Nonfiction Mini Reviews – Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality / This Book Is Gay

Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing two recent nonfiction reads, This Book Is Gay and Bi. One of my goals for this year was to read more nonfiction. So, I’m excited to have added these two books to the read pile. Bi is also the oldest eARC on my NetGalley shelf, and finally reading it made me really happy. 🙂 Without further ado, here are the books!

A provocative, eye-opening, and original book on the science of sexuality beyond gender from an internationally bestselling pop-psychologist

Despite all the welcome changes that have happened in our culture and laws over the past few decades in regards to sexuality, the subject remains one of the most influential but least understood aspects of our lives. For psychologist and bestselling author Julia Shaw, this is both professional and personal—Shaw studies the science of sexuality and she herself is proudly and vocally bisexual.

It’s an admission, she writes, that usually causes people’s pupils to dilate, their cheeks to flush, and their questions to start flowing. Ask people to name famous bisexual actors, politicians, writers, or scientists, and they draw a blank. Despite statistics that show bisexuality is more common than homosexuality, bisexuality is often invisible.

In BI: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, Shaw probes the science and culture of attraction beyond the binary. From the invention of heterosexuality to the history of the Kinsey scale, as well as asylum seekers trying to defend their bisexuality in a court of law, there is so much more to explore than most have ever realized. Drawing on her own original research—and her own experiences—this is a personal and scientific manifesto; it’s an exploration of the complexities of the human sexual experience and a declaration of love and respect for the nonconformists among us.

***Thank you to NetGalley and ABRAMS press for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my hones thoughts about my reading experience.***

This was a wonderful primer on all things bisexual, and I learned so much from reading this book. That’s saying a lot, actually, because most of my research experience in graduate school was on bisexuality. So, I’m fairly well-versed in the literature, but I still managed to learn quite a bit, especially about the sexuality of animals and the difficulties bisexual people face in applying for asylum. The author did an excellent job of balancing the delivery of a ton of scholarly information on a wide range of topics with her own personal experiences as a bisexual person. I loved the focus on showing how bisexual people, and bisexuality more generally, have been around forever and may even be the natural default rather than the abnormality many people currently view it as. This book is an excellent step in the right direction of reducing the invisibility and stigma associated with bisexuality, and I really appreciated the positive, hopeful tone of the book despite necessarily pointing out the hardships of identifying with this sexual orientation. If you enjoy pop psychology books and want to learn more about the history and science of bisexuality and issues faced by bisexual people, this book is an excellent place to start. It included lots of great references that can act as a starting point for further research, if desired. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

The bestselling young adult non-fiction book on sexuality and gender!

Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender. Queer. Intersex. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU.

This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it’s like to grow up LGBTQ also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations.

Inside this revised and updated edition, you’ll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask, with topics like:
Stereotypes―the facts and fiction
Coming out as LGBT
Where to meet people like you
The ins and outs of gay sex
How to flirt
And so much more!
You will be entertained. You will be informed. But most importantly, you will know that however you identify (or don’t) and whomever you love, you are exceptional. You matter. And so does this book.

This book is for:
LGBTQIA+ teens, tweens, and adults
Readers looking to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community
Parents of gay kids and other LGBT youth
Educators looking for advice about the LGBTQIA+ community

It took me almost a year to get to this one after missing out on downloading the title before the NetGalley archive date. Luckily, my local library had it. So, I was able to finally read it. This was a really good handbook of all things queer. It covered a wide range of topics and would likely help any person who is questioning their sexual or gender identity for the first time. The writing had a very conversational style that was easy to read and incredibly funny at times. However, there were also times that it felt a bit too flippant, in my opinion. I liked the positive attitude it had, though, and it tackled really heavy, important topics in an accessible way. My only real problem was that it seemed to push coming out as a panacea for everyone. The author did note many of the major drawbacks some people face when coming out, but that felt dwarfed by the attitude that coming out will make it all better. I agree that being out has great benefits, especially to mental health, but not everyone is in a situation where they can be out to everyone all the time. Even though the author acknowledged that fact, it still felt almost as if being closeted was belittled. My favorite thing about the book was the inclusion of all the different voices. The author conducted surveys and interviews with a variety of LGBT individuals, and their words and stories were included here and provided valuable perspectives. Overall, this book was an accessible wealth of information about being and living queer that I’m sure many young people (and parents) will find immensely helpful. Therefore, I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

4 thoughts on “Nonfiction Mini Reviews – Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality / This Book Is Gay

  1. Fantastic reviews…I was especially interested in Bi when you mentioned it in one of your round up posts some time ago. After not enjoying how Transgender A History was presented (it was rather dry) and giving up on it, I’d like to try reading Bi. It sounds very educational and hopefully accessible for someone (that is, me) not versed in sexuality and/or gender studies.

    • I have no idea why, but this comment got held up by my spam filters!! I definitely recommend Bi as a great place to start. It was a fantastic review of some of the latest literature, but I didn’t find it to be as dry as an academic lit review on the subject (and I’ve read more of them than I can even remember… lol).

    • That is really odd, especially since it is sites you’ve previously commented on before. I always try to keep a close eye on the spam folder because quite a few comments do get stuck there. I don’t check it as often as I should, though. I get some super weird comments, and I usually get a good chuckle out of looking through the spam.

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