17 of the best queer books you should check out now

Featuring fab graphic novels, essential autobiographies, stunning essays and captivating fiction, here's a round up of excellent queer books recommended by the GCN team!

A collage of book covers

Looking for some queer books and need a recommendation? Well, take a look at these 17 queer themed titles. As part of our #Gaylypicks series, Team GCN gathered together their top tips to fill your bookshelves or stock up on for that staycation and we’ve rounded them up here for you to take your pick.

With a host of thrilling, shocking, hilarious and entertaining stories to choose from, let’s start the rundown.

At Swim Two Boys – Jamie O’Neill

On its release in 2001, At Swim, Two Boys was an event. Set in Dublin, it charts the growing relationship between two young men against the backdrop of the 1916 rising. With favourable comparisons to James Joyce, it’s considered an Irish classic.


Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay

A collection of funny and insightful essays from Roxane Gay charting the journey of her evolution and commenting on the state of feminism today. An inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better from one of our important cultural critics.


Carmilla – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Irish author Le Fanu’s classic Gothic novella is one of the earliest works of vampire fiction, preceding Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It tells the story of a female vampire who seduces young women.


Christodora – Tim Murphy

Four decades of art, drugs and the AIDS crisis in New York, as experienced by several characters who are all connected by the Christodora apartment block. One of the best queer themed books in years.


The Deepest Breath – Meg Grehan

When Stevie, an 11 year-old girl, develops feelings for her friend Chloe, she finds stories of girls just like her and builds up the courage to tell her mum. Aimed at younger readers, this is absolutely charming.


Dry – Augusten Burroughs

Filled with dark humour which will have you laughing one minute and crying the next, Dry is an autobiographical book about Augusten Burroughs’ battle with alcohol. It’s a painful but hilarious insight into the emotional turmoil of the struggles of addiction.


Fun Home – Alison Bechdel

Adapted into a musical and soon to be a film, Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir of growing up queer focuses on the author’s complicated relationship with her father who himself struggled with his sexuality. A powerful read.


A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue – Mackenzi Lee

The queer YA historical novel you didn’t know you needed, it features a young bisexual British lord embarking on an Grand Tour of Europe with his secret crush. Fantastically fun.


Maurice – EM Forster

Originally written in 1914, Maurice would remain unpublished for 45 years. Due to the possible repercussions of writing about homosexual experiences in the early 1900’s, this essential novel was not released until after Forster’s death.


Party Monster – James St James

Seen the film? Nothing can prepare you for the book. Originally titled Disco Bloodbath, this is an insane, and hilarious, look at New York’s original club kids. It has debauchery, horror and murder. And it’s all true.


Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl – Andrea Lawlor

Non-binary author Lawlor’s award winning novel is a sexy, playful and wonderfully queer story of love featuring a being who can shift genders at will journeying through 1990’s America.


Runaways – created by Brian K Vaughan

This critically acclaimed comic featuring LGBT+ characters and themes tells the story of a group of teenagers who discover their parents are supervillains. It’s fun, moving and well worth a read (or a watch, since it’s also now a TV series).


Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde

This is an essential read by the black lesbian poet and feminist writer, Audre Lorde. A charged collection of 15 essays, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change.


Stone Butch Blues – Leslie Feinberg

This acclaimed novel looks at the world through the eyes of Jess Goldberg, a butch lesbian living in the 1970’s. It powerfully evokes history and politics while portraying an extraordinary protagonist full of longing, vulnerability, and working-class grit.


Stung With Love – Sappho

Sappho is a symbol of female homosexuality. The word ‘lesbian’ is an allusion to Sappho, originating from the island of Lesbos, where she was born. In ancient times Sappho was regarded as one of the greatest lyric poets, Stung with Love is a translation of her surviving poetry.


Swimming In The Dark – Tomasz Jedrowski

Given the current situation in Poland, Swimming in the Dark gives context to the situation faced by LGBT+ people in a country currently being run by a deeply homophobic government.


Tales Of The City – Armistead Maupin

While the TV series have been fine, nothing beats the original Tales of the City series. Focusing on the lives and loves of the Barbary Lane gang in San Francisco, these books had a huge impact on introducing queer stories to the mainstream.

So there we have it, what queer books will you stock up on?

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