Today I wanted to do some recommendations of books featuring LGBTQ+ themes – after all what is a queer book blog without queer book recommendations?
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli – 2015
Simon Spier is a closeted, gay, 16-year-old student in his junior year of high school with a fondness for musical theater who lives in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Unbeknownst to his family and friends, Simon has been sending e-mails to a person going by the name of “Blue”, Simon himself using the pseudonym “Jacques”. As the two become closer, however, Simon’s secret suddenly falls under siege; the e-mails sent between him and Blue are threatened to be released if he doesn’t play wingman for Martin, the class clown, and coerce his friend Abby into falling in love with him. Now, his sexual orientation and the privacy of him and his enigmatic digital confidant could possibly be compromised. Simon must find a way to step out of his comfort zone, before he is pushed out, and before he loses Blue, who only grows more flirtatious by the day, and who Simon, whether by choice or not, is on the cusp of encountering in person. (Wikipedia)
Rubyfruit Jungle – Rita Mae Brown – 1973
Molly Bolt is a young lady with a big character. Beautiful, funny and bright, Molly figures out at a young age that she will have to be tough to stay true to herself in 1950s America. In her dealings with boyfriends and girlfriends, in the rocky relationship with her mother and in her determination to pursue her career, she will fight for her right to happiness. Charming, proud and inspiring, Molly is the girl who refuses to be put in a box. (Amazon)
NB: This book was published in the 70s, it’s a product of its time but I do think its a necessary addition to LGBT literature canon.
On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back – Stacey Dooley – 2019
Rep: Chapters covering a range of women’s issues, including Trans Prostitution
Over her ten years of documentary film making, Stacey Dooley has covered a wide variety of topics, from sex trafficking in Cambodia to Yazidi women fighting back in Syria. (Penguin website)
Mr Loverman – Bernardine Evaristo – 2013
Barrington Jedidiah Walker. Barry to his friends. Trouble to his wife.
Seventy-four years old, Antiguan born and bred, flamboyant Hackney personality Barry is known for his dapper taste and fondness for retro suits.
He is a husband, father and grandfather.
And for the past sixty years, he has been in a relationship with his childhood friend and soulmate, Morris.
Wife Carmel knows Barry has been cheating on her, but little does she know what is really going on. When their marriage goes into meltdown, Barrington has big choices to make. (Goodreads)
English Animals – Laura Kaye – 2017
When Mirka gets a job in a country house in rural England, she has no idea of the struggle she faces to make sense of a very English couple, and a way of life that is entirely alien to her. Richard and Sophie are chaotic, drunken, frequently outrageous but also warm, generous and kind to Mirka, despite their argumentative and turbulent marriage.
Mirka is swiftly commandeered by Richard for his latest money-making enterprise, taxidermy, and soon surpasses him in skill. After a traumatic break two years ago with her family in Slovakia, Mirka finds to her surprise that she is happy at Fairmont Hall. But when she tells Sophie that she is gay, everything she values is put in danger and she must learn the hard way what she really believes in. (Amazon)
Heartstopper – Alice Oseman – ongoing webcomic –
From author’s website: Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. An LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between.
Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proulx – 1997
In 1963, two young men, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, are hired for the summer to look after sheep at a seasonal grazing range on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming. Unexpectedly, they form an intense emotional and sexual attachment, but have to part ways at the end of the summer. Over the next twenty years, as their separate lives play out with marriages, children, and jobs, they continue reuniting for brief liaisons on camping trips in remote settings. (Wikipedia)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamie Alire Saenz – 2012
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. (Goodreads)
Man’s World – Rupert Smith – 2010
In modern-day London, Robert searches for fulfilment in a world of sex, drugs, designer clothes, and hip gay clubs, during which he records his experience on his blog. Half a century earlier, Michael kept a secret diary in which he chronicled the dangers of negotiating the closet and the laws that could land himself and his friends and lovers in prison. Past and present collide when Robert moves into a new block of flats and discovers that history is alive and kicking on his doorstep. (Goodreads)
Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley – 2014
It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it s Sarah s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High.
No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students especially Linda, daughter of the town s most ardent segregationist.
Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they ve never felt before. Something they re determined to ignore. (Amazon)