Life·11 min read

18 Books Featuring LGBTQ+ Stories We're Reading for Pride

Our Fave Books Featuring LGBTQ+ Stories for Pride
Design: theSkimm | Photos: Atria Books, One World, Little, Brown and Company
Jun 21, 2022

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This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated.

June is Pride Month, a time to champion the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight for equality. This month also marks a moment to remember how far we still have to go. So we've pulled together a list of LGBTQ+ reads to share some voices and stories. We’ve got memoirs, novels, essay collections, and more. Check ‘em out…

“Girls Can Kiss Now” by Jill Gutowitz

This collection blends humor and the deeply personal à la Samantha Irby to create this set of compulsively readable, LOL-worthy essays about pop culture and queerness. Gutowitz’s book covers everything from the time the FBI showed up at her home because of a tweet she wrote about “Game of Thrones” to the impact “Orange Is the New Black” had on her and her sexuality. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“I Kissed Shara Wheeler” by Casey McQuiston

Calling “Red, White & Royal Blue” and “One Last Stop” fans. Casey McQuiston is back. This time we're heading to the fictional Willowgrove Christian Academy in Alabama. After 'it' girl Shara Wheeler goes missing on prom night, her academic rival, Chloe, decides to investigate her disappearance. The catch? The two recently kissed… and she’s using notes that Shara’s left behind to try and find her. It has “Pretty Little Liars” meets “Cruel Summer” vibes and will keep ya hooked until the last page. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“Detransition, Baby” by Torrey Peters 

This one’s about what happens when your friends become your fam. When Ames (who detransitioned) finds out his boss is pregnant with his baby, he proposes raising the child with his ex — a trans woman in NYC who desperately wants to be a mother. The trio becomes an unconventional family in this comedic and thoroughly modern novel. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“A Song for You” by Robyn Crawford 

We all have friendships that have shaped our lives. Not all of those friends have also shaped the American music landscape. In this memoir, Robyn Crawford finally speaks out about her close friendship and secret romance with Whitney Houston. She writes: “We were friends. We were lovers. We were everything to each other.” Don’t miss it. (Amazon)

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“Gay Bar” by Jeremy Atherton Lin

Lin’s stylish debut explores the history and cultural resonance of gay bars. In it, he embarks on a transatlantic tour of dive bars and nightclubs and drops personal stories and history lessons along the way. It’s a wistful exploration of queer life, history, liberation, and identity. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“Milk Fed” by Melissa Broder 

This one follows a 24-year-old in LA who has an unhealthy obsession with her body and food — until she becomes infatuated with a young "irrefutably fat" woman who works at her favorite frozen yogurt store. Cue a deeply original story of lust, fantasy, and body acceptance. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“Real Queer America” by Samantha Allen

A former Mormon missionary turned award-winning trans journalist catalogs her cross-country road trip to show off the networks of allies and LGBTQ+ networks in “flyover country.” Her journey is filled with compelling anecdotes about meeting the first openly trans mayor in Texas and the manager of a queer nightclub in Indiana. It sheds light on often overlooked groups and the shifting climate for LGBTQ+ communities in red states. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“And the Band Played On” by Randy Shilts  

This one’s considered one of the most important works of reporting during the AIDS crisis. Shilts threads narratives from the heroes of the science, health, and gay communities against the backstory of how the AIDS crisis grew into an epidemic. The book went on to become an international bestseller and later a critically adored movie. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


"One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston 

Here's a buzzy love story about a cynical 23-year-old who falls for a woman she saw on the NYC subway. The only catch? The woman’s a time traveler from the ‘70s who’s stuck on the Q train. It turns into a sweet romance filled with super-relatable millennial references. And it’s one you’ll finish in a single sitting. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“A Wild and Precious Life” by Edie Windsor with Joshua Lyon

Published posthumously, this memoir is all about Edie’s life as a leader in the LGBTQ+ community. She was thrust into the spotlight when the SCOTUS recognized her marriage to her partner — a decision that helped pave the way for the 2015 ruling that made same-sex marriage legal. The book covers everything from her childhood and her time rising through the ranks at IBM to her love life and role as an activist. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“Over the Top” by Jonathan Van Ness

JVN hears you, honey. “The Queer Eye” star’s memoir covers his journey from misunderstood Midwestern kid to everyone’s favorite hype guy. Whether you’re his biggest fan or new to his brand of self-love, he demonstrates all the ways that being yourself isn’t a bad thing. He also writes about some of the darker times in his life. And opens up about being HIV positive, past sexual abuse and drug addiction, trauma, and more. Psst: Van Ness narrates his audiobook so if you’re looking for a book to listen to, the Audible version is a great option. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“Eleanor and Hick” by Susan Quinn 

Meet Lorena Hickok. Maybe you know about her — maybe you don’t. She was a reporter and a VIP to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. And together, their relationship made the history books. Quinn documents the duo’s relationship over 30 years — from a friendship to a professional relationship to a romantic one, and more. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“Forcing the Spring” by Jo Becker

This one’s an investigative, behind-the-curtain look at five vital years in the fight for marriage equality. Starting with California’s ban on same-sex marriages, this book covers scenes from inside the Oval to behind the judge’s chambers. It’s a go-to for any political or judicial junkie. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde

Icon alert. Lorde's a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and is famous for her activism and lyrical prose. You might also know her work from her famous quotes like “Your silence will not protect you” and “Women are powerful and dangerous.” In this collection of essays, Lorde explores sexism, racism, homophobia, and class. Though it was written in 1984, it still holds up today. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“What We Do in the Dark” by Michelle Hart

This “Conversations with Friends”-esque coming-of-age novel follows a college freshman, who begins an affair with an older, married professor. It’s a story of self-discovery that explores grief, loneliness, and the aftermath of a seemingly toxic relationship. Plus, it’s filled with all that hyper-specific Rooney-esque writing we can’t get enough of. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado

This 2020 memoir is about an abusive same-sex relationship between two women. Machado uses multiple narrative traditions (think: romance, horror, stoner comedy, self-help), which also mirrors the unstable, always shifting reality of living with an abuser. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“Wow, No Thank You.” by Samantha Irby 

This collection of essays will make you spit out your drink. Irby brings an absurdity to the everyday with a sharp voice and no-BS humor. She lets you in on life with her wife, bad friend dates, trying to make it as a writer in Hollywood, and more. (Amazon, Bookshop)

Read


“A Year Without a Name” by Cyrus Dunham 

This deeply personal memoir centers on the transgender experience with nuance and lyrical prose. Dunham grapples with their identity, their childhood, “bodily claustrophobia,” their sister Lena's rise to fame, and intimacy — all told through a clear, fresh voice. (Amazon, Bookshop)

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