LGBT Books

rainbowIn my early twenties, when I was beginning to think about coming out myself, I developed something of a fascination with gay literature. Things like that are typical for me. First of all, as long as I’m interested in the subject matter I think research can be tons of fun (Nerd alert, I know. I know). I enjoy learning about the way something really was. But mainly, I think it’s important to know where you came from. What people like you went through and what their lives were like. To me, a sense of history is vital. It makes you appreciate what you have and it helps you clarify what you would like to see fixed in the future. This page is dedicated to picking through the LGBT books I’ve read–and some I want to read–to help you find the best (and avoid a few of the worst).

The Best

  • Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman (review here)
  • Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boynes (review here)
  • Full Circle, by Michael Thomas Ford (review here)
  • Maurice, by E.M. Forster (review here)
  • Less, by Andrew Sean Greer (review here)
  • The Price of Salt (or Carol), by Patricia Highsmith (review here)
  • The Normal Heart, by Larry Kramer
  • The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai (review here)

Fiction and Drama

Recommended:

  • Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman (review here)
  • Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boynes (review here)
  • Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Full Circle, by Michael Thomas Ford (review here)
  • Maurice, by E.M. Forster (review here)
  • Take Me Out, by Richard Greenberg
  • Less, by Andrew Sean Greer (review here)
  • Midnight Cowboy, by John Herlihy
  • The Laramie Project, by Moisés Kaufman
  • The Price of Salt (or Carol), by Patricia Highsmith (review here)
  • The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai (review here)
  • At Swim, Two Boys, by Jamie O’Neill
  • The City and the Pillar, Gore Vidal (review here)

Just Okay:

  • White Houses, by Amy Bloom (review here)
  • The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon
  • The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollingsworth
  • Reflections in a Golden Eye, Carson McCullers (review here)
  • Orlando, by Virginia Woolf

Skip it:

  • The Sparsholt Affair, Alan Hollinghurst (review here)
  • In One Person, John Irving
  • The Destiny of Me, by Larry Kramer
  • Adam, Ariel Schrag (review here)

More to explore (AKA stuff I haven’t read yet):

  • Rubyfruit Jungle, Rita Mae Brown
  • The Boys in the Band, by Mart Crowley
  • Torch Song Trilogy, by Harvey Fierstein
  • Our Lady of the Flowers, by Jean Genet
  • The Swimming Pool Library, by Alan Hollingsworth
  • A Single Man, Christopher Isherwood
  • Faggots, by Larry Kramer
  • Angels in America, by Tony Kushner
  • Death in Venice, by Thomas Mann
  • Tales of the City (and sequels), by Armistead Maupin
  • Breakfast on Pluto, by Patrick McCabe
  • Confessions of a Mask, by Yukio Mishima
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman, by Manuel Puig
  • Narrow Rooms, by James Purdy
  • City of Night, by John Rechy
  • The Cosmopolitans, by Sarah Schulman
  • Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters
  • Lighthousekeeping, by Jeanette Winterson
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson

Young Adult Books

Recommended:

  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjamin Alire Saenz (review here)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily Danforth
  • Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan (review here)

Skip it:

  • Shine, Lauren Myracle (review here)
  • Hero, Perry Moore

More to Explore:

  • The Vast Fields of Ordinary, by Nick Burd
  • Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, by Kristin Cronn-Mills
  • Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan
  • I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
  • Luna, by Julie Anne Peters

Nonfiction

Recommended:

  • Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
  • When We Rise, by Cleve Jones (review here)
  • City Boy, by Edmund White

Skip it:

More to Explore:

  • Before Night Falls, by Reinaldo Arenas
  • And the Band Played On, by Randy Shilts
  • The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, by Randy Shilts

 

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