We kick off Pride Month with a great reading list with recommendations by Lucy Pettigrew. Do you have a Pride Month list you would like to share with us? If so, send it in.
In a world where sapphics (women who love women, named after the Ancient Greek poet Sappho) are still brushed under the carpet, I always find it difficult to find new media that discusses wlw relationships and feelings. So, I thought I’d compile my own short list of sapphic books, poetry, films and songs to encourage the consumption of more wlw media.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is my favourite book of all-time. I have no problem in saying that, even though before I read this book I was always questioning and changing my top favourite. This novel is dual-perspective and follows Monique Grant who is a young reporter and Evelyn Hugo, an old Hollywood film star. Evelyn’s team contacts Monique about writing an article in relation to Evelyn’s seven husbands, with the story unravels from there. This is one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read – not just because of the plot or the twists the story takes, but because of how three-dimensional the characters are. Reid writes characters that are equally flawed and loveable, difficult to understand at times and other times are completely readable. The exploration of different sexualities in this novel are unrivalled and you’ll stay completely submerged in this story right until the very end. I’d highly recommend it!
Disobedience – Naomi Alderman
This is another favourite book of mine, so much so that I wrote a 2,500-word assignment on it for one of my university modules. It’s again dual-perspective (I’m starting to spot a pattern) and follows the story of Ronit Krushka and Esti Kuperman, Jewish women who now live completely different lives even though they grew up together. Ronit left the orthodox community when she was younger, whereas Esti stayed. Their relationship plays out in a strange way, with feelings of shame and unrequited love being at the forefront of the narrative. There is also an accompanying film adaptation directed by Sebastián Lelio and starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, which I love just as much as the book even though the story is portrayed differently in both. The film captures the essence of being too afraid to be true to yourself, but also what happens when you are. Both the novel and film are wonderful, you’ll enjoy them if you enjoyed The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, along with the film Carol (2015) starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness – Kabi Nagata
It took me a while to get around to reading this, but I’m so glad I did. This graphic novel is autobiographical and I think that’s what makes it so raw; the artist is being completely truthful about her experiences growing up as a lesbian and dealing with loneliness both romantically and platonically. The art style in this is unique and paired with the narrative it makes an enlightening read. I was recommended this by a friend after complaining about how I couldn’t find many sapphic graphic novels and I’m so glad I was told to read this!
Lady Business – edited by Bryan Borland
I first found out about this poetry collection browsing the shelves of The Portal Bookshop in York (shout-out to them for providing me with an endless supply of LGBTQ+ lit!). This anthology showcases a range of poets and poems, focussing on the sapphic experience. I got a lot out of these poems as they are written from a wide variety of people with different backgrounds; the diversity is refreshing. My favourite poet from this collection is Teresa De La Cruz – I connected with her poems the most and felt completely validated by them. This is a great collection to read if you’re looking to get into poetry as it offers a vast array of poetic voices and writing styles; you’re likely to enjoy most of them!
Bone – Yrsa Daley-Ward
I’m yet to find a sapphic poetry collection that I love as much as this one. Daley-Ward’s voice is completely honest and leaves no stone unturned. Even though all of the poems in Bone are not explicitly about sapphic themes, the ones that are stuck with me the most. I read this collection in one sitting, unable to tear myself away from the lyrical writing style until I’d finished it. This is an accessible collection and if you are interested in POC explorations of sexuality then this is a great starting point, no matter if you usually read poetry or not.
BKLYNLDN – Shura
Shura is a lesbian and her love songs reflect that in chill synths and mellow basslines. BKLYNLDN is an atmospheric track which is one of the first LGBTQ+ songs I remember falling in love with. It’s soft and melancholy, pairing funky bass lines with lyrics that make you yearn. It’s written about a long-distance relationship and details when you’re longing to be with someone, but distance keeps you apart. However, the lyric “you’re coming over, Brooklyn to London” reminds us that distance can’t keep us sapphics apart forever. I’d also recommend Shura’s religion (u can lay your hands on me) and Saw You in a Dream by The Japanese House; another sapphic artist with a similar vibe to Shura.
So, there you have it; a short list of sapphic media to get you started. I hope you enjoy all of it and keep discovering new sapphic texts!