Kati Kraus- username @kati.reads.books- aims to promote queer content on tiktok, and highlight books that raise several issues related to the queer community such as mental illness and size inclusivity. Their LGBT+ recommendations also deal with the theme of fake relationships and fandom culture. Kraus’ account is a perfect educational resource for exploring books depicting queer struggles, and promoting representation of the queer community in a fun and interesting way.
Here is what they have to say about their experience:
When DID YOUR journey of being a booktoker start?
I started posting videos last June, so almost exactly a year ago.
What was youR aim and determination behind it?
I had picked back up reading in may after not reading for fun all throughout college and most of high school. I don’t have many friends who read and I was absolutely dying to talk about it. At first I was reading a lot of the popular fantasy series’ like ACOTAR and Throne of Glass, so nearly all of my content was Sarah J Maas related.
Did your aim change with time?
My aim has TOTALLY changed! In August I wanted to do something more fulfilling with my channel because most of what I was posting was not very diverse. From there I made a major switch and made it my mission to promote diverse queer books. I wanted to be able to give a louder voice to those that are usually spoken over.
What’s the first book you ever remember reading?
I don’t remember the first book I ever read, but I always loved the Junie B Jones books growing up as well as The Magic Treehouse books. I was always in the library as a kid so I most definitely read a lot.
Has a book ever changed your life?
Tons of books have! The one I remember having the biggest impact is the first queer book I ever read called The God Box by Alex Sanchez. I used to have to sneak it at the library and read a couple chapters at a time because I couldn’t take it home. I was absolutely amazed that there were people out there that were dealing with some of the same things that I was with religion and coming to terms with your sexuality.
What genres do you love?
I love romance, adult, young adult, all of it. I like fantasy/magical realism as well, (as long as there’s a bit of romance of course).
Are there any genres you dislike?
I’ve never been one for sci-fi. Winters Orbit is the only sci-fi book I’ve ever liked so I won’t totally write the genre off, but I don’t gravitate towards it.
How do you think tiktok playS a role in the representation of LGTB+ community?
I think tiktok has normalized the exploration of gender and sexuality, as well as creating a ton of visibility for the queer community. People have gotten really comfortable with sharing what they’re going through in their self discovery and it’s helped people realize that they’re not alone.
How can you relate yourself to this role?
The biggest thing I want to accomplish is bringing visibility to queer books, so hopefully the people out there looking for books see these queer books normalized.
What change DO you want to bring to the world?
I’d love to really lift up authors and queer books that I love. The world can be a really negative place and if I can provide a space that’s positive and uplifting, especially to marginalized voices, I think I’m doing what I’ve set out to do.
What LGBT+ authors would you recommend and why?
There are so many! Sophie Gonzales is my number one right now because her books are all so incredible. She has great side character development! Perfect on Paper I am obsessed with. Another author I will always recommend is TJ Klune. He has done so much good work for the queer book community and has over a dozen books out that date back about a decade. His writing, while it’s ridiculous, is just all around a good time. I’ve never seen another author be able to write emotional connections in relationships like he does.
Any advice for the LGBT+ community for this pride month?
My best advice is to unapologetically be yourself. Do things for yourself and don’t be afraid to take up space, either. Also, highly recommend putting yourself in queer spaces because having a queer friend group to hype you up is an incredible thing.