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6 Marine-Themed Books That Celebrate Pride Month

Embrace diversity with these ocean-forward books written by queer authors.
By Joshua Pramis | Created On June 5, 2024
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6 Marine-Themed Books That Celebrate Pride Month

Voice of the Fish

Author: Lars Horn

Price: $16

Release Date: June 7, 2022

Publisher: Graywolf Press (graywolfpress.org)

A chronicle of the author’s trans journey shared through a unique lens, this essay collection questions the norms of gender, sexuality and transmasculinity. While themes of theology and mythology are present, one topic is constant throughout: fish. Finding common ground with their fluidity in the sea, Horn uses fish—both their realworld behaviors and cultural significance—and marine history to paint a vivid picture of the trans experience. While many trans storytellers focus on the specifics of their experience, Horn emphasizes the emotional impact of their own journey.

Under the Sea-Wind

Author: Rachel L. Carson

Price: $17

Release Date: November 1941

Publisher: Penguin Random House (penguinrandomhouse.com)

Carson, a nature writer and biologist, was a pioneer of the marine conservation movement. Her debut book, Under the SeaWind, is where it began. Split into three parts, the book follows three different creatures (a sanderling, mackerel and eel) during their yearlong migrating journeys. Carson’s relatable style only enhances the book’s appeal: While packed with an astonishing amount of facts about each creature, it avoids relying on heavily technical language, instead presenting powerful stories anyone can understand.

Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals

Author: Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Price: $15

Release Date: November 17, 2020

Publisher: AK Press (akpress.org)

How similar are we to marine mammals, and what lessons can their behaviors teach us? These are just some of the questions explored in Undrowned. Describing our aquatic brethren as “queer, fierce, protective of each other, complex, shaped by conflict and struggling to survive,” Gumbs draws parallels between their experiences and the struggles of marginalized people, using rich metaphors to skillfully find a connection between, for example, dolphin migratory patterns and the Atlantic slave trade.

Related Reading: 6 Riveting Books That Explore the Ocean

Why Fish Don’t Exist

Author: Lulu Miller

Price: $17.99

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (simonandschuster.com)

David Starr Jordan was a late 19th-century ichthyologist who was credited with discovering about a fifth of the known fish in his time. His life’s work was fraught with disaster, including the destruction of his massive specimen collection. But still, he persisted and rebuilt. When former NPR journalist Lulu Miller heard this story in passing, she began questioning where faith and optimism come from in these dire situations. Why Fish Don’t Exist is a part memoir, part biography that tackles the difficult task of pushing ahead against seemingly insurmountable odds.

A Little Queer Natural History

Author: Josh L. Davis

Price: $16

Release Date: October 2024

Publisher: University of Chicago Press (press.uchicago.edu)

Queer relationships between Adelie penguins or between bottlenose dolphins aren’t uncommon. Sea turtles’ sex isn’t determined during fertilization, but by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. Multiple species of fish can change sex to meet reproduction needs. In A Little Queer Natural History, set to release later this year, Davis challenges commonly held beliefs about nature and sexual behavior to highlight how complex both plants and animals are.

Related Reading: What to Know About the Fourth Global Coral Bleaching Event

Our Wives Under the Sea

Author: Julia Armfield

Price: $26.99

Release Date: July 12, 2022

Publisher: Flatiron Books (us.macmillan.com)

Miri’s wife, Leah, a deep-sea marine biologist, was on an expedition aboard a submarine when an accident left it stranded on the seafloor. Eventually, she and her crew made it home, but Leah was forever changed. Our Wives Under the Sea uses the ocean to represent the forbidden in this thrilling fictional tale ultimately about transformation, grief and the ability to let go.