If you’re trying to find the very Best LGBT Books, you have reached the ideal location. Now the literary sector is much more varied and representative than the planet is teeming with lovely publications comprising queer characters, which means you will be spoiled for choice!
Our range of the 45 best LGBT novels is defined quite widely: a few are classics which explicitly thematize the LBGT encounter, whereas others contain queer characters. We have got an entire group for nonfiction novels, where you will discover fascinating memoirs and stories of journeys. In addition to a class for middle-grade subscribers – we all know that it’s essential for young and adult children alike to see what they see. Pennbook hopes you will love these remarkable novels as far as we all did!
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 45 Rated Best LGBT Books To Read
- 1.1 Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin
- 1.2 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
- 1.3 Orlando, by Virginia Woolf
- 1.4 Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
- 1.5 The City and the Pillar, by Gore Vidal
- 1.6 City of Night by John Rechy
- 1.7 In at the Deep End by Kate Davies
- 1.8 Heaven’s Coast by Mark Doty
- 1.9 Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
- 1.10 Olivia by Dorothy Strachey
- 1.11 The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy.
- 1.12 The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North
- 1.13 Trixie and Katya Guide to Modern Womanhood by Trixie Mattel and Katya
- 1.14 The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
- 1.15 I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert
- 1.16 How to Survive a Summer by Nick White
- 1.17 Juliet Requires a Breath by Gabby Rivera
- 1.18 Believe Me by Eddie Izzard
- 1.19 Unbound by Arlene Stein
- 1.20 Rubyfruit Jungle: A Novel by Rita Mae Brown
- 1.21 Maurice: A Novel by E.M.Forster
- 1.22 The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis
- 1.23 Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir by T Kira Madden
- 1.24 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
- 1.25 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- 1.26 Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia
- 1.27 The Hours: A Novel by Michael Cunningham
- 1.28 Ash by Malinda Lo
- 1.29 When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
- 1.30 On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual by Penguin Group
- 1.31 Call Me by Your Name: A Book by Andre Aciman
- 1.32 Stone Butch Blues, by Leslie Feinberg
- 1.33 Fun Home, by Allison Bechdel
- 1.34 Under the Udala Trees, by Chinelo Okparanta
- 1.35 A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
- 1.36 In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
- 1.37 I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
- 1.38 Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan
- 1.39 Untamed by Glennon Doyle
- 1.40 Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from the Red States by Samantha Allen
- 1.41 The Other Boy by M. G. Hennessey
- 1.42 Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
- 1.43 Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
- 1.44 The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Top 45 Rated Best LGBT Books To Read
Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin
Writer Chavisa Woods is far from alone when predicting Giovanni’s Room “masterfully composed, tragic.” It is a publication that’s resonated with many queer people since being published in 1956, talking to individuality issues even today. Woods, a Lambda: Literary Award nominee for her book Things to Do When You Are Goth at the nation, states Baldwin triumphed at “blurring the lines of villain and hero and bringing the sophistication of human character into horrible focus.” Maybe that is because Baldwin explained the book is not really about being homosexual. “Giovanni’s Room isn’t about homosexuality,” said Baldwin at a 1980 discussion about queer life. “It is the vehicle by which the book goes. Tell It on the Mountain, as an instance, isn’t about a church, and Giovanni isn’t about homosexuality. It is about what happens to you in case you are reluctant to love anyone.”
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
A revelation as it was printed in 1982, Alice Walker’s novel delves into the intersections of race, sex, family, and heritage at Georgia circa 1930.
For everyone, the debilitating sexual and physical abuse and frustration Walker’s protagonist Celie resides in the hands of Mister, the guy she is made to marry as a teenager, and the abusive, institutionalized racism she faces as a woman of color, the publication teems with light and hope. Epic in scope, the book is also, in part, a story of the romance between girls -Celie’s love for her long-lost sister Nettie and even for Shug Avery, the blues singer and former fan of Mister’s Celie drops for and with whom she finally makes a house.
“An epic story of perseverance and empowerment in addition to a celebration of love in all forms,” Tailor-Made writer Yolanda Wallac, said of this publication.
Of Walker’s masterpiece, Long Shadows writer Kate Sherwood explained, “I loved how the figures were found except (and adored ) despite what was standing in their way.”
Steven Spielberg directed the 1985 version of this movie that starred Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey and got several Oscar nominations.
Orlando, by Virginia Woolf
Orlando that Virginia Woolf wrote in tribute to both friend and lover Vita Sackbville-West is research in sex fluidity across space and time.
The eponymous protagonist begins as a rakish young nobleman in Elizabethan England, finding favor with the queen, subsequently falling out with her indulging liberally in sexual intercourse with many different girls but using an intense friendship with a man poet. Afterward, Orlando is delivered on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, where he discovers he is becoming a girl. The sex switch provides a chance for comment on the constraints society puts on women.
The book ends in 1928, together with Orlando, a girl, having a husband and kids, and a new sense of potential since the year girls won exclusive voting rights in England. And though the book’s action spans over 300 decades, Orlando ages just 36. A well-received 1992 film version, directed by Sally Potter, showcased Tilda Swinton and Quentin Crisp.
Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Eugenides won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2002 coming-of-age narrative about intersex protagonist Cal Stephanides. Inspired by the 19th-century memoirs of Herculine Barbin, Middlesex incorporates Greek mythology elements in addition to Eugenides’s Greek-American upbringing to inform a revolutionary story about gender identity in the 21st century. While Middlesex has received any criticism in the intersex community – that the writer doesn’t recognize as intersex, nor did he consult those who do – that the book is undoubtedly a milestone in queer visibility. In certain literary circles, it’s considered a candidate for the name of the fantastic American Novel.
The City and the Pillar, by Gore Vidal
The City and the Pillar stunned America as it premiered in 1948. The queer coming-of-age book about Jim Willard and his search for love has been the very first book from a respected author (Gore Vidal) to talk directly and sympathetically about the homosexual experience in an era when homosexuality was still quite taboo. The publication is recalled now with this heritage and for a variety of topics – Hollywood’s glass cupboard, being homosexual in the army, and the hazardous effects of homophobia on society – which still reverberates today.
City of Night by John Rechy
The city of Night, a 1963 book by John Rechy, is a seminal piece of fiction that follows the Life Span of a gay hustler in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Throughout the stream-of-consciousness narration, the reader gets a glimpse of queer life in mid-century America, with a very long and intriguing cast of characters, including drag actors, S&M professionals, and sex workers. The publication has inspired music in the Doors in Addition to a movie by Gus Van Sant, My Own Private Idaho. “This epic chronicle of homosexual culture in the American Idol is as far-reaching since it’s crucial, providing us a glimpse into the identity and rationale,” confirmed SJ Sindu, the writer of Union of a Thousand Lies.
In at the Deep End by Kate Davies
“Frankly, the first publication to alter is wrapped in painful memories, but that I deal with this thanks In at the Deep End by Kate Davies, that investigates queer self-discovery via a toxic relationship and its common perceptions of villainy. That is the book that I carry with me to process loving that I’m even if I did not love my trip here.”
Heaven’s Coast by Mark Doty
“Heaven’s Coast entered my world in 1996, at a time of tragedy; not yet thirty, I had just ended my first connection with a girl but was closeted. The despair about AIDS curtained our planet -was it feasible to program for a future which might not come? Reading Doty’s poetic memoir, I could no more bear witness to the tragedy unfolding in front of me from within the cupboard. It is a superbly beautiful elegy for love and life amidst aching catastrophe. I clung to it and continued to do so.”
Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
Throughout an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program, Garrad Conley was designed for emerging. Instead, even if confronted with a brutal journey, Garrard discovered the understanding and strength to break out to pursue true forgiveness and self.
Olivia by Dorothy Strachey
A groundbreaking, ardent, and energetic story of first love, Olivia-based loosely on the writer’s life-was published in 1949 under a pseudonym. It tells the story of Olivia, a sixteen-year-old woman sent from England into a Parisian completing school to expand her schooling. Shortly after her birth, she finds herself falling under the spell of her lovely and charismatic teacher, Mademoiselle Julie, who introduces her into literature, art, and fine cuisine. However, Mademoiselle Julie’s life isn’t quite as simple as Olivia imagines. As they grow closer, their relationship is jeopardized by jealousy and competition, and the college year appears destined to end in catastrophe.
The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy.
Levy chronicles the experience and heartbreak of being, in her words,” a girl who’s free to do anything she chooses.” Her story of strength becomes a memorable portrait of the changing forces in our society, of what’s changed-and of everything is eternal.
The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North
Winner of this 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction, gripping and provocative, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is a haunting story of fame, love and heritage told via the propulsive increase of an iconoclastic artist.
Trixie and Katya Guide to Modern Womanhood by Trixie Mattel and Katya
Drag superstars Trixie Mattel and Katya have captivated fans with their gorgeous looks, onscreen chemistry, and touch comedy. In Trixie and Katya Guide to Modern Womanhood, the set channel that energy to old-school manners manual for women. In documents, discussions, and how-to segments peppered with funny, stunning photographs, Trixie and Katya will advise viewers about fashion and beauty and tackle other critical elements of a comfortable house. Including cash, self-love, and friendship; sharing information and personal stories in high-concept style.
The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
Composed in incandescent, dazzling prose, The Sunlight Pilgrims is a visionary tale of sophistication and tranquility in the middle of nature’s most vicious hour. Features Estella, a twelve-year-old transgender woman, is trying to endure the dystopian landscape together with her mum.
I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert
In I Know You Know Who I Am, Kispert deftly explores disturbance and functionality, the uneasiness of reconciling a queer identity together with the broader universe, and creates a sympathetic, often darkly funny, portrait of characters Looking for avenues to closeness
How to Survive a Summer by Nick White
A searing book revolved around a gay-to-straight transformation camp in Mississippi, along with a guy’s reckoning with the injury he confronted there as a teenager.
Juliet Requires a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Juliet Milagros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke in the Bronx. Only she is not so closeted anymore. Not after coming out to her household the night before flying into Portland, Oregon, to intern with her preferred feminist author. At summer time exploding with queer brown dancing parties, a hot fling with a motorcycling librarian, along with extreme explorations of identity and race, Juliet learns what it intends to come out-into the entire world, to her Loved Ones, to herself
Believe Me by Eddie Izzard
Composing with the equal candor and insight evident in his humor, he reflects on a childhood marked by the loss of his mom, boarding school, and other sexuality.
Unbound by Arlene Stein
Transgender guys include a significant, increasing proportion of the trans population, yet they remain mostly invisible. In this powerful, timely, and eye-opening accounts, Stein brings from dozens of interviews with all transgender individuals and their families and friends, in addition to with activists and medical and psychological specialists. Unbound records the diverse ways younger trans guys find themselves and how they’re changing our comprehension of what it means to be female and male in America.
Rubyfruit Jungle: A Novel by Rita Mae Brown
Molly Bolt is your daughter of a poor Southern couple who makes her way across America, discovering a love of stripes in between. This steamy novel proudly refers to the writer’s love for the female body, also, to enjoy, full-stop. It is a legitimate party of being true to yourself, those who may be.
Maurice: A Novel by E.M.Forster
This steamy book was written in 1913, but not printed until after Forster died in 1971. The name character meets and falls in love with Clive while in college – although Clive finally leaves his fan and has married a girl. But, Maurice falls in love with another guy. You are going to need to examine it to learn if everybody lives happily ever after.
The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis
Seventeen-year-old Leda arrived at Bueno Aires in 1913 with only a bag and her dad’s cherished violin. However, when she comes, she finds the husband traveled there to achieve his death. What follows is a romance with tango and having an authenticity, she finds through everything.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir by T Kira Madden
Madden grew up the only child of parents who had been overly involved in their struggles to provide her the support she wanted, so she discovered her tribe with many women in her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida. This story grapples with the dichotomies of isolation and freedom, coming into her queerness and biracial identity, and how friendship could mean salvation.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
This coming-out book will feel comfortable for anybody who has ever grappled with the complexities of sexual orientation in a spiritual context. The evangelical Jeanette considers herself among God’s kids, but if she finds her sexuality, it throws a wrench to her family’s plans for her.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Should you browse this classic about a guy who does not age while his concealed portrait gets older and mature and overlooked the homosexual subtext, it is time to provide Wilde’s narrative another read. Perhaps among the very subtly LGBT publications on this list, you will grab the references the next time around.
Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia
As a child, Jacob was known as “sissy” to be inventive, sassy, and obsessed with glitter. However, as they got older, they started to identify with different, more neutral words such as “homosexual,” transgender,” and “nonbinary.” This narrative of the sex revolution calls out the stereotypes which were probably rampant in a number of our childhoods at a publication that can make you laugh and shout, possibly even in precisely the same moment.
The Hours: A Novel by Michael Cunningham
Drawing on the life span of Virginia Woolf, Cunningham weaves several stories together to paint a rich tapestry of characters struggling to fit the needs of friends, fans, and loved ones. This fantastic novel will resonate with anybody who has ever needed to juggle several roles simultaneously, particularly when they conflict with each other.
Ash by Malinda Lo
This contemporary retelling of the Cinderella story explores what happens when a young woman must choose between reality and dreams, true love, along with the protection of privacy. While it was initially written for younger readers, it rings true to adults also, in precisely the same manner, all of us go back to our favorite bedtime stories.
When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
Kentucky native Katie includes a deep-seated pair of traditional values, but she has just been dumped by her fiance and is still smarting. Cassidy is a strong, self-assured New York native, and Katie finds her sexy. This rom-com moves the script in your favorite tropes while following them in ways that are as comfy as an old pair of pjs.
On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual by Penguin Group
Considered among the first gay memoirs, this book was initially published as an article in response to some homophobic article in Harper’s Magazine. It is precisely what the name refers to a seminal novel that communicates the importance of coming out. This oldie but a goodie ought to be mandatory reading for anybody who’s or loves someone who identifies as LGBTQ.
Call Me by Your Name: A Book by Andre Aciman
Once an adolescent boy falls in love with a summer guest in his parents’ cliffside house in the Riviera, they are both caught off guard by the fire that ensues. This obsessive, irresponsible romance became a significant motion picture. You will see why it is an instant global feeling.
Stone Butch Blues, by Leslie Feinberg
Ahead of its time, Leslie Feinberg’s 1993 Stone Butch Blues, roughly Jess Goldberg, a butch working-class lesbian, took enormous strides in breaking down the gender binary. A narrative that’s both optimistic in Jess’s decision to forge an identity and heartrending in its depiction of violence against her to get her fearless to be himself, Stone Butch Blues endures as crucial to the queer canon. Feinberg, whose bio reads “author and transgender activist,” would become famous more for activism in later years. Still, the milestone book about Jess’s refusal to fit into a prescribed box for sex is arguably Feinberg’s heritage.
Fun Home, by Allison Bechdel
You may not expect to find a definitive book in this record, however iconic cartoonist (and Bechdel evaluation namesake) Alison Bechdel consistently requires the less traveled street. Off the accomplishment of her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she made the profoundly private Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, that rolls on her dysfunctional relationship with her dad by way of a lesbian lens. Chronicling Bechdel’s perplexing childhood in rural Pennsylvania, the publication took seven years to make Bechdel’s laborious, artistic process, which contained ridding herself in presents attracted to every human body.
This queer exploration of a broken family, unraveling emotions, and suicide was that a New York Times bestseller, also snagged nominations for its National Book Critics Circle Award and three Eisner awards – getting a mainstream commercial and critical success.
The book has been adapted into a musical, and this was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. When it hit Broadway in 2015, it won the Tony Award for Best Musical.
Under the Udala Trees, by Chinelo Okparanta
“This lyrical book is a fantastic story with a history of civil war and also a love story between two young women on the frontlines. Fantastic book,” homosexual refugee activist and columnist Danny Ramadan raves concerning the global-minded narrative.
The publication unpacks the psychological life of a young woman displaced by the Nigerian civil war, who starts a gut-wrenching affair with a fellow refugee. These women are from different cultural communities, forcing them to confront not just the taboos of being queer but the prejudices of living in a country that’s eating itself alive.
“An excellent recollection of what anybody would state in Nigeria against homosexuality employing the defense of the faith,” explains David Nnanna Ikpo, the Nigerian writer of Fimisile Forever.
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
In 2015, Once the publication was printed, reviewer and writer Garth Greenwell announced in The Atlantic, “A Tiny Life: The Fantastic Gay Novel Might Be ” Hanya Yanagihara’s narrative of four buddies – Jude, Malcolm, JB, and Willem – continues over 700 pages as you see the growth of friendship and love between those guys who met in school. We accompany them for three years, withstanding together with them the waves of injury that life so frequently sends. The buddies survive collectively, as explained in intensely exposed detail. Yanagihara spoke with The Guardian regarding hardship and friendship. “We may all have experienced this atmosphere: as a buddy, what’s my obligation to save somebody who does not need to get saved? Or tell a person to stay living when they do not wish to call home?” Gay men tend to be daunted by A Small Life’s penetrating clarity about what binds them drives them apart.
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
Winner of this 2020 Lambda Literary LGBTQ Nonfiction award, Carmen Maria Machado’s astonishing accounts of the abuse her ex-partner had exposed her is equal parts poetry and dread. Machado explains the first rapture of her very first same-sex connection with unwavering frankness and its succeeding distortion into fear and violence. Machado, deftly chronicling the pity, guilt, and immobilizing character of misuse implements distinct literary types to describe her encounters, like folk narrative tropes and genres. This approach only serves to increase the unsettling sensation that illuminates the book. A few “chapters” are just one sentence – “fantasy home because epiphany: most forms of domestic abuse are legal” – along with her capacity to generate the language used is entirely remarkable. The publication also is present as an essential addition to a restricted archive recording same-sex misuse. A towering accomplishment from an outstanding author.
I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
As a lady of color, Shraya writes painful authority concerning the avalanche of violence she’s exposed to. From her clothes to her use of exclamation marks in communicating to “soften” her message and prevent “agitating or offending” guys. Shraya’s experiences lead her to conclude that “the only moment that I could make decisions about how I need to appear, act [and] convey is when I am within my flat.” Along with the transmisogyny she confronts, Shraya writes with clarity about borders and queer spaces, the outbreak of male violence, and how we will need to discard the archetype of this “good man” to get a more nuanced conversation about masculinity. Available, essential, and too relatable, this can be a thought-provoking debate of critical problems that affect all of us.
Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan
Meredith Talusan’s memoir traces her journey, as she puts it herself, from albino boy in the Philippines to immigrant, award-winning girl journalist in the USA. Eloquent and moving, this incisive memoir explores a distance in the intersection of race, gender identity, immigrant status, and handicap, thematizing because it does the writer’s experience of studying’white’ within an Asian albino. A problem that contrasts with everyone these topics is the persistent question of desirability, which Talusan progressively holds up to the light within a random label that holds different meanings in various world areas. Fairest is a bold look in the mirror, along with an honest narrative of selfhood.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
With this powerful memoir and self-help publication, Glennon Doyle talks about letting go of your inhibitions, years of ingrained social conditioning, and also the need to please other people, to be able to develop into your own. Doyle does not flinch from vulnerability. She also shares her narrative of questioning, where she discovered herself and realizing she had to realign herself to her true queer identity. Untamed talks about falling in love, being a fantastic spouse, and learning how to fall in love together by rediscovering yourself you knew in youth and living your own life. It is a party, and worth your time.
Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from the Red States by Samantha Allen
It’s simple to check at cultural stereotypes and believe that each American about the LGBT+ spectrum should either be residing on the liberal coasts or hiding deep in the cabinets of their heartland “flyover” states. However, what Samantha Allen reveals in Actual Queer America is that queer folks find means of forming flourishing, lively communities with one another no matter where you go. From drag displays to gay bars into ideology, Allen takes readers on a journey to all corners of the USA, discovering LGBT+ individuals everywhere and showing the pride which manages to prosper in even the most conservative areas.
The Other Boy by M. G. Hennessey
This heartfelt book is about a normal boy, the type of boy you have fulfilled a hundred times over: Shane enjoys basketball, picture books, and spending some time with his very best buddy, Josh. However, Shane has a secret, one that he has not told his very best friend: he is transgender, and folks used to perceive him as a woman before his family moved to San Francisco three decades back. When a classmate threatens to disclose the fact, Shane is suddenly faced with the chance that his teammates and friends might not find him the same way again. Another Boy is a beautiful story about remaining true to yourself, concerning the worth in your life who’ll stand together – no matter what.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
This comic book series by Alice Oseman started as a webcomic, but it immediately gained a following excited enough that HarperCollins chose to print it. And thank goodness for it! Heartstopper follows two British schoolboys, Charlie and Nick, who become friends and fall in love. Wholesome and incredibly heartwarming, this gorgeous, valuable series will have you giddy with joy, hugging these amounts tight to your torso. Pure and tender, Charlie and Nick’s connection will undoubtedly stay with you!
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Let’s Talk About Love, Alice’s summertime programs are accessible: TV and meals marathons, with changes in the local library to pay her rent. Nothing complex and totally no love – Alice is performed to date, following her girlfriend broke up with her since Alice confessed she had been asexual. But then she meets Takumi, and her chill summer programs are thrown into madness. This thoroughly charming book about the power of love shows that the best-laid plans require room for the unforeseen.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Song of Achilles is an intensely creepy, thrilling publication retelling of the Greek myth of the Trojan war, focusing on the friendship and love between Achilles and Patroclus. Tracing their connection from young boys into warrior guys, Madeline Miller masterfully sketches their contrasting personalities: Achilles, son of sea-goddess Thetis, relishes people’s admiration and focus; Patroclus, humble and reflective, prefers to respect Achilles from the silence of their shadows. When both find themselves fighting in the Trojan War, their narrative comes to a catastrophic stop – but we will not spoil it for you.
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