From culture and ethnicity to gender and sexual orientation, everyone has a right to see their lives and identities reflected in characters within literature. Hence why our bookshelves deserve to be as diverse as the world we live in, even beyond Pride Month. They should also span across all genres, not just romance, which is why we’ve chosen LGBTQ+ books of varying genres: speculative fiction, memoir, young adult, and contemporary literary fiction. We’ve also paired these novels with bottles that share a similar vibe. Happy Pride!
To keep Ander Martínez from becoming complacent during their gap year, their family "fires" them so they can transition from restaurant life to focusing on their murals and preparing for college. That is, until they meet Santiago López Alvarado, the hot new waiter. Falling for each other becomes as natural as breathing. Through Santi's eyes, Ander starts to understand who they are and want to be as an artist, and Ander becomes Santi's first steps toward making Santos Vista and the United States feel like home. Ander & Santi Were Here is about falling in love, fighting to belong, and finding a home. Which makes FOMO, a premade vodka cocktail, an ideal pairing as the fear of missing out on these things can change a person’s life. Made locally, Wandering Barman combines pineapple and turmeric to create an earthy yet refreshing tropical profile, backed up with a touch of heat from the flavorful Hatch Green Chile.
Born in South Asia, Lamya H. moved to the Middle East at a young age and has spent years feeling out of place, like her own desires and dreams don’t matter, and it’s easier to hide in plain sight. To disappear. But one day in Quran class, she reads a passage about Maryam that changes everything: when Maryam learned that she was pregnant, she insisted no man had touched her. Could Maryam, uninterested in men, be like Lamya? From that moment on, Lamya makes sense of her struggles and triumphs by comparing her experiences with some of the most famous stories in the Quran. She juxtaposes her coming out with Musa liberating his people from the pharoah; asks if Allah, who is neither male nor female, might instead be nonbinary; and, drawing on the faith and hope Nuh needed to construct his ark, begins to build a life of her own—ultimately finding that the answer to her lifelong quest for community and belonging lies in owning her identity as a queer, devout Muslim immigrant. Similarly, sommelier André Hueston Mack incorporates the building blocks of his life - hip-hop, street culture, and the philosophy of "wine for all" - in this stunning rose with refreshing notes of strawberry, raspberry, watermelon rind, and kiwi.
Four days before Christmas, 8-year-old Bo loses his mother in a tragic accident, 28-year-old Brandon loses his job after a hostile takeover of his big-media employer, and 48-year-old Blue, a key witness in a criminal trial against an infamous now-defunct tech startup, struggles to reconnect with his family. So begins Jinwoo Chong’s dazzling, time-bending debut that blends elements of neo-noir and speculative fiction as the lives of Bo, Brandon, and Blue begin to intersect, uncovering a vast network of secrets and an experimental technology that threatens to upend life itself. A haunting and sometimes shocking exploration of grief, trauma, and Asian identity in America, this book deserves a wine partner that is equally haunting in beauty and complexity while still being refreshing. Velue 2.0 Riesling is a delicious and savory white wine that features notes of yellow stone fruits, herbs, and salty minerality.
In the shared and private spaces of Iowa City, a loose circle of lovers and friends encounter, confront, and provoke one another in a volatile year of self-discovery. Among them are Seamus, a frustrated young poet; Ivan, a dancer turned aspiring banker who dabbles in amateur pornography; Fatima, whose independence and work ethic complicate her relationships with friends and a trusted mentor; and Noah, who “didn’t seek sex out so much as it came up to him like an anxious dog in need of affection.” These four are buffeted by a cast of artists, landlords, meatpacking workers, and mathematicians who populate the cafes, classrooms, and food-service kitchens of the city, sometimes to violent and electrifying consequences. As each prepares for an uncertain future, the group heads to a cabin to bid goodbye to their former lives. A novel of friendship and chosen family could only be matched with a drink that has a similar artistic vibe intended to be shared amongst friends. Produced each spring as a complement to its hometown of Rochester, N.Y., once known as the "Flower/Flour City,” Black Button Lilac Gin is full of delectable notes of juniper, coriander, lilac, lavender, rose, and hibiscus.