For immediate release | February 7, 2024

ALA's Rainbow Round Table releases Top 10 List

CHICAGO — The Over the Rainbow Committee of ALA’s Rainbow Round Table considered more than 400 books across all genres, including memoir, history, true crime, mystery, romance, fiction, poetryand more. The final 10 selections showcased a wide range of queer stories and experiences, working to dispel, one book at a time, the single narrative.

Top 10 List

"Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World.” Christian Cooper. Random House, 2023.

Following the life of black birdwatcher Christian Cooper and his time at Marvel, as well as the Central Park Birdwatching Incident, this book is a surprise from beginning to end. Told with Cooper’s characteristic calm, it reflects on society regarding both race and queerness with a true birdwatcher’s attention to detail. Reading it feels like being given a Birdseye view into parts of the world you may not have seen or even thought about before.

"The Celebrants." Steven Rowley. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2023.

A touching story of lifetime friends as they deal with a coming loss. This book is lighthearted but not without its deeper moments. Highlighting the intersection of queer community and chosen family, “The Celebrants” is filled with both tears and laughter. Surely, a book for everyone to enjoy!

“Fieldwork: A Forager’s Memoir.” Iliana Regan. Agate Publishing, 2023

With the same down to earth style yet graceful nature that Iliana Regan gives to her cooking, so does she give to this intimate memoir. Flowing seamlessly through her childhood in Indiana, her ancestry, and finally her time as a chef, the reader not only experiences the land in much the same way she does but also gender. This book is a stunning illumination on food, gender, sexuality, and humanity.

“Flux.” Jinwoo Chong. Melville House, 2023.

Reality goes topsy-turvy in this confusing tale of crime, time travel, and family. It’s a much-needed representation for both queer individuals and Asian individuals. Masterful storytelling brings together so many moving parts that for a lesser author would be a confusing mishmash but for Jinwoo Chong comes together in a satisfying conclusion.

"Gay Poems for Red States." William Edward Taylor Carver Jr. University Press of Kentucky, 2023.

From the heart of the 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, this collection is a heartrending series of poems about what it’s like living as queer in a country that is increasingly anti-LGBTQ. Every piece is dripping with heart, some tragically so, but even so, every single one is a letter of support to queer people who may be struggling. With this collection, they will know fully that they are not alone.

"Hijab Butch Blues." Lamya H. The Dial Press, 2023.

Few books tie in religion, mental health, and queerness in the way that this memoir does. With prose that varies from poetic to straightforward, Hijab Butch Blues strikes the perfect tone, shaping religion into a tool for protection for queer people rather than harm. This is a book about a girl who learns to trust herself and no longer fear the answers that asking questions may bring.

"Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew from It." Greg Marshall. Abrams Press, 2023

Greg Marshall. Abrams Press, 2023. Both deeply humorous and deeply honest, this memoir grapples with family, disability, and queerness. Very much a universal story, Marshall shows how understanding yourself does not often come all at once. Rather it comes through stops and starts, and how sometimes it takes someone pointing out the closet to recognize you’ve been locked inside your whole life.

"Pageboy." Elliot Page. Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan, 2023

An in-depth look into the life of actor Elliot Page and their transition while being in the heart of Hollywood. This memoir not only is beautifully written but gives insight into how closed off Hollywood is to queer people; how while it is making strides to be better it’s still not there. Along with this, Pageboy also gives some clarity and reassurance to trans people who are worried about being the ‘right kind’ of trans.

"Tell Me I’m Worthless." Alison Rumfitt. Nightfire, a trademark of Macmillan Publishing Group, 2023.

A horror book that mines the hatred that many queer people face both internally and externally. It’s a gruesome and bloody haunted house story that gives queer representation to a genre that has been lacking such viewpoints for far too long, and it gives this representation with the accuracy of a knife sliding home.

"You're That Bitch: & Other Cute Lessons about Being Unapologetically Yourself." Bretman Rock. Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing, 2023

A laugh-out-loud and inspirational collection of essays by a young internet star. From start to finish, this is a read that will keep your attention. It gives honest advice for all people struggling, not just those struggling with their sexuality and/or gender. Rather, this is honest advice from someone who has seen it all, done it all, and lived to tell the tale, quite literally!

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Anjali Jain

Program Officer, Community Engagement

American Library Association

Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS)