Savidge Reads’ Top Ten LGBT Books…

As I mentioned yesterday I am in a little bit of a reading funk. So I was routing through my bookshelves, and preparing for the event I have coming next Tuesday, I thought that I would make a little video of my personal top ten LGBT themed books. This is by no means what I think are the best LGBT themed books, it is a list of the ones that have a special place in my heart from my young teens all the way to now. So have a gander if you fancy it…

I know there are some celebrated books and authors missing yet these are the ten books that I mentioned.

Pilcrow – Adam Mars Jones
The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
Running With Scissors – Augusten Burroughs
The Proof of Love – Catherine Hall
A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood
My Policeman – Bethan Roberts
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
Skin Lane – Neil Bartlett
A Boy’s Own Story – Edmund White
Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

I am aware I have missed some of my favourite authors like Stella Duffy, Sarah Waters, Geoff Ryman, etc, lots and lots of Green Carnation books, nonfiction and classics, the latter mainly as I am playing catch up with Larry Kramer and Radclyffe Hall etc.

That is of course where you come in… What are the books you love with LGBT themes? Which books have I missed and might I have read and need to re-read (I feel I need to pick up ‘Rough Music’ by Patrick Gale again at some point) or try for the first time? Which of you the books I mention have you read? Who is coming to Leeds on Tuesday for my scary solo event? Who is currently reading ‘Tales of the City’, which I will be picking up to re-read today, to discuss on Friday on the blog? Lots of questions for you there.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

18 responses to “Savidge Reads’ Top Ten LGBT Books…

  1. ted

    At Swim Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill and Any Human Face by Charles Lambert are two I like quite a lot.

  2. I really liked ‘In a Strange Room’ by Damon Galgut. I thought the relationship between “Damon” the narrator, and the man he meets while travelling Africa, Jerome, was very moving, especially the fact that the depth of feeling involved is so painfully obvious, but neither man will admit to it.

  3. Roger Park

    Hi Simon,

    Your latest post inspired me to write since I must own hundreds of LGBT-themed books!  One that immediately came to mind when you asked which I have loved was Taking Care of Mrs. Carrol by Paul Monette.  It’s pure fiction but I loved that book, as I loved so many others that Paul Monette wrote.  I believe the Mrs. Carrol book may have been one of his earlier works but I’m not positive.

    As for the Tales of the City books, I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many times I’ve reread those!  Mouse seems like a dear friend, as do so many of the characters.

    Other LGBT-themed books I’ve loved include almost every book by Michael Thomas Ford and Alan Hollinghurst, whom I enjoyed listening to in late 2011 at Atlanta’s Outwrite Bookstore before it closed (sob!).  He read from The Stranger’s Child.  I especially like Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library.  I also love David Leavitt’s While England Sleeps.

    Goodness, I could keep going.  And, I haven’t even touched on non-fiction!

    I hope this is what you were after.  Thanks for helping me bring up so many happy memories.



  4. thanks Simon will look the seven from this list I ve not read out at some point I don’t read many lgbt ,partly as there isn’t many translated but always feel I should try one or two more ,all the best stu

  5. Lindon

    errr…hello, what about Colm Toibin? All of them, but The Story of the Night is my number 1.

  6. The Song of Achilles is definitely one of my favorites, as well as my favorite ever classical adaptation.

  7. Thanks so much for this list! I’ve added a few of them to my Goodreads TBR which is constantly growing. I’m really interested in The Proof of Love, A Single Man, and My Policeman. I’ve read parts of Tales of the City but need to read it in its entirety. Thanks for broadening my choices of good books and LGBT ones at that. 🙂

  8. sharkell

    I haven’t read a lot of LGBT fiction but I can highly recommend Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – it really is an amazing book. I must admit I did a double take when I saw In Cold Blood on your list but I understand your reasons. It is one of my favourite books of all time.

  9. Melissa

    Lovely work on your video blog, Simon! I haven’t read much LGBT fiction, so thank you for the recommendations. I will add some of these titles to my ever-growing TBR pile (but Tales of the City is moving to the top).

  10. mcresswell

    A Lover’s Dictionary, Death In Venice, The Borrower (if that counts), Fun Home… those are just a couple off the top of my head that I’ve loved.

    On a side-note, but related, after a year or so of dreaming and saying ‘what if’, myself and friend this month have started to put together a business plan for opening an LGBT bookshop (in the vein of Gay’s The Word in London) in Manchester, with an aim to have it all come to fruition in a year, so it’s good to see that there’s an abundance of literature out there that people are genuinely interested in.

  11. some of my favourites that come to mind are: anything by alan bennett (esp. four stories), fingersmith and nightwatch by sarah waters, brian malloy’s the year of ice, mark haddon’s spot of bother, and we the animals by justin torres. so many good ones! p.s. glad you broke your “rule” (guideline?) and allowed both books with LGBT authors and/or books with LGBT content. i will (finally) go out and get my policeman this week. promise.

  12. Simon, I wish I could be at your Wilde event on Tuesday, but I’ll be curling instead… in western Canada. Have fun!
    I enjoyed hearing about your favourite GLBTQ novels. One of mine is the very gritty Rose of No Man’s Land by Michelle Tea, because the central character is so memorable. Trish is 14 and likes to drink beer alone in her room, hiding from her dysfunctional family and the rest of the world. Her goal is to make a friend during her summer holidays.
    A few others that have stayed with me include Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo, Skim by Mariko Tamaki, Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall, Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson, Wild Dogs by Helen Humphreys, Some Day this Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, and Fair Play by Tove Jansson.

  13. Well, there’s Proust’s Recherche of course – even though homosexuality is only part of it, it’s one of my favourite novels ever, so definitely deserves mention. More recently, and more specifically GLBTQ -themed is Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders by Samuel R.Delany – it is very explicit to the point of being unabashedly pornographic (and has a lot of rather icky fetishes, too), but it also is a deeply moving description of a lifelong relationship and one of the most touching love stories I have ever read.

  14. I think I’m the only one in the whole world who didn’t like In Cold Blood. I couldn’t even finish reading it, and it’s only one of two books I’ve ever put down before the end.

    LGBT books I recommend: The Absolutist, by John Boyne; At Swim, Two Boys, by Jamie O’Neill; Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin; She’s Not There, by Jennifer Finney Boylan.

    I’m sure I could think of more if it weren’t 8am. 🙂

  15. Jae

    My recommendation is Maurice by E.M. Forster. It’s really good, it’s a classic, so well written, and really short and easy to read. I hope you get a chance to check it out if you haven’t already!

  16. I recommend David Leavitt (While England Sleeps, The Lost Language of Cranes…). I fell in love with reading with him and Tales of the City… and Edmund White too.

  17. Pingback: Ten LGBT Books That You Might Not Have Read But Should… | Savidge Reads

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