LGBTQ memoirs by various authors

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Cover of the book
Cover of the book "Here and Queer" by Rowan Ellis

Out Reviews

Another holiday season is here with a lot of planning, preparation and family events. But on your downtime why not reach for one of these great memoirs to read?

A little bit of memoir, a little bit of sympathy, advice, and several biographies are at the heart of Here and Queer: A Queer Girl’s Guide to Life by Rowan Ellis, illustrated by Jacky Sheridan (Quarto, $14.99).

This book leans mostly on the serious-but-lighter side, with plenty of colorful artwork and suggestions for teen girls on figuring out who they are and what it means. There are fun activities, quizzes, essays, and tips inside; readers will find plenty of one-liners to take away, a comprehensive timeline of LGBTQ history, and biographies that reflect women of many ages and races. That all makes this a book that even adult women and, perhaps, some questioning boys will appreciate.

Cover of the book "Start Without Me" by Gary Janetti
Cover of the book “Start Without Me” by Gary Janetti

Speaking of lighthearted, try Start Without Me (I’ll Be There in a Minute) by Gary Janetti (Holt, $27.99).

TV producer, writer, social media star, and sometimes curmudgeon Janetti is annoyed. Mighty annoyed in several essays here, but his aggravation is not meant to bring readers down. It’s meant to make you laugh and — with very funny, wry takes on finding the perfect tan and the perfect man, friendship with a nun, hotel rooms, mothers-in-law, The Wizard of Oz, vacations, weddings, and more — you will.

For something a little more somber, reach for Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling Bad by Hil Malatino (University of Minnesota Press, $21.95).

Cover of the book "Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling bad" by Hil Malatino
Cover of the book “Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling bad” by Hil Malatino

Honesty is at the root of this semi-biographical look at being trans: if you are trans, says Malatino, you may struggle with several righteously negative feelings you have — disconnect, anger, fear, numbness, burnout, exhaustion — feelings that exist, in part, because of the times in which we live now and the transphobia that seems to be everywhere. Counteracting these feelings — or, at least being able to survive and thrive despite them — may be as simple as some type of activism, and Malatino explains the details as he shares his own story as well as many case studies.

And finally, if you love watching or participating in drag, then you’ll absolutely love How You Get Famous by Nicole Pasulka (Simon & Schuster, $27.99).

Cover of the book "How You Get Famous" by Nicole Pasulka
Cover of the book “How You Get Famous” by Nicole Pasulka

This book tells the story of a coat-check boy who loved performing in drag and who talked her bar-owning boss into letting her host a drag show in Brooklyn. But this was no one-night stand and soon, the event had a lot of fans — among them, dozens of “kids” who snuck into the club to practice their acts next to experienced performers. But when you’re on the edge of what’s about to be a popular kind of entertainment, amateur status doesn’t last long enough — and neither does this upbeat, wonderful book.

And if these don’t fit the bill, be sure to ask your favorite booksellers or librarians for help. They’ve got your next best read in the can.

c.2022, various publishers,  $14.99 – $27.99, various page counts