June is Pride month, and to celebrate, we curated a list of LGBTQIA+ books from different genres that we’re proud to have in the store. Inspired by staff favorites, Janet Mock’s book list, and recommendations from Nancy Podcast hosts Kathy & Tobin, this list has everything you need for your pride reads — and then some.
Fiction & Short Stories
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Giovanni’s Room is an incredibly important work that explores the interrelations of bisexuality and nationality. The story centers around David, an American expatriate, who begins seeing Giovanni, a young Italian man, while his fiance Hella is away in Spain. A complicated love story unfurls in this novel set in 1950s Paris as David is forced to confront his deepest desires.
🌈More Fiction: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjon & Victoria Cribb, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
🌈More Short Stories: At Danceteria and Other Stories by Philip Dean Walker, ‘The Man Who Thought Himself a Woman’ and Other Queer Nineteenth-Century Short Stories by Chirstopher Looby
Biography & Memoir
Surpassing Certainty by Janet Mock
Janet Mock’s second memoir is as riveting as it is revealing. Mock describes her twenties in vivid detail, including the struggles she faces and the things she learns along her journey as a first-generation college student, a trans woman, and a person of color. A must-read for anyone in their twenties and anyone curious about how Mock went from a New York college student to a beloved media figure and activist. See her at Strand on June 14th!
🌈More Biography & Memoir: Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock, Tranny by Laura Jane Grace, Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming, Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt, In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi
History & Social Sciences
Queer America: A People’s GLBT History of the United States by Vicki L. Eaklor
Like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, Queer America reveals the too-often concealed and, well, *closeted* history of the United States, this time from the queer perspective. Throughout the book, the author reveals instances centering around LGBTQIA+ lives that were previously overlooked by the American historical consciousness. Necessary and compelling, this book should be required reading for all classrooms.
🌈More History & Social Sciences: The Gay Metropolis by Charles Kaiser, A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski, Wide-Open Town by Nan Alamilla Boyd, Queer Street by James McCourt, The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs
Essays & Collections
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
A powerful collection of Audre Lorde’s essays and speeches from ’76 to ‘84, Sister Outsider confronts the racist patriarchal society that still exists today and presents a progressive plan to ensure the feminist movement is inclusive of all women, different as they are. While exploring the facets of her own complex identity, Lorde also examines sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, and economic status — insisting on the need for societal change.
🌈More Essays & Collections: Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris & Ian Falconer, Queering Anarchism: Essays on Gender, Power, and Desire by Deric Shannon, J. Rogue, C.B. Daring, Abbey Volcano, & Martha Ackelsberg, Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme by Ivan E. Coyote & Zena Sharman
Plays & Poetry
Angels in America by Tony Kushner
Set primarily in New York, this two-part play centers around the lives of two couples during the AIDS crisis that swept the nation in the mid-to-late ’80s. The play intertwines the lives of closeted conservatives and out liberals, exploring the intersections between acceptance and denial, reality and dreams, and community and isolation. A thought-provoking masterpiece, Angels in America’s message maintains its relevance even today.
🌈More Plays: Stop Kiss by Diana Son, The Normal Heart and the Destiny of Me by Larry Kramer & Tony Kushner, Fun Home: A New Broadway Musical by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, Forbidden Acts: Pioneering Gay and Lesbian Plays of the Twentieth Century by Ben Hodges
Art & Photography
On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger and Janet Mock
Mark Seliger shares incredible portraits of trans people in the West Village of New York City, including Christopher Street, the site of inception of the LGBTQIA+ revolution at the Stonewall Inn. With 72 portraits in total, Seliger captures the diverse identities and stories of gender-different and non-conforming individuals, offering a powerful glimpse into the lives of marginalized queers.
🌈More Art & Photography: The Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride by Sebastien Lifshitz, Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene by Gerard H. Gaskin, Keith Haring Journals by Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive by Robert Mapplethorpe, Gay in America by Scott Pasfield, Terrence McNally & Tom Kirdahy
Graphic Novels & Comics
Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker & Julia Scheele
Queer: A Graphic History is an excellent elucidation of queer theory without the barrier of perplexing academic language. With helpful graphics and engaging diagrams, this graphic history demystifies queer politics and breaks down unhelpful binaries that have been used to constrict individuals and their identities.
Young Adult & Children’s
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Based on true events, Two Boys Kissing focuses on the lives of gay teens, primarily two 17-year-old boys trying to break the Guinness World Record for the longest kiss. Levithan utilizes the voices of gay men who died during the AIDS epidemic to narrate the story, expressing the larger significance of the young boys’ actions. The unnamed narrators add an important perspective to the novel and assert the need for further change.
🌈More Children’s: I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman, Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, & Henry Cole
Cooking: Big Gay Ice Cream by Bryan Petroff & Douglas Quint
Humor: We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Mad Libs by Karl Marks
Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments!