Recent LGBTQ Reads From Both Familiar and Fresh Voices

By NYPL Staff
May 27, 2021

Join the Library in celebrating Pride Month throughout June with book recommendations, free online events, resources, and more.

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In the last few years, we have been blessed with a cornucopia of amazing LGBTQ voices, some familiar and many debuts that are fresh and new. Below is a selection of fiction, memoir, poetry,  essays, short stories, romance, and more—enjoy the rainbow!


The Prophets


How Much of These Hills is Gold
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

A debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.

 

How Much of These Hills is Goldby C. Pam Zhang

An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings, one gender-nonconforming, are on the run in an unforgiving landscape, trying not just to survive but to find a home.

 

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland

This debut, a finalist for the National Book Award, draws on an intimate correspondence between McCullers and a woman named Annemarie to share previously unknown insights into the novelist's private life. As Shapland reckons with the expanding and collapsing distance between her and McCullers, she sees the way McCullers's story has become a way to articulate something about herself. The results reveal something entirely new not only about this one remarkable, walleyed life, but about the way we tell queer love stories.

 


This Town Sleeps


100 Boyfriends


A History of My Brief Body

 

This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples

Engaging in a secret affair with a closeted white man, an Ojibwe man from a northern Minnesota reservation navigates small town discrimination before a ghost leads him to the grave of a basketball star whose murder becomes linked to a local legend.

 

100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell

Transgressive, foulmouthed, and brutally funny, this story collection is a revelatory spiral into the imperfect lives of queer men desperately fighting the urge to self-sabotage. As they tiptoe through minefields of romantic, substance-fueled misadventure, the characters strive for belonging in a world that dismisses them for being Black, broke, and queer. 

 

A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt

This debut essay collection invites us to unpack and explore the big and broken world Belcourt inhabits every day, in all its complexity and contradiction: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it; first loves and first loves lost; sexual exploration and intimacy; the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward.

 


Detransition, Baby

.  

Memorial


Fiebre Tropical

 

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

A whipsmart debut about three individuals—transgender and cisgender—whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires around gender, motherhood, and sex.

 

Memorialby Bryan Washington

Japanese American chef Mike and Black daycare teacher Benson begin reevaluating their stale relationship after Mike departs for Japan to visit his dying father and Benson is suddenly stuck with his visiting mother-in-law, who becomes an unconventional roommate.

 

Fiebre Tropicalby Juliana Delgado LoperaLit by the hormonal neon glow of Miami, this heady, multilingual debut novel follows a Colombian teenager's coming-of-age and coming out as she plunges headfirst into lust and evangelism.

 


Written in the Stars
Boyfriend Material


Honey Girl

 

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

A lighthearted holiday romance inspired by Pride and Prejudice depicts the experiences of a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to a fake relationship with a no-nonsense actuary to appease their respective families.

 

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Luc's rock-star father's comback leads to unwanted attention, so he fabricates a respectable relationship with a man with whom he shares nothing in common. Their publicity-friendly dates become complicated, of course, when all-too-real feelings get in the way.

 

Honey Girlby Morgan Rogers

After completing her Ph.D. in astronomy, a young, straightlaced, Type A Black woman goes on a girls' weekend to Vegas to celebrate and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn't even know. What surprises her is that this rash decision might be exactly the change she needed in her life. And what's more, she might actually love her new wife.

 


Bestiary

Wound From the Mouth of a Wound
Black Girl Call Home

 

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

Transforming into a manifestation of a tiger character from her Taiwanese heritage, Daughter falls in love with an equally remarkable girl while translating mysterious letters from female relatives who embody mythical archetypes. 

 

Wound From the Mouth of a Wound by Torrin A. Greathouse

This collection of evocative poems are a testament to persistence, even when the body is not allowed to thrive, teaching us that fragility is not synonymous with flaw. There is power and beauty in Greathouse's intersectional awareness of the body through the lenses of both transness and disability. 

 

Black Girl, Call Homeby Jasmine Mans

With echoes of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sonia Sanchez, Mans writes to call herself—and us—home. Each poem explores what it means to be a daughter of Newark, and America—and the painful, joyous path to adulthood as a young, queer Black woman.

 


Let the Record Show
Last Call


Funeral Diva

 

Let the Record Showby Sarah Schulman

A comprehensive political history of ACT UP and American AIDS activism. Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members and rich with lessons for today's activists, this book is an exploration and long-overdue reassessment of the coalition's inner workings, conflicts, achievements, and ultimate fracture. Schulman, one of the most revered queer writers and thinkers of her generation, explores the how and the why, examining, with her characteristic rigor and bite, how a group of desperate outcasts changed America forever, and in the process created a livable future for generations of people across the world.

 

Last Callby Elon Green

This true crime book documents the decades-long effort to capture the "Last Call Killer" of 1980s and 1990s New York City, discussing how he took advantage of period discrimination to prey upon gay victims against a backdrop of the AIDS epidemic.

 

Funeral Diva by Pamela Sneed

In this collection of personal essays and poetry, acclaimed poet and performer Pamela Sneed details her coming of age in New York City during the late 1980s. Funeral Diva captures the impact of AIDS on black queer life, and highlights the enduring bonds between the living, the dying, and the dead. 

 


Tomboyland


Love is an Ex Country


Mouths of Rain


Thinking Again

 

Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno

A fiercely personal and startlingly universal essay collection about the mysteries of gender and desire, of identity and class, of the stories we tell, and the places we call home.

 

Love is an Ex-Country by Randa JarrarA gay, Muslim, overweight, Arab-American woman describes her road trip from California to Connecticut to reclaim her autonomy and explore everything she has survived in life, schooling a rest stop racist and destroying Confederate flags in the desert along the way.Mouths of Rain : An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought edited by Briona Simone Jones

Black lesbian writers and theorists have made extraordinary contributions to feminist theory, activism, and writing. Here, Jones traces this long history of intellectual thought spanning the nineteenth century through the twenty-first century.Thinking Again: A Diary by Jan Morris

A final memoir from a queer elder who transitioned in the 1960s and died last year at age 94. This book is a whimsical yet deeply affecting volume on her life as a redoubtable nonagenarian, in which she waxes on the ironies of modern life in all their resonant glories and inevitable stupidities.

 

 

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.