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14 Queer Book Recommendations to Read During Pride

Happy Pride!

This month, the LGBTQIA+ community will be celebrating their love and being openly and unapologetically themselves. To join in on the celebration, we are sharing fourteen fiction and nonfiction titles that center queer authors and characters. These stories center the LGBTQIA+ experience both in the U.S. and abroad, whether that’s fighting for equality and acceptance, navigating failure and loss, or, falling in (and out) of love. These books can be enjoyed any time of year, but why not start in June?


City of Laughter by Temim Fruchter

An ambitious, delirious novel that tangles with queerness, spirituality, and generational silence, City of Laughter announces Temim Fruchter as a fresh and assured new literary voice. This tale of a young queer woman stuck in a thicket of generational secrets, follows four generations of the women in her family, bound by blood, half-hidden secrets, and the fantastical visitation of a shapeshifting stranger over the course of 100 years. Blending Jewish folklore with reality, Temim Fruchter weaves a story that asks us how far we can travel from the stories that have raised us without leaving them behind.

City of Laughter has the sparkle and fire of something truly rare. Deeply developed and carefully crafted, this novel is chock full of wit and tenderness and an incredible amount of heart . . . one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking books I’ve ever read.”—Kristen Arnett, author of the novel With Teeth


Lush Lives by J. Vanessa Lyon

An NBC News Best LGBTQ Book of the Year, Lush Lives is a deliciously queer and sexy novel about bold, brilliant women unafraid to take risks and fight for what they love. Set in the high-stakes New York City art world, an inherited brownstone that feels like a curse quickly becomes a blessing for a struggling artist when she meets a savvy, ambitious auction house appraiser and they uncover a rare manuscript in the attic. This discovery unearths secrets and threatens heartbreak as they explore the complex relationships between Harlem and its distinguished residents.

“Lyon’s hot, perceptive novel grapples with navigating interracial relationships and issues of authenticity and selling out . . . an unerringly satisfying read.”Booklist, starred review


And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtuchukwu

This award-winning novel by Ani Kayode Somtuchukwu is a powerful, luminous debut that established its young author as a masterful talent. Two men fall in love amongst all odds and forge a tender intimacy that defies the violence around them. And when a new, sweeping anti-gay law is passed, August and Segun must find a way for their love to survive in a Nigeria that was always determined to eradicate them. A tale of rare bravery and profound beauty, And Then He Sang a Lullaby is an extraordinary debut that marks Ani Kayode Somtochukwu as a voice to watch.

“This moving debut is a touching queer coming of age story, a poignant romance, and, most affectingly, a damning indictment of the hate and homophobia that are all too prevalent in the modern world.”—Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind


Young Mungo by Douglas Stewart

Booker Prize-winning author Douglas Stewart returns with Young Mungo, a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a deeply moving and highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men. Imbuing the everyday world of its characters with rich lyricism and giving full voice to people rarely acknowledged in the literary world, Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the bounds of masculinity, the divisions of sectarianism, the violence faced by many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.

“A nuanced and gorgeous heartbreaker of a novel . . . It’s a testament to Stuart’s unsparing powers as a storyteller . . . It’s hard to imagine a more disquieting and powerful work of fiction will be published anytime soon about the perils of being different.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air


Prophet by Sin Blaché and Helen Macdonald

Nostalgia has never been more deadly. From the extraordinary minds of award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of H Is for Hawk Helen Macdonald and first time author Sin Blaché, Prophet is their electric debut, a tantalizing adventure fusing noir, sci-fi and a slow burn queer romance—set in a universe just one perilous step from our own. Two reluctantly partnered intelligence agents uncover a deadly, ever-shifting substance called Prophet and soon enter into a gruesome and bizarre battle for the safety of the world.

“Fabulous . . . Present day science fiction that feels like the best sort of spy novel with real people you can care about. And it’s a page-turner. So good.”—Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods


Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park

A funny, transporting, surprising, and poignant novel that was one of the highest selling debuts of recent years in Korea, Love in the Big City tells the story of a young gay man searching for happiness in the lonely city of Seoul. This energetic, joyful, and moving novel depicts both the glittering nighttime world of Seoul and the bleary-eyed morning-after. Brilliantly written and filled with powerful sensory descriptions and both humor and emotion, this story is an exploration of millennial loneliness as well as the joys of queer life.

“Intoxicating . . . The prose, translated by Anton Hur, reads like an iPhone screen, vibrant and addictive. What a joy it is to see such a profound exploration of contemporary queer life — its traumas and its ecstasies throbbing in harmony. It’s a shimmering addition to the recent genre of novels chronicling queer millennial malaise . . . Dazzling.”—Bobby Finger, New York Times Book Review


a “Working Life” by Eileen Myles

A Best Book of the Year by Vanity Fair and Electric Literature, this is the first new collection since Evolution from the prolific poet, activist, and writer Eileen Myles. Engaging with permanence and mortality, danger and safety, fear, and wonder, the poems here are transfixed on the everyday. Myles’s lines unabashedly sing the happy contradictions of love and sex, spill over with warnings about climate change and capitalism, and also find transcendent wonder in the landscapes and animals around us, and in the solitary and collective act of caring for one another and our world.

a ‘Working Life’ takes you where Myles feels like, for however long they feel like it, and in whichever direction. This is harder than it looks. The ease of Myles’s lines—the way words break in two to calibrate rhythm and speed, or how the number of words per line expand and single out to play around with tension—belie great skill. But the difference between poets isn’t just style; it’s personality, or one’s outlook on life. Myles’s is one of the most distinctive, and insightful.”—Vulture


Brother Alive by Zain Khalid

From the National Book Award “5 Under 35” Honoree, comes an astonishing debut novel about family, sexuality, and capitalist systems of control, following three adopted brothers who live above a mosque in Staten Island with their imam father. Winner of the NYPL Young Lions Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award, and the Bard Fiction Prize, Brother Alive questions the nature of belief and explores the possibility of reunion for those who are broken.

“A novel with the polish and warmth of a stone smoothed in the hand after a lifetime of loving worry—original, darkly witty, sometimes bitter, and so very wise. And certainly the debut of a major new writer.”—Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel


Past Lying by Val Mcdermid

Past Lying, the long awaited seventh novel in “Queen of Crime” (The Scotsman) Val McDermid’s DCI Karen Pirie series, now an Edgar Award–nominated ITV/BritBox show, is a full tilt novel of ego, retribution, and deceit. A cold case turns hot when the National Library discovers documents that could be evidence in the archive of a recently deceased crime novelist. What unspools is a twisted game of betrayal and revenge, and as Karen and her team attempt to disentangle fact from fiction, it becomes clear that their investigation is more complicated than they ever imagined.

“The Queen of Crime shows no sign of abdicating. Past Lying is as complex, as satisfying and as readable as anything she’s written – which makes it another jewel in Val McDermid’s crown.”—Mick Herron, author of The Secret Hours


Queer by William S. Burroughs

Originally written in 1952 but not published till 1985, Queer is an enigma. Both an unflinching autobiographical self-portrait and a coruscatingly political novel, it is both Burroughs’s only realist love story and a montage of comic-grotesque fantasies. A haunting tale of possession and exorcism, this cult classic features Burroughs’ trademark maniacal mix of self-lacerating humor and the ugly American at his ugliest.

“Burroughs’s voice is hard, derisive, inventive, free, funny, serious, poetic, indelibly American.”—Joan Didion


Full Service by Scotty Bowers

Full Service is not only a fascinating chronicle of Hollywood’s sexual underground, but also exposes the hypocrisy of the major studios, who used actors to propagate a myth of a conformist, sexually innocent America knowing full well that their stars’ personal lives differed dramatically from this family-friendly mold. As revelation-filled as Hollywood Babylon, Full Service provides a lost chapter in the history of the sexual revolution and is a testament to a man who provided sex, support, and affection to countless people.

“In this shocking exposé, Bowers finally reveals his sexual liaisons with the rich and famous, sparing no details along the way. . . . Bowers has no regrets—having led a life of pleasure, satisfaction and joy that the rest of us can only envy.” —The New York Post


City of Night by John Rechy

When Rechy’s explosive first novel appeared in 1963, it marked a radical departure from all other novels of its kind, and gave voice to a subculture that had never before been revealed with such acuity. Stylistically bold and inventive, Rechy is unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “youngman” and his search for self-knowledge within the neon-lit world of hustlers, drag queens, and the denizens of their world. From El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter, Rechy delivers a portrait of the edges of America that has lost none of its power to move and exhilarate.

“Rechy’s tone rings absolutely true, is absolutely his own, and he has the kind of discipline which allows him a rare and beautiful recklessness. tells the truth, and tells it with such passion that we are forced to share in the life he conveys. This is a most humbling and liberating achievement.” —James Baldwin


Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

The astonishing debut novel from the acclaimed bestselling author of The Death of Vivek OjiYou Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty, and PetFreshwater tells the story of Ada, an unusual child who is a source of deep concern to her southern Nigerian family. Written with stylistic brilliance and based in the author’s realities, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace.

“The novel is based in many of the realities of the writer’s life, but the prose is infused with imaginative lyricism and tone . . . The journey undertaken in the novel is swirling and vivid, vicious and painful, and rendered by Emezi in [sharp and glittering] shards . . . Emezi’s lyrical writing, her alliterative and symmetrical prose, explores the deep questions of otherness, of a single heart and soul hovering between, the gates open, fighting for peace.”—Susan Straight, Los Angeles Times


And keep an eye out for these forthcoming queer titles!


Medusa of the Roses by Navid Sinaki (Out August 13, 2024)

Sex, vengeance, and betrayal in modern day Tehran—Sinaki’s cinematic debut follows Anjir, a morbid romantic and petty thief whose boyfriend disappears just as they’re planning to leave for good. The disappearance sets Anjir on a quest through Iran, where being openly gay is criminalized, and the government’s apparent acceptance of trans people requires them to surgically transition and pass as cis straight people. Steeped in ancient Persian and Greek myths, and brimming with poetic vulnerability, subversive bite, and noirish grit, Medusa of the Roses is a page-turning wallop of a story.

“Very rarely does a book come along that you feel might save lives, including your own. In giving voice to the ultimate voiceless in Iran, Sinaki has written a witty and wild tale truly for the best of our beloved angels and devils. He has taken our shared cultures and done something none of us Iranian writers have managed: he gets to the heart of the damaged and damaging politics of our homeland by turning despair into art that’s so invigorating and thrilling, we quite nearly have a new genre. Medusa of the Roses is the most dynamic literary debut, certainly of the Iranian queer canon, I have ever read!”—Porochista Khakpour, author Sons & Other Flammable Objects and Tehrangeles


Frighten the Horses by Oliver Radclyffe (Out September 7, 2024)

A sharply written memoir, Frighten the Horses is a trans man’s coming of age story, about a housewife who comes out as a lesbian and tentatively, at first, steps into the world of queerness. With growing courage and the support of his newfound community, Oliver is finally able to face the question of his gender identity and become the man he is supposed to be. The story of a flawed, fascinating, gorgeously queer man, Frighten the Horses introduces Oliver Radclyffe as a witty, arresting, unforgettable voice.

“The inspiring true story of one man’s extraordinary journey of escape from the wrong marriage, the wrong gender, the wrong life, in order to become who he was always meant to be. This book is as sharp as razors, but it also pulses with a passionate, desperate, human urgency for truth and liberation. I am deeply grateful to have read it, and my hope is that Oliver’s story will free many others, as well.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls