The Top LGBTQ Books From Goodreads For Pride Month
The quality and number of queer content books has increased exponentially over the past decade. While there is still a long way to go for publishing to be truly inclusive and to represent the whole rainbow of the queer community, the top 10 LGBTQ books for Pride month from Goodreads highlights a little bit of the progress that has been made.
The books on the list are examples of how there is not one narrative of queer existence. While many do offer a coming-out storyline, others are simply notes in the life of being queer, or the story of the life of someone who happens to be LGBTQIAP+. Unfortunately, in our society, that can mean a fair amount of prejudice, bigotry, and hate permeating their way into our lives at any given time, and it colors experience and emotion. However, these books also document moments of simple queer joys — falling in love, finding community, and learning how activism works.
The books on the Goodreads list are fantastic — Goodreads pulls together these lists based on how many of their 100M+ members add a book to their want-to-read shelf, rate a book (out of five stars), and how many times a book was rated. But the list is a more serious grouping for adults, so I'm adding a few for younger readers that you can share with your teen, a few for kids, and a few that are just plain fun.
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1. 'Homie: Poems' by Danez Smith
This book of poems is revolutionary. Danez Smith writes an elegiac narrative that examines the intersectionality of queerness, blackness, and disability with a lyric flow that will stay with you long after you read it.
2. 'Real Life' by Brandon Taylor
This book is the harrowing tale of a black queer man from Alabama coming of age in a Midwestern college town. It is heartbreaking, and at times, painful to read, touching on both the ideas of racism and homophobia, but it is an essential work.
3. 'Wow, No Thank You' by Samantha Irby
One of my favorite books of last year, Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby, is a collection of hilarious essays that you can read anywhere, at any time, and just feel good to be alive.
4. 'Something to Talk About' by Meryl Wilsner
I love a good lesbian will-they-won't-they romance, and holy cow, this one delivers. Plus, there's a Hollywood backdrop, making it all the more exciting.
5. 'Swimming in the Dark' by Tomasz Jedrowski
This one feels familiar to the moment. The story follows two young men who fall for each other and then find themselves on opposite sides of the political spectrum in 1980s Poland.
6. 'You Exist Too Much' by Zaina Arafat
This book begins with a flashpoint in many girls' lives — being shamed by men about her body. This one interaction will follow the Palestinian-American protagonist throughout her life. Her mother tells her she exists too much, and she is willing to follow that to its end.
7. 'Broken People' by Sam Lansky
If a shaman claimed he could heal you, would you take the chance? That's the primary directive of the protagonist of Broken People, and as he works with himself, he wonders if it's the work of the shaman, or if the shaman is just making the magic of having him work on himself.
8. 'Cleanness' by Garth Greenwell
An American teacher in Bulgaria recounts his life there through the memories of his encounters with the interesting people he has met along the way. Written in a prosaic style that belies the sometimes aching interactions discussed, it is surely going to engage readers for years to come.
9. 'The Groom Will Keep His Name' by Matt Ortile
This is the story of a queer Filipino immigrant who struggles to fit into American society by trying to force himself into identities that don't align with who he really is, only to learn that who he really is has been inside him the whole time. '
10. 'All Boys Aren't Blue' by George M Johnson
This memoir has deeply sad stories, moments of joy and hope, and calls to action for the reader. The style is conversational and introspective, like many memoirs, but it also feels a bit like a Zami by Audre Lorde in that Johnson understands that he is retelling his own story, and he wants you to read it.
The following books aren't part of the top Goodreads choices, but are great stories for Pride month.
11. 'The Witch Boy' by Molly Knox Ostertag
This one isn't a Goodreads recommendation, but my daughter has read this eleventy million times. It's a story about a land where all boys become shapeshifters and all girls become witches, but for one boy, this isn't the case. When he meets another gender nonconforming magic worker, everything he thought he knew is turned on its head.
12. 'Pet' by Akwaeke Emezi
I struggle to encapsulate all that this book holds in a short paragraph. Jam is a black, trans protagonist who meets a monster who is hunting something horrible. My son, who is 12, read this in one sitting. It's haunting and thrilling and every other good adjective for a great book.
13. 'Ivy Aberdeen's Letters to the World' by Ashley Herring Blake
When Ivy Aberdeen's house is torn apart by a tornado, her world is understandably shaken. When she realizes that her notebook of girls holding hands with girls is missing, and shows up in her locker with a note encouraging her to open up? It rocks her existence.
This book is YA, but I'm in my 30s and loved every word.
14. 'It Takes Two to Tumble' by Cat Sebastian
I'm sorry, Regency Era queers in fun outfits? Sign me right up. This book is pure fun camp and I loved it. I've read it twice and gifted it several times. This is beach queer, you're welcome.
15. 'Carry On' by Rainbow Rowell
I ate this book up. There's a gay super magician who falls in love (reluctantly) with a gay vampire, and they go on magical adventures. It's wonderful. The sequel is just as good, and I am chomping at the bit for the third.