What books should be required reading for the budding LGBT bibliophile? In honor of gay pride month, writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis, writing for the website The Good Men Project, surveyed some of the country’s top LGBT authors to get the answer.

Denizet-Lewis writes:

I wish someone had given me a list of required gay reading when I was coming out. Gay men gave me a lot of things back then (porn, theater tickets, crabs), but no one gave me book titles. As a young gay man, I could have used a literary roadmap to help me put my experiences—and my feelings—in some historical and sociological context. As a young writer, I could have used being better read. Why didn’t anyone tell me that I needed to know who Paul Monette was?

Denizet-Lewis’s article offers a much needed “reading list” corrective. He asked an assortment of literary stars–Randall Kenan, Kate Bornstein, Edmund White and many others–to suggest five queer-themed books that every LGBT person such read. The authors’ choices are illuminating, fascinating, and yes, required. To read the article in its entirety click here.

Which books are on your list?

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8 Responses to “LGBT Required Reading List”

  1. Matt Dean 15 June 2011 at 2:40 PM #

    Without question, A Seahorse Year by Stacey D’Erasmo tops my list. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and once I started it I couldn’t stop until I’d finished. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst is another all-time favorite. Also, The Master by Colm Toibin.

  2. Ashley 15 June 2011 at 3:01 PM #

    Definitely Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block, and Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson are on my list!

  3. Susan Stinson 15 June 2011 at 3:54 PM #

    Mm, lots of Adrienne Rich: What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry & Politics. On Lies, Secrets and Silence. Diving into the Wreck. (Or, her Selected Poems.) Lots of Audre Lorde: Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. Chosen Poems, Old &New. Trash, Dorothy Allison. And yes, yes, yes
    to a lot of the other books already on the lists.

  4. Jaimey 15 June 2011 at 9:57 PM #

    Now Is the Hour by Tom Spanbauer, about growing up gay in rural Idaho in the 1960s. Maybe the single most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.

  5. Sarah Ragsdale 16 June 2011 at 9:39 AM #

    What a great surprise – I clicked on “comment” to suggest “The River in Winter” by Matt Dean, and saw that he had left a comment of his own suggesting the books of other great writers! This compelling, poignant read follows the main character, Jonah, as he navigates through grief and the search for a real connection with another person. It is dressed with a sense of longing, and there are images from this book that have stayed with me long after reading it because of the spare beauty of Dean’s prose. Worthy of the Lambda nomination it received.
    I also must mention “In Her I Am” by Chrystos. This chapbook gave voice to the passion I felt for my partner when we were both baby lesbian poets searching for evidence that others had lived the experience we were having. We still reach for it from our bookshelf 15 years later.

  6. Lindsay Beard 16 June 2011 at 12:26 PM #

    I too am a big fan of the River in Winter!! Was suprised to see it wasn’t on the list…. but hello to the author, Matt Dean! That’s cool he commented as well.

  7. Joe Clark 16 June 2011 at 12:59 PM #

    Please do not author for the Web as badly as the Good Men Project does.

    “Click here” is lousy hypertext. Make the name of the destination the link. Seriously, why do you not know this 15 years into the Web’s lifespan?

    You cannot “read the article in its entirety” at the link you want us to click (“here”). Like other Web sites hostile to readers and in the business of cheating advertisers, the Good Men Project broke up the piece into four unnecessary pages, which don’t even render correctly and which relentlessly re-list the same titles.

    Do you want the full list in one place? It took somebody else to put it together (in less than 15 minutes).

    Please don’t enable and endorse lousy Web practices.

  8. […] books of all time.” I will have to look it over and select a thing or two to read. A hat tip to Lambda Literary. However, the folks at GMP did one of those annoying things you often find on the web, which is […]

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