This post was originally published on our sister blog, Off the Shelf.
By: Erica Nelson
June is Pride Month and there are countless ways you can celebrate this year: marching in a pride parade; learning about the history of LGBTQIA+ civil rights (we recommend Lillian Faderman’s The Gay Revolution); supporting youth outreach centers; and reading great queer novels. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Aquamarine by
After losing to her rival (and romantic interest) in the 1968 Olympics, Jesse is devastated. Fast-forward two decades, and the story’s narrative splits into three parallel versions of what Jesse’s present life could be: a small-town wife, a cosmopolitan woman in a lesbian relationship, or a divorcee with two children.
2. Tender by
When Catherine, a sheltered college student, and James, an adventurous, charismatic young artist, meet in 1990s Dublin, they become fast friends. But their initiation into young adulthood become heartbreaking: as Catherine develops a deep and obsessive love for James, he is secretly struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality.
3. A Single Man by
In sunny 1960s California, George is a gay middle-aged English professor adjusting to solitude after the tragic death of his partner. Following him over the course of twenty-four hours, A SINGLE MAN sympathetically portrays a man who—behind his British reserve, tides of grief, and loneliness—loves being alive despite the everyday injustices he experiences.
4. Fingersmith by
Sue was raised by a transient family of petty thieves, known as fingersmiths, in the heart of a mean London slum. Now Sue is a young adult and they plan to seduce the naïve Maud Lily, a wealthy local gentlewoman, in order to gain access to her vast inheritance. But as Sue gets to know her helpless mark, she develops feelings for her in unexpected ways.
5. The Left Hand of Darkness by
In this feminist science fiction novel, planet Gethen’s society of intersex people exist without any gender-based discrimination. But when Genly, an emissary from the human galaxy, arrives, he struggles to overcome his ingrained prejudices about the significance of “male” and “female.”
6. Rubyfruit Jungle by
In this landmark coming-of-age novel, Molly Bolt is startlingly beautiful and possesses a crackling wit. Forging her own path in life and intent on being true to herself, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back.