It was hard to choose just three, but below are some of Littsburgh’s favorite books with LGBTQ themes (inspired by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 90,000-book reading challenge). If you’re in the market for even more to read, you can start with some amazing excerpts from local and visiting authors right here on Littsburgh!
Also, we’re always looking for good recs. If you have any, please leave ’em in the comments…
Some of you may know I’m a literary agent. Well, I think everyone should read Symptoms of Being Human… and I’m not just saying that because I represented it! The author tackles themes of identity with gorgeous writing and unforgettable characters.
From the publisher: “Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is… Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure — media and otherwise — is building up in Riley’s so-called ‘normal’ life.”
Lambda Literary says: “Two months into 2016, this is arguably one of the most important young adult releases of the year. There’s a big hole in the world of literary representation for gender nonconforming people, so while this helps to fill that void, it’s not the only thing notable about Symptoms. It’s a great book. The language is beautiful and Garvin does a really nice job of explaining things, like the gender binary and body dysphoria, without being preachy or patronizing.”
A soul crushing but beautiful exploration of friendship and trauma… will haunt you.
From the publisher: “A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara’s stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.”
I love Edmund White – but this was a tough choice… Joe LeSueur’s Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O’Hara is one of my favorite books of all time (and a close contender), and I’ll also always read anything by Michelle Tea!
From the publisher: “In the New York of the 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, you might find the likes of Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at the next cocktail party, and you were as likely to be caught arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic tumult. Combining the no-holds-barred confession and yearning of A Boy’s Own Story with the easy erudition and sense of place of The Flaneur, this is the story of White’s years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to erotic entanglements downtown to the burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers. It’s a moving, candid, brilliant portrait of a time and place, full of encounters with famous names and cultural icons.”