The Southern Bookseller Review: Be Yourself

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for June, 2023

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The Southern Bookseller Review: A Book for Every Reader

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June 2023

Be Yourself.

LGBTQ+ Pride illustration credit Sandra Milena Valero Orjuela

This month’s special edition of The Southern Bookseller Review celebrates Pride Month, and joyfully honors the impact and importance that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals in our lives. Recognizing the bright light of LGBTQ+ people is more important now than it has ever been. As more and more LGBTQ+ books become the targets of book bans, perhaps the most important thing any of us can do is read those books and decide for ourselves.


The world isn’t binary. Everything isn’t black or white, yes or no. Sometimes it’s not a switch, it’s a dial." —Jeff Garvin, Symptoms of Being Human

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Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode


And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode
Roxane Gay Books / June 2023

More Reviews from Bookmarks

And Then He Sang a Lullaby is a powerful debut that follows the story of Segun and August, two college students in Nigeria who yearn for love and connection. Readers will be deeply moved by this brave and beautiful tale of two men who can’t help but deny their attraction despite the risks to themselves and each other.

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Ani Kayode Somtochukwu photo credit Ileleji Prince

About the author

Ani Kayode is an award-winning Nigerian writer and queer liberation activist. His work interrogates themes of queer identity, resistance, and liberation. His writings have appeared in literary magazines across Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America.

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Big Gay Wedding by Byron Lane


Byron Lane, photo credit the author

I just tried to be honest. When I’m honest in my life, about my life, it tends to make others honest about theirs and suddenly we all relate to each other and our lives in a more meaningful way. I don’t know whether it’s been years of therapy or what, but I find I’m generally an optimistic person. Even in sad or heavy situations I can usually find something sweet or helpful or humorous. ― Byron Lane, Interview, The Nerd Daily

What booksellers are saying about Big Gay Wedding

Big Gay Wedding by Byron Lane
  • The most fun, funny, warm, heart-aching book full of big loving family feels I have ever read. Byron Lane writes the kind of page turners I love. Breezy at first glance, devastating as you dig deeper and full of heart.
      ― Rayna Nielsen from Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, LA | Buy from Blue Cypress Books

  • This is a beautifully written, engaging, heartfelt book. The characters are quirky, lovable, and memorable. The plot unfolds with funny, sad, bittersweet and joyous events and conversations that ring very true and hit home emotionally. I’ll be looking for other books by this author.
      ― Ruth Goldstein from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA | Buy from E. Shaver, Bookseller

  • From Byron Lane, the author of A Star is Bored, comes a new story about a small town, a family on the edge of change, and a big gay wedding. Barnett’s mom hopes he’s coming for a visit to announce he’s moving home to take care of her and the family farm for rescue animals, but she soon finds out her son is getting married – and they want the wedding to take place on the farm. Hilarity ensues as a wide case of soon to be in-laws overtake the farm to plan the wedding of the year, but when the wedding starts to face protest and problems, it’s a lesson in conditional love and support. BIG Gay Wedding needs to be in everybody’s beach bags this year!  
      ― Beth Seufer Buss from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks

Byron Lane is author of A Star Is Bored, hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “wildly funny and irreverent.” He’s a playwright, screenwriter, Emmy Award–winning journalist, and former assistant to actress Carrie Fisher. He’s originally from New Orleans and lives in Palm Springs, California, with his husband, author Steven Rowley, and their rescue dogs, Raindrop and Shirley.


Good Sex by Catherine M. Roach


Good Sex by Catherine M. Roach
Indiana University Press / October 2022


The New Gender and Sexual Revolution

A cultural revolution unfolds in America.

It emerges from the relationship scene of dating apps and hookup sex, #MeToo activism against sexual misconduct, media campaigns around body positivity, and the increased visibility of people from across the gender and sexuality spectrum. These varied developments stand at the cutting edge of a broad shift happening across America and the globe. Together, they herald a welcome revolution for the twenty-first century and a new vision of sexual and gender well-being.

While a puritanical past shapes America, the twenty-first century has ushered in huge changes, fast. All these transformations, disparate yet interrelated, result in greater cultural acceptance and legal protection for diversity in gender expression and romance. A brave new world opens before us: we live in an era of new gender and sexual revolution…

This moment builds on the earlier sex-positive revolution of the 1960s and early 70s, fueled by that era’s counterculture movement and widespread availability of reliable contraceptives. But it adds fresh emphasis. Today’s revolution insists on broader inclusion, with personal identity understood as shaped through the overlapping intersection of gender and sexuality, as well as categories of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, body size and shape, age, (dis)ability status, and more (what academics term “intersectionality”). This next-generation revolution makes a deeper commitment to sexual justice through informed, affirmative consent and a hard line against sexual misconduct. It provides for a wider freedom from the exclusive binary boy/girl structure of gender. And it works to reduce the stigma of slut-shaming and to celebrate “cliteracy” (yup, we’re going to talk about closing the orgasm gap). All this it does through online means unimaginable fifty, or even ten, years ago: digital platforms and social media where people share personal stories to create community and empower activism. The very term “new sexual revolution” is trending…Americans across the country are taking part in this new cultural dialogue, reported and debated through news outlets, magazines, websites, Twitter feeds, and at workplace watercoolers.

Big picture? The cultural mood has altered. All these changes have us at a turning point, with more support than ever before for diversity and equity. American society is working out and reaching toward a bold new vision of sexuality and gender.

Catherine M. Roach

About the author

Catherine M. Roach has 25 years of grant-funded research experience on gender, sexuality, and American popular culture. A two-time Fulbright awardee with a PhD from Harvard and publications in both fiction and nonfiction, she’s been an invited visiting professor in Canada, Australia, and Europe. She is Professor of New College, an innovative liberal arts program at the University of Alabama, where she’s won the school’s top research and teaching awards and where she offers a popular cross-university course titled "Sexuality & Society." Originally from Ottawa, Canada, she is based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Dreaming Home by Lucian Childs


Dreaming Home by Lucian Childs
Biblioasis / June 2023

More Reviews from Epilogue Books

An absorbing tale that begins with a single, terrible act of violence a father unleashes upon his son before tracing the ripple of that act as it courses over many lives across decades. Structurally, the novel is quite unique; nearly every named character in the novel, all of them affected in some way by this act of violence, have their perspectives shared with us. Childs’ precise writing makes their anguish and their frustration feel so real despite the short time we spend viewing the story through each character’s eyes. A queer coming-of-age story for the ages.

Reviewed by Sam Edge, Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

A Very Gay Book by Jenson Titus


A Very Gay Book by Nic Scheppard and Jenson Titus
 Andrews McMeel Publishing / May 2023

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

The cover on this book is so deceptive – it’s hilarious from page one! You’ll laugh out loud on every page of the satirical gay history primer! Along with quirky art, this book touches on cultural moments and throughout time, and measures how gay they are (spoiler – they’re all very gay). Silly and delightful!

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Darkhearts by James L. Sutter


Darkhearts by James L. Sutter
 Wednesday Books / June 2023

More Reviews from Fiction Addiction

David has lived with regret for the past two years, ever since his middle school best friends’ band hit it big right after he walked away from them. Now one of the Darkhearts duo is dead, and frontman Chance is back in town and back in David’s life. David isn’t sure he’s ready to forgive Chance for the part he played in David’s FOMO, but as they open up to each other, they start to rebuild their friendship, and maybe something more. Fans of LGBTQ romance will adore David and Chance’s budding relationship.

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

Gender Identity for Kids by Andy Passchier


Gender Identity for Kids by Andy Passchier
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / June 2023

More Reviews from Main Street Books

This fun and educational book by Andy Passchier helps kids understand the importance of understanding, respecting, and being kind towards everyone and understanding yourself with fun characters, illustrations, and more! This is a great book for young and old, people who already know a thing or two about the subject but want to learn more, people who know nothing at all, and people who know all about it. You are sure to enjoy this helpful guide to being and knowing yourself, and you most likely will learn something from it.

Reviewed by Adah Fitzgerald, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

Parting Thought

“I was not ladylike, nor was I manly. I was something else altogether. There were so many different ways to be beautiful.”
—Michael Cunningham

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
Editor: Nicki Leone /
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett /
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