Six Classic Works Of Gay Literature Everyone Should Read In The New Year

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The new year is all about breaking old, bad habits and establish new, healthier ones. Consider kicking off 2016 by burying your nose in a great work of classic gay literature. Reading is not only good for stimulating the mind and fueling the imagination, but it’s damn sexy to boot. (These photos prove it.) After all, who isn’t attracted to a guy who’s intellectually curious?

Scroll down for six classic works of gay literature to add to your reading list in 2016…

The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal


Gore Vidal’s landmark novel is a must-read for every gay man. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book, do. The coming-of-age novel tells the story of Jim Willard, a young All-American tennis player, and his obsessive relationship with his best friend, Bob. The book was met with a storm of controversy when it was first published in 1948, but it has since gone on to be considered a time-honored classic in gay literature.

Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris


E. Lynn Harris initially self-published this debut novel in 1991. In 1994, it was re-issued by Doubleday, received critical acclaim and launched Harris’ prolific, albeit tragically short-lived, career. The story revolves around Raymond Winston Tyler Jr., a young bisexual black man, as he embarks on a journey of sexual discovery and quickly finds himself torn between a woman and a married male lover.

Dancer From The Dance by Andrew Holleran


Andrew Holleran’s 1978 short debut novel depicts the misadventures of Malone, a young man looking for love in New York City’s thriving gay scene. Traveling from Manhattan’s Everard Baths and late-night discos to Fire Island’s vacant parks and lavish orgies, Malone looks high and low for some sort of meaningful companionship.

Before Night Falls: A Memoir by Reinaldo Arenas


Reinaldo Arenas’s riveting 1994 memoir recounts his journey from a poverty-stricken childhood in rural Cuba and his adolescence as a rebel fighting for Castro, through his supression as a writer, imprisonment as a homosexual, his flight from Cuba via the Mariel boat lift, and his subsequent life and the events leading to his death in New York. In 2000, the book was made into an equally-riveting film starring Javier Bardem.

Dear Lupin: Letters to a Wayward Son by Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer


This witty and heartwarming book tracks the correspondence between a father and his gay son. When the book begins, Charlie, the son, is studying at Eton, although the studying itself is not a priority, much to his father’s chagrin. After Charlie graduates and begins traveling the world, Roger continues to write regularly, offering advice as well as humorous updates from home. The correspondence is packed with warmth, humor and wisdom that offer a unique insight into the relationship between a father and son.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin


James Baldwin’s 1956 magnum opus follows David, an American living in Paris, as he navigates through his homosexual desires and the frustrations that come with them, particularly his feelings for an Italian bartender named Giovanni. Years after its publication, Baldwin revealed that when he first turned in the manuscript to his publisher, they told him to burn it, warning him that the themes of homosexuality would alienate readers. Baldwin chose to publish it anyway and the book went on to be considered one of the best LGBTQ novels ever written.

Related: Six Pioneering Gay Writers Who Helped Bring HIV/AIDS To The American Forefront