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Entertaining

Summer Reading List

woman reading a book
Written By
Eloise Bennan
Photographs By
JESSICA SCHRAMM FOR PARACHUTE
@parachutehome
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It’s officially summer – time for sunglasses, linen loungewear, and a good book to relax with. In honor of Pride Month and Juneteenth, we’re reading stories from some of our favorite Black and queer authors. Whether you’re going on a vacation or a staycation, here are a few picks to add to your summer reading list. 

Stray City by Chelsey Johnson

One night can change your whole life. While the phrase is cliché it’s exactly what happened to 24-year-old artist Andrea Morales when, one drunk night after a breakup with her girlfriend, sleeps with a man and finds herself pregnant. This anti-romantic comedy examines the complexity of relationships between the families we are born with versus those we choose. 

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Young love is always special, but romance as a teen is complicated. No one knows this better than Paul, a high school sophomore trying to win the guy of his dreams. This story follows Paul as he navigates the perils of adolescent relationships. 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a letter to his adolescent son, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores how racism is woven into American culture. Coates recounts his childhood in Baltimore, detailing the structural inequalities he saw all around him and the realities of being Black in the United States. 

We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan by Lou Sullivan

Lou Sullivan was one of the first trans men to publicly identify as gay, and was a groundbreaking figure in the trans rights movement. Starting at the age of ten and continuing until his death in 1991, Sullivan kept diaries. Through these dairies, he explores the complexity of personal identity and recounts his romantic relationships during the gay liberation movement, the start of the transgender rights movement, and the AIDS crisis. 

Recitatif: A Story, by Toni Morrison

Upon their initial introduction at eight years old, Roberta and Twyla begin to form a bond. They are roommates living in a children's shelter, looking out for each other since their mothers cannot. This short story forces the reader to ask questions about race and childhood as it follows the girls’ lives from the shelter to adulthood.

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Love is complicated. This is something Ava, an Irish expat living in Hong Kong begins to find out. Ava begins a relationship with a British banker who she ends up moving in with. However, when he goes back to London for business she is unsure where their relationship stands. This is when she meets Edith who she quickly becomes entangled with. When Julian tells Ava he is coming back she is forced to choose between an easy life with Julian or taking a leap of faith and pursuing Ava. 

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness

Anyone who has seen even a snippet of the show Queer Eye knows Jonathan Van Ness as a positive, bubbly, radiant human inspiring everyone to live loud and proud and be authentically themselves. While this is how we know them now, it was not always the case. This memoir recounts Jonathan’s pain and relentless search for self-love and acceptance that lead them to where they are today. 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russ

Amanda just wants a fresh start before leaving for college. She recently moved from her mom's house in Atlanta to a small town in Tennessee with her dad to complete her senior year of high school. Amanda has reservations about opening up to others, and it’s not until she meets Grant that she begins to let her guard down. She wants to let it down fully, but that would mean telling him her secret and she's worried it could change everything.