Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.
As you will learn across our Pride Month posts, intersectionality is not only important – it is mandatory. As you would have seen in previous posts, we have seen our guests talk about how identities can intersect with one another — or that a part of ourselves, one identity, may shape how other parts of ourselves and other identities are experienced and lived. Intersectionality then, is important to be reflected on, considered, and integrated in all the work that we do – otherwise, we risk closing the gates on those who should be included, uplifted, and celebrated in the movement for change.
Being an ally is a life-long commitment and creating meaningful change by ensuring that what we do is intersectional is a marathon, not a sprint in one race. One very small but meaningful thing that we can do is diversify the books that we read, ensure that we uplift marginalised authors and writers, and buy books by marginalised authors.
Therefore, I am so excited to have Brody visiting us at the Pond today to talk about and recommend some intersectional reads! Brody visits us at the Pond today as a cute brown bear, wearing a sage-green sweater and glasses! The books that they recommend today are wonderful books, and I’m so excited to share their wonderful and incredibly thoughtful recommendation post with you all.
But, before I dive in, for our friends out there who might only be meeting Brody for the first time, I am honoured to introduce to you to Brody and the incredible work that they do as a booktuber!
Brody’s Booktube Channel: Et Tu, Brody?
If you aren’t watching Brody’s booktube channel, Et Tu, Brody? then please do yourself a huge favour and amend that immediately. Brody is such a joy to watch, has such a warm personality, and I loved their video. Moreover, one of the reasons why I absolutely love Brody’s booktube channel is because of they and I share a love for one thing: recommending books!
On Brody’s channel, you’ll find so many wonderful book recommendation posts. One of my favourite videos by them is the ‘F/F books I adore’ video, which is perfect watching for Pride Month! I also love their ‘If You Liked This… Book Recommendations’ video and their ‘Morally Grey Fantasy Protagonists: Book Recs‘ video!
But a video that I really loved – and think that everyone should watch – is Brody’s discussion video on the difference between diversity and inclusivity and that there is an urgent need for more inclusivity. I cannot recommend this video enough.
Pride Isn’t Pride Without Intersectionality – And Here Are Six Books To Show That
Hey y’all, it’s Brody (they/them), and I’m from the YouTube channel Et tu, Brody? Yes, that’s a Julius Caesar reference. I’m very honored to be visiting The Quiet Pond today, and I’d like to discuss some of my favorite intersectional books with you while I’m here. All of these have a special place in my heart and I encourage you to check them out if you’re able.
First, I’d like to talk about JONNY APPLESEED by Joshua Whitehead. I discuss being Cherokee quite frequently on my channel, and I’m often asked for indigenous lit recommendations. JONNY APPLESEED is a slice-of-life narrative that brought me to tears several times. We follow our protagonist Jonny, an indigiqueer cybersex worker who is trying to raise enough money to return home for a family member’s funeral. It isn’t some big grand adventure, but it does discuss the intersectionality of being indigenous and queer and how that affects the expectations placed on queer Natives. There’s something about Whitehead’s writing that feels so raw, like an exposed nerve begging to be both hidden away and touched at the same time. If you’re looking to read more indigenous lit, I’d say that this is a must.
Next on my list is INTO THE DROWNING DEEP by Mira Grant. I honestly never expected a book about killer mermaids in the Mariana Trench to make me feel so seen, but somehow Mira Grant made it happen. While this horror sci-fi novel does follow many different perspectives, the one I connected to the most was Olivia. Olivia hosts a show followed heavily by people into fandom culture, and boards the Atargatis as an on-site reporter looking to uncover the truth about the voyage that mysteriously vanished several years ago. While it’s revealed later that Olivia is into girls, she’s also autistic. I never realized just how lacking my reading was when it came to autistic representation until I came across INTO THE DROWNING DEEP. Being autistic myself, I loved the fact that I got to see a character like me saving the day aboard this huge ship as killer mermaids attacked. Grant is a master of writing tension, and this entire book feels like a breath that you didn’t know you were holding. (I’m sorry for that. I’ll see myself out.)
Continuing the ocean trend, next up is OUR BLOODY PEARL by D.N. Bryn. This is an indie book about a siren named Perle and their escape from a malicious pirate named Kian. Perle is rescued by another pirate named Dejean, who is kinder, softer, and wants to help Perle heal from the physical and emotional trauma that Kian has put them through. OUR BLOODY PEARL is my favorite kind of story: a soft romance that focuses on healing and building trust, with gore and queer characters aplenty. Dejean has to learn about how sirens don’t have a concept of gender, that they just exist as they are, and Perle slowly learns that not everyone is out to hurt them. Both the protagonist and love interest are asexual and have PTSD and physical disabilities, communicating through their own kind of sign language, and there are two side characters in a sapphic relationship, one of whom is trans. OUR BLOODY PEARL is an exploration of trauma, trust, and healing, and I think it’s beautifully done.
I feel like I don’t talk about this book enough, but THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera means so much to me. Growing up, I was used to seeing queer people as the token side character who usually has something tragic happen to them. ‘Bury Your Gays’ was a very confusing trope for me, because while I was happy to see queer representation of any sort, I couldn’t ever feel totally satisfied when I knew the gay best friend would be suffering some incredible trauma to fuel the allocishet protagonist. Adam Silvera completely flipped that on its head. We go into the story knowing that both characters are going to die, and we know that because it’s Adam Silvera, it’s going to hurt. He crafts this beautiful story of these two boys falling in love on their last day on Earth that tugs on all of my heartstrings. There’s so much in this story that I appreciate, but I think the biggest thing it showed me is how far literature has come for queer people. We still have a long way to go, but we’re moving in the right direction.
I’m not one to reach for science fiction of any kind, but THE SEEP by Chana Porter absolutely blew me away. This speculative work follows a Native American Jewish transwoman as she and the rest of the world prepare for an alien invasion. The Seep is a quiet invasion, though, infiltrating the Earth’s water and giving people the ability to change into any form they want. In this world, gender and sex are basically dead. People live however they choose, unchallenged by society and unbridled by their at-birth bodies. Porter handles heavy topics like alcoholism and depression with grace, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she puts out in the future.
MOONCAKES by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker is a book I’m thinking about every second of every day. This is a soft queer graphic novel about a hard-of-hearing witch named Nova reuniting with her childhood crush, a nonbinary werewolf named Tam. Together, they work together to solve the mystery of the magical corruption going on in the forest of their town. This is a quiet, wholesome story with our two leads just existing as queer characters and handling the trials that come with that. Nova lives with her two grandmothers who accept Tam into their home with open arms, and when one of the grandmothers misgenders Tam, it is immediately corrected and an apology is given. I’m hard-of-hearing and nonbinary, and it’s rare to see those two things represented ever; to have them existing simultaneously is so meaningful. I have read this book three times, and each read has filled me with such a sense of joy that’s brought me to tears. The art style is amazing, the characters are written distinctly, and everything about it is just so perfect for me. When I think of the word “home”, I think of MOONCAKES.
Intersectionality is such a key component in so many queer identities. There is no such thing as one shared queer experience; there are more ways to experience queerness than there are stars in the sky, and each and every one of them are valid and necessary. I hope you spend your Pride Month seeking out as many different voices as you possibly can, because while we’re bonded by our identities as a community, we need to understand that the way we experience life isn’t the only way it is experienced.
Thank you for giving me your time and letting me gush about some amazing queer books! I hope you’re having a wonderful whatever-it-is wherever you are, and happy Pride!
About the Booktuber
Brody is a nonbinary Native with a passion for all things scary and soft. They actively work in the online book community to decolonize bookshelves and sprinkle queerness wherever necessary.
It was such a joy to have Brody visiting us at the Pond today! A huge thank you to them for writing this wonderful book recommendation piece for our Pride Month and for sharing their joy and passion of intersectional reads with us. I hope you all found a new book to read – and don’t forget to check out Brody’s booktube channel!