In honor of LGBTQ pride, here is a show-stopping book list that describes the lives, struggles, and strengths of LGBTQ characters and people, fact or fiction. These 11 books celebrate the spirit of the movement and implore us, at any age, to build a better world.
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, 1956 (Fiction)
An American, separated from his fiancée, becomes involved in an intense relationship with a young Italian bartender while in Paris. Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, 1952 (Fiction)
A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover. Erotic, eloquent and suspenseful, this story offers an honest look at the necessity of being true to one's nature.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker, 1982 (Fiction)
Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters—one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South—who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration and an indomitable love of life.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, 1985 (Fiction)
Jeanette is a bright and rebellious orphan who is adopted into an evangelical household in the dour, industrial North of England and finds herself embroidering grim religious mottoes and shaking her little tambourine for Jesus. But as this budding missionary comes of age, and comes to terms with her unorthodox sexuality, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household dissolves. Jeanette's insistence on listening to the truths of her own heart and mind—and on reporting them with wit and passion—makes for an unforgettable chronicle of an eccentric, moving passage into adulthood.
Love is Love : A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting by IDW Publishing with DC Entertainment, 2016 (Graphic Novel)
The comic book industry comes together to honor those killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting, which took place on June 12, 2016, in Orlando. From IDW Publishing, with assistance from DC Entertainment, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics—mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community and examining love in today's world.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, 2006 (Non-Fiction/Graphic Novel)
A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, this breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic — and redemptive.
Husbands by Brad Bell and Jane Espenson, 2013 (Graphic Novel)
Husbands tells the story of famous gay newlyweds Brady and Cheeks, who sparked a media firestorm when they woke up legally wed after a drunken Vegas weekend. Now, a mystical wedding gift launches the couple on a series of adventures-a tongue-in-cheek journey through iconic genre realms-filled with obstacles that threaten to tear them apart. Follow Brady and Cheeks into a superhero showdown, a fairytale fantasy, a Holmesian mystery, an epic galactic battle, a madcap high school romp and a saucy secret-spy thrill ride.
Seriously– I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres, 2011 (Biography/Memoir)
The stand-up comedian, television host, bestselling author and actress candidly discusses her personal life and professional career and describes what it was like to become a judge on American Idol.
Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, 1983 (Biography)
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades. This New York Times-bestselling biography is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life, but also a tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program—all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.
Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays by David Sedaris, 1994 (Non-Fiction/Essay)
A force of humor and an icon of the queer experience, David Sedaris’s collection of essays and stories targets the soulful ridiculousness of our behavior. Barrel Fever is a rollicking tour through the national Zeitgeist: a do-it-yourself suburban dad saves money by performing home surgery; a man who is loved too much flees the heavyweight champion of the world; a teenage suicide tries to incite a lynch mob at her funeral; a bitter Santa abuses the elves. In Sedaris's world, no one is safe and no cow is sacred.
The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyn Jenner, 2017 (Biography)
In this remarkable memoir, written during her pivotal first years of becoming her authentic self, Caitlyn Jenner reflects on her past as she looks to her future. Bruce Jenner, the celebrated Olympic icon and later the patriarch of one of the most famous families in the world, describes a lifelong struggle with gender dysphoria. Since then, Caitlyn has undertaken an arduous emotional and physical odyssey to achieve the completeness she always felt was missing.