its brilliance recognized by Vogue, Vulture, and Entertainment Weekly, Arceneaux reflects on growing up in the Bayou City as a Black gay man on an intricate path of self-discovery. Between his intimate vulnerability and spectacular wit, Arceneaux invites us to experience life through his eyes—causing us to crack up, shed a tear, and reflect on our own life journey within the course of a single page.
Dear Twin, Addie Tsai
Seeing that she excels at consistently balancing her passion for creative writing, dance, literature, and humanities, it is safe to say there is little Houstonian Addie Tsai doesn’t do. As a queer, nonbinary writer and role model for many, Tsai has impacted countless people with her knowledge, photography, and writing. One particular piece of her writing that has received a multitude of praise is her YA fiction novel, Dear Twin. The book tells the story of Poppy, a girl who is denied the opportunity to attend college and emerge into adulthood like the rest of her peers due to her father’s strictness ... and also her twin sister Lola's disappearance. Desperate to leave home with Juniper, her secret love, Poppy explores the complicated relationship between family, love, trauma, and trust in this novel you won’t be able to put down.
Uncovered, Leah Lax
Lax has one of the most intriguing life stories you’ll likely ever come by. After joining the Hasidic fold, a strict orthodox Jewish community that rejects the majority of secular ideas, at the age of 15, Lax became accustomed to a life spent without television, mainstream books and music, and even restaurants. When she finally left at age 45, Lax would endure a difficult journey that many could never imagine: adapting to modern-day society as an adult. Filled with epiphanies, revelations, and an intriguing exploration of spirituality and sexuality, Lax intimately invites us to follow her fascinating journey of learning, healing, and rediscovering herself and the world around her.
Memorial, Bryan Washington
It seems we can’t keep Washington’s name out of our heads here at Houstonia, but it would be a literary crime to exclude him from this list. The native Houstonian, UH grad, and current Rice lecturer's first novel has only heightened audiences' adoration. The book tells the transformative tale of Benson and Mike, a Black teacher and Japanese American chef, respectively, who’ve been living together in Houston for a couple of years in what has become a stagnant relationship. After their lives are irreversibly impacted by outside forces (like Benson spending an unprecedented amount of one-on-one time with Mike’s mother, Mitsuko, and Mike finding out shocking truths while journeying abroad to visit his estranged father), the two men come back together newly changed and find their relationship has taken a whole new shape.