Now that we’re coming to the end of LGBT History Month, we’ve put together a list of the best LGBTQIA+ books to add to your collection – to read this February and beyond.
We’ve included a lot of different titles, covering many genres and eras.
If you’re into something more classic, we have popped in some popular reads from Virginia Woolf and James Baldwin. Believe it or not, we’ve featured a graphic novel – if you’re willing to give one a go. Illustrator Alison Bechdel’s memoir, which inspired the hit musical, Fun Home, is a hilarious read.
We've picked some great titles for you.
If your New Year’s promise to yourself of picking up reading is getting side-tracked, this list is guaranteed to get you back in the game. Or perhaps, you are a devoted reader – with a shopping cart brimming, and you need some new picks to add to your already-full bookshelf.
You’re in luck.
We've selected such a diverse list of titles. Though much of the list is made up of fiction novels, we suggest you don’t give the non-fiction titles a pass. Non-fiction can be just as rewarding as a novel, trust us.
Get ready: dust off and turn on your beloved e-reader – or if you’re old school, dig out a bookmark because these books are marvellous.
SHOP: The best LGBTQIA+ books to get reading this month
1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Winner of the Stonewall Book Award in 2013, this novel is a favourite within the community. Teens Aristotle and Dante meet at the swimming pool but they have nothing in common. As they begin to spend more of their time together, they develop a special bond, an unbreakable friendship. And it is through this that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about the universe, themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
2. Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin
Tales of the City is the first novel in the nine-novel series by Armistead Maupin. Set in 1970s San Francisco, it follows the residents of a small apartment complex at 28 Barbary Lane, including the eccentric landlady, Anna Madrigal, and has plenty of LGBTQIA+ characters to fall in love with. There's even a limited series adaptation on Netflix. starring Laura Linney.
3. They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera
Adam Silvera's novel is a favourite online and there's a reason why. On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo and Rufus to give them some news: they're going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. Luckily, there's an app for that and it's called the Last Friend. Through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure - to live a lifetime in one day.
4. Fun Home: A Family Home Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel
Did you know that: this graphic novel inspired the hit-musical Fun Home? Fun Home: A Family Home Tragicomic is a coming-of-age memoir by illustrator Alison Bechdel. Bechdel's book addresses themes of sexuality, gender roles, dysfunctional family life and mental health.
5. All My Mother's Lovers: A Novel - Ilana Masad
Masad's witty novel All My Mother's Lovers is a story about grief, family and sexuality. Maggie's mother, who never fully accepted her, has died. Now back at home, Maggie discovers five envelopes, each addressed to a man she's never heard of. So, Maggie is determined to hand-deliver the letters and find out what these men meant to her mother. However, this destroys everything she thought she knew about her parents' marriage.
6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
Those of you familiar with Love, Simon may recognise this popular teen fiction novel by Becky Albertalli. If you don't know about this book already, it follows a closeted gay high-schooler, Simon. When a private email falls into the wrong hands, his sexuality is at risk of getting out. Simon is being blackmailed by class clown Martin and at this rate, his sexual identity and secret pen-pal, Blue, will become everyone's business.
7. The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
If you're a fan of Grecian fantasy and epic adventures, The Song of Achilles may be for you. Achilles, the son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and legendary king Peleus, and young prince Patroclus are brought together and they form an inseparable bond. Trained by the in war and medicine, the young men join the cause to save Helen of Sparta – will this test their fate?
8. Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo
Bernadine Evaristo's novel Girl, Woman, Other is like poetry. So beautifully written, this book follows the lives and struggles of twelve different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Winner of the Booker Prize, this book makes a sensational read.
9. The Transgender Issue – Shon Faye
The Transgender Issue was published last year and it was very popular. In her first book, Faye looks at what it means to be transgender in the UK right now and offers a healthier conversation about British trans life. Take a look.
10. Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto
Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen was an instant hit in Japan when it was released in 1987. A bestseller for a number of years, it won two of Japan's most prestigious literary prizes. Kitchen tells two short stories about mothers, transsexuality, bereavement, kitchens, love and tragedy in contemporary Japan. A fan of Japanese culture? Check out this epic bestseller by Banana Yoshimoto.
11. Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuinston
12. Call Me by Your Name – Andre Aciman
Call Me By Your Name has been made a popular film, starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. Under the heat of the Italian sun, on the Italian Riviera, Elio falls for Oliver. They embark on a journey of self-discovery and romance.
13. None of the Above - Travis Alabanza
Stunning audiences with Edinburgh Fringe fave Burgerz and most recently Overflow at the Bush Theatre, Travis is one of the UK's best queer writers. Alabanza has recently revealed that their book, None of the Above, is going to come out this year. Alabanza enters upon a thought-provoking discussion of non-binary identity and the impact of society's attitudes on their existence. This is a pre-order, but it will be worth the wait.
14. The Hours - Michael Cunningham
The Hours is a Pulitzer Prize Winner. Cunningham's book concerns three generations of women affected by the classic novel Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. It's really beautiful. The Oscar-winning film adaptation stars iconic actresses Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore in the main roles.
15. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
Middlesex is loosely based on aspects of Jeffrey Eugenides' life and observations of his Greek heritage. A coming-of-age story, the 21st-century novel chronicles narrator and protagonist Cal – who is an intersex man of Greek descent.
16. Tell Me I’m Worthless – Alison Rumfitt
Alison Rumfitt's debut is devastating. Tell Me I'm Worthless is about Alice, a transgender woman, who spent one night in an abandoned house with her friends Ila and Hannah. Since then, things have not been going well. Alice is living a haunted existence. Alice and Ila, estranged, reunite at the house to rescue Hannah – but the house has other plans for them. Political, gritty and dark, this book is an important book to read.Editor's favourite.
17. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
Giovanni's Room is a 1956 novel by legendary queer writer James Baldwin. This novel focuses on the events in the life of an American man living in Paris and his feelings and frustrations with his relationships with other men in his life, namely an Italian bartender named Giovanni whom he meets at a Parisian gay bar.
18. The Line of Beauty – Alan Hollinghurst
Alongside his other titles such as The Swimming Pool Library, Hollinghurst has established himself as a great writer in the canon of modern, gay fiction. Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Line of Beauty is Hollinghurst at his very best. The story surrounds the young gay protagonist, Nick Guest, during the 1980s. The book explores the realities of his sexuality and gay life with the AIDS crisis forming a backdrop to the book's conclusion.
19. Orlando - Virginia Woolf
If you're a fan of work that plays with gender, Woolf's Orlando makes a really interesting read. When the book begins, Orlando is a young nobleman during the time of Queen Elizabeth's court. Strangely, by the end of the novel, he will have transformed into a modern, 36-year-old woman and three centuries will have passed.
20. The Essential Emily Dickinson
Though this is not a novel, Dickinson is so influential in American poetry for so many reasons. If you like to read poetry or fancy getting into it, Dickinson is a nice place to start. There's even a TV show about her life, appropriately named Dickinson.
What is LGBTQIA+ month?
Founded in 1994, LGBT History Month is an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements.
Why is it important to observe?
LGBTQIA+ History Month provides a platform to remember the progress that LGBTQIA+ people have made and serves as a reminder to uplift these voices. Though we have witnessed some progress, LGBTQIA+ people still face discrimination today. In fact, hate crimes have been on the rise.
By making sure we support and amplify marginalised voices, we’re creating a fairer world with solidarity and understanding; a world where everybody feels heard, valued and respected.