LGBT+ Books | The Hospice of St. Francis

LGBT+ Books

By Mark Jackson-Hancock, Chapter Two Bookshop Manager To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, Mark shares some of his favourite books in the genre:

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Biographies

Two outstanding books from recent years have been Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. Everything she writes is pure gold, but this account of growing up as an adopted child with a religious stepmother in Accrington (the true story behind Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit) is one of her best.

The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis is a gripping account of a young man coming to terms with his sexuality among a working class family in a rural village just outside Paris and subject to severe abuse.


Fiction

There is a vast array of fiction available in this genre. My own favourite novels include Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, a joyous celebration of a love triangle between three women set against a background of vaudeville theatre in Victorian London; Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin, these nine novels feature a wonderful cast of characters set in San Francisco and are all very moving and funny; A Natural by Ross Raisin, which is about the life of a closeted gay Premier League footballer and his wife; and recently Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, last year’s Booker Prize Winner about a boy coming to terms with his sexuality in Glasgow in the eighties and his relationship with his alcoholic mother.

The literature of covering transgender and non-binary experience is significant. Outstanding recent novels include Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and Sacred Country by Rose Tremain. This is a literature that’s growing very rapidly and new books are coming out every month.

"...it’s worth picking up some of these books to have an insight into how other people think and feel and being able to understand the very large range of sexual perspectives and orientations that make up our increasingly complex twenty-first century society."


Short Stories

Two comprehensive short story anthologies are The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories and The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories, both well worth dipping in to.

Finally, the best current survey of LGBT literature is Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated The Modern World by Gregory Woods, a brilliant read, full of jokes and literary gossip which will inspire you to draw up your own reading list.

We regularly receive new LGBT+ books every week at Chapter Two; even if reading this sort of thing hasn’t been your cup of tea in the past, it’s worth picking up some of these books to have an insight into how other people think and feel and being able to understand the very large range of sexual perspectives and orientations that make up our increasingly complex twenty-first century society.