Here at Books That Matter we wanted to recommend some must-read LGBTQ+ literature to celebrate Pride Month. Of course, we encourage you to engage with these incredible authors throughout the year. However, it is especially important as we protest for and remember the oppression of LGBTQ+ communities both historically and today. We’ve included some fiction, non-fiction, new releases and literary classics – they’ll be excellent additions to your bookshelf:
Boy Erased, Gerrard Conley
A memoir, the author charts his experience of an institutionalised twelve-step conversion programme that attempted to ‘cleanse him’ of his sexuality. Growing up in a deeply religious family in rural Arkansas, Conley grappled with his own sense of identity, his family’s opinions and the church community that were the backbone of his town. Against the brutal conversion programme and the wishes of his family, this memoir describes his fight to protect his sexuality, identity and freedom.
Bustle describes the book as “a moving memoir about discovering your true self, Boy Erased is a must-read.”
Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde
From the iconic black lesbian poet and feminist Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider is a collection of essays and speeches that address the intersections of inequalities and experiences; sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia and class. Lorde was a literary powerhouse and activist who confronted inequality throughout her lifetime and this is just one of her incredible works.
“[Lorde’s] works will be important to those truly interested in growing up sensitive, intelligent, and aware.”—The New York Times
Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman
A modern classic, Call Me By Your Name is an intensely addictive love story that spans the summer holidays of 17 year old Elio. When an American student, Oliver, comes to stay with the family in the golden sun of the Italian Riviera, they begin a magnetic relationship of discovery that will change them both forever. Vivid, beautiful and heartbreaking, it’s a must-read.
The New Yorker writes “A coming-of-age story, a coming-out story, a Proustian meditation on time and desire, a love letter, an invocation and something of an epitaph.”
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere is the wonderful new novel from author Celeste Ng. Following the lives of two families in a small town called Shaker Heights in 1990’s Ohio, this page-turner explores themes of belonging, identity, family secrets and sexuality through the relationships between mothers and daughters. When single-mother Mia and daughter Pearl move into town, their lives become intertwined with the all-too-perfect Richardson family and drama soon ensues.
Reese Witherspoon (who has produced a television adaptation) describes the book: ‘It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection.’
The Unbound, Arlene Stein
This non-fiction exploration of the experience of transgender men in America is a timely and powerful account of trans men’s voices. From the perspective of the men themselves, their friends and families; and the activists who are spearheading this debate, trans experience is vividly projected by the author. In our current climate this book could not feel more necessary to elevate the voices and experiences of those who must be heard.
“Earnest, diligent and defiantly optimistic” —Parul Sehgal, The New York Times.
Olivia, Dorothy Strachey
Olivia is a coming of age, coming of sexuality story of passionate first love. First published in 1949, it is a classic piece of lesbian fiction that follows the life of Olivia, a sixteen-year-old-girl who moves to a Parisian finishing school to further her education. Once there, Olivia meets Mademoiselle Julie who becomes her obsession for the rest of a passionate academic year.
Author Andre Aciman writes, “I read Olivia many, many times, bought it for many of my friends, and consider it the inspiration for Call Me by Your Name.”
Written by Ellie Stebbing