Member Profile: Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

caseyHi everyone! I’m Casey, an MLIS student at UBC by day, but I’m also known in some internet circles as Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian. It’s a blog that I’ve run for about three and a half years, and it’s full of all sorts of Canadian LGBTQ+ book stuff. What kind of stuff, you say? Well, a lot of it is book reviews. All the books I review are Canadian (or have some connection to Canada, like being set here), and all feature and/or by LGBTQ+ women or non-binary folks (with a few exceptions, usually when I want to feature queer male writers of colour). I’ve reviewed all kinds of books, like poetry collections by trans women, queer Indigenous fantasy trilogies, reinvented lesbian pulp novels, new/early adult novels, science fiction short stories, erotica, graphic memoirs, dark and funny realist short story collections, YA graphic novels, and probably lots of others I’m forgetting right now! The point is, there should be something for everyone. Although, some types of books you won’t find much of are romance, mystery, and non-fiction (except memoir or biography), just because they’re not the types of books I usually like to read!

I also post other kinds of writing, like themed book lists on whatever strikes my fancy. I’ve done a top ten classic books by Canadian queer women, the best bisexual women’s literature, books to read after a lesbian break-up, five queer women of colour you should read, LGBTQ+ fall 2015 book releases, queer women’s Halloween reads and the best historical queer women’s fiction, among others! Sometimes you’ll find kind of random think pieces and articles about news and events in the queer literary community.

One of the posts I’m most proud of is What Is This Blog All About Anyways?: Or, Women, and Other Complicated Words; it’s about how hard it is to define queer gender and sexuality when you are trying to be as inclusive as possible. Another one that’s probably the most popular post I’ve ever written is Why I Don’t Want to Be a Queer Book Detective Anymore (Although I Do Still Want to Be Harriet the Spy). It’s an (articulate) rant about how hard it can be to figure out whether books have queer content or not. When nominees for LGBTQ+ book awards like the Lambdas are announced, I usually write up my feelings, like in this post.

Actually my favourite part of my blog right now is what I’m calling my book advice column (aka a readers’ advisory column in library speak), “Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian.” Readers email me for help finding the kind of LGBTQ+ books they want, I do some research, then post it on the blog. It’s super fun! I’ve found fat-positive LGBTQ books, books with asexual characters, lesbian/bi YA dystopian novels, YA books featuring genderqueer / non-binary trans characters, and many others!

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian is actually a morphed version of what was supposed to be my thesis on queer Canadian women writers, back when I was in a PhD program in English. I’m pretty sure I’ve had a lot more fun working on this blog than I ever would have had I actually finished that PhD! Mainly what inspired me was, and this sounds kind of cheesy and simple, was a love for writing by queer Canadian women that I wanted to share. What I really hope the blog does is provide resources for readers. I’m really passionate about LGBTQ+ readers finding books that can reflect their experiences and where they can learn about other parts of the community too.

If you have a look at the blog, I’d love to hear what you found useful, what you liked / didn’t like, and to hear anything you have to add to any of the posts. I’ve got great tips from readers over the past few years, and it’s awesome to have dialogues with people from all over in the comments. And remember, if you need some LGBTQ+ book advice, send me an email to your friendly neighbourhood lesbrarian at casey@uvic.ca.

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