Hey everyone, welcome to Queerly Recommended. I’m Kris Bryant, noted astronaut, and I’m back as usual with Tara Scott. Hello, Tara.
Hey, everybody, can you believe we are actually on episode 15? It feels like two months ago that we were planning this podcast out and we are halfway through the year.
Yes. So we have some big news.
I got my second vaccine.
Yes. And because I got AstraZeneca for my first dose, I got to mix and match. So I hope I have additional superpowers now. So far, it mostly just included coughing a little more and having achy muscles. Those aren’t super powers.
They could be. I didn’t know, you can mix and match. I did not know that that was a thing.
Yeah, you absolutely can. They’re trying to get just as many people fully vaccinated as possible, especially with like the Delta variant scaring the shit out of everybody.
And with AstraZeneca, I think with like the blood clot concerns they- I didn’t even actually have a choice. Like when I filled out the appointment information they said that I could choose between AstraZeneca because that was my first one and Pfizer. And then when I showed up, they’re like, “So you’re getting Pfizer today”. And I was like, “Well, I’m really glad that that’s the one that I chose then.” Hurray! And I mean, that was what I wanted anyway, because our kids can’t be vaccinated yet and Pfizer is much better at preventing transmission. So-
I have Pfizer.
Right? Very good. I don’t know what the portmanteau is. I’ve seen- I’ve seen Pfizer, Moderna turned into a portmanteau where they like put them together and to- I think they called it, Phizderna.
Yeah, I think, yeah, I’m just shipping two vaccines.
Right. You know, I could really get behind the idea of shipping vaccines at this point like-
I think everybody can.
Except for the non-vaxxers. I can’t with here in our country. We’re so entitled.
Well, it’s especially depressing knowing that.,I mean, your country did a phenomenal job of negotiating like all the vaccines that was possible to cover everybody. And there are other countries that are not going to get theirs for… probably literally years. And there are people that just don’t want it.
Right. I don’t understand it. Like I fought. I fought and I was up 24 hours a day trying to find a place to get my parents vaccinated. And they were vaccinated back in February. And that was because I was just constantly online calling people, trying to get them in. I finally did snd it was like such a relief. And then I finally got it.
And my sister finally got it. So that was great, because then we could all hang out together. And the people who never even masked, you know, a lot of the anti vaxxers are non mask wearers anyway.
So we fight that. And it’s just like- It’s crazy down here? It really is.
We’re there a bunch of them, though, that they want to start wearing masks to protect themselves from the effects of people who had the vaccine?
Oh I don’t know. I have seen a lot of TikTok videos of people who are claiming that the shots have, you know, they’re magnetized shots and you can like, put keys on your face. And they’re like, ‘We don’t want anybody tracking us”. And it’s like, “Hello, you have an iPhone, the government and everybody on earth is tracking you through your iPhone anyway. Don’t worry about your stupid vaccine. Just get it. Be healthy”.
“Don’t spread. Just be healthy. And let’s get back to a normal we can live with”.
My favorite – related to that on TikTok- somebody did a reaction video. And so they first showed this woman who is like, “I tell you it works. It’s weaker at the beginning of the day. It’s stronger at the end of the day.” She’s sticking a key to her face. And then it switches to this other woman who has like the weariness that all of us have with this kind of nonsense and she’s like, “Your face is sticky. Go wash your face”.
Take a shower.
Right? Like go clean yourself. “You’re such an idiot. You’re the reason why we have warnings on hand dryer”. I was like yes. A hero for us all.
It’s sad because it has taken the last probably year and a half to realize that half of the country is not smart. Half of my country is not smart.
Well, I mean, it also doesn’t help that your leadership was actively working-
That’s what I mean? Yeah, I mean-
What do you do?
I don’t know. I’m kind of scared of what’s going to happen in a couple years when we have to get through another election.
So I need you to make space for me.
Yes, please adopt me.
Uh huh. We need to move out in the country. Get a bigger house.
Build a little bunker, a space for you and Molly.
Okay, that would be great. I’m in.
Okay, we’ll make that happen. Just like in the last few episodes, we want to give another big thank you and a shout out to the people who’ve been leaving ratings and reviews on Apple podcasts. It makes us smile every time, it’s always so sweet to see what you have to say or to see that there are more people giving us five star ratings that’s… like just absolutely warms my heart. And we’re especially excited about it because like we said before, the more reviews that there are the likelier it is that it’s going to come up higher as people are searching for queer content. And so AllySophie shared, “Love this podcast, fan of both Kris and Tara separately. So it’s really wonderful to find out they have a show together giving queer recommendations. I’ve bought and read several books on the podcast. All amazing. Thank you so much for all the great content”. So thank you, AllySophie.
So glad you liked it. So glad you’re enjoying the content. And the other thing is like honestly, if you don’t want to pull up and write a review with your little thumbs, I get it. That’s totally okay. But if you have a friend that you think might like the show, please just tell them about it. Because that’s also great. Like if more folks can find the show through word of mouth that is also a wonderful thing, because we all need more awesome queer content all the time.
Or just like retweet a lot of our videos, the cute videos that we do that have just a section of our actual podcast, just retweet or share those, that helps us well get your listenership.
Yeah. Thank you. Oh, it’s Listener Question Time. Listener Question Time!
Okay, so Jamie Hunsacker asked, “Can you guys talk about the under representation of trans women main characters or love interests, in lesbian fiction?” So Tara, we haven’t come across many.
No, no, it’s true. And I’m sure there is more that is happening outside of kind of our little realm of lesbian fiction. The thing that I’ve really noticed is that we have this set of publishers that I think, you know they’re putting out world class books, for sure. And that is like the Bold Strokes, the Ylvas, the Bywaters, the Bellas, the Sapphires, all of them. I try to think of how to put this it’s almost like its own little walled garden of fiction that was shut out of romance writing very deliberately, which we learned about when the Romance Writers of America RWA, when they had their gigantic blow up kind of in December of 2019, I think, yeah, it was around that time. And there were some people who talked about how lesbian writers were very deliberately kept out of there. And so you know, there had to be this flourishing on its own. And like, Nyad was a press that was doing its own thing even before that.
And so there’s our little area of publishing, and then there’s like the broader romance publishing, where there haven’t been many lesbian stories at all in mainstream. Like, it’s happening now more and we’ve seen, you know, Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner. I want to say Hang the Moon, but that’s the second book and it has a man and a woman together. So Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur, which is also a fabulous book. Olivia Waite has put out a few now we’re in her Feminine Pursuits, historical series, but I haven’t come across any there either except for Roller Girl by Vanessa North, which I haven’t read yet, but I’ve heard really good things about and so I have to think that if there are trans women in lesbian fiction, it’s elsewhere in more of like, the literary fiction realm.
But that’s, I don’t spend a lot of time in that particular swimming pool so I don’t see it. So I guess, JB, what I would say first of all is 100% You are correct, that there is a massive underrepresentation. We’re starting to see some in side characters.
Jae had one in Wrong Number, Right Woman. I always have to slow down when I say that title because I want to be like, “Wrong woman, right?” “No, no!” “Right Woman, Wrong- No, no!” So it’s, I think it’s Wrong Number, Right Woman, I hope it is. I’m so sorry, Jae, if you’re listening, I’m such a jackass. But so Heather is a side character in that book. And Jae has said that she’s writing a romance for Heather, which I’m quite excited to read. And I know that Jae is very careful when she is writing outside of her lane. And so I am hopeful that she is going to work with some pretty great trans sensitivity readers to turn out an excellent book.
But in terms of like, even getting to books that are written by trans women, I don’t know where they are, they’re definitely not coming out from our publishers, and I’m not really sure why. I don’t know that it’s fair for me to say. I don’t have insight into what the publishers are writing. I don’t know if it’s a welcoming enough, and a safe enough space. For the most part, I can only really speak kind of from my experience as a genderqueer, kind of bisexual, pansexual woman in the space. The gender queer part doesn’t faze anybody. That’s no big deal. Every so often, where I catch problems is that like, by pan kind of, and I use the two for myself, I feel like either fits equally well for who I am. And the people who have a problem with that also tend to be people who are transphobic in our community.
And so while it is a small group, it is occasionally a very vocal group. And so I guess I question whether trans authors have felt safe here. And I don’t know that there has been enough of a deliberate effort on the part of the publishers to try to source more of these books. To try to acquire more and to publish them. I think there is a certain level of openness. But to me, it’s kind of similar to the whiteness problem that we have in our corner of publishing as well, because it is very, very white. And there are some women of color who are writing some black women and Latina women. But it’s been hard because I also know black women who have left the lesfic world because of racism in our part of this end of publishing. And so I’m trying to figure out how far I want to go with this. I think it’s something that the publishers need to take a hard look at and see how can we, like as they are trying to be more inclusive of black and indigenous people of color, how can they also be more inclusive of trans women? Because their stories are absolutely essential too.
So I do think the publishers need to kind of take a hard look at their lists, and who do they want to be acquiring? And how can they go out and specifically make space for that and make sure that they not only that, but like Do they have editors who are going to be able to provide that kind of competent feedback? Because you also want to make sure that there’s safety and care throughout the whole process. Unfortunately, I don’t know how much is going to change until then. I mean, Carina Adores, which is an LGBTQ imprint of Harlequin. It’s not lesbian, but they’ve just announced that they’ve acquired a romance with a trans woman leading character, which I think is very exciting. I hope that we see more of it.
So I guess that is my call or challenge back to whoever is doing the, you know, acquiring editors. And if there are any agents or anybody like that, that are listening to us, that absolutely, we need more trans women, you know, we don’t get to where we are now with the rights that queer people have, especially in the US, you don’t get there without all the work that trans women were doing.
Like trans women of color were at the forefront. And so yeah, please, more stories, I want to see them. And actually specifically, if you know of any that you’ve read Jamie or anyone else if there are any that you can recommend, please send those recommendations in. You can tweet at us individually or to the podcast handle. You can DM us you can send an email to email@example.com but I definitely love to read more.
I think that a lot of the publishing companies have really made a forward movement for more diversity. I can see that within my own publishing company. And I feel like at least my editor, Ashley, she is very aware of everything because she worked with kids, queer kids at the school. She is very, very good about sensitivity as far as how things are titled, called, represented. Like sometimes she’ll say stuff on my books, like, “Uou can’t say that. You cannot say this”. And I’m like, “Really?” You know, because it sounds like I could say that, but I think that there are- she’s also really young too. So because of her and because of who she is, she’s like, really into just the whole entire world. And so I feel like it’s like we’re a big machine, you know, like you’re a tanker on the ocean, you have to stop and like veer, it’s gonna take a little bit of time to stop and to veer into a different direction. But I feel like we’re getting there. I feel like we will have some more maybe bigger steps into the trans community as far as books and representation. And I feel like we’re kind of sort of getting there or maybe taking steps, maybe I’m hoping,
I think we need to see the publishers actually like- Well, like I said, I think we need to see them deliberately seek it out. I know Bold Strokes has previously published books with trans characters, not necessarily trans women.
I know there are a lot of trans men, but I cannot think of many trans women.
Yeah, thank you. Yeah, Dena Hankins, for sure. She’s been like, very supportive and has written a lot on trans-men characters.
Yes. which I feel like is almost its own can of worms. Because, you know, we see that in certain like TERF spaces where they’re very welcoming to trans men talking about how, you know, they’ve basically been lied to and bullied into it, and blah, blah, blah, which is absolute bullshit. But then, of course, don’t want trans women in there for their own very TERFy horrible reasons. All that garbage about wanting to invade women’s spaces and whatever, like 100% you can miss me with that nonsense, because it is not a thing that’s not, no fuck off, just like fuck off and then continue fucking off.
So I guess in case people haven’t noticed, our feminism is very intersectional here. And that is important to us. So yes, I want more books. I personally am not sure how to find the best books, the books that people love and what they trust. I will also admit that that is an area that I also need to work on. Because I haven’t done as much seeking it out as I should. I tend to read what comes to me for review. But that is an area that I would like to be better. And so if anybody has recommendations that they’d like to pass on, one of the books that I do recommend that I really loved was Femme Confidential by Nairne Holtz. It’s a Canadian literary, takes place in Toronto, and there are basically three leads in it. And one of them, we see kind of going through the transition process as well, and so that we see before and after, and it’s just, it’s overall, I forgot how much I love character driven literary fiction, especially Canadian, there’s just this, it just has a really specific vibe. Canadian fiction has a really specific vibe to it, that I don’t even really know how to lay out but once you read like five of them, you know what it is. It’s so good. But hopefully Jamie that answers your question.
On a totally different note, there’s something pretty cool happening in our space that we want to give a little shout out for Jax Meyer is a lesfic author who I know many of you have read and loved. And they’re writing a romance film called Grace Note. I think the premise sounds really cute because it’s between a lesbian romance author and a non binary songwriter. They meet on a dating app, except the songwriter has never actually used the app. So how’d that happen?
It’s now in the crowdfunding phase. So if you want to check out their pitch and send a little funding out there away, I’m sure that they would be very appreciative of that.
Yes, and we will drop the link in the show notes, which I don’t think shows up on Apple podcast but if you go to queerlyrecommended.com look for Episode 15. You will find it there. So Kris, what have you been reading or watching lately?
Okay, so first of all, we all know that I watch a lot of television and a lot of movies. And since I had a break because I was on vacation, I really had to sit down and write a lot which means the television was on a lot. So I watched a lot this last couple of weeks. So yes, Handmaid’s Tale, the finale!
How was it?
Hope. It was there, I was right all along. All along. I was right.
How much cortisol did you dump in your body to get to that moment?
You know I have been so tensed the season because it’s like you expect something bad to happen. You know, it was The Tara Approach: something bad’s gonna happen. something bad’s gonna happen, like, the whole time, every episode, something bad’s gonna happen.
And like, half the time, something bad did happen. But a lot of the time, this was a turning point in the whole series. And I felt that their hope came through and, you know, revenge came through.
I know, so it was good. And I have to say that there can really only be one more season of this. Which is good, because this is too stressful for me. I think
I think for most people. How many seasons is it so far?
I hate it when you ask me things like that because I can never remember. I’m gonna say it’s been four seasons. I could be wrong, but I think it’s four seasons and I think the next season will… I can’t imagine what else is left for them to do.
Well you don’t want it to end up in a situation like do you remember with Lost where they had a clear sense of where they want to go with the story, but they didn’t know how many seasons they were gonna get. So there were like a bunch of seasons of complete bullshit in the middle.
Yeah, I stopped after one. I was like, “Polar bear? I’m out. I’m out. I’m out”. And here’s the deal. A long time ago, television shows used to end at the end of the season. It was like ending! boom! There was no cliffhangers. You’re just like, “Ah, I can enjoy my summer” But now they do these cliffhangers and then you like, wish for your summer to go faster so you can get to September/October when it picks back up again, and you find out if somebody died or not, or whatever the case may be. So there’s been a big change in television over the past 20 years about that. So anyway, Handmaid’s Tale. Watched that, watched the next episode of Alone. We talked about that last time. So that’s a weekly thing. So we’re just seeing people quit the show.
Did you expect the people who quit to quit?
No! This last one? I was like, “Are you kidding me?” This person built a shelter that I would live in every day. It was amazing. And I’m just like, “This dude’s gonna win”. Because this is everything. His shelter is amazing.
So why’d he quit?
Because he missed his family. Like the whole point about being alone is not just physical, you know, being alone, but also the whole mental aspect of it.
You can’t build hugs.
Yeah, you can’t build hugs. I’m going to do the tree thing. You know, we decided that I can’t do alone. I would only last like two days.
Well, you decided I’m not gonna hold you back from your dream.
It’s not my dream. But I have made enough forts as a child in the Black Forest where I grew up, I’ve made enough forts, I think I could actually come up with a decent structure. But I would be worthless on food gathering. I’d be horrible. So I need to have a teammate to like, go hunt and gather food. And I will like build the hut, build the structure.
I feel like since you referenced the Black Forest that there’s some kind of a Hansel and Gretel joke in there somewhere. I can’t figure out how to construct it.
Well, you know, I had to say Black Forest because it was the Black Forest.
That’s so freakin cool. Yeah, I forgot sometimes the years I grew up in Germany.
Yeah, I didn’t have a normal- So that’s probably why I watch TV so much, because I didn’t have it growing up. I’m gonna go with that.
Oh, yeah, you got to make up for lost time.
I am making up for the 12 years of my life.
Get all that screentime back in that you never got.
I know. Let’s see, I also watched the second season of Black Summer because I’m desperate for zombie content. And it’s not even really that good. It wasn’t bad. I watched the second season. So the first season was just kind of lame, but it was enough to keep me interested.
Because if it shows like on a scale of one to 10, if it’s a four, I’m out. But if it’s five and above, I’ll watch it just because I’m desperate for it. So I watched that season. And of course, I still watch Catfish. And I love that show. And I still can’t fucking believe that people get catfished today.
Is it like a reality show?
What? Do you not know Catfish?
Come on. Oh, my dear God, okay. I’m gonna educate you. So a long, long time ago, this guy, Nev is his name, he did a documentary for film school or school or something a long time ago, long time ago, where he met somebody online. And he wanted to record his journey of the relationship of meeting this person online. The relationship he had with her, the pictures, everything to document him actually going to meet her. And it turned out to be a totally different person. It wasn’t the person whose pictures he saw every day. It was totally different. So he built the show, this MTV show called Catfish. And it’s for people who write into the show and say, “Hey, I’m in love with this person, I’ve been in love with them for X amount of years, months, whatever. And for some reason, they can never FaceTime. But here are their photos and here are their numbers, they always say, ‘Oh, we can’t meet because my car broke down. My grandma’s in the hospital'”. So like all these excuses, and so, what Nev and Kamie do- I love Kamie – what they do is they take all this information, and they try to find out who the person is, who the catfish is. Sometimes it ends up to be a normal person and it’s a real relationship, sort of. With reasons that were sort of semi legitimate. And then sometimes it’s like, completely different and this 20 year old man’s talking to a 79 year old woman. Maybe not 70, but it was like, 65 year old woman and she had been using, like, her daughter’s pictures or something. And it’s always something like that. There’s a lot of queer representation on that show. A lot of couples are gay, so it’s very interesting and very Pride Month, of course, they had several episodes where, you know, it was a man talking to maybe another man, so you just never know who you’re talking to. So it’s very interesting. So I love Catfish. I’ll watch it even though I still can’t believe that people don’t Google search or like look at addresses or phone numbers. I mean, they show you how to do it on the show. Anyway, so I love Catfish. That’s what I’ve been doing. So enough about me going on and on about all these shows I’m watching what about you? What have you been reading and watching this past couple weeks?
So Neil and I are watching with a friend Amanda, we’re still doing that thing where we hop on a call, we start a show at the same time. And the show we’re doing that with right now is Loki, which has been so good. It’s on Disney Plus to me, of all the TV series that they’ve been putting out this year this is probably my favorite. I would say it’s like Loki, then WandaVision, then Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier. But it has this really great, like 60s mod kind of vibe to the whole aesthetic of it. And then in the third episode, somebody asks Loki about his romantic past and he basically said that there were no great loves, but that there were both men and women in it. So I was like, “Yes. canonically queer, wonderful”. I also think, though, it’s like, I mean, of course Loki is queer, like of all the Marvel ones. To me he’s the one that makes the most sense that would be pansexual I think, because I don’t know, because he’s Loki.
Is he a demi-god or a god?
He calls himself a god. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if he rounded up.
We all do, we all lie on our resumes.
I’m going to Google it.
Yeah, but I’m trying to think like, who else from the MCU, like the cinematic universe, who else do you think would be queer? I feel like maybe vision.
I’m thinking, I’m thinking about this. I don’t know.
Technically, any of them could.
Yeah. I mean Black Widow would be nice,
I mean, if we’re asking,
Well, sure, then in that case, also, Scarlet Witch would also be very nice.
So yeah. So I think as the movies progress and stuff, maybe we’ll see more relationships that are queer with the super heroes and villains in our world. Not really our world, but the movie world.
Yes, I hope so. So yes, enjoying that very, very much. I think the writing is really strong. There’s got to be some sort of like a big twist there. But basically, the idea is that Loki has kind of fucked up the timeline. And so he’s been arrested by the time…
I can’t remember what they’re called, but they’re effectively the time police. Yeah, exactly. And they say, “You know what, maybe we can get you to help us” because they’re tracking. Basically, it’s like if somebody steps off of their timeline and are going to start a new timeline, they’re called a variant because it’s like, that person is a variant from the main person in the main timeline, and they’re tracking a specific variant who’s killing some of the time cops. And who’s killing them? It’s another version of Loki so they think who better to help catch the Loki right? But there’s got to be, I don’t know, I just feel like there’s got to be some kind of a massive twist in there. I don’t know what it is yet, and I’m waiting to see it. But in the meantime, thank you, whoever made the choice to have him say that line because it was one line, but it felt really good to see. And especially someone that prominent in the series.
And remember last podcast I talked about Ragnarok where both there as teenagers. Thor and Loki are teenagers. And Loki starts experimenting and learning about his sexuality. And so anyway, I just want to say it’s nice.
So I’ve been watching that. Also, I gotta say, I love the back to back, like just going from season to season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. So Drag Race Australia ended. That whole season was kind of garbage. Unfortunately, it was not the best and I think is maybe one of the worst seasons I’ve ever seen. It was so weird. It was almost like you can really see they just decided from the beginning who the top four were going to be. And so there was a bunch of stuff in between that made no sense. Like bringing back – granted, she’s probably one of the strongest drag queens in Australia – but like she lost the Snatch Game, which is one of the really big events where they all dress up as celebrities and do like celebrity impersonations based off of the Match Game Show. And it was rotten. It was so bad. It was so bad. And she deserved to go home. She didn’t lip sync very well. And then they just brought her back like a couple weeks later, like, “Hello, she’s back”. And it was like, “Why?” No explanation. And I was like, “Okay”. And so yeah, that season kind of sucked. But luckily, it ended. And then the following week, All Stars Season Six started. And they released two episodes in the first week, which was fabulous. And I wasn’t sure when I saw all the queens that were announced, there were somewhere I was like, “Really? Her? That one?”
I saw something where they have like The Brady Bunch drag queen. Is that a promo for it?
No, although some of them are in this. Not all of them though. Like only two like Kylie “Sonique” Love and Ginger Minj, I think, are in that. Unless I’m forgetting wrong and maybe Ginger Minj isn’t in it. But yeah, at least one of them is. No they’re at Paramount Plus, who owns the Drag Race franchise now, like they’re making the new seasons of it. They’re doing this thing where it’s like Dragging the Classics. And so they have a bunch of drag queens in that playing Brady Bunch characters, but then they have like one of the brothers from the original series, I think is playing the dad.
And then I think they pull in one of the other guys who played one of the brothers to play one of the brothers or something like that. I don’t know. It’s very odd. It looks like fun. I’m gonna see if I can find that in Canada. I don’t know if I can. I don’t think we have Paramount Plus here. But yeah, no, so far All Star Season Six. Despite being a little skeptical, a few of the queens they brought in? Super fun so far. I’m really loving it. And the lipsync at the end of episode two for me was absolutely iconic. I was clapping, I was cheering, it was phenomenal. It was so good. I’m very excited. I hope this season continues to be this fun because I feel like it makes up for a lot of what I was grumpy about with Australia, even some of the last season. In terms of gaming, still playing Stardew Valley, of course. And last time I was talking about “is my character going to marry Abigail or Emily?” I wasn’t surebut she married Abigail. Yes, they got married. They adopted a baby who does nothing but sleep. Still. And Abigail is like “Have you spent any time with the baby today?” and I’m like “The baby’s sleeping”. I’m going to go and kill some monsters in the caves and do some mining.
And then come back and play mommy.
And then I’ll come back. Thank you for asking. And then lastly, I have been reading Change of Plans by KJ is one of our indie authors in the space. She’s a great author who also writes fabulous reviews that are just beautiful. But this book I’m enjoying quite a lot. The two leads are Emily who’s an architect and Skye who is a bike messenger and it really is kind of the like, the title basically kind of says what it is on the tin like it’s kind of that idea of you can’t plan everything in your life, things are going to change and how are you going to deal with it. And so Emily is super uptight and very, very regimented and can’t really deal with things going off schedule and I believe has some kind of amental health problem. Which is fine, she regularly sees a therapist. She’s trying to work on it very actively all the time. But unfortunately, she walks into her own home to find her girlfriend who does not live there, fucking someone else on her table. And so that definitely represented a massive change in her own life plans.
A nd so her therapist kind of challenges her to like, get a little more spontaneous with her life. And then there’s Skye, who is the other character, she’s a bike messenger, she finds out that she’s going to have to leave because her landlord has sold the place and she’s trying to find somewhere to live. And, you know, I believe it all takes place in Melbourne and it’s quite expensive there and she’s like, “Where the hell am I gonna live?” And the person she had been renting space from knows Emily and was like, “Oh, Emily, you have this little guesthouse on your property, what if you rent it out?”
Right, and Emily’s like, “This represents a change in my life and it’s spontaneous. But my therapist told me to be spontaneous. Sure, fine, okay, I’ll rent it out”. And of course, attraction ensues. I think I’m about halfway through. So I’m really hoping it’s gonna stick the landing, but the thing that I love about this book, especially, and I haven’t really read much else by KJ, I just know that like, a lot of people really love her books. Because, you know, like I said earlier, I am reading for review most of the time, and most of the time, it’s like choosing from the books that are coming to me, I have enough books coming to me that I don’t have a lot of time to go out and seek out other books. But I’m really glad I read this one because the chemistry is so good.
Oh my god, she is so good at chemistry writing. I’m just like, “Okay, okay, go make out now.
Oh, you’re not gonna do that. Yeah. But how about now? Kiss her. She just kissed on the cheek, but it went real well. Kiss her again”. Like it’s so good. It’s so good. So I really, I’m really hopeful that I’m going to enjoy this one up to the end, because it’s great so far. And the aggregate rating on Goodreads is actually real high. It’s like four and a half star range, which is-
That’s hard to do on Goodreads.
Yeah. So I’m hopeful.
So Kris, what is your official recommendation for this week?
Okay, so my official recommendation is, in 2015, a book came out called Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. And it was a book written by Becky Albertalli and it was made into a movie in 2018. And it was retitled Love, Simon. And like, that book is still like, on Amazon’s top 10 list. It’s been around forever. And it was just kind of like a super cute coming out story with a teenager Simon, he gets on a local popular messaging place and reads a message about another teenager who is afraid to come out. And Simon’s like, “Well, I’m gay, too”. And so they kind of have this cute little back and forth online, and they don’t know who they are.
That is not my recommendation. I mean, it’s a good movie bhat’s not my recommendation. So my recommendation is actually kind of an offshoot from this movie. And it’s a series on Netflix. There’s two seasons, and it’s called Love, Victor.
All right, tell me more.
Okay, so here’s the description of it. Victor is a new student at Creekwood High School on his own journey of self discovery, facing challenges at home, adjusting to a new city and struggling with his sexual orientation. So Victor Salazar is the main character and he reaches out to Simon from Love, Simon, because years before Simon actually went to that high school to Creekwood High. And he’s kind of passive aggressive, like sending him a message, you know, how messenger, you can pretty much send a message to anybody on any social media platform. And so he does and he’s like, “You know, I think it’s, I’m really happy that you had this great coming out story and your family was extremely supportive, but I also hate you because I’m not having the same experience”. You know, his heteronormative Catholic family is kind of like pushing him. “Maybe you’ll have a girlfriend at the school, maybe you’ll have a girlfriend” and so he does. He actually finds this really great girl, and he dates her and he kind of feels butterflies, but he’s not sure because then he sees Benji, who’s the one like, gay student at the school, and it’s like more than butterflies when he sees Benji.
So he’s trying to figure things out. And during this whole time, he has text message exchange with Simon who does make an appearance in the actual series as well. So I thought, I mean, it’s great because it focuses not just on Victor’s self discovery, but also his quirky friends and you know, their problems and situations.
And like parents who are like, you know, not perfect, they’re kind of hot mess parents, you know, different families. And so it goes beyond just the relationship of Victor. And so if you like these family stories with queer rep, then I recommend the series because it covers everything. It really does. It’s not all happy. You know, there’s a lot of like sad things, that sad things, but just like real life, like this happened, and this is how we’re dealing with it. And this happened, and this is how we’re dealing with that. So it’s just a good way to just kind of decompress from the day and just kind of watch the show. And he’s absolutely adorable. Like Victor, he goes to these gay bars. And, you know, they can sneak him in because he’s like, at the beginning of the series, he’s 15. And he just turned 16. So when he’s 16, he ends up you know, sneaking off to New York to hang out with Simon, and they take him to this gay bar in New York. And like, he is like, just everybody’s like, all over him. You’re adorable. And you just know that once he like, hits his coming of age, he’s just gonna explode and just be so successful at life and love and happiness and everything. And you just, you know, this is going to happen. So you want to be on the journey with him. So I really enjoyed the series.
It sounds super cute.
It is really cute.
Do you think it’s a good thing for parents to watch if they have like older kids to watch with them?
Yes, I do. I think so. But there are some scenes that are pretty like, I was kind of taken aback and you know me. I mean, I can watch anything. So a couple scenes I was like, “Oh!” and the parents handled the situation really well. I think if parents are progressive enough, you know, and they do have queer teens. For sure. This can be watched by everybody. Yeah, I `think it’s PG14. Yeah, I used to say 13 because that’s what movies are. But I think this is PG 14. So yes, I think older teens I think would be good. Watch this. I mean, I don’t know that. Do parents watch series with teens?
I don’t know.
I never saw my parents from 13 to 18. I never saw my parents, so I don’t know. Maybe we would watch, I don’t know, but I was upstairs in my room the whole time.
Yeah, my kids aren’t old enough for that yet. So I personally don’t know. I don’t know. I used to watch a lot of stuff with my mom. Because my dad would like go camping for the weekend with my brothers. So my mom and I would like watch a lot of stuff together.
Like my mom and I watched, like, we’ll watch movies together but we watch we watch more movies now than we did growing up. And I think like I’d stay up and watch like Knight Rider and Miami Vice with my parents. Oh, Love Boat and Fantasy Island. I think those were ones that I watched with my parents.
But how is that possible? You’re 34.
I know. I was like a baby. Spent some time with the baby. And so that’s and I remember that. That’s right, when you know, they spent time with the baby. Or maybe as reruns? I don’t know. But either way.
Who can say?
Right? They didn’t have anything really that – you know, obviously it was clear when I was a kid on television not at all so.
Well, I mean, Miami Vice. They just didn’t admit it.
There’s that? Yes, for sure. Okay, so enough about mine. I think it’s a super cute series and it’s on Netflix. So I recommend it for just killing time and watching something that has a little bit of angst but, you know, is a feel good show.
Tara, what about you? What is your big recommendation this week?
I decided for a couple of reasons to dip back into an old favorite this time. The first is that if I’m being honest that Pfizer vaccine really kicked my ass.
Yeah, it was uh, yeah, the brain fog was real with that vaccine. I was not reading I was not doing well, but also, something I noticed recently in talking with a lot of not just colleagues at work, but also friends that work in other industries is that I’ve noticed it’s almost like people are hitting another COVID wall again, and I don’t know if it’s like fear about the Delta variant because I know a lot of other parents that don’t have their kids vaccinated and I just thought let’s just go for good old comfort read. And I started reading it again last night and just fell in love all over again with Didn’t Stay in Vegas by Chelsea M. Cameron.
So people who have been paying attention since the beginning or who have joined us later, but went back to the beginning will recognize the name because Chelsea Cameron’s book, Who We Could Be is in the second episode. It was my first ever full on recommendation because that was also a comfort read and we were definitely needing those back in January. Similar to this one, it is a friends-to-lovers. I especially love Chelsea Cameron’s friends-to-lovers books, those are my very favorites. But the thing that I appreciate is that each one there’s a different spin on the friends to lovers scenario.
And so for Who We Could Be, they were already deeply in love with each other and just had no idea. They didn’t know everybody else around them knew. And it was just watching these two sweet dummies figure it out in this reinterpretation of Anne of Green Gables. Which also, fun fact: so my friend Stacey who I referenced before she’s the one who’s like “You have to read Becky Chambers Have you not gonna read it yet? I’m gonna stab you if you don’t read it.” I read it and I loved it. I believe it Stacey who is telling me that she went back to reread some of the Anne books and was like, “Oh, yeah, it reads is like their relationship reads as hella queer”. It was possibly not deliberately so, it’s hard to say. I mean, Lucy Montgomery has not been with us for a long time. But I was kind of glad to hear that. Because that was a really fun reinterpretation of that book.
But Didn’t Stay in Vegas is different. So we have these two best friends. One of them is Callyn and Callyn is the narrator. I believe all or most of Chelsea Cameron’s books are written in the first person, so similar to you. Which is actually probably part of why I like reading both of your books. With this particular one, Callyn wakes up. Very opening scene, she wakes up in an unfamiliar hotel room in Vegas to find she has glitter all over her junk. And she’s like, “What the fuck is going on?” In a dress that she doesn’t recognize. And there’s somebody else there and she’s like, “Who the hell is that?” And it’s her best friend Emma. And kind of as the morning progresses, they find a piece of paper that says that they got married the night before. They’re very much opposites attract, Callyn does not have her shit together at all. I once saw a meme that was like, “Not only don’t I have ducks that are in a row, I have squirrels and they’re in a rave.” Like that’s Callyn 100%.
But then there’s Emma, who is incredibly dependable. And so Callyn’s like, “Well, obviously, we have to get this annulled because what the fuck?” And so Emma’s like, “Yep, I’ll take care of it. I’ll take care of it”. And then they get back and a couple weeks later Callyn’s like, “So did you take care of it?” And she was like, “I was thinking, what if we just stayed married for a while”. And then it’s like, you sort of watch that. And you watch some other stuff happen. You’re like, oh, Callyn is a useless lesbian. And I know there are some people that don’t know what that means. But like the “useless lesbian” is very much a thing where it is a lesbian who has no idea that someone is attracted to her and like very, very attracted to her. lt is very obvious that Emma is in love with Callyn and Callyn has no fucking idea. And so you kind of just see this progression in the relationship and also there’s some times where I just wanted to shake Callyn because she’s like, “Can we cuddle now?” And I’m like, “What? Friends don’t do that. I’m sorry. No friends. Friends don’t not that much friends don’t cuddle that much.”
Sometimes. But not that much. Yeah, not typically.
And these were not friends with benefits, by the way. Like these are just not and so and then Callyn gets evicted. So she ends up in with Emma and you just kind of see this, like, it all has to come to a head at some point. It does. And it’s beautiful. And it’s fun. The chemistry also is very good in this book. The sex scene when it finally happens, I think is the best one that this author has written. And it’s just, it’s very good. So yes, this book is hilarious. It’s very cute. There is no angst. It’s the ultimate comfort read. You might want to Callyn Kalin sometimes, but she’s just, she’s very well meaning she has a very good heart. She just has no clue that her best friend is in love with her. And it’s perfect.
That happens. Yeah, that happens.
It does. I love it very much. That is my recommendation. So that is all for this episode. Thank you so much everybody who has joined us. If you’ve enjoyed it, please subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast, or like we said earlier if you could please consider leaving a rating or review on Apple podcast, we would be very, very grateful or even better if you have anyone in your life that you think would like this show, please just tell them about it because we would love to reach more folks who are looking for good queer media recommendations.
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La la la la la la
Recording is in progress and yeah, so you’re kicking it off. I did not sneak in any… I thought about it. I was like what if every week it’s just me putting something in that you ignore. “Hi, I’m Kris Bryant, noted astronaut.”
I’ll say it I’ll do it. That’s kind of fun.
Yeah? Just see if people notice.
You’re killing me.
Okay, that’s a good way to start, right?