Book recommendations from the Queer librarians at Out on the Shelves

Out on the Shelves is a volunteer-run library located on the second floor of the Nest dedicated to fostering a safe space to enjoy and learn from stories on 2SLGBTQIA+ experiences. They offer free library cards where books and DVDs can be borrowed for up to 12 weeks, including renewals. With the sun shining and Pride season in full swing, here are some book recommendations with blurbs from the library's volunteers.

The Pride Omnibus by Joe Glass (2021) - Action/Adventure

Stephen Wainright, a.k.a. “Fabman," is an openly gay superhero fighting crime in New York City. Unfortunately, Stephen faces extensive homophobia from citizens, and even other heroes think he is a joke. Fed up with all of the hatred toward himself and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, Stephen brings together a team of 2SLGBTQIA+ superheroes (“The Pride”) to push back against prejudice and show the world that no one should be solely defined by their gender or sexuality.

The Trouble with Mages: Immortal Quest by Alexandra MacKenzie (2010) - Fantasy/Romance

Marlen is a 500-year-old immortal mage. Unlike his peers, who use their time helping the rich become richer, Marlen focuses on figuring out a way to make his best friend, Nicholas, also become immortal. Meanwhile, Nick is a twenty-something detective who doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Gay hijinks and epic sorcery battles ensue.

The Kingston Cycle Series by C. L. Polk (2018–2021) - WLW, MLM, NB/Trans POV

C. L. Polk’s historical fantasy series The Kingston Cycle combines a world of witches and wizards with an enchanting Edwardian England setting. Miles Singer, born with magical abilities, hides who he really is and joins the war efforts to escape his troubled past. But when desperate measures force him to use his healing powers, his true character is exposed — and there’s no turning back. This gaslamp historical fantasy series has themes of Indigenous reconciliation and is written by a Black nonbinary Canadian!

Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life by Jonathan Van Ness (2022)

This is Jonathan Van Ness (of Queer Eye fame)’s second memoir. They talk about their experience growing up in a small Illinois town, including research into the town’s Queer history, being HIV-positive, current events (such as how J.K. Rowling’s TERF views are harmful to more than just the LGBT+ community) and what it’s been like being on Netflix’s Queer Eye.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Korram (2018) - Contemporary Fiction

Darius travels with his family to Iran to visit his grandparents. While there, he deals with his depression, feeling like an outsider in his own culture, and a budding friendship with his grandparents' neighbour Sohrab. The two boys become inseparable, and spend the spring learning about each other, and themselves.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (2020) - Historical Fiction

In 1600’s Norway a massive storm kills all the men in a village. The women have to find a way to keep the village alive, while also contending with a witch hunter who arrives in the city. Maren, a young girl, tries to keep the community together while also falling in love with the wife of the witch hunter.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar (2020) - Contemporary Fiction

In Dublin, Bangladeshi Nishat comes out as lesbian and receives an apathetic response from her parents. They are fine with it, as long as she isn't open about it. Things seem to get better when Nishat's childhood friend Flávia returns to town — and her crush is reignited. The trouble is, a school competition to create a business arrives, and both choose henna - even though it is not part of Flávia’s culture. The book explores identity, art, appropriation and understanding.

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (2017-) - Sci-Fi

To sum it up in one sentence: a nonbinary mercenary cyborg gains freewill and uses that freewill to watch soap operas while protecting the (few) people worth protecting. A great series with a really funny narrator, in a bleak space opera setting that critiques megacorporations and the tech industry.

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg (2018) - Historical Fiction

Transmasc scholar Dr. Voth gets his hands on the moldering lost manuscripts of notorious thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard. He feverishly devotes himself to the annotation and authentication of this mysterious stack of papers titled Confessions of the Fox.