Best LGBT Books of All Time – Top 10
Happy Pride Month y’all! Stonewall riots happened in 1969, and currently, it is the year 2022. Several things have changed in the community, society, and mindset and several changes are yet to happen. We must not forget the struggles people had to go through and are still going through – the internal battle of the acceptance of self-identity and the need for exterior acceptance from society. In this article, we are going to read about the 10 best LGBT books of all time.
10 best LGBT books of all time
- A Boy’s Own Story – Edmund White
- A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
- A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood
- Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
- Maurice – E.M. Forster
- Orlando – Virginia Woolf
- The Color Purple – Alice Walker
- The Price of Salt – Patricia Highsmith
- The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
- Zami – Audre Lorde
A Boy’s Own Story – Edmund White
You are most likely to compare A Boy’s Own Story with the classic The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The story begins with the first sexual encounter of a boy at the age of 15. The story focuses on him and his experiences coming to terms with his sexual identity as a youth in the Mid-Western United States. The two additional novels are The Beautiful Room is Empty and The Farewell Symphony. These two later written novels follow the boy into young adulthood.
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
The 700 pages long novel of Hanya Yanagihara focuses on the story of four friends named Jude, Malcolm, JB, and Willem. Throughout the novel, the readers get to witness the evolution of friendship and love between these four college friends. The readers follow their lives for three decades and the trauma that life frequently offers. In a very vulnerable and touching way, Yanagihara elucidates the survival of these four friends together.
A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood
A Single Man is Isherwood’s most popular and loved work. It is about adult responsibilities, love, and loneliness. The story tracks the life of an ageing college professor in LA. He is drowned in depression over the loss of his beloved partner in an accident. He plots his suicide. However, life gets in the way. After crossing paths with people who are equally drenched in grief he had a shift in mind and change of heart. But the last minute twist alters everything, right?
Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
This book by Baldwin has resonated with several queer people since its publication in 1956. Baldwin in an interview in 1980 talked about the book and confirmed the book “is not really about homosexuality…It’s about what happens to you if you’re afraid to love anybody.” This book is a must read especially because it suggests how societal gender norms frequently intervene with a person’s sense of self.
Maurice – E.M. Forster
The title character falls in love with his classmate, Clive while studying at Oxford. They had a two-year affair until Clive married a woman, leaving Maurice in pieces. However, this story does not end as a gay tragedy. Maurice falls in love with Alec Scudder. Marshall Thornton, the author of Night Drop referred to Maurice as “the original gay romance.”
Orlando – Virginia Woolf
Woolf wrote Orlando in tribute to her lover Vita Sackville-West. This book is a study of gender fluidity across space and time. The protagonist starts as a youthful nobleman in Elizabethan England. He falls for several different women and has an intense friendship with a male poet. Later in life, Orlando is sent to Constantinople on a mission. He finds out that he has become a woman. The book ends with Orlando as a woman, with a husband and children, and also a new light since women won the voting rights in England.
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
My favorite lesbian novel is The Color Purple as it not only does it deal with the main character being in love with the same gender, but it highlights the struggles of her life as a black woman. Celie suffered both physical and sexual abuse from the Mister she was married to. It also focuses on the love Celie has for her long-lost sister Nettie. Eventually, finds her home in Shug Avery, former lover of Celie’s Mister. There is no way you will find any hope while reading it in the very beginning, everything will change when Celie will find her true love with Shug.
The Price of Salt – Patricia Highsmith
The Price of Salt or Carol was published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan as compelled by the writer’s publisher. It is the story of Therese Belivet and Carol Avid. Although Carol decides to part ways with her lover, eventually she realizes that she cannot live without her. They find their way back to each other, making The Price of Salt the first lesbian novel with a happy ending.
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
The only novel by Oscar Wilde is not overtly homosexual but there is plenty of gay subtext if one reads with awareness. During his trials of 1895, the attorneys of the opposite party read aloud sections from The Picture of Dorian Gray referring to it as a ‘sodomitical book’. In 2011, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker, that Wilde went to prison not only for being homosexual and loving men but because he flaunted that love; Dorian Gray became a primary exhibit of his shamelessness.
Zami – Audre Lorde
Zami is the autobiography of iconic black queer poet Audre Lorde. It is about intersectionality, in a genre of intersections. She classified this book as biomythography, as it includes biography, myth, and history. This book will strengthen women through her stories of growing up, and challenges in Harlem during the 1930s. While The Price of Salt shows how lesbians walk away from motherhood, Zami celebrates the grace through which mothers face the harsh challenges.
Also Read: Donating Old Books is Better Option Than Selling Them