One of the smaller niches in any LGBTQ bookstore or library is the bisexual shelf. Finding a good book on bisexuality can, at times, be as difficult as finding bisexual voices within the larger LGBTQ movement. Much the same, once you find them, you are liable to find some rare and wonderful things that you might have overlooked in the crowd.
Here’s a pick of the best books to fatten up your bookshelf with information, autobiographies, a little snark, and some deep dives into what it means to be bisexual.
The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips, And Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways by Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski
This one probably should be on your shelf and shares a lot of use information in a humorous fashion, but at the same time, this text could also disappoint with a focus on stereotypes and their ilk. It not recommend for a newcomer, but someone who has been out and about for a while. It’s worth a look, especially for fans of snark.
Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Charles M. Blow
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s memoir will take you on a beautiful and often challenging story of coming of age as a black bisexual man in the deep south. This is a powerful, potent story that feels all the more important in the Trump years.
Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner
More distinctly political than most of the books on this list, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution feels like a manifesto for bisexual people who have been often marginalized, exploited, and discriminated against. It may be a bit muddy in places, but it’s still a solid read for the political minded among us.
Bad Dyke: Salacious Stories from a Queer Life by Allison Moon
This is not the book you share with your grandmother to explain bisexuality. This selection of essays by Allison Moon is full of bawdy, sometimes graphic tales of her coming of age as queer in the 1990s. The sexual content, however, will ring true to any reader. The stories twist and turn, in rhythm with Moon’s own better understand of herself and her interests.
The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television by Maria San Filippo
This is truly the “missing manual” of queer studies and media critique, digging into the way bisexuality is treated — and often mistreated — in film and television. The topic may sound dry, but San Filippo beings a sharpness to her writing that keeps this dive into everything from art cinema to vampire movies engaging.
Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World by Robin Ochs and Sarah Rowley
No bookshelf on bi issues should be without this on it. Getting Bi collects 220 separate essays on the subject that cover the gamut of bi experience, including a substantial number of non-western writers and experiences. Worth noting: it was updated in 2009, but it is surely due for yet another edition in the future, particularly to look into the rise of pansexuality and the many changes that have impacted the LGBTQ community in the last decade.
Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy Upland
Debuting initially as an advice column on the Bisexual Resource Center’s website, this book collects a pick of the best of Upland’s columns in one place. Both humorous and thoughtful, this is a great book for those seeking to better understand their own bisexuality or that of others. What’s more, behind Tiggy Upland’s quirks and wit, you’ll find a large dose of kindness.
Black Dove: Mama, Mi’jo, and Me by Ana Castillo
A beautiful autobiographical picture of growing up in Chicago as a Hispanic woman. Castillo, a feminist bisexual woman, tells a heartfelt and personal story of both her and her son’s coming of age in America though a Hispanic lens. While the chapters touching on her bisexuality and polyamory may be of the most relevance on this list, it may be Castillo’s openness about her son’s arrest and incarceration that will stick with you the longest.
Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney
The biggest “bi” in this graphic memoir is “bipolar,” as author Ellen Forney explores her creative life since her diagnosis with bipolar disorder. Fear not that this book is on the wrong list, however: Marbles also digs deep into the other “bi’ in Forney’s life, talking frankly about her bisexual identity.
Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu
In this groundbreaking anthology first published in 1991, more than seventy women and men from all walks of life describe their lives as bisexuals in prose, poetry, art, and essays. Despite some dated content, it’s a seminal collection that still deserves to be read!