It's that time of year again in Birmingham. On the 26th-27th May rainbow flags will fly high in the air and elaborate parades fill up the streets as everyone celebrates Birmingham Pride. In anticipation for this wonderful event we have an array of LGBTQ+ books for all ages at Foyles Grand Central, and below is a selection of our favourites.
Jenny has chosen five recent favourites that forefront LGBTQ+ characters, history and experiences.
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
This debut novel from Sam J. Miller is set in a menacing future where humans have had to flee to a vast floating city grid in the Arctic Circle to survive. The worldbuilding is simply breathtaking and the compelling cast of characters whose lives slowly converge will stay with you long after the last page.
The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan
Anyone who has read The Gracekeepers or any of Kirsty Logan's short stories will know that she is the master of enchanting storytelling. She weaves myth and folklore into fantastical, dreamlike worlds. You won't want to come up for air.
Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager
This brilliantly written book charts the lives of 23 people from throughout history who challenged the sexuality and gender norms of their time. A lively read that is hugely important for making LGBTQ+ history more visible.
The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
A beautiful graphic novel that uses the stories of the Arabian Nights as a creative springboard. The narration is full of quirky humour and the story is a bracing mixture of warmth and melancholy.
Black Wave by Michelle Tea
A book that I can only describe as 'apocalyptic punk'. Raw, surreal and powerful, it blurs the boundary between the real and the imagined.
Andi picks five of her favourites, including books for younger readers.
The Prince and the Frog by Olly Pike
Prince Oscar and his sister Princess Caroline meet a prince who has been turned into a frog by an evil wizard. Only true love's kiss can break the spell; but how will Oscar and Caroline help him find his true love?
This picture book is a delightful retelling of the classic fairytale The Princess and the Frog. Told with bright, bold illustrations, even if children aren't familiar with the original story, they will love this story of magic, friendship and love. It is the perfect way to explain same-sex relationships in a positive, and age appropriate way, supporting key stage one and two.
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
A beautifully moving and inspiring story about how the rainbow flag became the LGBTQ+ symbol of hope, pride, and so much more. Follow the life of Harvey Milk as he dreamed of a time of equality for all, and how he made his dreams come true by becoming a social activist, and became one of the first openly gay people to be elected to political office in the United States.
With it's bright, colourful illustrations; and jam packed full of rainbows, this book is the perfect introduction for children into such an important part of history.
All Out: The No-longer Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages
edited by Saundra Mitchell
A new Young Adult collection featuring stories from some of the best YA authors across the queer spectrum, including Malinda Lo, Robin Talley and Shaun David Hutchinson. Set in different cultures, time periods and identities, this collection of seventeen stories really brings history to life. From queer retellings of fairy tales, to two girls finding love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain. There is truly a story for everyone in this gem of a book, and I can't recommend it highly enough. YA at its best.
Gender Games by Juno Dawson
I don't think there is anyone more qualified to write about gender than Juno Dawson. Drawing heavily on her own experiences, Juno covers some tough topics with her usual mixture of grace and wit. From her childhood as James, to her transition, this is an honest and thoughtful account on gender. Perfect for anyone going through something similar, or for those who want to learn more. A compelling read.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
With possibly the best first line ever, Middlesex will hook you in and keep you reading until the very end. Discover how Calliope, a third generation daughter of Greek immigrants becomes Cal, an intersex man—and how his family's dark secrets almost changed the course of his life. With a wonderfully rich history and mythology woven through, it changes back and forth seamlessly throughout the history of the Stephanides family, bringing them all to life. This novel will stay with you long after you've read it.
Staff picks from Foyles Birmingham Grand Central
We've been picking some of our current favourite books here at Foyles Birmingham, here are three books that Andrea likes and there are more of her picks in store.
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
A gorgeously lyrical examination of the colour blue, this book has haunted me in a beautiful way. It is experimental in form and deeply personal – each poetic prose snippet is numbered, and packs its own raw, emotional punch.
Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole
Cole is one of the most articulate and intuitive essayists I've encountered. In this collection of his work, he ponders literature, art and travel – Reading Things, Seeing Things and Being There. I especially enjoyed his thoughts on the effects of Instagram on photography in "Gueorgui Pinkhassov" and the composition of Google Street View artwork in "Google's Macchia."