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What We've been reading: June 2024


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Welcome! You've reached the place where we, on a monthly basis, gather up what the Lighthouse team are currently reading. You can check out round-ups from previous months amongst our Read Think Act posts.

June’s highlights include a lots of queer gems for Pride Month as well as a memoir from the Amazon rainforest and a ghost story to lend shadows during sunny days:


We Will Not Be Saved by Nemonte Nenquimo and Mitch Anderson - a book about love and belonging in their most expansive forms. Nemonte's story about her people (the Waorani of the Ecuadorian Amazon), their territories, the harm done to them by missionary Christianity as well as the oil industry, and their fierce resistance, is a well of knowledge and power for anyone seeking alliances against destruction, and to anyone looking for their people. I had the joy of chairing an event with Nemonte at Brixton House earlier this month and it was a highlight of my year so far.


Metamorphosis by Kafka - As a former zoology student I was annoyed by the physiological inaccuracies (cockroaches have spiracles, not nostrils). However, when I read that Kafka never wanted the ‘monstrous vermin’ to be illustrated, and heard about his lifetime of self-doubt it became a smarter tale of bourgeoise burnout and how depression can make you feel like a burdensome creature unworthy of care.

The Milkman's On His Way by David Rees - I flew through this reprint of an early 1980s queer YA classic. It has all the components of your typical coming of age and coming out story - young lad, small town, hot friend, teenage desire, confusing trysts, heartbreak, and escape to the big city. What makes it an important read is the moral panic that surrounded the original release in the years just before section 28 and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It’s a pioneering piece which deserves its place in queer literature history.


I Want to Die but I Still Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee - I found it comforting and relatable, covering mental health symptoms, insecurities and overspills only I thought I had.


Queer heavy reading for Pride month on my end!

Kate Young’s Experienced, which is a late bloomer queer romance full of hilarious dates, queer family and longing.

Triple Sec by TJ Alexander - finally a poly rom com! Fun, funny, spicy, centering a jaded New York bartender and lightly weaving in class elements & a critique of gentrification and disappearing community spaces.

Rosewater by Liv Little is a gorgeously written millennial coming-of-age novel set in London, with a messy queer Black poet for a protagonist. Little offers up intergenerational love and healing, and a chaotic, compelling story of the ways a woman will stay afloat, finding love and joy, when the costs of living stack up and the world crumbles around her.

The Stars Too Fondly by Emily Hamilton, which I read for the cymera festival, is part space odyssey, part Sapphic romcom, which some spaceship-stealing fun and a ragtag gang trying to steer a mothballed spaceship round a distant planet and master black matter energy.


Brat: A Ghost Story by Gabriel Smith - Surreal, shocking and utterly compelling, Brat is a chicaning story about the weird, dark majesty lurking beneath dull mundanity.


I am re-reading One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston as i have every summer since it came out, it remains an incomparably warm and comforting book about found family and a wonderful & very sexy giddy fizzy summer love story

I also read Mcquiston’s newest book The Pairing which is a PERFECT bi 4 bi second-chances romcom, it is so good Ii already loaned it to 3 friends, I highly recommend you pre-order it, it’s so sexy and heartfelt and it explores a character’s gender feelings in such a tender, specific, true and beautiful way. Queer romcoms are so good!!! I’m so glad they exist!

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