- Written by Meagan Gilpin and Michele Collins
Happy Pride Month! All are welcome to the Pride Book Club which is held in partnership with Moyo Health & Community Services. Since October 2020, this club has been meeting virtually each month to discuss some truly remarkable books written by and about the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Our regular members ranked their top picks from the past year. Please see our reviews of Pride Book Club top three below!
Me, Myself, They by Luna Ferguson
Luna Ferguson is a Canadian filmmaker and 2SLGBTQ+ activist who was the first person in Canada to be legally recognized as non-binary. In this gripping memoir, Luna shares their journey from experiencing discrimination and abuse in rural Ontario to a life full of love and acceptance. With a PhD in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice from the University of British Columbia, it’s no surprise that Luna does an excellent job of helping the reader understand not only what non-binary means to them, but also the social and personal impact of acceptance and representation. Overall, the book reads like a lyrical thinkpiece, interweaving logic with emotionally charged storytelling that leaves the reader rooting for Luna every step of the way.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
This skinny little love story can be read in a single sitting, but don’t let the length fool you -- it still packs an emotional punch that’ll leave your heart full. Spanning from their chance meeting at a church bingo event, blossoming love, and heartbreaking separation in 1963 to their unbelievable reunion years later and beyond, this graphic novel tells the beautiful story of Mari and Hazel, two women of colour whose love lasted a lifetime. Readers will find themselves completely immersed in this well-rounded storyline with rich characters.
We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib
As a queer Islamic woman, Samra Habib weaves together her life story and shows us how her cultural, relgious, and queer identities came to exist together in peace. But, it was not an easy process. Growing up as an Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan, she fled from her home country with her family in fear of persecution. Life as a refugee in Canada was not easy, however, as Samra found herself stuck amidst racism and discrimination outside the home and the pressure to conform to strict cultural expectations that were at odds with her identity from within it. From a period of family estrangement to finding acceptance within her family, her community, her faith, and herself, this memoir advocates for the recognition of queer Muslims, past and present. A beautiful memoir that tells the story of one woman who refused to compromise her faith or her queer sexuality, readers will love discovering how Samra has come to live her most authentic life.
BONUS: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Okay, we know this makes four reviews, but this staff pick was such a good read and we just had to include it....
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is written as a letter from Little Dog to his mother, who cannot read. The novel reveals Little Dog’s family history - beginning in Vietnam before he was born and ending with parts of his life that his mother could not know. Told with compassion, the novel examines Little Dog’s childhood trauma while also compassionately paying tribute to the strength of the women in his life. It is also a bittersweet story of first love and all the wonder, joy, and tenderness that comes with it. Little Dog and Trevor fall in love across race, class, and gender. Part autobiographical, part poetry, part fiction, this lyrical novel is an intimate portrait of familial love, first love, and finding yourself. A beautiful and moving novel.
Brampton Library’ Pride Book Club wraps up for 2020-21 on June 15th with a discussion of Romance in Marseille by Claude McKay at 7:30 pm. Please check our Calendar of Events at the end of the summer for our fall season dates and titles to register for October 2021 and beyond! And for more Pride Month Events, visit the website calendar on Rainbow Salad, a Peel-based 2SLGBTQ+ Collaborative that Brampton Library is proud to be part of.