Reading The Rainbow
Queer-themed books to help get you through self-isolation
While we continue to wait until the economy reopens and we begin to head back to work, why not take some time for yourself to catch up on some reading? Here are three queer-themed books perfect for your spring reading list.
Crocuses Hatch from Snow
When Ada falls for a body piercer named Pan, her cheeky grandmother, Mattie, says she looks like a caught trout with all those hooks in her mouth. Ada soon discovers Mattie is also caught in a perpetual swoon. It isn’t just Alzheimer’s, or the secret vibrator Ada’s mother, Joan, is convinced Mattie has stashed in her room—Mattie is having a passionate affair with a ghost.
When Joan buys a house in the north end, the three generations move in next door to Ken—who operates one of the big machines engaged in razing some neighbourhoods and building others up—and his family, who aren’t thrilled about their new neighbours. Not only do the newcomers fail to introduce themselves, they and all the other white folks moving north are driving up the rent.
While Ada’s obsession with Pan is written on her body, the story of Mattie’s love for Edith, a young Mi’kmaw survivor of the residential school in Shubenacadie, unfurls too. Next door, Ken grieves his late wife, a powerful Black community organizer, and tries to inspire his directionless young son. Meanwhile, Ken’s daughter, Kiah, works to live up to her mother’s magic.
As relationships and neighbourhoods come apart and are put back together, their residents reach back to understand their connections to Halifax’s history and forward to recognize their responsibilities in its present.
Available from Nimbus.
The Stone Rainbow
Coming out. Falling in love. And standing with Pride.
Jack Pedersen is finding life complicated ever since he came out to his mom. Even though she’s been doing her best to understand, it’s obvious to Jack that his mom still wants to cry every time she says the word gay.
Complications go into overdrive when a new student named Benjamin arrives at his high school, and Jack starts experiencing feelings he’s never allowed himself before. When a near tragedy turns life upside down, Jack realizes that it’s time to stop hiding and to stand up—for Pride, for Benjamin, and for himself.
Read more of Jack’s story in Liane Shaw’s previous book Caterpillars Can’t Swim.
Available from Second Story Press.
Liane Shaw was an educator for more than twenty-five years and has been a parent for over thirty. She has long been a passionate advocate for the rights of youth facing a variety of physical, emotional, and academic challenges. All six of her YA novels, along with her teaching memoir, present a diverse array of stories based on young people she has had the honour to know. The Stone Rainbow was inspired by challenges facing members of her own family.
Through the Doors of Oblivion: From the Shadow Council Archives (Servant/Sovereign Book 1)
Wedged between real estate speculators, startup bros, and gentrified neighborhoods, it’s gotten hard to get by in San Francisco and it’s getting even harder all the time. Now two witches have decided the time has come to do something about it.
Using all their arcane skills, Iria – tall, dark, and genderqueer – and their partner and mentor, Madge – the granddaughter of Chinese immigrants and a powerful magician – have summoned back to the world of the living one of San Francisco’s greatest eccentric heroes: Joshua Norton, self-declared Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. In the 19th century he issued imperial proclamations intended to combat prejudice and advance the interests of the destitute and downtrodden. Binding him to themselves and to the city, Iria and Madge need Norton’s charisma and tireless dedication to the city to help them save the city from a demon of greed.
With an exciting combination of spell-slinging and derring-do, Norton and his modern-day patrons embark on a series of adventures across San Francisco’s past and present in search of the keys to the city: objects from its past they can use in the present to save the city’s future from a demon of greed and his tireless efforts to rob San Francisco of its soul forever!
Michael G. Williams writes wry horror, urban fantasy, and science fiction: stories of monsters, macabre humor, and subverted expectations. He is the author of three series for Falstaff Books: The Withrow Chronicles, including Perishables (2012 Laine Cunningham Award), Tooth & Nail, Deal with the Devil, Attempted Immortality, and Nobody Gets Out Alive; a new series in The Shadow Council Archives featuring one of San Francisco’s most beloved figures, SERVANT/SOVEREIGN; and the science fiction noir A Fall in Autumn. Michael also writes short stories and contributes to tabletop RPG development. Michael strives to present the humor and humanity at the heart of horror and mystery with stories of outcasts and loners finding their people. Michael is also an avid podcaster, activist, reader, runner, and gaymer, and is a brother in St. Anthony Hall and Mu Beta Psi. He lives in Durham, NC, with his husband, two cats, two dogs, and more and better friends than he probably deserves.
Available from Falstaff Books
Also, Book Two soon to be released
All the Pomp of Earthly Majesty: A Shadow Council Archives Novella (Servant/Sovereign Book 2)
Iria and Madge, witches extraordinaire, have summoned Joshua Norton I, self-declared Emperor of the United States, back from the nineteenth century to help them save the city of San Francisco from a demon of greed. Mammon, their infernal adversary, is running a real estate scam to end all real estate scams, and he’s got his own helping hand from the city’s past: Etta Place, famous in her day as the accomplice of Butch Cassidy and partner of the Sundance Kid.
As Norton dodges mafia foot soldiers alongside another of San Francisco’s larger-than-life figures from yesteryear on the fog-shrouded streets of Chinatown long ago, Iria and Madge find themselves face to face with Mammon and Etta in modern day – and trapped in very different timelines. It’ll take all their ingenuity, bravery, and prowess to fix time itself, steal the prize, and get these three heroes back together!
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.