Essential Reading for Pride: PEOPLE Picks Our Favorite LGBTQ+ Books For Adults

These are the essential LGBTQ+ books to read for Pride month and beyond, including fiction, nonfiction, romance, thriller and memoir

<p>Amazon</p> Just a few of the great LGBTQ+ books we


Just a few of the great LGBTQ+ books we're loving right now

Every June, the world gets a little more colorful. Rainbow pride flags flap outside homes and businesses and store displays offer plenty of ways to show your support of the LGBTQ+ community on just about every product you can imagine. Opportunities abound to show your support and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our society. And there may be no better way to do that than through reading.

Books with LGBTQ+ characters, written by authors who are part of the community, offer firsthand insight into a way of life that might not be familiar to the reader. They can also help young people, or anyone exploring their sexuality or gender identity, feel less alone or more supported in their journey. And in today's world, that's more important than ever.

Below, PEOPLE staff rounded up some of our favorite books showcasing the LGBTQ+ experience. With lots of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, romance and even some thrillers on offer, there's sure to be something for every TBR pile.

'Hollywood Pride' by Alonso Duralde

<p>Amazon</p> 'Hollywood Pride'


'Hollywood Pride'

LGBTQ+ people have always played an important role in the arts, but we've often had to hide parts of who we are in order to do so. In this incisive book, celebrated film critic Alonso Duralde digs into the history of queer Hollywood, from the earliest days of cinema through the “pansy craze” of the 1930s and the New Queer Cinema of the 1990s. You'll meet actors, writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, art directors and choreographers who fought to tell the community's stories, from the inside.

'The T in LGBT: Everything You Need to Know About Being Trans' by Jamie Raines

'The T in LGBTQ+'
'The T in LGBTQ+'

Author and content creator Jamie Raines guides readers through everything readers may have wondered about the transgender experience, but didn't feel comfortable asking. Through his own experience, testimonials from other trans people and expert tips and advice, it's a helpful primer for anyone curious.

'The Lookback Window' by Kyle Dillon Hertz

<p>Amazon</p> 'The Lookback Window'


'The Lookback Window'

Dylan somehow survived years of sex trafficking partly thanks to his mantra: To survive, you live through it, but never look back. He's buried the past down deep, but then comes The Child Victims Act, which offers a one-year window in which Dylan can sue his abusers. What follows is a searing, unflinching exploration of whether you can put a price on pain and whether monetary compensation can lead to justice.

'The Queer Parent: Everything You Need to Know from Gay to Ze' by Lotte Jeffs

'The Queer Parent: Everything You Need to Know From Gay to Ze'
'The Queer Parent: Everything You Need to Know From Gay to Ze'

More options exist than ever before for LGBTQ+ people who want to have kids, but it can be hard to know where (or when, or how) to begin. Authors Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley built upon their own parenting experiences by interviewing dozens of experts and queer families to put together this groundbreaking toolkit to becoming and navigating the world as queer parents.

'Orlando' by Virginia Woolf

<p>Amazon</p> 'Orlando'



One of Woolf's most playful, original works, this book follows Orlando, a 16-year-old nobleman in Queen Elizabeth I's court. But as the centuries pass, Orlando transforms into a 36-year-old woman in 1928, but his journey isn't just physical. This 1973 book was well before its time, and it's still a delight today.

'In Universes' by Emet North

<p>Amazon</p> 'In Universes' by Emet North


'In Universes' by Emet North

This time-bending, mind-expanding novel follows a budding cosmologist, Raffi, with an all-consuming crush and a myriad of possible futures across just as many parallel worlds. It dances through universes where any number of versions of themselves could be any number of things (and with any number of people), if they made just slightly different choices.

'Stars Collide' by Rachel Lacey

'Stars Collide'
'Stars Collide'

Eden Sands has been a pop star for two decades, but being an icon isn't all its cracked up to be. Newly divorced, with an album that didn't sell and a tour that isn't either, she needs to inject some life into her career. Anna is an up-and-comer who just wants to be taken seriously and she's idolized Eden forever. When the two pair up to sing a duet at the Grammy's, they might be able to harmonize in more ways than one.

'You Should Be So Lucky' by Cat Sebastian

<p>Amazon</p> 'You Should Be So Lucky'


'You Should Be So Lucky'

It's 1960, and Eddie O'Leary's baseball season is striking out. His teammates hate him, he can't perform and he misses home. So when he's tapped to give interviews on behalf of the team, he's ready to throw in his glove. Mark Bailey, on the other hand, just wants to be left alone to write his arts stories. But when he's assigned to cover the team for his struggling newspaper, he's not exactly swinging for the fences. This grumpy-sunshine sports romance is more fun than a day at the ballpark.

Related: Obsessed with Challengers? Read These Steamy, Spicy Sports-Themed Romance Novels Next

'Four Squares' by Bobby Finger

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'Four Squares'

A funny thing happened on the way to the gay senior center. A late-blooming Manhattan writer is bereft when his longtime support system moves away. But he finds there is life after the losses he and his city endured in the 1990s in this charming, heartwarming novel.

Related: PEOPLE’s Most-Anticipated Summer Books: Best Beach Reads, Thrillers, Fiction, YA and More

'The Adult' by Bronwyn Fisher

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'The Adult'

There's a reason so much art is made about the first flush of love, the one that feels like it's molding your very persona. When college freshman Natalie meets Nora, an adult woman with a settled life to match, she becomes consumed. But as her relationship with the sometimes-secretive Nora begins to subsume who Natalie is beginning to become, she realizes there's a self she wants to protect after all.

'The Charm Offensive' by Alison Cochrun

'The Charm Offensive'
'The Charm Offensive'

Dev has made a career out of constructing fairy tales as the star producer on the reality dating show, Ever After. Never mind if his own love life is, well, not storybook material. But then disgraced tech genius Charlie Winshaw gets cast, and Dev quickly realizes he's not exactly Prince Charming. He's anxious, stiff and awkward on-camera and when they're off, he's cold and distant. But as Dev gets to know Charlie better, he realizes the two of them might have more in common than any of the contestants.

'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' by Taylor Jenkins Reid

<p>Amazon</p> 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo'


'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo'

Aging Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to share her glamorous, scandal-ridden story, and she's tapped Monique Grant to write it. And no one's more shocked than the reporter: Monique's own marriage is over and her career is at a standstill, unless this book can revive it. So Monique sets off to do just that, listening rapt as Evelyn weaves the tale of making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s, leaving the industry in the '80s and the seven husbands she's had along the way. But as she reveals a great, forbidden love that underpins it all, Monique begins to realize she and the star have far more in common than they realized.

'Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality' by Julia Shaw

<p>Amazon</p> 'Bi'



Many people who identify as bisexual have heard "it's just a phase," or "you'll figure out your real sexuality eventually," or some equally hurtful variations on the same. In this fascinating and eye-opening book, proud bisexual and pop psychologist Julia Shaw goes deep into the science and culture of attraction, as well as the history of sexuality, using both her own research and experiences to inform her perspective.

'Greta and Valdin' by Rebecca Reilly

<p>lgbtq-books-052724-ls</p> 'Greta & Valdin'


'Greta & Valdin'

A year ago, Valdin's ex dumped him and moved across the world. But Valdin isn't languishing: He's got a flat with his sister, a job he doesn't hate and a friend-with-benefits who distracts him from his feelings. But then Valdin's job sends him back into his ex's orbit, and he has to decide which version of his future he really wants. Meanwhile, Greta's trying not to let her family drama distract her from the real business of friends, crushes and her possibly pointless Master's thesis. Perfect for fans of Schitt's Creek, this one is a hilariously messy romp.

'Nevada' by Imogen Binnie

<p>Amazon</p> 'Nevada' by Imogen Binnie


'Nevada' by Imogen Binnie

Maria is an aging trans punk who's trying to stay true to her values and get through the day. That is, until she and her girlfriend Steph break up and Maria steals her car and road trips to Nevada, where she meets (and becomes an unwitting role model to) James, who reminds her of a younger version of herself. This is a road trip novel with a twist, ideal for summer vacation.

'Hijab Butch Blues: A Memoir' by Lamya H

<p>Amazon</p> 'Hijab Butch Blues' by Lamya H


'Hijab Butch Blues' by Lamya H

When Lamya realizes she has a crush on her (also female) teacher at 14, she tries to push her feelings away. Having moved from South Asia to the Middle East as a kid, she's already used to feeling like she doesn't belong and hiding in plain sight. Then, she reads a story in the Quran that makes her feel seen and she realizes her lifelong search for community and belonging might just be in embracing her identity as a queer, devout Muslim immigrant. A deeply hopeful, intimate memoir in essays.

'Shae' by Mesha Maren

'Shae' by Mesha Maren
'Shae' by Mesha Maren

Shae and Cam become fast friends when Cam moves to their small West Virginia town and over time, their friendship deepens into something more. When Shae finds herself pregnant, Cam is on her own journey, trying on Shae's cast-off clothes and using female pronouns. But after Shae is prescribed opioids to deal with the pain of a traumatic C-section, her life is taken over by the addiction that has become an epidemic. Meanwhile, Cam's transition has introduced her to new relationships and new realities, in this intense, all-too-real novel about love and found family.

'How We Fight for Our Lives' by Saeed Jones

<p>Amazon</p> 'How We Fight For Our Lives'


'How We Fight For Our Lives'

This clear-eyed, incisive memoir about coming of age as a Black gay man in the South is essential reading for anyone who's ever fought to become themselves. As haunting as it is hopeful, it weaves a thoughtful narrative between Jones' challenging relationships with his family and flings with lovers, friends and strangers and the larger story of love, power, vulnerability and queerness.

'The Family Outing' by Jessie Hempel

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'The Family Outing'

This isn't your usual coming-out story: By the time the author was an adult, everyone in her family had made huge revelations: Jessi as gay, her sister as bisexual, her father as gay, her brother as transgender, and her mother as a survivor of a traumatic experience with an alleged serial killer. But as anyone who's exited a closet of their own knows, it's not a one-and-done process and neither is this poignant, revelatory novel about a family trying to figure out how to be themselves and with one another.

'High-Risk Homosexual' by Edgar Gomez

<p>Amazon</p> 'High-Risk Homosexual'


'High-Risk Homosexual'

This hilarious, heartfelt and beautiful memoir about coming of age as a Latinx gay man and learning to love his place in the world is the perfect book for anyone wrestling with their relationship to machismo, regardless of gender or background.

'Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America; Essays' by R. Eric Thomas

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'Here For It'

For anyone who's grown up being told they don't belong, this collection of essays explores just what being an "other" means, in essays that are funny, incisive and deeply resonant. Follow Thomas through the lily-white halls of his suburban school that contrasted sharply with his urban neighborhood, trying to reconcile his sexuality with the Christianity that raised him, the exhaustion of code-switching, covering the 2016 election and everything that came after.

'Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father' by Alysia Abbott


Alysia Abbott grew up in 1970s San Francisco with a gay, single father at a time when that was all but unheard of. Plumbing her father Steve Abbott's many writings from that time, she recreates a historic moment in our country and the tumult surrounding it, as well as the intimate, moving moments that made up their home.

'Big Swiss' by Jen Beagin

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'Big Swiss'

Greta and Sabine live in a dilapidated farmhouse in upstate New York. Through her work as a transcriptionist for a sex coach, she becomes obsessed with a repressed married woman she calls Big Swiss. And when Greta recognizes the woman's voice in public, it doesn't exactly diffuse her attraction. This laugh-out-loud hilarious book is wholly original and positively delightful.

'All About Love' by Bell Hooks

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'All About Love'

“The word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun, yet we would all love better if we used it as a verb,” writes bell hooks. In this deeply personal opener to Hooks' "Love Song to the Nation" trilogy, she posits that our society is bereft of lovelessness. That is, we don't lack romance but are divided by society's lack of care and compassion. We have, in short, forgotten how to love one another. Maybe this book can help at least some of us remember.

'Giovanni's Room' by James Baldwin

'Giovanni's Room'
'Giovanni's Room'

Often cited as one of the best books of the last century, this masterpiece is all about a young man, David, who's recently proposed to his girlfriend but catches himself attracted to a bartender named Giovanni while traveling in Paris. When David's fiancee, Hella, arrives in Paris, their affair is revealed. We won't spoil the heartbreaking ending but it's well worth a read.

'Maurice' by E.M. Forster

'Maurice' by E.M. Forster
'Maurice' by E.M. Forster

This classic novel follows a young man named Maurice through school at Cambridge and into his father's firm — a conventional life in all ways except his sexual proclivities. "Happiness," Forster wrote, "is its keynote ... In Maurice I tried to create a character who was completely unlike myself or what I supposed myself to be: someone handsome, healthy, bodily attractive, mentally torpid, not a bad businessman and rather a snob. Into this mixture I dropped an ingredient that puzzles him, wakes him up, torments him and finally saves him."

'Less' by Andrew Sean Greer

<p>Amazon</p> 'Less'



In this sharply original book that feels like hearing a wild tale from an old friend, a failed novelist about to turn 50 embarks on an international caper that almost goes horribly wrong, quite a few times. Follow Arthur Less on lovably disastrous moments in Paris, Berlin, a Moroccan ski chalet, a retreat center in Southern India, a desert island in the Arabian Sea and worst of all, the inside of his own head. It's the best kind of summer vacation from your own problems, as you laugh along at Less for a while.

'The End of Eddy' by Edouard Louis

<p>Amazon</p> 'The End of Eddy'


'The End of Eddy'

“Every morning in the bathroom I would repeat the same phrase to myself over and over again ...Today I’m really gonna be a tough guy.” All Eddy Bellegueule wanted was to be a man in the eyes of his family and neighbors, but to all his friends, family and neighbors in the small French factory town where he lives, Eddy is different. This moving, compassionate story has been translated into 29 languages and speaks honestly to its readers in every one.

'Just By Looking at Him' by Ryan O'Connell

'Just By Looking At Him'
'Just By Looking At Him'

Elliott's life looks pretty good online: He's a successful TV writer, has a darling boyfriend and a general glam life. But in reality, he's deeply addicted to alcohol, can't stop cheating on his boyfriend and is forever insecure about his cerebral palsy. When he decides to take on his demons and emerge from a spiral of drinking, sex and Hollywood drama, Elliot realizes there's more to redemption than the right filter.

'Me Talk Pretty One Day' by David Sedaris

<p>Amazon</p> 'Me Talk Pretty One Day'


'Me Talk Pretty One Day'

You can't go wrong with any of Sedaris' searing, poignant essays and this book rounds up some of his best. By turns crankily griping about restaurants serving food in impractical constructions to taking us through his attempts to learn French and his family's reliably hysterical hijinks, there's lots to love in this collection.

'The Great Believers' by Rebecca Makkai

<p>Amazon</p> 'The Great Believers'


'The Great Believers'

In 1985, Yale Tishman's career is taking off, as he's about to bring a collection of 1920s paintings to the art gallery where he's the development director. But the AIDS epidemic begins to gain speed too and before he knows it, his friends are dying one by one and the virus looms ever closer. Soon, the only person he has left is Fiona, his friend Nico’s little sister. Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris trying to find her estranged daughter, who's been lured into a cult. While there, she finally confronts how AIDs affected her life and her family. These two intertwining stories drive home the impact of that time and its reverberations through the decades in a page-turning, illuminating novel.

'Pageboy' by Elliot Page


“Today I definitely feel a way that I never thought I would get to feel,” Page told PEOPLE, upon releasing this memoir about his life and journey toward happiness. “I think that mostly manifests in how present I feel. The sort of ease and the ability to exist. There's been periods in my life where I really felt like I wasn't. We talk about trans joy and euphoria and all of those things and so much of it is in the stillness. I just feel so lucky.”

Related: Elliot Page Releases First Chapter of 'Pageboy' Memoir: 'Grateful to Be Here - and Alive' (Exclusive)

'Me' by Elton John

<p>lgbtq-books-052724-ls</p> 'Me'



The simplicity of the title says it all: The first and only official autobiography of the Rocket Man himself is all about his life and career. Christened Reginald Dwight, he grew up a shy kid with thick glasses who dreamed of being a pop star. Lots of drama ensued along the way, and this book covers every moment, with plenty of fellow celebrity cameos to boot.

Related: Elton John Announces Book Detailing Final 'Farewell Yellow Brick Road' Tour

'Fun Home' by Alison Bechdel

'Fun Home'
'Fun Home'

Alison didn't realize her distant, demanding father Bruce (who was also the director of the town funeral home) was gay until she was in college and had recently come out herself. He died weeks later, and she was left to detangle his legacy for herself. A groundbreaking, must-read for anyone trying to find their place in the world and figure out how their family of origin plays into it.

'Wow, No Thank You' by Samantha Irby

<p>Amazon</p> 'Wow, No Thank You'


'Wow, No Thank You'

If you thought fame would change bestselling author Samantha Irby, think again. She's still a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person," and has the mason jar salad recipe to prove it. This riotous, often raunchy essay collection is all about the "Hallmark Channel dream" of a life Irby has built and it's as spit-take funny as it is relatable.

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