Queerty is better as a member
I STRONGLY recommend you guys to read “The Last of The Wine” by Mary Renault. It is the best gay-themed book I’ve ever read. It is not very sexy. It is about love and ideals. It is beautiful. It takes place in Greece in the fifth century BC. It is a historical novel and Aristotle is one of the characters. If you read it, you will never forget it.
Not Aristotle, I meant Socrates. Aristotle came a bit later.
This list is as whitewashed as your site, gay culture, and gay history. There are more essential reads than the plight of the white gay male. Do your research. Here are just a few more if your interest go beyond white gay history.
Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
B Boy Blues – James Earl Hardy
Any novel by E. Lynn Harris
Crystal Boys by Pai Hsien-yung
Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
I read Giovanni´s room. I found it full of self hatred, bordering prejudice. The guy was an idiot. I hated the book. It is outdated. It only has historical value.
These are all worthwhile reads, but I must add French writer Eric Jourdain’s “Wicked Angels”. He wrote it at 17 and it is quite impressive. It is not the most literarily advanced book out there but his prose is gorgeous and it will take you back to that age. It might leave you there permanently.
At Swim Two Boys by Jsmie O’Neill
Maurice by E. M. Forster
While England Sleeps by David Leavitt
Good Times, Bad Times by James Kirkwood
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
…and a great non-fiction book: Eminent Outlaws by Christopher Bram
@davejohn: I read The Price of Salt and I can confirm that it is a good book. Patricia Highsmith was a genius, and she wrote many novels, specially the Ripley series, which had gay subtext. Lots of gay subtext. I strongly recommend gay guys to read the Ripley Series.
By the way, The Price of Salt is becoming a movie, which will be released in 2015. Carol will be played by Cate Blanchett, a fabulous actress. The name of the movie is just “Carol”. Check imdb.
City of the Night by John Recky was the first gay themed book I’ve ever read. I read every subsequent book he wrote after that. Great for historical reference to gay life in the 60s and 70′s. Although, with some of his books like numbers he got so graphic I had to J/O every so often they turned me on so much:)
I might also add Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson, Ghost Letters (a collection of poems) by Richard McCann, and Another Country by James Baldwin.
Gotta recommend The Buddy Cycle series by Ethan Mordden.
It’s a bit disappointing there is so little contemporary gay fiction and nonfiction available (as in, the setting being this decade). I have pretty much read everything available already. People seem to have stopped writing much about their lives.
For those who enjoy fantasy try the Mercedes Lackey trilogy “Magic’s pawn”, “magic’s promise”, “magic’s price”. It’s about a gay teenager who is rejected by his family and becomes a hero. And there’s a love story.
Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan, ISBN 9780307975645, Knopf, 2013
The book is marketed as a young adult novel and used in some high schools, however it is worth reading as an adult.
The narrators of the book are from the viewpoint of men whose youth was ‘back then’; I am of about that age, and it depicts accurately how I perceive gay youth as they live their lives now. So much good news compared to ‘back then’, kids living lives we could only have wished for, and also the pain when some young people do not get the benefit of the progress we fought for and gained in last few decades. Although I write about the viewpoint of the narrator, the book is really the stories of young men in a small city and the people in their lives. The narrative voice provides continuity and perspective over the various story arcs. – See more at: http://vpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/3497896038_two_boys_kissing#sthash.dvttFDuE.dpuf
@Billy Budd: A lot of Mary Renault’s books have a gay subtext/gay plot and are equally great reads. My favorite is her book, The Charioteer, and her books on Alexander the Great–Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy. Her historical fiction as a whole is very well researched and has a detailed, immersive environment.
Another favorite of mine is “As Meat Loves Salt.” Maybe not the the most significant in terms of gay literature, but it’s still entertaining as gay fiction. Rather tragic conclusion, and both main characters end up being rather deplorable, but it really is a great depiction of a toxic romance.
I also eat up anything by David Sedaris. The man is wry and witty. He has a knack for leading you on this maze of an unbelievable spectacle in his life, only to drive home a pretty reflective revelation.
Thank you to Queerty and you guys in the comment section for the great recommendations. Now I have so many books to read :)
@crepuscule: Yes, I have the ENTIRE collection of books by Mary Renault, including the trilogy on Alexander The Great. You forgot to mention Funeral Games. But her masterpiece is THE LAST OF THE WINE. To read this book for the first time is an unforgettable experience. It stays with you forever.
Please guys, do read this book. You won’t regret it. It shows how beautiful, how noble, how profound a relationship between two men can be.
BTW, I should mention that when Mary Renault released her books, many reviewers believed that she was a MAN hiding behind a pseudonym. They argued that only a man could understand other men so well. And I must admit it is true, she completely understands the male persona. Her books could easily have been written by a guy.
@equilius23: Thanks for the recs! I agree. Queerty needs a little bit (read: a lot) more color.
@David Gervais: I just finished Two Boys Kissing yesterday and thought it couldn’t be any better. Perfect from the opening sentences clear through the acknowledgements. A must read – which is more than I can say about David Leavitt’s The Two Hotels Francfort, a truly sub-par effort by one of our better writers.
@Billy Budd: Fine, sold! I’ll d/l it to my phone for my commute.
@equilius23: My favorite Baldwin novel is “Just Above My Head”. It’s colossal!
@Billy Budd: I couldn’t disagree with you anymore. You cannot read books in a vacuum and not take into account the time in which the author wrote the work. Baldwin was a black male who lived during racial segregation in America. That “rightful” anger is reflected in his pages, but so is his love and passion for loving another man. I found the book my first time in college and fell in love with the work.
@Scribe38: The thing is, I find that books that focus on self hatred and self denial are not interesting, outdated and boring. I have no patience for this. Sorry. No.
12 Irrefutable, Amazing Reasons We Need More Diversity In Books http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/02/we-need-diverse-books_n_5253934.html@Billy Budd:
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