In this age of constantly shuttering gay bookstores, it is nice to think back on the not-so-distant past when in any major city one could walk into a store and spend hours perusing titles by Gay and Lesbian authors or on LGBT themes. So it’s with a touch of nostalgia that I read the opening paragraphs to Benoit Denizet-Lewis’s recent feature for The Good Men Project: The Best LGBT Books of All Time. He writes of walking into the recently-shuttered A Different Light bookstore in San Francisco for the first time, the same way I once walked into the also closed Lambda Rising in DC. He picked up a copy of Larry Kramer’s Faggots; I picked out John Rechy’s City of Night.
In his piece for the Good Men Project, Mr. Denizet-Lewis asked some of the most notable LGBT authors and literary figures such as Michael Cunningham, John Waters, Edmund White, Kate Bornstein, and Sarah Schulman to contribute a list of “five books that every LGBT person should have on his bookshelf (or Kindle).” The most popular selection was James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Other popular selections included works by Marcel Proust, Jean Genet, and Virginia Woolf. Personally I was very happy to see some of my favorites like Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story and Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty get their due.
What would be on your list of the top 5 LGBT books?