A GOOD READ
Books with queer content are coming out fast and furious these days, providing lots of reading options to avid bibliophiles as well as casual readers.
Moving forward, each issue of
will highlight new books coming out by LGBTQ+ authors, or books that touch on an LGBTQ+ theme. We start with the two hot new releases from HarperCollins below.
My Escape from Saudi Arabia to Freedom
By Rahaf Mohammed
You may remember the story of Rahaf Mohammed – it made the news in early 2019. After three years of careful planning, she had finally begun her escape from her abusive family in Saudi Arabia. But she made it only as far as Bangkok before being stripped of her passport. As men pounded at the door of her barricaded hotel room, Mohammed quickly created a Twitter account and reached out to the world for help. The world responded. She gained 45,000 followers in one day and the help she needed in seeking asylum in the West. Eventually she arrived in Canada where then-Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland greeted her at the airport.
Mohammed, who is bisexual, tells her remarkable story in her own words, revealing untold truths about life in Saudi Arabia, where young women are brought up in a repressive system that puts them under the legal control of a male guardian. Raised by a wealthy family in a posh neighbourhood, Mohammed was always under the oppressive control of her male relatives, including her high-profile politician father. Hers was an abusive childhood in which oppression and deceit were the norm.
Moving from Mohammed’s early days on the underground online network of Saudi runaways, who use coded entries to learn how to flee the brutalities of their homeland, to her solo escape to Canada,
is a breathtaking and life-affirming memoir about her tenacious – and successful – pursuit of freedom.
LOVE THAT STORY
Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life
By Jonathan Van Ness
Love That Story
is the second book from Jonathan Van Ness, an American hairdresser, podcast host, actor, TV personality (he was a grooming expert on the
and, more recently, author. His first book, the
showed readers how the incredibly difficult moments from his life – surviving sexual abuse and addiction, being diagnosed with HIV – existed alongside great joy and positivity. The positives being landing a breakout role on Netflix’s
becoming an amateur figure skater and professional standup comedian, and doting on his cats.
Now, in a new candid and curious essay collection titled
Van Ness takes a thoughtful, in-depth look at timely topics through the lens of his own personal experience, from a poignant reflection on grief and embracing body neutrality to an examination of the HIV safety net and white privilege. He outlines how these issues have helped him learn, grow and come to a better understanding of the world around him. The stories speak to doing the work needed to challenge internalized beliefs, finding compassion and confidence, and learning more about what makes us all so messy and gorgeous.
With his typic signature humour, Van Ness encourages readers to examine their individual assumptions and expand their horizons. Ultimately, he writes, it’s about giving ourselves the permission to be the flawed and fabulous humans we are.