If you love reading, this extensive list of books is just for you! Cherry on the top being they're all LGBTQIA+ friendly!
Books are a passage for many to explore culture, communities, people, and their stories. And this also includes taking the effort to read stories that capture the day-to-day lives of people from the LGBTQIA+ community. Not to mention how fun it is to sit with a cup of coffee, curled up on a sofa with an interesting book and a shawl for company! We're taking a conscious step in understanding stories of the queer community that are written by some great authors and recommended by book bloggers like Chittajit Mitra, Saimon, Harshpreet, Chhavi Bhansal, and Nupur Lakhe.
Check out this list of books that these book bloggers recommend this month!
Mohanaswamy by Vasudhendra (Translated by Rashmi Terdal)
Mohanaswamy has just lost his long-time partner, Karthik, to a woman. Even as he scrutinizes himself, the choices he’s made, the friends and lovers he’s gained and lost, Mohanaswamy dreams of living a simple, dignified life. A life that would allow him to leave, even forget the humiliation and fears of adolescence, the slurs his mind still carries around, and the despair that made him crave to conform. A coming out of the closet story for Vasudhendra himself, these stories of homosexual love and lives jolted Kannada readers out of their notions of the literary and the palatable. The gritty narratives of Mohanaswamy explore sexuality, urbanization, and class with nuance and unflinching honesty that will both unnerve and move readers in English and serve as a fine introduction to one of the strongest voices in Kannada literature.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
It is not about being ready, it is not even about being fierce or fearless, It's about being free. Michael waits in the stage wings, wearing a pink wig, pink fluffy coat, and black heels. One more step will see him illuminated by the spotlight. He has been on a journey of bravery to get here, and he is almost ready to show himself to the world in bold colors. Can he emerge as The Black Flamingo?
Sasha Masha by Agnes Borinsky
Alex feels like he is in the wrong body. His skin feels strange against his bones. And then comes Tracy, who thinks he’s adorably awkward, who wants to kiss him, who makes him feel like a Real Boy. But it is not quite enough. Something is missing. As Alex grapples with his identity, he finds himself trying on dresses and swiping on lipstick in the quiet of his bedroom. He meets Andre, a gay boy who is beautiful and unafraid to be who he is. Slowly, Alex begins to realize, maybe his name isn’t Alex at all. Maybe it’s Sasha Masha.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends included) with the smallest dash of adulting―working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating―no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done. But then Alice meets Takumi, and she can’t stop thinking about him, or the rom-com- grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!). When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she is willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated, or understood.
I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver
When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school. But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.
On Earth, We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
This is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born. It tells of Vietnam, of the lasting impact of war, and of his family’s struggle to forge a new future. And it serves as a doorway into parts of Little Dog’s life his mother has never known - episodes of bewilderment, fear, and passion - all the while moving closer to an unforgettable revelation.
Blue is the Warmest Color by Jul’ Maroh
In this tender, bittersweet, full-color graphic novel, a young woman named Clementine discovers herself and the elusive magic of love when she meets a confident blue-haired girl named Emma. It’s a lesbian love story for the ages that bristles with the energy of youth and rebellion and the eternal light of desire.
The Boy In The Cupboard by Harshala Gupte & illustrated by Priya Dali
Karan’s favorite place in the whole world is his cupboard. If he’s not at school, he’s in the cupboard. Even if he goes out to play with his friends, he’ll be back inside the cupboard before you know it. And somehow, no one’s asked him why until one day, Ma does. And even though Ma usually knows everything, she didn’t know what Karan was going to say. A heartfelt tale about a boy trying to understand himself and his place in the world, The Boy in the Cupboard is for everyone who’s ever questioned something they were blindly asked to believe in.
These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever
Usually, when people talk about queer books, the majority that we see are about timid, nice characters finding love for the first time, and while I ADORE those stories, I crave more complexities and nuances in queer literature, and this book does that. It’s about two queer guys who find each other but are also toxic to one another. It explores a more messy dynamic, and it’s written so beautifully!
Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
Most mainstream queer stories are very white, and while they’re great, they’re not that relatable to me sometimes. Funny Boy is one of the first few books I saw myself in. It’s about a Sri Lankan Tamizh queer guy growing up during the Sri Lankan civil war. It starts off as a coming-of-age story and delves into the Sri Lankan Tamizh genocide while still intricately weaving his sexuality into the story. It’s so beautifully written.
If We Were Villains by M L Rio
It is such an interesting, engrossing book as it explores the closeness of friendships and the subtlety of queer love. This book revolves around murder and Shakespeare, and it is one of the most beautifully written books to exist.
Loveless by Alice Oseman
When I first heard about this book, I was skeptical, to say the least. You never really see aromantic-asexual representation in YA, let alone as the main character, and by a mainstream author like Oseman. Loveless is an Own Voices novel, so it definitely is not representative of the entire community. I devoured the novel the day it came out, and I don’t think I realized prior to reading it, how much I needed a novel like this, where I could see myself in it. Not only that, it felt like Oseman had written about me, an aroace who loved the idea of love, who grew up watching romcoms of all sorts, only to realize one day that it might not be my reality. The idea of coming to terms with the fact that I might not get a romance at all, the realization that platonic love is as important, if not more, than romantic love, everything feels like pulled out of my mind. Georgia’s story hits home in every aspect, even the part where the entire crew puts up a play because I did the same in my second year of university. I have always wanted someone like Sunil in my life, but the book comes as a close replacement. I know this book will always be special to me. I hope it is for you too.
Love, Simon by Becky Albertalli
Love, Simon is probably the sweetest book you can read this month!
Simon is in high school and is anonymously texting with a guy whose pen name is ‘Blue’. The two gradually fall in love, but Simon is in for heartbreak now. He doesn’t know that Blue is planning on remaining anonymous forever! On top of that, Simon is bent on lying to his friends to protect his own identity, and this makes him miserable.
Love, Simon reminds you of the sweet teenage love when it was all chatting and blushing. This book will definitely make you shed happy tears, and this is why this book is a must-read for this month!
Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
It is the story of two boys, Aristotle and Dante, who meet during the summer holidays and become inseparable friends. Ari is the strong and silent one, and Dante is the one whom everyone adores. They revel in each other’s company and bring out the best in each other. And one day, one of them realizes that he is in love with the other, but it is unreciprocated love. This one here is another sweet and summery read. We see the bond between 2 friends, a bond that is tested on every step and emerges victorious at the end.
Enigma Variations by Andre Aciman
This book is divided into four parts, each of which describes a love affair of the protagonist. Though each affair is shown fleetingly, the book still manages to convey a lot in a few pages. It is heavy, emotional, and sizzling at points.
If you are a regular and advanced reader, you should definitely go for this one.
Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
Okay, I have recommended enough sweet reads, and now it is time for a steamy one! Call me by your name is an internationally acclaimed novel and rightly deserves all the praise.
When Oliver comes to Elio’s house as a summer guest, Elio instantly becomes smitten by him, and Oliver finds himself reciprocating Elio’s feelings. No matter how much they try to stay away, they eventually find their way back to each other and have a beautiful six weeks. But now, it’s time for Oliver to leave. ‘Call me by your name’ is personally my favorite LGBTQ read. It is steamy, intimate, and absolutely gorgeous. This book also has a sequel – Find me, and has been turned into a movie too.
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
It is a story of self-acceptance and body love. They base their book on the concept of Ogbanje that finds its roots in African myths. As we learn about Ada, the protagonist, a world of mythos fuses into a cosmos that Emezi constructs for us through her sharp and brilliant writing. It is riveting but does step into a few themes that could prove triggering.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
This book wrestles the cusp of stringent religious beliefs of a community that refuses to accept homosexuality, chastising it as a sin and the work of a demon, and a girl’s struggle to realize her truth. She writes: “What makes life difficult for homosexuals is not their perversity but other people”. Winterson’s words touch factuality like no other: Incisive and iridescent.
So Now You Know: A Memoir of Growing Up Gay in India by Vivek Tejuja
It is a valuable addition to the LGBTQ genre as it doles out equal measures of relatability and courage. Vivek’s language brims with sentiments, and his sentences a soliloquy of honest words.
Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar
It is a book that befits the adage we hear often- Love is Love. Translated from the Marathi by Jerry Pinto is this beautifully written book about a sibling pair. They each carry their version of love safe in their hearts when both fall in love with their paying guest. The story set in the domesticity of a middle-class family rings with nuanced narratives that tread the territories of loss, identity, and self-knowledge as love ebbs and flows.
Which of these books have you already read? Do you have any book recommendations for us? Tell us in the comments below!
Co-authored by Abhishansa Mathur and Arushi Dusaj
Also Read: 5 e-books you can read over the weekend
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