Celebrating Pride month 2022: Recommended reads
Updated: Jun 21
In celebration of Pride month, we've drawn together a list of our favourite fiction and non fiction titles from our collections. From family sagas to feminist dystopias to personal essays, we've got you covered.
La petite dernière- Fatima Daas
A lyrical first novel from Fatima Daas. An account of life in the banlieue, growing up Muslim in France, and the author’s attraction to women. Laid out in short chapters, the text repeats itself as the author introduces herself and her family, building on itself and weaving together across chapters. Over the course of the novel, we see her grow into her identity as a Muslim lesbian, and begin to explore her love of writing in earnest. As much about family and heritage as it is about lesbian identity, this is easily one of our favourite novels of last year and after such a strong debut, we can’t wait to read more from Fatima Daas!
Borrow La petite dernière from the library.
En finir avec Eddy Bellegeule- Édouard Louis
This book probably needs no introduction given its widespread praise since its publication in 2014! An autobiographical coming of age story set in rural Northern France, Eddy desperately tries to live up to the pressures and performance of heterosexual masculinity, all the while being aware of his attraction to men and his desire to pursue higher education and to escape his working-class background.
Borrow En finir avec Eddy Belleguele from the library.
Viendra le temps du feu - Wendy Delorme
An ecofeminist dystopia. In a world of closed borders and heavily policed sexual agency and bodies, a group of women break away from society to form a commune. Based on Monique Wittig’s Les Guerilleres, a radical and polyamorous enclave will form in direct contravention to the ultra-capitalist patriarchy of the outside world. But this utopia is ever threatened by the encroachment of the police state, and will ultimately lead to conflict. A polyphonic novel told in part by the survivors of the raid, the women who left the commune to reintegrate into society, and a couple who are discovering the history of these women for the first time; this novel offers a fresh angle on the dystopian traditions of the likes of Margaret Atwood and co.
Borrow Viendra le temps du feu from the library.
Mes mauvaises pensées- Nina Bouraoui
Recounted in a stream of consciousness, Nina Bouraoui’s semi-autobiographical narrative spills out like a confession. Addressed to her therapist, this poetic and absorbing book retraces memories of a childhood spent in Algeria, the speaker’s attraction to women, living in France, literary greats like Hervé Guibert, and her relationship to a woman she calls “L’Amie.” Repetitions weave through the narrative- a preoccupation with death, the frailty of the body and the draw of the ocean, drawing you ever deeper into the narrative- an absorbing read, and a well-crafted view into a woman’s inner life.
Borrow Mes mauvaises pensées from the library.
Désorientale- Négar Djavadi
An absorbing family saga, jumping between the present day, where our narrator Kimiâ is sat in the waiting room of a fertility clinic, ready to begin her treatment; and her childhood in Iran, where her parents were activists firstly against the regime of the Shah and then Khomeini; interspersed are fragments of her family’s history, winding back to the beginning of the 20th century. Now living in Paris and estranged from her family Kimiâ looks back on her journey from Iran to France, where she will plunge headfirst into the post punk scene of the late 80s, and will fall in love for the first time. Kimiâ’s sexuality is never addressed by her family, and as a result this novel is as much about the things left unsaid and the isolation Kimiâ feels towards her family as it is the disconnection from her homeland and culture that she feels as an Iranian immigrant in France.
Borrow Désorientale from the library.
Read Désorientale on Culturethèque.
Celui qui est digne d’être aimé- Abdellah Taïa
5 years after the death of his mother, Ahmed writes to his mother, confronting her for her abusive behaviour, and telling her about his life as a gay man. Each chapter is the start of a new letter, a winding back through time towards the root of his pain and his reasons for remaining aloof in his romantic relationships. Central to the novel is a breakup letter to his older French partner whom he met when he was still a teenager, who used his power and influence to mould Ahmed in his own image, and encouraged him to break ties with his Moroccan heritage by bringing him to France and into academic circles. In breaking from his sphere of control, Ahmed breaks ties with the colonialism he has suffered in his own romantic relationships, and regains his identity as a Moroccan man. Powerful and angry, this albeit short novel effectively addresses the legacy of the French presence and occupation of Morocco, and the ways in which this legacy of colonialism manifests itself in the present day.
Borrow Celui qui est digne d’être aimé from the library
Un appartement sur Uranus- Paul B Preciado
A collection of Paul B Preciado’s essays spanning 5 years, over the course of which he will transition, go through a breakup, change jobs and countries, all the while writing incisive essays for Libération, amongst others, about LGBTQ+ rights, the Greek financial crisis and migration. As much about gender transition as it is about cultural and political transition in an age of late capitalism, this collection is a galvanising and bold call to action and resistance in an ever changing and increasingly inhospitable world. Borrow Un appartement sur Uranus from the library.
Archives des mouvements LGBT+: une histoire de luttes de 1890 à nos jours- Antoine Idier
Spanning 130 years of French LGBT+ history, this fascinating book draws together images from over 15 different public and private archives. Showcasing a huge range of pamphlets, documentary images, protest signs, magazines and letters, this collection highlights the ways in which LGBT+ activists have fought for their rights over the last century and the progresses and victories that have been made along the way. From the hidden nightlife of the late 1800s and early 1900s, through the devastation of the AIDS epidemic to the contemporary fight for marriage equality and adoption, this collection brings to the forefront an important documentary history, particularly since as for the time being there are no specialised public LGBT+ archives in France.
Borrow Archives des mouvements LGBT+ from the library.
Peau d’homme- Hubert et Zanzim
Set in Renaissance Italy, Bianca is on the brink of marriage to a man she doesn’t know. Determined to find out more about him before their wedding, she makes use of a family heirloom, the “peau d’homme” a male skin that enables her to disguise herself as Lorenzo, and enter the masculine world. As Lorenzo she has the freedom to roam the streets, to duck into bars and parties, as well as befriend her fiancé. Through Lorenzo she will access love and sexuality, and discover more about herself and the society she inhabits than she would have thought possible.
Borrow Peau d'homme from the library.
Tanz! - Maurane Mazars
The story of Uli, a German dancer in the post-war years, whose love of musicals will push him towards the bright lights of Broadway and away from the sombre dance movements of post-war Germany. But the past is hard to flee, particularly when America is going through its own cultural upheavals. The graphic novel also effectively highlights the different ways the dance world and wider society treat the characters based on their race, gender and sexuality; and isn’t afraid to highlight Uli’s own biases and blind spots as needed, as well as his personal growth. Overall, it’s a hopeful and brightly coloured story that captures the fluidity and beauty of dance as well as the intimacy and affection of Uli’s friendships and romances- we particularly love the full-page dance scenes!
Borrow Tanz! from the library.
Read Tanz! on Culturethèque.
Ça change tout! - Cathy Ytak, Daniela Tieni
Camille and Baptiste are in love, and it changes everything- life is sweeter and gentler when you have someone to share it with. A tender story of first love beautifully illustrated by Daniela Tieni, this is the perfect picture book to integrate into your child’s library this pride month.
Borrow Ça change tout! from the library.