My Favourite Queer Books

Oh my gods how do I choose!?! My Top (series) was obvious to me but I did need to think to get it down to one and I very nearly just Anna Madrigal’d the whole list… however I put a bit of thought into this instead!

5. Fingersmith – by Sarah Waters. Yeah I know I know this is not highbrow but I LOVED that trashy romance novels could be written about two women. I read it unashamedly when I was at uni and every so often I return to it because I love me some trashy romance.

4. Orlando – by Virginia Woolf. Ok so this one is a bit more highbrow right? Frankly I just loved the weirdness of it. It’s sci-fi, though I felt a bit let down by the ending situation and then guilty because of that.

3. Dorian Grey – by Oscar Wilde. Yeah maybe I’m not just into trashy romances… oh wait I have read this book and it’s pretty trashy romance. It’s painful and exquisite and the gay subtext is not all that subtexty. I think that some of it might’ve been quoted in Wilde’s trial because it was so very much text. I love the horror of it and I guess I like the books written in the past because we have come very, very far. From the hidden in plain sight to the so normalised it doesn’t bare a mention.

2. A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet – by Becky Chambers. I love me some space opera and that goes double when we’ve got queer stuff that’s just a by-the-by part of the universe that it’s in. Being queer is becoming so ordinary that it’s almost like there aren’t specific QUILTBAG books anymore and I love it!

1. Michael Tolliver Lives – by Amistead Maupin. Honestly this was a hard pick because I love all of the Tales from the City books, I was introduced to them via the Radio Four adaptations and I thought my morbid loves would have me choose the finale, also Mary Ann in Autumn really stuck with me but in the end it’s Michael Tolliver that I picked. The HIV/AIDs pandemic/crisis whatever you want to call it has had a massive impact on me as a queer woman. You’d think that realistically I’m not old enough but my whole sex-ed in heteronormative school situations was framed around ‘if you have straight sex without a condom you will get aids and die’. My entry into the queer community all the elders were reeling from their friends, dying and taking care of the dying. My favourite singer died when I was ten from AIDS related complications. So listening to the despair and the hope within Michael Tolliver, that’s a queerness that for all it’s set in San Francisco speaks to me in familiar tones.

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