2020 Reading Challenge: Read a Book By a Nonbinary or LGBTQ+ Author

In 2020, OPL invites patrons to take part in the reading challenge! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to read or listen to. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, opens a new window, Instagram, opens a new window or Facebook, opens a new window to let us know which read you picked up this month!

No matter what genre you typically read, there is a great book written by a nonbinary or LGBTQ+ author out there for you.

First, let’s explore some graphic novel options. Check out "As the Crow Flies, opens a new window" by Melanie Gillman for a take on being black and queer while immersed in white homophobia, or "The Avant-Guards, opens a new windowby Carly Usdin for a peek inside the lives of collegiate student athletes. Try "Bingo Love, opens a new window" by Tee Franklin for a sweet, sweeping love story, or "Gender Queer, opens a new window" by Maia Kobabe for a memoir from a nonbinary author. 

Other recommended memoirs (not graphic novels) include "How We Fight For Our Lives, opens a new window" by Saeed Jones and "Surpassing Certainty, opens a new window" by Janet Mock. These are both coming-of-age memoirs, sharing the ups and downs of relationships and coming to terms with your identity. Maggie Nelson’s "The Argonauts, opens a new window" shares the author’s experience of falling in love with a gender-fluid partner and starting a family together. Another title in a similar vein is Jennifer Finney Boylan’s "Stuck in the Middle With You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders, opens a new window."

For fiction readers, "The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror, opens a new window" by Daniel Mallory Ortberg offers dark, modern fairy tales. "Dreadnought, opens a new window" by April Daniels, "The Black Tides of Heaven, opens a new window" by JY Yang, and "The City in the Middle of the Night, opens a new window" by Charlie Jane Anders are great options if fantasy is your preferred genre. Immerse yourself in a dystopian world with "An Unkindness of Ghosts, opens a new window" by Rivers Solomon. If you like historical fiction, give "Confessions of the Fox, opens a new window" by Jordy Rosenberg or "Revolutionary, opens a new window" by Alex Myers a try. Jennifer Finney Boylan’s "The Long Black Veil, opens a new window" will appeal to fans of thrillers, and Casey Plett’s "Little Fish, opens a new window" speaks to family secrets and friendship. 

Poetry readers, here are some recommended titles for you: "I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2014, opens a new window" by Eileen Myles, "Don't Call Us Dead, opens a new window by Danez Smith, "If They Come for Us: Poems, opens a new window" by Fatimah Asghar, "Nature Poem, opens a new window" by Tommy Pico, and "When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, opens a new window" by Chen Chen.

Anything written by two heroes of the poetry world, Audre Lorde, opens a new window and Mary Oliver, opens a new window, would be relevant for this challenge as well and certainly not disappoint. 

Giving voice to the trans experience is more important than ever. Statistically, trans people experience greater violence than others in the LGBTQ+ community, and face discrimination in health care, employment, and legal protections. Learning about the struggles many of these individuals face is a wonderful way to gain understanding and empathy. Check out "Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man, opens a new window" by Thomas Page McBee for an examination of masculinity. For stories from trans women, "Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss and the Fight for Trans Equality, opens a new window" by Sarah McBride, "Trans: A Memoir, opens a new window" by Juliet Jacques, and Whipping Girl, opens a new window" by Julia Serano are great choices. "Trans Like Me: Conversations for All of Us, opens a new window" by C.N. Lester explores the concept of gender and how it impacts us all, regardless of identity.

Take a look at this list, opens a new window which includes the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction options mentioned for individuals tackling this reading challenge. This is definitely not an exhaustive list of all of the LGBTQ+-authored books available at OPL. Ask staff at your local branch, request a Custom Reading List, opens a new window or explore the library’s online catalog for more ideas.

Starting April 1, 2020, once you complete the 2020 Reading Challenge, enter your reading log online or turn in your completed tracking sheet at your nearest OPL branch and pick up your button prize for completion. All submissions will be entered into a drawing for some fun literary-themed merchandise! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2020, to be entered into the prize drawing.