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  • jeffreylrichardsau

Explore, Discover, Read!

Recently I was contacted by Ben Fox, the creator of a fairly new book website called The Shepherd. Now, I had not heard of The Shepherd before Ben's outreach and thought: great, another book review site to add to the already saturated world of book reviews. Our world does not need another Amazon, Goodreads, StoryGraph, Bookstagram, BookTok, etc., etc., etc.

As an author, the amount of book review sites to avoid is ever-growing (authors are advised to avoid these spaces because they are "for readers" and to be honest, it can get a bit ugly, disheartening, and, yes, soul-crushing for us in these spaces, so it’s best to not engage on any level).

But as a reader, these were the sites where I would spend my days adding to my, also ever-growing, to-be-read list.


What to do?


This is where The Shepherd comes in to save the day (and the sanity of authors and readers alike)!

How does it work? In the short two-years the site has been in operation, Ben and his staff have reached out (and continue to reach out) to well-over 9000 authors and readers and simply ask them to curate lists of their 5 favorite books. And to better focus these lists, each person centralizes on a topic, theme, or mood of their own choosing to connect their selections. Then to accompany their selections, they’re asked to share why they’re recommending each book. They aren't asked to review the book but explain why they love the book and why they would love for others to discover it and read it and, hopefully, love it as much as they do.

So, The Shepherd is different because it’s not a “review” site but a recommendation site.


Why does this distinction between review/recommend matter? Well, readers tend to only recommend books they LOVE, so right there the narrative of the site becomes steeped in the positives of books and brings us back to the excitement of discovering new authors and new books and brings us back to the joy of reading.

Once I explored The Shepherd website and found myself lost amongst its numerous lists that lead to other lists and on and on (and had me adding them to my TBR list), I whole-heartedly jumped at the chance to participate.


And now, without further ado, here is my curated list of The best LGBT+ novels that haunt me (in a good way). These are some of my all-time favorite novels that I hope will become your favorites, as well!


So, with all my heart, I encourage you, dear reade

rs, to head over to The Shepherd so you too can Explore, Discover, and Read!

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