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With book bans on the rise, reading queer stories and supporting queer writers has never been so important. So, with Pride wrapping up and summer in full swing, grab a glass of something cold, lie in the sun and work up a sweat with a Sapphic romance. Or get lost in a moving memoir that’ll make you feel all the things. 

Whether you can sit reading for hours or prefer to just dip in for a couple of minutes, any time reading is time well spent. And best of all, to save you the trouble of deciding what to add to your ‘To Be Read’ pile, GAY TIMES has hand-selected a literary buffet of delights for your reading pleasure. Whether you want to laugh, cry or fall in love, there’s a book here for everyone.

‘Mrs S’ by K Patrick

Sapphic romance meets dark academia. Need we say more? When a young, newly appointed matron known only as “Miss” arrives at an elite English all-girls boarding school, she quickly falls for the headmaster’s wife: the enigmatic Mrs S. Their intoxicating slow-burn affair turns up the heat on an already-sweltering summer and takes readers on a nuanced exploration of desire, gender identity and power that’s as beautifully written as it is erotic. Seductive, stylish and dripping with atmosphere and tension, K Patrick’s prize-winning debut novel is a perfect summer read. 


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‘Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew from It’ by Greg Marshall

‘Leg’ is a coming-of-age and coming out memoir. If you think that promises to tread already-familiar ground, think again. Greg Marshall grew up a gay teen with a limp. Add to Marshall’s story a father with ALS, a mother battling cancer and a surprising cerebral palsy diagnosis in adulthood and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone better positioned to speak to the experience of queerness and disability.

Embracing it all, ‘Leg’ does what good non-fiction does best: it finds what’s universal in the personal, the weird and the unique. Animated by the author’s hilarious and, at times, gut-wrenching honesty, ‘Leg’ is ultimately a story about resilience and how we care for ourselves and the people we love. 


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‘Gwen and Art Are Not in Love’ by Lex Croucher

Finally… A historical rom-com that’s queer as hell. And fun! Pitched as ‘A Knight’s Tale’ meets ‘Heartstopper’, this medieval story has everything: sword-fighting, sharp wit and ridiculous shenanigans to warm the heart.

So, when Princess Gwen stumbles across her much-despised betrothed, Arthur, kissing a boy – and Arthur finds her diary, replete with longing for Bridget the female knight – an unlikely alliance forms. By pretending to be in love, they’re free to woo the real apple of their eye, but not without plenty of hilarious and relatable mix-ups along the way.


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‘Queer Life, Queer Love 2: The Second Anthology’ edited by Matt Bates, Julia Bell, Sarah and Kate Beal

If you’re looking for the one-stop shop equivalent of the best in queer writing from around the world, this anthology of forty-four short stories, essays and poems is for you. Following their beautiful first volume, ‘Queer Life, Queer Love 2’ is the expertly curated second collection of writing from new and established queer authors. Not a big reader? Don’t worry, we see you. You might want something that’s easy to dip in and out of. This is that book. Sometimes surprising, sometimes dark and sometimes funny, ‘Queer Life, Queer Love 2’ isn’t just a celebration of dazzling talent but a moving testament to the expansive kaleidoscope of queer experiences in life and love. 


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‘Rosewater’ by Liv Little

Penned by gal-dem founder Liv Little, ‘Rosewater’ is a distinctive debut novel. Teetering on the edge of a chaotic life that most twenty-something readers will resonate with, queer black poet Elsie is riddled with existential dread and only just holding her life together…until one day it all falls apart.

Evicted from her South London home, she moves in with her childhood friend, Juliet, and a deeper connection between them begins to unravel. Elsie bears out all the challenges that come with her labours of love, be it her romance with Juliet or her poetry, bolstered by the strength of intergenerational friendships and chosen family. This is where an otherwise visceral and moving narrative finds its joy. 


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‘The Queer Parent: Everything You Need to Know From Gay to Ze’ by Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley

Ok, you’re ready to be a parent and you’re in the frantic read-and-Google-everything phase. Congrats! Only, everything you’re reading seems to cater to cis-het families, and without much guidance on the unique challenges of becoming a queer parent, you’re feeling a little lonely. Enter ‘Some Families’ podcast hosts Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley to your rescue.

‘The Queer Parent’ is an urgently needed, joyful and empathetic toolkit for LGBTQ+ parents-to-be. With insight into everything from adoption, surrogacy and fertility treatments, right through to navigating extra layers of bureaucracy on your route to parenthood, this guide empowers without skimming on the comic relief.


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‘And Then He Sang a Lullaby’ by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu

What does queer resistance look like after Nigeria’s criminalisation of same-sex marriage in 2013? 23-year-old Nigerian queer activist Ani Kayode Somtochukwu’s heartbreaking debut novel follows the tender love story of August and Segun, two young gay men fighting for their freedom to love and live freely against the odds in modern Nigeria.

Evocative, haunting and unflinching, ‘And Then He Sang a Lullaby’ is brutally honest in its exploration of the effects of grief, violence and what it means to be straight-passing when your survival depends on it. Although devastating, readers may find solace and deep recognition in its pages. 


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‘The Male Gazed: On Hunks, Heartthrobs, and What Pop Culture Taught Me about (Desiring) Men’ by Manuel Betancourt

How does our media teach gay men about their desires and fantasies for their future? Born in Bogotá, Columbia, queer author and media critic Manuel Betancourt grew up caught between the reality of restrictive masculinity and the world of possibilities only glimpsed in films, TV and pop culture.

So, it’s perhaps not surprising that this sharp memoir-in-essays draws as much on Betancourt’s personal experience as it does his expertise as a cultural critic. Using top-tier pop culture references to springboard his thoughts on homosexuality and masculinity, Betancourt touches on everything from telenovelas and Disney movies to Antonio Banderas and Ricky Martin. While undeniably academic, this is a relatable, satisfying read that refuses to oversimplify the paradoxes of modern masculinity. 


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‘Pageboy’ by Elliot Page

‘Pageboy’ is Academy Award-nominated actor and trans activist Elliot Page’s poignant account of gender dysphoria, love and his journey to finding his truest self. When ‘Juno’ propelled him into fame, the dissonance of finding huge success whilst numbed to his truth pushed him to the edge. But thankfully – joyfully – he found a way to come alive, and this is the story of the steps that got him there. The non-linear storytelling is this memoir’s Achilles heel, but there is much to love in both Page’s strength and his writing’s lyricism. 


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‘Your Driver is Waiting’ by Priya Guns

Exhausted by grief and disenchanted with the failed promise of the immigrant dream, Sri Lankan ride-share driver Damani works in a city overrun with social unrest. Then, surprising even herself, she falls for Jolene, a rich white woman who says all the things an ally should. But a betrayal suddenly turns her hopes for romance upside down.

Billed as a gender-swapped ‘Taxi Diver’, this novel might pack more of a punch if it steered away from its romance storyline and leaned more into the social commentary that makes this read so compelling. Still, ‘Your Driver is Waiting’ is darkly funny and written with precise ferocity: a book that’s definitely worth the ride. 


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‘The DC Book of Pride’ by Jadzia Axelrod 

Last, but not least, we cannot forget ‘The DC Book of Pride’. A playful celebration of DC’s infamous characters, you can learn everything about your favourite superheroes. For fans of comics and those looking for a quick, joyful read, this book is for you.


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