Best LGBTQ Books

six books are stacked on top of a wooden case. Three of the titles are visible, the others have their spine facing away from the viewer so you see pages only. The background is a white wall with an open doorway in the back right hand corner. The visible titles are Megan Rapinoe One Life, Boys Like Us, and Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

We love to read stories about us by queer authors. Learning about people who have had similar experiences somehow helps to make us feel not quite so alone. The following list is nowhere near an end-all, be-all to the best LGBTQ books out there. But it does include some of our favorites and will be updated as we read new titles. We recommend checking out Lambda Literary to get their recommendations as they’re a big source of inspiration for us when we’re looking for new title suggestions.

Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family by Garrad Conley

You may have seen this movie since the book was turned into a film and starred Nicole Kidman. It got pretty good reviews but for us, it was really hard to watch. The premise of the book, which we also read and actually liked better, is that Garrard was outed as a teenager to his parents and was forced to undergo church-supported “conversion therapy” or lose his family and friends. Note that “conversion therapy” is not actual therapy at all but is damaging, degrading, hateful, and abusive. Conversion therapy has actually been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for years but some people continue to push this upon young people, minors, in particular who are extremely vulnerable.

Buy on Amazon

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life: Essays by Samantha Irby

I was late to the party. I’ll admit it. My friends had been reading her for years but it wasn’t until I found a copy at the used bookstore near me that I finally, finally, was introduced to the genius who is Samantha Irby. Her writing pokes fun at her own self, others, and life in general. She unashamedly writes from a place of almost too raw honesty. If you like to laugh out loud when reading, this a solid book for you. And it was a delight to read a book from someone who identifies as bisexual.

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Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories Edited by Patrick Merla

There are some really, really gut-wrenching, sad, but powerful stories in this book. There are a few that have an uplifting ending, but many of them, reader beware, are filled with loss and longing. That said, grief is a part of the queer experience, and learning that we’re not alone in that, can be comforting. Though there are a few writers in here who are not white, they are the overwhelming majority of the voices in this book. We hope that if there is ever an updated collection, more voices by Queer People of Color will be included.

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No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell Moore

I was so thankful for this book by Darnell Moore. He shared his coming-of-age story so beautifully and with so much vulnerability. For anyone who wants or needs a book written by a Black, Queer author who doesn’t mince words but who also is capable of very tender moments, this is a must-read.

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One Life by Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe of USA soccer fame, writes about her experience growing up, coming out, playing soccer at lots of different levels including professionally, and about living your best, most authentic life. It’s a straightforward, relatively quick read, with color photos in the middle, and an easy-to-understand way of writing.

Buy on Amazon

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

After much fanfare around this book, we had super high expectations. And this book surpassed every single one of them. Each page was like a world unto itself. Each sentence, carefully crafted. I often read it aloud, softly, and to myself, because of the sheer pleasure derived from the way Vuong put each thought together. It’s heartbreaking but relatable, and one that has not been loaned out to friends because we never know when we’ll want to re-read it.

Buy on Amazon

LGBTQ Books by Queer Authors

We’ve just started adding to this list of our favorite and best LGBTQ Books by Queer authors and plan on updating it frequently. In the meantime, if you have a must-read for us, please let us know!

Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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