Explore the history of the pride movement, or find some fiction picks ranging from rom-coms to space operas with main characters who identify on the LGBTQ+ rainbow. Read who you are and be who you are, because representation matters!
Memoirs and Biographies
Asexual and/or Aromantic Main Characters
Bisexual and/or Pansexual Main Characters
While Pansexual and Bisexual are unique, separate labels, often books or characters will mention both, or have a character show interest in multiple genders without specifying the character's orientation, so we have included book picks for both here together.
Gay Main Characters
Lesbian Main Characters
Transgender Main Characters
Literature has always been a space for subversion and social progress. Writing has given historically marginalized groups a voice to speak out, be heard, and tell their stories. This is especially true of LGBTQ+ writers who have been carving out their own genre for years. LGBTQ+ books are now a staple of popular reading recommendations and bestseller lists. Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community or not, there’s a lot to learn from these books and the stories they tell. It’s important to note, too, that LGBTQ+ books span a range of genres, including fiction, self-help, and graphic novels. If you’re ready to explore the world of LGBTQ+ books, check out these titles available at ThriftBooks.
What Are the Best LGBTQ+ Books to Read?
There are plenty of books on LGBTQ+ history that offer insight into events that likely won’t make it into textbooks. One such book, Female Husbands by Jen Manion, tracks the history of people who were assigned female at birth and yet chose to live as men — going so far as to marry women. This trend predates contemporary conceptions of transgender and lesbian identity, making it all the more interesting and groundbreaking.
Many of the best LGBTQ+ books are also notable for previously being banned. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez, is one such title. It tells the tale of three high schoolers who struggle to reckon with and accept their gay identities. Complaints about its sexual content caused it to be banned in many schools, but it’s emerged as an LGBTQ+ classic, nonetheless.
If you’re seeking biographical LGBTQ+ books, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is one of the top entries. It chronicles author Jeanette Winterson’s life as an adoptee, including religiously oppressive parents, a past full of pain, and an adolescent identity crisis. Still, the book strives towards happiness and urges readers to do the same — making it a powerful piece of LGBTQ+ literature.
Books By LGBTQ+ Authors
Many LGBTQ+ books are written by LGBTQ+ authors, but that isn’t always the case. Similarly, many LGBTQ+ authors write books on LGBTQ+ topics, but not always! If you’re specifically interested in reading books by authors who identify as LGBTQ+, there are many great books that you can choose from.
The Picture of Dorian Gray may be one of the most famous examples of canonical literature written by an LGBTQ+ author. Indeed, historians agree that Oscar Wilde was a gay man, and glimpses of queer themes can be found in many of his works. Though The Picture of Dorian Gray doesn’t offer any explicitly queer content, it’s often cited as one of the best books by LGBTQ+ authors due to its longevity.
Another one of the best books by LGBTQ+ authors is Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. Like Dorian Gray, it evades explicit exploration of queerness in favor of thematic and symbolic consideration. Baldwin himself denied that the book was “about homosexuality,” yet it endures as an LGBTQ+ classic because of Baldwin’s own identity as a gay man. Indeed, Baldwin was one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century, and his work includes many essays, plays, and poems in addition to his acclaimed novels.
Discover the Best LGBTQ+ Books and Authors
The literary canon is full of work by LGBTQ+ authors who may never be identified. While it was once a taboo, LBGTQ+ literature is now celebrated, offering poignant and personal insights into the lives of those who reject the boundaries of sex and gender. If you want to learn more about LGBTQ+ history or read novels that feature representation of LGBTQ+ characters, ThriftBooks has what you need. Shop our selection of the best LGBTQ+ books for an array of great selections.