National LGBT History Month Reading List

Stack of books, rainbow colors
Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

October was National LGBTQ+ Month, and also the 20 year anniversary of CSU’s Pride Resource Center. Because of the double celebration, there’s lots of great events happening on campus. To see more about those, visit the Pride Resource Center events page.

For National LGBTQ+ Month, we compiled a list of great LGBT works. Whether you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, this list just skims the surface of queer literature you might enjoy. Make sure you add these books to your reading list!

  1. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. “Silvera packs a powerful emotional punch in this multilayered story told partly in flashbacks by Griffin, who’s mourning the sudden death of his best friend and first love . . . The conversational yet profound tone of the book highlights the author’s ear for the musicality of language and his ability to convey deep emotion through attention to its cadence and flow. A novel to savor long after it ends.” ~Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
  2. Boy Erased: a Memoir by Garrard Conley. “The power of Conley’s story resides not only in the vividly depicted grotesqueries of the therapy system, but in his lyrical writing about sexuality and love, and his reflections on the Southern family and culture that shaped him.” ~Los Angeles Times
  3. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. “[Sister Outsider is] another indication of the depth of analysis that black women writers are contributing to feminist thought.” ~Barbara Christian, PhD, author of Black Feminist Criticism: Perspectives on Black Women Writers
  4. When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri. “Perri’s lively and funny voice brings a fresh perspective to that familiar and beloved story of a single girl finding love in the big city… [A] sweet love story about two people who find each other and don’t miss the opportunity to turn a chance encounter into a happily ever after.”~NPR.org
  5. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. “Albertalli paints a stunningly three-dimensional, cliche-free world for Simon that bursts with unforgettable characters. Savor it, because you’ll read it for the first time only once. Worthy of Fault in Our Stars-level obsession.” ~Entertainment Weekly
  6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz“A tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that love—whether romantic or familial—should be open, free, and without shame.” ~Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
  7. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. “Levithan’s prophecy of a hate-free world in which everyone loves without persecution makes this a provocative and important read for all young adults, gay or straight.” ~School Library Journal, Starred Review
  8. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. “If Van Gogh was our nineteenth-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our twentieth-century one.” ~Michael Ondaatje
  9. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.“Rowell imbues her magic with awe and spectacle. It’s a powerful, politically minded allegory about sexual, ethnic and class identity – with a heady shot of teenage lust.” ~New York Times Book Review
  10. Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls by Lindsay King-Miller. “Lindsay King-Miller is the cool, queer aunt you never had but always wanted — she is unrelentingly kind, totally funny, and no subject is off limits. Ask a Queer Chick is essential reading.” ~Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag … And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha
  11. Before Night Falls: A Memoir by Reinaldo Arenas. Arenas’ book “is a book above all about being free.” ~The New York Times Review of Books 
  12. No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies edited by E. Patrick Johnson. 
    No Tea, No Shade’s largest strength is its intimate relationship with its historical and theoretical origins: the text conjures up legends long ignored by white-dominated queer studies, including the Harlem Renaissance performer Gladys Bentley, the drag king MilDred, and Black Lace, a 90s-era erotic magazine by and for African-American lesbians.” ~Sarah Fonseca Lambda Literary Review
  13. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.This humorous and heartbreaking summer coming-of-age tale is reminiscent of Isabel Quintero’s 2015 Morris Award winner Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. Teens will appreciate the integrated definitions of words such as polyamory and theodicy in the narrative. Even older teens will appreciate the discussions about microaggressions and white privilege. VERDICT After reading this book, teens will want to fight for social justice. A powerful novel that will resonate with most young people.” ~Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL
  14. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. “If David Sedaris could draw, and if Bleak House had been a little funnier, you’d have Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.” ~Amy Bloom, author of A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You
  15. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson. “The book every LGBT person would have killed for as a teenager, told in the voice of a wise best friend. Frank, warm, funny, USEFUL.” ~Patrick Ness, bestselling author