11 Influential Must-Read LGBTQ+ Books

Over the course of the last few years, the LGBTQ+ community has been considered as a prominent part of the society, something that they deserved since very long. Like James Baldwin said, “Everybody’s journey is individual. You don’t know with whom you’re going to fall in love. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy.”, I believe there shouldn’t be a debate about a person’s sexuality and love-life at all. It’s solely personal and should always remain that way.

We here at Bookish Kashish support and hail the LGBTQ+ community with all our hearts and might, and hence this Pride Month, I bring to you some of the most notable books that’ll introduce you to the lives of the community.

(LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer; the “plus” is intended as an all-encompassing representation of sexual orientations and gender identities)

Let’s get started with our list of 11 must-read LGBTQ+ books!

Table of Contents

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A feel-good, funny, poignant and perfectly written geek romance about falling in love for the first time and discovering who you are, Simon will make you forget age, gender and sexual orientation and sweep you off your feet.

An irresistible and distinctive voice combined with will-they-won’t-they romance, perfect for fans of critically acclaimed YA fiction such as John Green, David Levithan and Rainbow Rowell.
Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better.

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is -and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal.
It’s a holy freaking huge awesome deal.

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Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for *seeing* a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom. 

Tim Federle’s “hilarious and heartwarming debut novel” (Publishers Weekly) is full of broken curfews, second chances, and the adventure of growing up—because sometimes you have to get four hundred miles from your backyard to finally feel at home.

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The classic, PULITZER PRIZE-winning novel that made Alice Walker a household name.

Set in the deep American South between the wars, THE COLOR PURPLE is the classic tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

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Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.

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What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

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Hi, My name is Juliet palante. I’ve been reading your book raging flower: empowering your Pussy by empowering your mind. No lie, I started reading it so that I could make people uncomfortable on the subway. But I’m writing to you now because this book of yours, this magical labia manifesto, has become My Bible. Juliet’s head is spinning with questions. Will her beautiful, chaotic Puerto Rican family still love her when they find out she’s gay? Will an internship with her favourite author help her understand what kind of feminist she wants to be? And why won’t her girlfriend return her calls?! in a summer full of queer dance parties, a fling with a motorcycling librarian and intense explorations of sexuality and identity, Juliet’s about to learn what it means to really come out – to the world, to her family, to herself.

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You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you’re having an open casket funeral. I know you’re out there, listening. And you should know I’m really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn’t the first promise you’ve broken.
Griffin has lost his first love in a drowning accident. Theo was his best friend, his ex-boyfriend and the one he believed he would end up with. Now, reeling from grief and worsening OCD, Griffin turns to an unexpected person for help. Theo’s new boyfriend. But as their relationship becomes increasingly complicated, dangerous truths begin to surface. Griffin must make a choice: Confront the past or miss out on the future…

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PROBLEM:
You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years now engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would all be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of half-baked literary invitations you’ve received from around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

If you are Arthur Less.

Thus begins an around-the-world-in-eighty-days fantasia that will take Arthur Less to Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India and Japan and put thousands of miles between him and the problems he refuses to face. What could possibly go wrong?

Well: Arthur will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Sahara sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and arrive in Japan too late for the cherry blossoms. In between: science fiction fans, crazed academics, emergency rooms, starlets, doctors, exes and, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to see. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. The second phase of life, as he thinks of it, falling behind him like the second phase of a rocket. There will be his first love. And there will be his last.

A love story, a satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, by an author The New York Times has hailed as “inspired, lyrical,” “elegiac,” “ingenious,” as well as “too sappy by half,” Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.

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This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world. Award-winning author Rob Sanders’s stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno’s evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable – and undertold – story. A story of love, hope, equality, and pride.

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Nightwood is not only a classic of modernist literature, but was also acknowledged by T. S. Eliot as one of the great novels of the 20th century. Eliot admired Djuna Barnes’ rich, evocative language. Barnes told a friend that Nightwood was written with her own blood ‘while it was still running.’ That flowing wound was the breakup of an eight-year relationship with the love of her life. Now recognised as a twentieth-century classic, the influence of Djuna Barnes’s novel has been, and continues to be, exceptional.

So that concludes my list of influential LGBTQ+ books! It by no means is a complete list and I’d love to add more to it time-to-time. Thanks for reading!

Signing off,

Kashish Agrawal

2 thoughts on “11 Influential Must-Read LGBTQ+ Books”

  1. Hello kashish, Nice collection of all books. I will share this blog with my writer team. It would be very great for all. Thanks and keep sharing.

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