In 1969, the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States was jumpstarted by the Stonewall Riots. One year later, the first Gay Pride March was held to commemorate the riots, becoming the genesis for June Pride events around the world. This year, we at Off the Shelf are celebrating Pride with 11 books featuring LGBTQ characters and by LGBTQ individuals that showcase how far we’ve come since the raids and riots of the ’60s and the struggles and experiences of the LGBTQ community today.
Sam Lansky’s memoir paints a dark and enthralling tale of one journey to self-acceptance with a modern-day New York City private school backdrop. You’ll cringe, you’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, and finally you’ll applaud this young man as he finds his way in this world as an openly proud gay man.
While every piece in this collection covers the fascinating experiences of women who lived just outside the spotlight, the second story, “The Siege at Whale Cay,” contains the collection’s most interesting LGBTQ character. A cross-dressing motorboat enthusiast and heiress, Joe Carstairs resides on her own private island, where she seduces women, including Marlene Dietrich.
Not your average dog book. Take a wild and emotional adventure with Lily and her owner Ted as they navigate their way through the act of saying goodbye. In a completely engrossing and wonderfully creative way, LILY AND THE OCTOPUS is part fairy tale, part portrait of grief. If you don’t shed a tear by the last page, then you can rest easy that you are a monster.
Ted and his elderly dachshund are at the center of this story of steadfast companionship, loss, and longing that will break your heart and put it back together again. The two share a comfortable life spent chatting about boys, playing board games, and ordering pizza just so Lily can bark at the delivery boy. But then the Octopus arrives and their simple little world begins to change. By turns hilarious and poignant, LILY AND THE OCTOPUS is a book you’ll never stop talking (and crying) about.
A powerful collection of essays from women who discovered their love for other women after years of being in relationships with men. DEAR JOHN, I LOVE JANE is perfect for those questioning their sexuality at any age—one of the contributors was in her sixties when she came out!—for those who have “always known,” and for anyone hoping to learn more about sexual fluidity.
You may recognize Charles Blow from his many Opinion Pages in the New York Times, but he first captivated us with his incredibly honest and deeply felt struggle coming to terms as a bi-sexual man. He weaves a story of a tough childhood to frat houses to his life now as a journalist with grace, poise, and incredible skill.
A delicious memoir that explores both sexuality and the kitchen. Through food, Candace Walsh tells her story, from her unhappy adolescence to her marriage to a man to becoming a divorcée in a same-sex relationship, with a few recipes thrown in for good measure.
In this harrowing story Thomas Page McBee reflects on what it means to “be a man” from the perspective of one who has successfully transitioned from female to male. Focusing on the two traumatic events in his life—growing up with an abusive father and a random mugging—he explores manhood in a way that will leave you breathless. The under-published world of the trans male is lucky to have McBee on this planet.
When Isabel Miller first self-published this novel in 1969, it was groundbreaking and would ultimately win the first American Library Association Gay Book Award in 1971. PATIENCE & SARAH follows what was still a fairly taboo subject at the time: the growing love and relationship between two strong women in a New England farming community.
When one boy is trapped in small-town life, he discovers the only way to deal with it is to throw glitter all over it. Rachel Flood has returned home to make amends with her mother, only to find that no one in the town will even look at her except for the outcasts. What follows is part A League of Their Own, part To Wong Foo. This book will have you saying “Yas Qween” time and time again.
When recovering alcoholic Rachel Flood comes back to her small Montana hometown, it isn’t a grand reception. This sassy novel will have you laughing through tears.
When Maria Griffiths, a trans woman living in Brooklyn, is dumped by her girlfriend, she sets out on an impromptu trip to the Pacific. Along the way, she meets James, who is denying his own dysphoria. NEVADA is a poignant picture of what it means to be trans, both from Maria’s point of view as she faces the ruins of her life and through James’s story as he explores his gender identity.