QMUNITY’s Book Club Recommendations

Books, bookstores, and the written words have for a long time offered refuge for 2SLGBTQIA+ members of our communities to exist and find one another.

It’s a realm that’s often enabled authors, readers, and casual passer-byers to get a glimpse into the lived experiences and inner sanctums of the queer, trans, and Two-Spirit community. Whether we’ve found company between the pages of a Jane Rule essay, or a stolen glance on the other side of a bookshelf, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and the world of literature have often embraced one another through history.

The QMUNITY team is excited for the opportunity to celebrate this history, and through this webpage to invite our community to find and learn about authors and books every month.

February 2022 Recommendations

For our inaugural list of recommendations, QMUNITY is taking Black History Month as an opportunity to highlight literature at the intersection of BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ identities. We hope it highlights books you may have read before, or perhaps new titles you hadn’t heard of yet. In any case, happy reading!

Girl, Woman, Other – Written by Bernardine Evaristo

“This book follows the interconnected lives of 12 different characters and how they entwine, exploring themes of race, “A few years ago, the person I was dating at the time recommended me a book written by a Canadian transgender writer, Casey Plett, called Little Fish. The book read like my life. A trans, Canadian, Mennonite (also me, now agnostic) writing a sex-filled traversing of their teen and young adult life. It was surreal to have so much in common and then experiencing all these same emotions and experiences as I myself transitioned in my first year on HRT. The book serves as a tool for self-understanding, a compass of sorts for myself, that people just like me exist, and share the same experiences. I am not alone.”

– Recommended by Han, They/Them/He, Youth Program Specialist

The Broken Earth Trilogy – Written by N.K. Jemisin

“One of the best fantasi/sci-fi trilogies I have ever read. If you haven’t had a chance to delve into Afro-futurism, this is a fantastic trilogy to start with. The story follows a woman in her 40s on a massive continent called, “Stillness”, in a far-future Earth wracked with periodic natural disasters that people refer to as “Seasons”. It is a sorrowful story about motherhood, communities, civilization and the environment, as well as an imagining of individuals as powerful magic weilders that can quell the raging of the earth’s crust.”

– Recommended by Alex, They/Them, Social Impact & Provincial Services Coordinator

Policing Black Lives – Written by Robyn Maynard

“A great primer on the history of anti-Black racism in Canada, “addresses the unique and understudied impacts of state violence as it is experienced by Black women, Black people with disabilities, as well as queer, trans, and undocumented Black communities.”

– Recommended by Chelsey, She/They, Volunteer Coordinator

Memorial – Written by Bryan Washington

“The story of a romantic queer relationship that interwines culture and identify, past and present, love and self-preservation. Washington’s style of writing is easy to absorb, and pulls you into the mind and emotions of the characters in ways that feel completely relatable and real to life. Cannot recommend this enough.”

– Recommended by Michaël, He/Him Manager of Communications & Development

Butter Honey Pig Bread – Written by Francesca Ekwuyasi

“This is a beautiful book about three Nigerian women: a mother and two daughters who grow up and immigrate to Canada and the UK. It discusses in heartbreaking depths the fears of a parent, the sometimes-painful bonds of siblings, the finding of queer desire and love, the mending of family ties, and a passion for food. The author, Francesca Ekwayasi was born in Lagos, Nigeria and now resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is an author and artist and has directed short films including Reconcile and Black & Belonging.”

– Recommended by Alex, They/Them, Social Impact & Provincial Services Coordinator

March 2022 Recommendations

Little Fish – Written by Casey Plett

“A few years ago, the person I was dating at the time recommended me a book written by a Canadian transgender writer, Casey Plett, called Little Fish. The book read like my life. A trans, Canadian, Mennonite (also me, now agnostic) writing a sex-filled traversing of their teen and young adult life. It was surreal to have so much in common and then experiencing all these same emotions and experiences as I myself transitioned in my first year on HRT. The book serves as a tool for self-understanding, a compass of sorts for myself, that people just like me exist, and share the same experiences. I am not alone.”

– Recommended by Tessa, She/Her

The Clothesline Swing – Written by Danny Ramadan

“One of the best fantasi/sci-fi trilogies I have ever read. If you haven’t had a chance to delve into Afro-futurism, this is a “I can’t recommend this book enough! It’s a story about love, war, loss, and ultimately endurance in the face of adversity. And I am so grateful to the author, Danny Ramadan, for trusting us with his words and for daring to put so much of himself down on the page. Ramadan is an LGBTQ-refugee who left his home in Damascus, Syria and moved to Vancouver, BC. The stories he shares in this book feel so incredibly far from my own, and yet the way he writes feels so intimate and close to home.”

– Recommended by Michaël, He/Him Manager of Communications & Development

Julián is a Mermaid – Written by Jessica Love

“A great primer on the history of anti-Black racism in Canada, “addresses the unique and understudied impacts of state This is a children’s book, but it’s heart warming for all ages! The story is about a boy and his Abuela and the beauty of indulging and celebrating children’s gender-expression and self-expression. The illustrations are colourful and wonderful.”

– Recommended by Alex, They/Them, Social Impact & Provincial Services Coordinator

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice – Written by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

“This book changed the way I engage with my work as an activist and an advocate. It shed light on the many different kinds of labour that get erased and ignored in community organizing, and in nonprofit space. It raised my awareness greatly with regard to existing disability activism work and what it can look like. It helped me look at my own wellbeing and make more of an effort to preserve my energy.”

– Recommended by Chelsey, She/They, Volunteer Coordinator

April 2022 Recommendations

Left Hand of Darkness – Written By Ursula K Le Guin

“This is a science fiction novel from the 70s about a planet of humans that have no sex/gender for most of the month until they enter a state called “kemmer” and become male or female during that period. Although there are aspects of it that are a product of its time (using he/him as gender neutral pronouns and biological essentialism for sex/gender), it is nonetheless a fascinating commentary on how our own society ascribes different traits as “male” or “female”. It is a radical classic sci-fi text exploring the possibility of people being non-binary at a time when this was barely explored in literature.”

– Recommended by Kerry, He/They, Practicum Student

AcLight from Uncommon Stars – Written By Ryka Aoki

“This novel became my “go to” activity after listening or watching the recent news events. I became quite engrossed in this world much to my surprise. I would never have thought that I would read a book about a holograph’s best friend of a run-away, self-taught, trans violin genius who plays music for video games and performs on YouTube being pursued by a teacher who sold their soul to the devil and cannot perform until they deliver seven new souls; duplicated doughnuts that will become the basis for fabulous cooked doughnuts from a shop/Stargate located in California. The book is full of interesting characters and a lot of information about violins. This was a quick read for me as I wanted to finish up to see what happens in the end. I was somewhat disappointed in the ending but I recently learned that the ending makes for a good book to be made into some visual form of entertainment which I would happily watch as well.”

– Recommended by Edward L.; Book was select by members of the Seniors & Older Adults Program

In The Dreamhouse – Written By Carmen Maria Machado

“I cannot begin to describe what this book means to me (it changed my life and helped me through a very difficult time), while also conveying a deep warning that it will shake your core. This is a memoir of a relationship gone sour told with an overlay of storytelling a haunted house, metaphorically and literally, in some senses. It’s a beautiful work, one of the first of its kind depicting lesbian intimate partner violence, and a must-read for folks in the queer community trying to understand dynamics of relational abuse in our community.”

– Recommended by Chelsey, She/They, Volunteer Coordinator

Falling in Love With Hominids – Written By Nalo Hopkinson

“This is a collection of short stories of an incredible range of style and genre. Chilling, clever, bewildering, outrageous, funny, cutting; each story is an astute study of people. Nalo Hopkinson was born in Jamaica, and grew up in the U.S., Trinidad and Guyana, eventually ending up in Canada. The short stories’ descriptions of settings and cultures give readers the chance to connect the familiar, and feel through Hopkinson’s vivid characters the unfamiliar and novel.”

– Recommended by- Recommended by Alex, They/Them, Social Impact & Provincial Services Coordinator

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