Novel ideas

LGBTQI+ Book Club at the West Tisbury library going strong.


The LGBTQI+ Book Club at the West Tisbury library has been going strong since February 2023. Library director Alexandra Pratt explains that the club came about as a response to patrons saying that they would love to see more LGBTQI+ programming. “I had been hearing from people about how many more books there are these days that highlight LGBTQI+ experience,” Pratt says.

Coincidentally, in the meantime, Scott Mullin, executive director of QueerHub MV, says, “People kept emailing the website and asking about events that were happening that were queer-friendly. And a few specifically asked about a book club.” Then, speaking to a friend about how to make it happen, he reached out to Pratt and the collaboration was born. Together they have been coordinating a monthly meeting for the year. “The choices come up really by group consensus. People bring ideas, and I’ve asked other librarians for recommendations. We’re lucky these days; we have a big list to choose from,” Pratt says.

Some of the books have included the novels “Memorial” by Bryan Washington, “Destination Baby” by Torrey Peters, “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo, and “Blue Skinned Gods” by SJ Sindu. There have been memoirs such as “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe and “In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado, as well as “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel.

Joining is easy; simply email Pratt at the library (, and members get a copy of the book to keep. She also sends out an email the week before as a friendly reminder. The meeting is casual. “I like to start by going around and having everyone share a word or a short sentence about their reaction to the book. But for the most part, everyone adds what they would like to share. I get tips from Dee Leopold, who runs the MVLA Classic Book Group, since she’s the real professional,” Pratt shares. “It’s really about focusing on reading books you might not otherwise know existed or get to talk about it in a safe space.”

“It flows organically,” Mullin adds. “Alexandra, being the reader and librarian that she is, brings in some fun facts that she can add that help keep the conversation going about the author and other books the author has written, which opens up to others saying they have read that book and now I can see why it’s similar and comments like that.

“There’s also a varying range of ages, which is interesting too — about how the books are read and perceived.” Ages range from people in their 20s to those in their 70s. “It makes for a very interesting conversation because we all have different backgrounds and ways of relating to the stories from different perspectives, depending on what the books are about.”

Asked about dreams and hopes for the future, Mullin hopes new people join.

“What I enjoy about it is different people’s perspectives on the book,” Pratt says. “Just to keep reading and people interested in fun queer literature. There’s a lot out there. I think it’s really important for people to see themselves reflected in books, and we’re really lucky these days that we have a wide variety that reflects a wide variety of experiences and to be in a community that encourages that openness and reading a diversity of books. It only makes us stronger.”

The LGBTQI+ Book Club meets the last Monday of the month at 5:30 pm at the West Tisbury library. There will be no meeting in February, but the group will meet on March 25. For a copy of the current book, email, and for more information visit,