Best Queer Books to Read

We thought it about time that we unveiled Nonchalant’s summer 2022 queer reads!. Whether you are into some steamy fiction or a more historical/political read, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This year’s reads will have you swooning by the sea, roaring with laughter or pondering deeper issues of sex and the universe. Hopefully these suggestions will be enough to get through any bumpy coach connection you may find yourself on over the summer months.

Getting Clean with Stevie Green– Swan Huntley

Getting Clean with Stevie Green – Swan Huntley

Getting Clean with Stevie Green centres on the protagonist’s return to a wealthy Californian suburb. Whilst establishing a decluttering business, Stevie is confronted with the simultaneous task of decluttering and uncomplicating her own existence. The book explores themes ranging from family, friendship, love, and past trauma, with a welcomed dose of humour. It is thought-provoking, humorous, and a wonderfully enjoyable read! The host of memorable and loveable characters are perfect for the poolside, and will have you laughing out loud / sobbing into your sunbed in equal measure.

This Much is True– Miriam Margolyes

Miriam Margolyes OBE and her fantastic memoir

Award-winning actor and creator Miriam Margolyes is best known for a myriad of memorable characters, ranging from The Cadbury’s Caramel Bunny, Lady Whiteadder and Professor Sprout in Harry Potter. A force of nature, she can only be described as the UK’s naughtiest and most vibrant national treasure. At last, at the age of 80, she has finally decided to tell it all in her extraordinary memoir This Much is True, and oh my, it definitely doesn’t disappoint.

Her tales of debauchery range from dropping the F-Bomb on University Challenge in her early 20s, voicing over a porno cassette called ‘Sexy Sonya’ for Ann Summers and being told off by the Queen. Every page and chapter draws you in and leaves you giggling. We highly recommend this as an audiobook- who doesn’t want to listen to Miriam herself narrating her story exquisitely? She perfectly uses her 60 plus years of acting experience to bring each encounter to life. An icon.

Bad Gays: A Homosexual History– Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller

Loving the non-fiction options? Okay, well on we roll. Now don’t get us wrong, of course we should always celebrate our amazing queer icons, trailblazers and heroes. But what about giving some airtime to the ‘bad gays’…? In this tantalising read, Lemmey and Miller argue that the past is filled with queer people whose sexual deviances and terrible behaviour have been overlooked by the history books. The result? Some truly fascinating, page-turning stories.

Bad Gays spins the narrative and focuses on the unexemplary lives, misjudged choices and dastardly deeds reveal more than we might expect. What can complicated queer people from history teach us about shaping and understanding modern queer identity? Apparently, quite a lot as it turns out! Meticulously researched, well written and fun to read. You will be pleased to hear it doesn’t skimp on any of the rude bits either. You’re welcome x

Girls Can Kiss Now: Essays– Jill Gutowitz 

Jill Gutowitz on Orange is the New Black and being the self proclaimed overlord of Lesbian Twitter

Girls Can Kiss Now is a witty, hilarious and insightful collection of personal essays exploring the intersection of queerness, relationships, pop culture, the internet, and identity. Gutowitz seeks to refocus the “blind eye that’s been turned to queer female narratives”.

Discussing how pop culture was instrumental in helping her discover her true identity, it is both a celebration of pop culture and the growing LGBTQ+ representation within it. It is proof of how important queer, well-written, complex and relatable characters are in allowing queer people to feel seen and heard. 

Acts of Service– Lillian Fishman

Lillian Fishman explores modern New York

Acts of Service centres around Eve, a twentysomething queer New Yorker. Her impulsive decision to post nudes online leads to her becoming intimately involved with a couple, Olivia and Nathan.

The book explores moral questions regarding infidelity, power imbalances, female solidarity, dependence, manipulation, jealousy and pleasure. Eve is faced with many choices that are anything but simple. A smart, sexy novel, Acts of Service tackles modern sexual dynamics with a refreshing frankness. As Olivia is increasingly sexually liberated, she begins to wrestle with ideas of what society tells her she should want versus what she actually wants.

The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice– Shon Faye

Shon Faye’s first book, The Transgender Issue.

Whilst we know this book has now been out for a while, it remains one of our faves and now has a fancy fresh paperback version. The Transgender Issue is perhaps not the most chilled read on our list, but it is a landmark work that signals the beginning of a new, healthier conversation about trans life.

Shon Faye’s manifesto for change acts as a call for solidarity between all marginalised people and minorities. Trans liberation, as Faye sees it, seeks to get to the root of what our society is and what it could be and offers the possibility of a more just, free and joyful world for everybody.

It is the type of book that you will end up recommending to everyone you see for months after you have read it.

If you have worked your way though these titles and want even more, check out our recommended reads from last summer.

Happy summertime!

Team Nonchalant x x x

Nat Cameron
Nat Cameron

Nat is a London native currently living and working in South East London. After a six year stint in Asia Nat is enjoying all the fun London has to offer. Nat is Most likely to be found taking photos, cooking, exploring London’s galleries or spending too much money on food. (Also on a constant quest to find the best Chinese food in London)

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