Books brought solace during the pandemic. As people were stuck at home, books were being read for knowledge and entertainment. A range of books on same sex relationships and gay love became popular during this time. Here’s a list. If you are interested in this genre, here are 10, you must read.
1. Holapapi by John Paul Brammer
Named after an eminent LGBTQ advice column, in this book author John Paul Brammer chronicles his hilarious journey from being a queer from a mixed-race kid in America’s heartland to struggling with the ups and downs he had to face with the Christian community. The book is said to be for anyone—gay, straight, and everything in between—who has ever taken stock of their unique place in the world.
2. The Balance Tips by Joy Huang-Iris
The Balance Tips is about the multiracial Fay Wu Goodson, a videographer and daughter of Jia Wu, a Taiwanese immigrant to the United States where he deeply delves into the complexities of intersecting identities of other New Yorkers. Fay, who identifies as pansexual in the novel is simultaneously exploring the challenges of her own life and keeps relationships at a distance.
3. Blue-Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu
An Indian boy born with blue skin in Tamil Nadu is considered the reincarnation of Hindu God Vishnu. The protagonist Kalki is brought up in divine manners. The novel explores the family dynamics Kalki shares with his mother, father, uncle, cousin, which one by one starts to fall apart. Travelling from India to the underground rock scenes of New York, Kalki begins to explore race, sexuality, gender across continents and countries. The book takes you on a journey that delves into the interconnections of global races.
4. 'Broken Horses' by Brandi Carlile
A gay teenager, Brandi is suddenly torn between her sexuality and faith, when the pastor refused to baptize her. Through her novel, Brandi takes the readers on her journey of events that shaped her raw art. Broken Horses tells the story of a person, failed by the basic tenets of the church and incidents of isolation that built a person for who she is today -- a five-time Grammy Award-winning artist.
5. 'Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks'
Highsmith’s euphoria writing explores the nooks and crannies of gender and sexuality in the mid-twentieth century. Patricia Highsmith is now recognized as one of the “greatest modernist writers”, Highsmith’s sophomore novel had to be published under a pseudonym, to ‘save’ her reputation. The novel provides a deeper insight into the psychological turmoil that stands witness to her prose.
6. The One You Want to Marry (and Other Identities I’ve Had) by Sophie Santos
The title of her new memoir suggests that Sophie, a comedian, has lived several identities. Having grown up with a transient childhood, Santos has been many things before deciding to be an out and loud lesbian comedian. Sophie’s ‘messiness’ in the novel is all that the readers love.
7. Kink edited by R. O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell
The anthology is about a plethora of queer stories. The novel is not a quintessential queer book, but the selections of its narratives are pretty much gay. From celebrating a middle-aged couple having sex with a young man to probing sexual power dynamics, it’s a smart queer read.
8. The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.
The novel explores the queer love between two estranged slaves, Isaiah and Samuel and how their affair growingly become a source of controversy for their immediate community. The narrative has often been said to be reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s writings and the story has been chronicled from different perspectives. The story pieces together the refuge the lovers find in each others’ company and how the existence of the same is vetoed by society.
9. We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman
Cass, a young writer flees to the West Coast following a humiliating scandal. It was then that she was drawn towards teenage girls and the ambiguous orbit of a filmmaker. Often hailed as “a fierce new voice” and “queer, feminist, and ready to spill the tea”, Cass’s journey is marked with acts of escapism and eventually in the process reinventing her identities as she explores the ambit of success in filmmaking.
10. 100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell
Transgressive and devastatingly funny, the book chalks the journey of gay people in their quest to choose their own families and identities. The characters in the story are often battling to claim their inheritance while being pushed to corners by white supremacists and a heteronormative society.