Bookshop Staff Picks: LGBTQ Books

By Bookshop.org

By Bookshop.org

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals

Saidiya Hartman

$17.95 $16.51

The latest from certified genius (by the MacArthur Foundation) Sadiya Hartman, this book explores the revolutionary lives of young Black women in the early 20th century who redefined ideas of love, sex, and reasons to live. Thoroughly researched, immaculately written, and insightfully narrated, this book is itself a beautiful, radical experiment. –Angela Januzzi, Marketing & Special Programming Coordinator

For Now

Eileen Myles

$18.00 $16.56

A new memoir/essay by the legendary poet who once ran a write-in campaign as our "first openly female" presidential candidate, this book recounts Myles' early experiences as an artist and a human. Candid, insightful, and witty, as always. –David Rose, CMO

Guillotine: Poems

Eduardo C Corral

$16.00 $14.72

A poetry collection in Spanish, English, and Spanglish, Guillotine investigates borders and reflects on love and loss. Encompassing vast expanses of desert and individual, devastating heartbreaks, this book is a masterfully composed investigation of the experience of being unwanted. –Chloe Kim, Customer Service Representative

How to They/Them: A Visual Guide to Nonbinary Pronouns and the World of Gender Fluidity

Stuart Getty and Brooke Thyng

$18.95 $17.43

This is a guide on the biology, sociology, and personal experience of nonbinary people and gender fluidity. Humorous, adorably illustrated, and thoroughly explained, this is required reading for anyone who calls themselves an ally. –David Rose, CMO

A History of My Brief Body

Billy-Ray Belcourt

$15.99 $14.71

Written by a queer member of the Driftpile Cree Nation, this debut memoir is a great coalescence of political critique and personal narrative. Gracefully weaving together things like his sexual experiences of fetishization on Grindr with general condemnations of white supremacist capitalism, he succeeds in staying endlessly interesting throughout. He speaks of an urgency to recognize what could be done for so many forgotten people. It's a book that explores the act of writing as a way to challenge and a way to console. It's concurrently about anger and positivity; Belcourt manages to look back on how "NDNs" have historically been brutalized and traumatized, as well as proposing a way to move evermore forward. –Amanda Rivera, Customer Support Representative

Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry

Imani Perry

$17.95 $16.51

Timely and relevant with our own political climate, Lorraine Hansberry was a woman of action. Her ideologies were a call to arms. This intimate biography about the playwright, civil rights leader, and Queer trailblazer—who died tragically at the age of 34—examines what molded her to become the first Black American to feature her play, A Raisin in the Sun, on Broadway. As I settle deeper into my own trans + nonbinary reality and absorb how Lorraine lived her life unapologetically Black, Queer, and proud, I personally discovered a kindred spirit among our intersecting identities. To live your life truthfully is an invaluable gift you can only give to yourself. –Elle McKenzie, Customer Support Representative

Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family

Garrard Conley

$16.00 $14.72

Boy Erased chronicles Garrard Conley's experience of being outed to his uber-Christian family and the conversion therapy he was forced to undergo. A heart-wrenching and triumphant story of survival, reconciliation, and self-love, this memoir is an essential document of contemporary queer experience. –Sarah High, Partnerships Manger

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name: A Biomythography

Geraldine Audre Lorde

$16.99 $15.63

A seminal work of Black lesbian literature, this unique work masterfully blends memoir, poetry, history, and mythography. ZAMI is an exhilarating, innovative chronicle of a Black gay woman's journey in self-acceptance and community building, and a call to action against the injustices the community continues to face. –Kevin Chau, Editor

Metaphysical Dog

Frank Bidart

$14.00

A collection of powerful autobiographical poems, each as rich as a story with character and emotion. A poet writing at the absolute peak of his abilities. –Jacob Schraer, Customer Support Representative

Rubyfruit Jungle

Rita Mae Brown

$17.00 $15.64

This intimate coming of age novel, written as an ode to (the protagonist) Molly Bolt's budding lesbianism, was far beyond its time at its publication by feminist writer Rita Mae Brown in 1973. She captures a uniquely female-facing sexual revolution through all of Molly's fortunes and follies from adolescence to adulthood. Rubyfruit Jungle has aged as well as its heroine and even the title alone has become an iconic description for the female womb space in a way that would make Georgia O'Keeffe proud. Check out the accompanying study guide for a deeper dive! –Paige O'Malley, Customer Support Representative

Since I Laid My Burden Down

Brontez Purnell

$17.95 $16.51

Brontez Purnell's Since I Laid My Burden Down follows artsy, slutty San Franciscan DeShawn as he returns to his southern hometown to attend his uncle's funeral and his resulting reckoning with his childhood, his family, the church, and the men in his life. This freewheeling, hilarious, and touching novel is an underrated modern classic of Black queer literature. –Cosme Del Rosario-Bell, Operations Manager

The Tradition

Jericho Brown

$17.00 $15.64

I feel grounded in Jericho Brown's poetry. Throughout his well-deserved Pulitzer Prize-winning work of art, he explores the tumultuous terrain of being a Black, gay man in America while interweaving the identity on love, survival, and self-reflection. This collection is one I'll be rereading for years to come. –Elle McKenzie, Customer Support Representative

Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration

David Wojnarowicz

$15.95 $14.67

This book was released in the early 90's but manages to maintain a tone of urgency that transcends time. Wojnarowicz paints a picture of his world in this intimate memoir where he's surrounded by sickness, drugs, and death during the AIDs crisis in NYC. His anger regarding the US government's negligence during the epidemic is made even more palpable reading this book now, particularly with it being a disease primarily affecting historically oppressed communities. His criticisms of power structures are still relevant today. –Amanda Rivera, Customer Support Representative

Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color

$16.95 $15.59

I couldn't decide which of my favorite LGBTQ poets of color to celebrate in this list, so I went with all of them. Edited by queer poet Christopher Soto, Nepantla is an anthology of poetry by QTPOC—whatever it means to be queer, trans, or a person of color. Representing a wide range of American poets from canonized masters like Langston Hughes and Audre Lorde, to lesser known classics like tatianna de la tierra and Robert Hayden, to contemporary pioneers like U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo and MacArthur genius Ocean Vuong, this anthology surveys some of the greatest American poetry of the last hundred years across styles and subjects. –Kevin Chau, Editor

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

Alexander Chee

$15.99 $14.71

Alexander Chee's How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is a wide-ranging, touching, and deeply clever essay collection covering subjects from the AIDS crisis to 9/11 to Chee's father's death to the publication of his first novel to the election of Trump. Fusing craft lessons in prose, sociopolitical analysis, and meditations on his own identities, Chee's collection reinvigorates the art of the personal essay. –Sarah High, Partnerships Manger

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong

$26.00 $23.92

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a tender, devastating immigration narrative and coming-out/-of-age story structured as a love letter from a young gay Vietnamese American man to his illiterate mother. In this deep examination of love, loss, and American masculinity, Ocean Vuong wields earnestness and the translation of poetic form to prose like only Ocean Vuong can. –Andy Hunter, Founder/CEO