Good Gay Books

Books, Boys (Girls), & Breakdowns: Queerty’s Tres (Quasi) Gay Summer Reading List

Before I became a writer, I was a reader. In my heart, I’m still reader, except now I read less for pleasure than for writing technique. This shift began during the multiple rewrites of my first novel, hidden. I found myself gravitating towards – or, discovering – books that featured similar scenarios people on-the-run (Dalia Sofer’s The Septembers of Shiraz), people living underground (Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta), or that were written in first person (E.R. Frank’s America, and Patricia McCormick’s Cut).The idea of a being a published novelist or, having written a first novel is great. Except now I need to write a second one. Summer’s a good time for beginnings, and I’m in the process of learning what it’s like to start working on a new novel. In that spirit, I recently picked up The Virgin Suicides (the Jeffrey Eugenides novel about five suicidal sisters). Curious to know if there were other novels written in the (little used) first person plural (basically, “we”), I found In The Gloaming: Stories (Alice Elliott Dark), a short story collection featuring “Watch The Animals,” and promptly ordered it from Book Soup, my favorite indie book seller. A copy arrived two days ago, and it was everything I wanted – lapidary prose.This is all in the way of announcing my summer fav reading list. Below, Queerty rounded up some great summer book reads. Yes, it’s pretty random (and subjective), but I believe this is as good a guide to queer books as any.

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  • Lefty

    Why the picture of Josh Hartnett?
    Not that I’m complaining, but I don’t understand its relevance.

  • Alex G DeWitt

    Great list! I might also recommend The Metropolis Case, by queer writer Matthew Gallaway.

  • edfu

    If you’re going to write about literature, I would suggest that you need an editor. Actually, even a proofreader would correct all of your manifold errors.

  • David Ehrenstein

    One ought to read Highsmith before reading about her life. This is the third bio so far — and reportedly the one with the best dish. Of her books “Strangers on a Train” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley” are acknowledged classics. I reccomend “The Blunderer,” “Cry of the Owl,” and her last novel “small g” — a very different book from all the others.

    Highsmith is Diestoevsky without religion and a determination to KICK ASS at all times

  • Steve

    If you have a story to tell, the telling is easy. If you focus on the telling, but do not have a story to tell, the telling is very difficult. Find a story that needs to be told, before trying to focus on the telling.

    History is often a good source of stories. Using history as a source of story ideas, provides the authenticity of story and character that allows the telling to unfold easily. People on-the-run, or living-underground, could easily describe the way gay people had to live until recently. First-person is the only way to tell those stories, since usually no one else would have known.

    I suggest two volumes by Yale history professor John Boswell: “Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century”; and “Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe”.

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