I’m finally back with part 3! After I’ve read 10-15 Sapphic books, I like to gather them into one post so as to make it easy for people to find recommendations, especially as I tend to read a variety of genres. Although Sapphic books are talked about a lot more nowadays, there is still this myth that “there aren’t any good F/F / Sapphic stories”, so it’s important for me to show that you can find amazing Sapphic books in any genre, if you care to look for it. In today’s post there is a nice mix of classic lit, fantasy, sci-fi, literary fiction and essays. Curiously, there are no romances this time around – I clearly need to pick up a few more of those.
Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart is a rather popular new adult fantasy with several main characters, including a F/F couple and it has bone magic, politics, twists and drama, and it reads almost (but not quite) like YA, so it’s a great book if you’re looking for an entertaining read with a very cool magic system and charming characters, this is for you! This was just a little bit too generic for me, but at the same time it was very fun to read and I think most readers will really enjoy it!
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu is a classic that precedes Dracula by Bram Stoker, and inspired it. It tells the story of a young woman who unknowingly houses a vampire, who is attracted to her. It’s an interesting book, a quick read and keeps you guessing on whether they’ll end up together or if Carmilla will kill her. What else do you need?
They Never Learn by Layne Fargo is the indulgent revenge fantasy with Sapphics that you need in your life. A smart, sexy Professor has been killing horrible men for years, but now she’s in danger of getting caught as she falls in love with her next victim’s ex-wife. If you love a femme fatale story, this is a really fun one!
I hesitate a bit in adding The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, but I think for sake of completeness it should be here. This tells the story of Addie, who makes a deal with a dark god to live forever, but in exchange she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. She falls in love with both men and women along the way, and then one day, three hundred years later, meets a boy who remembers her. This writing style will make or break the story for you, but I recommend it if you normally love V. E. Schwab’s books, and if you love the premise of the story.
Burning Roses by S. L. Huang is such a gem of a novella – it tells the story of two middle-aged women who used to be heroes in their youth and have lost so much. They go together to a journey to defeat someone from the past of one of the women, and they relive their lives and sorrows and learn to forgive. A lovely, engrossing story full of Chinese mythology, fairy-tale retellings, Sapphic women and with a trans main character. This was an amazing read.
Milk Fed by Melissa Broder is a weird book that polarizes readers’ opinions but it’s definitely an interesting, bold story with sharp writing (I love Melissa Broder’s writing). It tells the story of a Jewish woman detoxing from her relationship with her mother who falls in love with another woman. She has a supremely unhealthy relationship with food, body image, sex and relationships, so definitely trigger warning for those. This seems highly autobiographical and it’s very cringey (on purpose). If you love the messy woman trope, I think you might like it.
I also recently read So Sad Today by Melissa Broder, which is how I realized just how much she seems to have based the main character in Milk Fed on herself – Melissa Broder talks about several topics in this collection of essays: her attraction to women (and relationships with them), her addiction to smoking, her body image issues, sexual fantasies and so on. It’s witty and an enjoyable read despite the content being somewhat heavy at times. Trigger warning for lots of mention of vomit, eating disorder, low self esteem, mention of anxiety and panic attacks, drugs, alcohol, mentions of suicidal thoughts and probably a million more things.
Permafrost by Eva Baltasar, translated by Julia Sanches tells the story of a lesbian woman in Barcelona and is told in a meandering style that reminded me of Clarice Lispector (however, I found this far more readable). She is in a dark place and fantasizes about dying by suicide, as her permafrost core yearns for someone warm who will melt it. I really enjoyed this but it seems to be a bit polarizing, perhaps because of the writing style – Eva Baltasar is a poet, and the book does read very poetically!
Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier is the story of an eighteen-year-old pregnant girl who delivers pizza and one day meets a woman she becomes obsessed with. It’s a story about grief, alcoholism, growth, obsession and not knowing where to go from here. I really enjoyed this surprisingly sad and witty story and it stood out for me from all other Messy Woman trope books!
Autumn by Ali Smith is a story about a young woman reading to an old man who is comatose in the year of 2016. It reads dreamily, sometimes vague and poetic and nonsensicall, other times told in present day in a very witty manner. It’s an interesting mix of present-day story, flashbacks to her meeting the old man and becoming friends, beautifully vivid imagery of her dreams and commentary on Brexit and xenophobic feelings in the UK. Romance is not really a focus on this book but both she and her mom and Sapphic.
The Split by Laura Kay tells the story of the sudden breakup between Ally and Emily, who had been together for seven years. Ally feels completely blindsighted and heartbroken, especially as Emily has been cheating on her for months now. This follows Ally as she obsesses on how to get Emily back, goes back home with her dad and makes new friends, finds a new job and tries to piece her life together. It’s messy and imperfect, as people are, and I thought it was a very realistic representation of the painful process of getting over a difficult breakup.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo is a quiet fantasy novella about a young woman who travels south for a political marriage, where she is seen as a foreigner without much power. This is a lovely book that reads like a myth, beautiful and so full of heart. I really loved this – and the narration on audiobook is really nice, this soft, whispering voice telling you a story. Highly recommend!
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is a cozy sci-fi with a found family trope that is such a joy to read! This will warm your heart and put a smile on your face, seriously. The main character is running away from her past and joins a crew who’s on their way to a dangerous job. This is such a wonderfully queer book, I loved it.
The Unbroken by C. L. Clark is the story of Touraine, who has been taken to another country as a child and raised as a loyal soldier and now returns to her home country to fight for the empire who took her, and sees her loyalty waver as she meets the rebels; and it’s the story of Luca, a princess who wants to prove herself worthy of becoming Empress. This is such an interesting story, with lots of political intrigue and assassinations!
Bestiary by K-Ming Chang is a literary book with one of the most beautiful, poetic writing I’ve ever seen and simultaneously, one of the writings that has most grossed me out. I had mixed feelings about this but I think many readers will love it: it tells the story of a Taiwanese-American family, their history of queerness, violence, secrets and magic.