By Diane McCormick 

Natalie diSanto returned to her native Harrisburg area after 12 years in Colorado. Casting about for connections to the queer community, the avid reader discovered The Library’s Reading the Rainbow Book Club.  

“I just love meeting other queer people in a no-pressure kind of way,” she said. “It’s not like a dance party. It’s like an intellectual exchange. We all love books, and we can just talk about them.” 

Through Reading the Rainbow, The Library’s popular club for readers of LGBTQ+ literature, diSanto has encountered LGBTQ+ characters living the full range of human experience, “versus a love story where it’s two people.”  

“This is about seeing all the different ways that our community can be represented and should be represented as just people,” said diSanto, sales executive with TheBurg and resident of Susquehanna Twp. 

When diSanto and her 6-year-old son make one of their regular visits to East Shore Area Library or Madeline Olewine Memorial Library, he’s sure to ask about science books. 

“He’ll sit with the librarians and ask if they can go find all the books on, say, the planet Pluto,” she said. “For a while, they knew him as ‘Pluto Kid.’ He’ll read all the books, but he really loves the sciences.”  

What have been your favorite book-club reads?

I could talk all day about “Our Wives Under the Sea,” by Julia Armfield. It is so beautiful. It’s about two wives. One is a marine biologist who goes under the sea in a submarine. She goes for longer than anticipated, and it kind of becomes sci-fi. It’s a story about their relationship and how it changed, but it’s written so poetically. You can never forget that the book is about water and the sea, because the author is weaving it through every page.  

My other favorite is “The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher,” by E.M. Anderson. It was hilarious. It had older characters and talked about the value of found family, and it had dragons, so I loved it.  

What are you reading outside of the book club?

My favorite fantasy author is Samantha Shannon. She wrote “The Priory of the Orange Tree” and just published the prequel, “A Day of Fallen Night.” I thought there was no way I could love anything as much as “The Priory of the Orange Tree,” but I can, because this next book is so good. There’s going to be a third book in the series, and I can’t wait.  

What do The Library and Reading the Rainbow mean to you?

The Library is amazing for doing the book club. I am absolutely so grateful. I’ve met friends through it. It’s great to offer that connection. Sometimes queer gatherings, and even adult gatherings, in general, can be centered around going out or drinking, and that’s not what everyone wants to do. The book club is a comfortable setting to engage with people and hear their stories while reading a book together.