Launched in fall 2020, our LGBTQ+ Reading Group is for members of our campus community (faculty, staff, and students) to learn more about gender, sexuality, the LGBTQ+ community, and identity through engaging novels, educational volumes, memoirs, and more.
Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu
Our fall 2022 reading group pick is Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu. We have reached our free book registration, but you are still welcome to join us later this fall for a book discussion with your own copy! More information will be posted soon.
About the book: Lucky and her husband, Krishna, are gay. They present an illusion of marital bliss to their conservative Sri Lankan–American families, while each dates on the side. It’s not ideal, but for Lucky, it seems to be working. She goes out dancing, she drinks a bit, she makes ends meet by doing digital art on commission. But when Lucky’s grandmother has a nasty fall, Lucky returns to her childhood home and unexpectedly reconnects with her former best friend and first lover, Nisha, who is preparing for her own arranged wedding with a man she’s never met.
As the connection between the two women is rekindled, Lucky tries to save Nisha from entering a marriage based on a lie. But does Nisha really want to be saved? And after a decade’s worth of lying, can Lucky break free of her own circumstances and build a new life? Is she willing to walk away from all that she values about her parents and community to live in a new truth? As Lucky—an outsider no matter what choices she makes—is pushed to the breaking point, Marriage of a Thousand Lies offers a vivid exploration of a life lived at a complex intersection of race, sexuality, and nationality. The result is a profoundly American debut novel shot through with humor and loss, a story of love, family, and the truths that define us all.
Our summer 2022 pick wasthe poetry collection Year of the Unicorn Kidz by jason b. crawford, and we hosted jason for a reading and discussion on June 22, 2022.
About the book: jason b. crawford’s Year of the Unicorn Kidz beautifully explores existence on the intersections of gender, race, and sexuality. Their profound navigation of identity, violence, and desire transcends boundaries and binaries. Vulnerability takes the centre stage as the speaker of these descriptive and passionate poems unburies old relationships and haunting memories. Year of the Unicorn Kidz reads like a coming-of-age story for marginalized youth in America, sketching the body in terms of disconnection, loss, and the explosive nature of desire. From burning rage to healing friendships to the thrill of forbidden encounters and the regrets that follow them, crawford revisits the reckless elements of youth that capture the inner and outer conflicts of self-discovery. They bring incredible depth to their poetry with urgent and vivid storytelling that delicately reveals the complexity of reality, while also leaving room for readers to reflect on their own.
If you are interested in purchasing your own copy, you can buy them directly from the publisher, Sundress Publications.
Our spring 2022 pick was Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.
About the book: When global climate change and economic crises lead to social chaos in the early 2020s, California becomes full of dangers, from pervasive water shortage to masses of vagabonds who will do anything to live to see another day. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Oya Olamina lives inside a gated community with her preacher father, family, and neighbors, sheltered from the surrounding anarchy. In a society where any vulnerability is a risk, she suffers from hyperempathy, a debilitating sensitivity to others’ emotions.
Precocious and clear-eyed, Lauren must make her voice heard in order to protect her loved ones from the imminent disasters her small community stubbornly ignores. But what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: the birth of a new faith… and a startling vision of human destiny.
Please be advised this book contains discussions of physical and sexual violence.
Our fall 2021 pick was Love Letter’s to Jane’s World by UT alum Paige Braddock. Paige herself joined us for a discussion of her work, life, and time at UT in November 2021.
About the book: Love Letters to Jane’s World is the essential Jane’s World collection debuting twenty years after Jane Wyatt first appeared in Paige Braddock’s trailblazing comic strip about a young lesbian woman making her clumsy way in the world and the friends who help (or hinder) her along the journey.
The Eisner-nominated Jane’s World was the first syndicated comic strip with a lesbian main character to appear in many major newspaper markets. This new volume collects the most quintessentially “Jane” storylines from the strip’s early, middle, and later years, and pairs them with “love letters” and notes of appreciation from notable fans.
Our summer 2021 read was Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
About the book: Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.
In spring 2021 our pick was Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.
About the book: “Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to
her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself. Check out more about this book at Gabby Rivera’s website.
Our fall 2020 book selection was Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by author and activist Janet Mock. We had 89 students receive a copy of this book. For more information on the book, check out Janet’s website.