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The Best LGBTQIA+ Books to Read Right Now

Every June, there is increased visibility on LGBTQIA+ life, culture, history, creators, and authors.  Reading books by LGBTQIA+ authors and books with queer characters should be something we strive to do all year long, and Pride month is a great time to add some LGBTQIA+ books to your bookshelves.  This list is only a jumping-off point to help broaden your perspective, as well as your reading list.  There is a lot of variety here, and I hope you will find and enjoy a new book or two!

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

A dazzling novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris.

Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman.

Burn the Place by Iliana Regan

Burn the Place by Iliana Regan

A memoir that chronicles one chef’s journey from foraging on her family’s Midwestern farm to running her own Michelin-starred restaurant and finding her place in the world.

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

James Baldwin’s groundbreaking novel about love and the fear of love is set among the bohemian bars and nightclubs of 1950s Paris.

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town.

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Milagros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. Only, she’s not so closeted anymore. Not after coming out to her family the night before flying to Portland, Oregon, to intern with her favorite feminist writer–what’s sure to be a life-changing experience. And when Juliet’s coming out crashes and burns, she’s not sure her mom will ever speak to her again.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The groundbreaking depiction of a woman who dares to defy the expectations of society in the pursuit of her desire.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeymi

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeymi

Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret–Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side.

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic.

Here For It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America by Eric Thomas

Here For It by Eric Thomas

A heartfelt and hilarious memoir-in-essays about growing up seeing the world differently, finding unexpected hope, and experiencing every awkward, extraordinary stumble along the way.

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes–and she refuses to apologize for loving them back.

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

A coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears.

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafet

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafet

A novel that follows the life of a young Palestinian American woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities as she endeavors to lead an authentic life.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance, and silence.

The Tradition by Jericho Brown

The Tradition by Jericho Brown

The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

The uplifting story of an HIV-positive teen, falling in love and learning to live her truth.

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

A novel about a millennial Irish expat who becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer Ava.

The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis

The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

Sissy by Jacob Tobia

A deeply personal story of trauma and healing, a powerful reflection on gender and self-acceptance, and a hilarious guidebook for wearing tacky clip-on earrings in today’s world, Sissy guarantees you’ll never think about gender–both other people’s and your own–the same way again.

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera.

What do you think about the books on this list?

Have you read any books from this list?  What are your favorite books by LGBTQIA+ authors or books with queer characters at the center?  What books would you add to the list?

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