Favourite Gay Books

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call me by your nameAs promised, here is my preliminary list of favourite gay books published over the past 50 years. I used different sources to assemble this list of  books, including booksellers, many gay websites, as well as reviews on this website and I divided them into 2 categories – The Classics (books more than 15 years old – this was arbitrary and it could just as easily have been 25 years) and Current Favourites (any book released after 1994 –  again an arbitrary date). This list is not complete and I don’t know how many we will end up with when it’s done.

Since you are all consumers of M/M romances and gay fiction I would ask readers and authors to add to this list so that eventually we  have a composite list of favourite gay books, not necessarily best sellers or books that have achieved critical acclaim (although some of them are included). Your personal favourites do have a place but I hope we don’t end up with 200 books.:) Some of these titles may be familiar to you, quite a few of them have been reviewed on the site, and I hope that eventually many more will be reviewed. I have read some of the books but not as many as I would have liked. Reviewing the remaining books would probably be a lot easier if they were available in ebook format but most of the classics are only in print; however we’ll do what we can. Of course the list will evolve and change as new books are published so it will probably need to be updated every 3 – 6 months.

Please include your suggested additions in the comments section of this post. You will notice, I’m sure, the lack of historical and scifi books on the list so I would really like those recs. , also a few more contemporary M/M and gay fiction.

Favourite Gay Books 
 -The Classics 

 (for this purpose books released more than 15 years ago)

A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White
A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham
And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts
Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story by Paul Monette
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
City of Night by John Rechy
Comfort & Joy by Jim Grimsley
Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Maurice by E.M. Forster
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal
The Best Little Boy in the World by Andrew Tobias
The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Charioteer by Mary Renault
The Dreyfus Affair by Peter Lefcourt
The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren
The Persian Boy by Mary Renaultthe persian boy
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 

 - Current 

 (for this purpose books released 15 years ago or less)

A Better Place by Mark A. Roeder
A Bit of Rough by Laura Baumbach
A Note In The Margin by Isabelle Rowan
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
A Strong and Sudden Thaw by R.W.Day
Adrien English Mysteries (series) by Josh Lanyon
Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger
Always by M.L. Rhodes
Angel’s Evolution by T.A. Chase
As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
Angels in America by Tony Kushner
At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill
Bareback by Chris Owen
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Captain’s Surrender by Alex Beecroft
Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
Caught Running by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Channeling Morpheus (series) by Jordan Castillo Price
Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell
Crossing Borders by Z.A. Maxfield
Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran
Deadly Dreams/Slumber/Wrong/Nightshade (series) by Victor J. Banis
Donald Strachey Mysteries (series) by Richard Stevenson
Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels
Falling by M.L. Rhodes
False Colors by Alex Beecroft
Heaven Sent (series) by Jet Mykles
Hero by Perry Moore
High Line by T.A. Chase
How Long has this been Going On? Ethan Mordden
LolaDances lgeLola Dances by Victor J. Banis
Longhorns by Victor J. Banis
Love & Loyalty by Tere Michaels
My Fair Captain/The Englor Affair (series) by J.L. Langley
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Mexican Heat by Josh Lanyon and Laura Baumbach
Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim
Naked by David Sedaris
9-1-1 by Chris Owen
Orientation by Rick R. Reed
Out There in the Night by Laura Baumbach
Out of the Blue by Josh Lanyon
Paul’s Dream by Rowan McBride
PsyCop (series) by Jordan Castillo Price
Ransom by Lee Rowan
Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
Soul Mates (series) by Jourdan Lane
Standish by Erastes
Strongman by Denise Rosetti
Sweet Oblivion (series) Jordan Castillo Price
The Assignment by Evangeline Anderson
The Back Passage by James Lear
The Bones of Summercaptain's surrender by Anne Brooke
The Draegan Lords (series) by M.L. Rhodes
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt
The One That Got Away by Madeleine Urban & Rhianne Aile
The Protector by N.L. Gassert
The Tin Star by J.L. Langley
The Mercenary’s Tale by Lynn Lorenz
Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy
Transgressions by Erastes
Two Steps Up by Sean Kennedy – YA
Untamed Heart by Ally Blue
VGL Male Seeks Same by Rick R. Reed
Vintage – A Ghost Story by Steve Berman
Where Flows the Water by Sean Michael
Where The Boys Are by William J. Mann
Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
Without Reservations/With Caution by J.L. Langley

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130 thoughts on “Favourite Gay Books

  1. gaycrow

    Wow! Thanks for doing this Wave. I was very interested to read the list, and was surprised to have read only 16 of them, and of those, there are seven I wasn’t so keen on. It’s great to see everyone’s different favourites.

    *

    Here are some of mine:

    *

    Classic:
    *
    Joseph Hansen’s David Brandstetter’s series – nice to see Batboy’s reccing this too.

    *
    The Wraeththu series by Storm Constantine
    *
    Vampires Anonymous by Jeffrey N. McMahan
    *

    Current:
    *
    The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox (which has just been released as a movie, but is apparently very disappointing) about a French wine-maker who has a relationship with an angel. Set in the 1800′s, so would be classed as historical.
    Link: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/k/elizabeth-knox/vintners-luck.htm

    *

    Now is the Hour” by Tom Spanbauer
    *
    Brethren: Raised by Wolves series by W.A. Hoffman – historical.
    *
    The God in Flight by Laura Argiri, historical
    *
    What Love Means to You People by NancyKay Shapiro
    *
    The Shadow of the Templar series, by M Chandler. A real favourite.
    *
    The Administration series by Manna Francis
    *
    Nocturne by Mel Keegan, historical
    *

    1. feliz

      oh yes, the Brethren: Raised by Wolves Series can’t be left out! The fourth book of the series is due this year, by the way.

      1. Wave Post author

        Feliz
        I guess I need to get The Brethren Raised by wolves next because everyone seems to be so enthusiastic about this series.*g* Thanks for your recs.

    2. Wave Post author

      Gaycrow
      I’m not sure if I responded to your extensive list of recs but thank you so much. The list was thoughtfully put together and I will try to include as many as I can. Any book that didn’t make it will be found here on the post and readers can refer back to them whenever they wish. You guys rock!

    3. nowherenomad

      The Vitner’s Luck is one of my all time favorites!!! No one I know even has heard of it, but then I am a literary nerd and have read stuff that most people would balk at!

      What about Gordon Merrick’s books? They are amazingly well written and hot to boot!

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Rowan
      You’re welcome. I’m sure you know how much I enjoyed Paul’s Dream which is quite an unusual book.

      **

      I’m still waiting for the sequel.

  2. Lilli

    Hm, a good opportunity to peek out of lurkdom. ;)

    I’d like to add the Raised by Wolves series by W. A. Hoffman, an epic historical in 4 parts (Brethren, Matelots, Treasure; Wolves to be released this year). It’s freaking fantastic and really huge, every book has about at least 500 pages. A bit pricy but it’s worth it. Placed in the 1660s in the West Indies amongst the buccaneers. Love (maybe a little bit “gay for you” but absolutely believable and very moving), angst and adventure, vividly narrated in first person POV. Quite a bit philosophical and edgy. Love Willl and Gaston.

    Thanks Wave for the effort to provide this great list and thanks to everybody else for mentioning all these books. Although I found most of my favourites I still got more new reading material than I can handle… *sighs*

    Oh, and The Persian Boy. I’m o.b.s.e.s.s.e.d. with it. What a wonderful, deeply moving story.

    Here you go. Once out of lurkdom I can’t stop gushing. *lol* That’s just because all those books on a single page got me all excited…

    ETA: did I really took this long to write this down that gaycrow could post an even longer comment including the Raised series in the meantime? That’s depressing. *lol* Thanks gaycrow! :)

    1. gaycrow

      Hi Lilli!

      *
      My comment only looks longer because I stuck all those asterisks in there! Your’s has much more substance.
      *
      The Raised by Wolves books are great, aren’t they? I think W.A. Hoffman changed her direction a little with the last one, though, and her teaser chapters for the next book in the series didn’t appeal to me much. Did you read them on her web-site? I’m quite nervous about this final book. :/

      1. Lilli

        Hi gaycrow!
        The books are definitely great! After reading the first I wanted to quit work, find me a matelot and go roving. *ggg* And the second book was even better.
        But as I haven’t yet read the third book (I’m a slow reader and I always need some free days in a row to read such a huge book. Otherwise I’d be a complete mess at work being completely occupied with other things… ;)) I avoid reading the teasers for “Wolves”. Don’t want to pick up spoilers or anything…
        I can’t wait for it to be published and looking forward to the ratings. But you made me nervous, too! I so hope your first impressions are wrong. ;)

        1. gaycrow

          Lilli, well, unless Hoffman changes things dramatically, I might be reading the final book with my eyes closed. :D

      2. feliz

        Hi gaycrow, nice to meet you here.
        I definitely second the Shadow of the Templar Series.
        The Wolves Book teasers struck me as “poor Will, poor poor Will”, which is nothing new, but this time Will meets real hardship, I think.

        1. gaycrow

          Hi Feliz! It’s great to find another Simon/Jeremy fan here. The Shadow of the Templar books are compulsive reading, aren’t they?

          *

          Regarding the final Raised by Wolves book – yes, without giving too much away, I’m not really looking forward to seeing what Will goes through. :-(

    2. Wave Post author

      Lilli
      I’m so glad I found something to get you out of lurkdom and I hope you will continue to contribute. Thanks for the recs. and I look forward to seeing you here more than occasionally.:)

  3. T.A. Chase

    Hey Wave,
    *
    Thanks for including Stealing Life and High Line on your list.
    *
    Wow…there are a whole bunch of books that I need to add to my list and pick up. They all look great. I can’t wait until the YA list is compiled because I’d love to pick up some of them.
    *
    Thanks again.

  4. Tara

    Great Idea on the Book lists! I love getting recommendations, and sharing (tell me to shut up it i list too much. I am a book addict I’ll admit it).
    m/m paperback
    Before i discovered ebooks and it was a rare treat to discover actual m/m books anywhere even on line. it used to be such a limited selection available, or at least that i could find. Here are some of those i remember enjoying.

    Mel Keegan
    Dangerous Moonlight (historical)

    Neil S. Plakey (gay detective)
    Mahu Series

    Cochrane Lambert
    Three Fortunes in one cookie

    Scott Sherman (mystery )
    First you Fall

    N. L. Gassert
    The Protector

    Bart Yates
    Leave myself Behind

    Chris Owens
    Adagio

    Greg Lilly (mystery but also family issues)
    Fingering the family jewels

    chuck zito ( mystery play director)
    Habit for Death
    ice in his veins
    (have a weird fascination with people who work behind the scenes of theater/tv/movies)

    C. S. Laurel
    B. Quick

    William Jack Sibley
    Any kind of Luck

    M. J. pearson ( reminds me of old fashioned historical romance novels)
    Discreet young gentleman
    the price of temptation

    Robin Reardon
    a secret edge

    Larry Coles
    Freshman Pledge: The magic of Love

    Jim Grimsley
    Dream Boy

    Jay Quinn
    Back Where He Started

    Lynn Flewelling Night runner series
    (fantasy)

    Tanya Huff
    (The Fire’s Stone)

    Turnskin by Nicole Kimberling ( very original shifter )

    Desert Sons by Mark Kendrick

    W.A. Hoffman
    Raised By Wolves (favorite)

    1. gaycrow

      Hi Tara,
      I also enjoyed “Three Fortunes in One Cookie” by Cochrane Lambert. Did you know it’s a writing partnership? Becky Cochrane and Timothy J Lambert both have Live Journals, and post some of the best entries I’ve read. I often laugh out loud about Tim’s latest adventures, and Becky’s a wonderful dressmaker to the “stars”.

    2. Kim W.

      Wonderful list as well. I’m surprised at the wealth of authors we have. I’m glad you mentioned Lynn Flewelling. The Nightrunner books are both my favorite fantasy, and m/m novels. Did you know the series is being considered for movie/miniseries adaptation. http://otterdance.livejournal.com/314932.html

      Maybe we could also have a list of m/m books that have been adapted into other media?

      1. Wave Post author

        Kim
        Thanks for the recs. I had never heard about the Nightrunner books so now I’ll be off to amazon to place them in my cart.:)
        **
        “Maybe we could also have a list of m/m books that have been adapted into other media?”
        I think I need to finish this project first.:)

  5. Sean Kennedy

    Oh, a really good YA I read recently was “A Really Nice Prom Mess” by Brian Sloane. Like a John Hughes movie with a gay lead, all about the hellish (and hilarious) situations he gets into on prom night.

  6. nichem

    Thought of a few more:
    Edward Unconditionally by Lynn Lorenz
    Regularly Scheduled Life by K.A. Mitchell
    Henry and Jim by J.M. Snyder
    Windows in Time by M. Jules Aedin

  7. Aunt Lynn

    The majority of mine have been either included on the original list or have been mentioned in comments. I would add:
     
    Snowball in Hell/Josh Lanyon
    St. Nachos/ZAM
     
    I’ll also help when it comes time.

  8. Aunt Lynn

    Madeleine:

    Re: Sticks & Stones
    We’re trying! We’re trying! We have to sleep!

    No sleep for you two until it’s done, dammit! :)
     
    Oh, and look for a review of Warrior’s Cross on Monday!

    1. Wave Post author

      Jordan
      I think you made the list 3 times, not twice, you lucky woman.:)

      I’ll add Tales from the Flat Earth by Tanith Lee to the list. Thanks for the rec.

  9. Josh Aterovis

    Wave asked me to make a few suggestions for some other great gay YA authors, so these are the ones that came to mind: Brent Hartinger, Alex Sanchez, Davis Levithan, Peter Cameron, Martin Wilson, and Perry Moore. I’m sure I’m missing some obvious ones, so if I think of any more, I’ll be back!

  10. Mary M

    Wave, you do know you’re asking for trouble by asking for additional recs, right?? From the number of comments, I bet you’re already drowning in them. Lol.

    Thanks for doing this list. I’ve read only one of the “classics” (the one I recommended you *g*), but I see a lot of my own favs in the “current” section – which is not very surprising given that I read a lot of them on YOUR recommendation :-D. I have a feeling I might be ordering several more books-that-I-won’t have-the-time-to-read-before-a-while using his list :).

    As for additional recs, I don’t have many that come to mind…you have The Assignment, you have 9-1-1, you have Caught Running and Cut & Run, you have Ransom and you have the Adrien English books, so the essentials are there already *g* One I would add is S.A. Payne,s HEROES AND GHOSTS, one of the only yaois I’ve ever read and a book I re-read every few months, a sure sign. It’s futuristic, original and the love story is very sweet. And I also loved Lee Rowan’s Winds of Change, which has a less complex plot than Ransom but more hot sex with the same lovely characters :)

    1. Wave Post author

      Mary
      I do understand that I’m looking for trouble but since this list is for the readers I think they should have a major input on the recommended books. I’ll add Heroes and Ghosts to the list. Now go out and spend some money on print books.:)

    2. Leslie

      Eye of the Storm by Lee Rowan was just re-published with a lovely new cover and some edits to make it a better book (it has gone from very good to great, imho). It also features Will Marshall and David Archer and some very nice lovemaking, plus a bit of an adventure. It’s for sale at All Romance.
      *
      L

  11. Mary M

    **admires little Canadian flag next to her name and wonders where the hell the pretty floating blue “home” button has gone**

    Oh, and I second the Nightrunner rec. This series is great fantasy fiction, and this M/M is just the salt on the fires :-D

    1. Wave Post author

      Mary
      So glad you like the Canadian flag. The HOME button is still there – maybe your monitor is so small that you can’t see it on the far right of the sidebar. They do say bigger is better.:?)

  12. Leslie

    If you are not totally overwhelmed yet, I thought of another great book: The Rest of Our Lives by Dan Stone. Very sweet, very sexy…
    *
    L

  13. nichem

    Thanks for including a separate category for YA, Wave. For the other books, I know most are romances, but I recognize a few that aren’t– like David Sedaris who technically is non-fiction, I guess (and Dan Savage if you decide to include him)? Could there be a separate category for non-romance books or non-typical romance books (that is, no HEA)? I know that’s a lot of work– I can help if you need it.

  14. Christa

    What fun! I have four favorites that weren’t mentioned –

    Long Way Home by ZAM
    Gift of the Raven by Angela Fiddler
    I Dare You and Incredible by Matthew Haldeman-Time

    It’s almost embarrassing how often I’ve read them…

  15. Erastes

    As to YA – I’d highly recommend Hayden Thorne’s GLBT YA books. The Masks series which is superhero, and her historicals, Banshee and Icarus in Flight.

    Nichem: The list already includes non-hea, it’s not a list of Romance, it’s gay books in general.

    1. nichem

      Right, I realize it’s a list of gay books in general. Was just wondering if the list could be further subdivided like Wave was doing with YA, so people would know which were typical romance and which weren’t. I like reading both, but it’d be nice to know ahead of time which was which, especially if it’s a particularly depressing book like some of the classics are. But I know that’s a lot of trouble, so not a big deal if it isn’t done.

  16. Wave Post author

    Hi Nichem

    Thanks for your suggestions and here are my answers.

    **

    1. I can’t tell you which books are depressing or not.:) and I can’t say which are not HEAs because that would be giving out spoilers which, as a reviewer, I don’t do. However, I’m sure for classics such as Brokeback and The Front Runner, everyone knows how they end.

    **

    2. Historical books in most if not all cases don’t have a HEA, more likely they have a HFN ending because of the times. I would suggest that for anyone who would like to know more about some of these books that they read reviews in places like amazon where spoilers abound.

    3. I would love to subdivide the books even further but that would be a huge task so here’s what I had planned to do: I’m going to put a legend on the post and on the books so that readers know if they are historical, paranormal, etc. I hope that works for you.:)

  17. josh lanyon

    Late to the party per as usual.
    *
    This is a really difficult thing you’re trying to do, Wave — the combination of genre fiction with literary fiction. Sometimes there are crossovers, of course, but kudos to you for this!
    *
    These will repeats for the most part:
    *
    My all time single favorite work of literary fiction is The Charioteer.
    *
    SF or Fantasy, Mel Keegan’s Death Head series (Mel Keegan’s significance and importance in GLBT genre fiction — those initial titles from GMP? — has yet to be fully recognized, I believe), Swordspoint, Wicked Gentlemen, the Teot books by Heather Gladney, Chrome by George Nadar (Nader?), Kirith Kirin by Jim Grimsley, Dancers of Arun by Elizabeth A. Lynn…
    *
    Joseph Hansen’s contribution to gay romance in the form of the books he wrote as James Colton — in particular On Twilight Road.
    *
    Mystery – Joseph Hansen (my single favorite title a standalone novel called Back Track) in particular the Dave Brandstetter series, Richard Stevenson, My Dearest Holmes by Rohase Piercy, Michael Nava’s Golden Boy (Nava is a terrific writer — he’s too effective in fact), Cowboy Blues by Steven Lewis, The Night GAA Died by Jack Ricardo…
    *
    Historical…you can’t overlook the importance of Gaywyck (terrible book, though it is) or the God in Flight (heavily influenced by Gaywyck, I suspect). Anything by Mary Renault. Alex Beecroft does a good job with Age of Sail. My problem is I read very little in historical anymore, so I’ll leave this alone as I’m blanking and will embarrass myself by leaving people out.
    *
    Oh, as an aside, I want to read Sean Kennedy’s pulp fiction adventure novel and I think JS Cook could well turn out to be worth watching.
    *
    Contemporary writers who I’m enjoying…Vincent Diamond writes very well. KA Mitchell, LB Gregg (yes, a personal friend, but I think she’s going to be a major voice in contemporary comic m/m romance)…actually, I don’t want to answer this section because I’m going to forget friends whose work I love and then it will seem deliberate. I seem to mention the Blind Eye Books stable of talent a good deal, so suffice it to say you can’t go wrong with the writing triumverate of Kimberling, Hale, Amara. And there are lots of great writers out there that I am looking forward to sampling but just haven’t had a chance yet.
    *
    YA I am totally blanking on.

  18. liade

    “Michael Nava’s Golden Boy (Nava is a terrific writer — *he’s too effective in fact*)!”

    Explain, please

  19. Wave Post author

    Hello Everyone
    It’s Sunday at 7.30 P.M.and I’m going to close off the recommendations for now because we’re about to put together the final list, which should make its appearance late this week or very early next week. Thanks to all of you for your hard work in suggesting how to make the list more user friendly, and also for all the great recommendations.

    **

    See you on the other side in about a week when the comments will be reopened, but not for new recs.:)

  20. Elaine

    I’ll Be Your Drill, Soldier by Crystal Rose; Dark Roast Press; MM military

    Zero to the Bone by Jane Seville; Dreamspinner Press; MM thriller

  21. Wave Post author

    Hi Elaine

    I’ll be Your Drill Soldier is on my TBR list and I hope to include it in the next update of the list. Zero to the Bone is already on the list.

  22. sammy

    The Vintner’s Luck!!!! Yes! One of the great gay romances of all time!
    The movie sucks! (Isn’t gay at all!) Read the book!

  23. Wave Post author

    Elaine and Sammy
    Thanks very much for your recs. I’ll be sure to include them on the update to the list. However, they must be M/M and still available. I’ll check them out.

  24. Javier Dominguez

    So did I as my photo is on the cover of the Hellespont although the photo was taken in Caños de Mecca, the nude beach in Andamusia!

  25. Kay

    In addition to favourites already listed, must reads authors are Greg Herren (2 mystery series set in New Orleans, also collections of M/M erotica); and Michael Thomas Ford (novels with M/M romance, collections of M/M erotica, collections of humourous essays, nonfiction coming out stories). Apparently M T Ford has also written lesbian erotica under another name … a versatile writer ;-)

  26. Meredith

    Must read for those really interested in gay literature is the beautifully written Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. He also wrote The Swimmingpool Library and the recent The Stranger’s Child. For those who truly appreciate great literature, these books are or will be Classics. Don’t miss.

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