So you’re in the mood for lgbt books written in the XX century

Hey, it’s time for another highly specific rec post from Anna! I know you’ve missed those! Well, I know I’ve missed them and I might be projecting, but… In any case, I thought of a lot of nice themes to make new lists for, so you guys have a lot of stuff to look forward to!

Today we are diving into older gay books. I’m sure all of you who are lgbt themselves, know the indescribable joy of reading books about us that were written a long time ago. Just… this knowledge that we have always existed! That we have always had stories to tell! There’s something magical in that.

So here I am with five books starring gay characters that were written in the last century. Enjoy!

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Maurice by E.M. Forster
(buy it on BookDepo)

I know I’ve talked about this book a lot already. But what can I say! It’s lovely! The story is rather simple: a guy falls in love. But what’s surprising is the finale: a guy gets a happy ending. It’s surprising because this was first written in 1913-14 and then revised twice, and finally, finally! published in 1971. After Forster died… He never got to actually bring this story to the public, but god, I wish I could see his gay face when he learned we still read and talk about Maurice! We made a movie!

 

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Olivia by Dorothy Bussy (née Strachey)
(buy it on BookDepo)

Dorothy first published Olivia anonymously in 1949. Fun fact: in a publishing house founded by Virginia Woolf (and her husband). The only word I can think of to describe this novel is soft. Soft because it talks about the first sapphic crush, soft because it’s so innocent, soft because it leaves your heart warm & content.

 

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Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
(buy it on BookDepo)

I actually have a full-length review of this one. It’s a bit of a classic, so I’m not sure what more I can say to convince you to read it other than what you already must know. It was published in 1982 & because of that some plot lines feel kind of dated or even silly. But the feelings the girls share? Still as true and beautiful. And what’s even better, this is an ownvoices book – Nancy Garden was a lesbian and in a relationship with Sandra Scott for over forty years.

 

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Autobiography of Red (Red #1) by Anne Carson
(buy it on BookDepo)

Another one of my favourites (all the books in this post are my favourite, but shh) and another one I talked about before, here. This is a retelling of the Greek myth about Geryon, killed by Heracles. In Carson’s version, the story takes place in the modern world, but Geryon is still a monster. Rather than simply kill him, Heracles breaks his heart. And the novel itself, which is written in verse, breaks ours. Have fun!

 

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Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
(buy it on BookDepo)

I couldn’t make this post without the lesbian writing queen, now could I. And yes, it’s a XX century book! It was published in 1998! Barely, but it fits… It tells the story of Nan and we get to travel with her through time, as she starts of as an oyster girl in her family’s restaurant, goes on to be a music-hall star, and then further and further and further… It’s a great exploration of lesbian culture of the past and we meet so many women to be introduced to a wide variety of identities, ways of living. It’s a fascinating story, with no apologies to a possible het audience.

 

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What books written in the XX century would you recommend? I would definitely love to read more, so please! Share!

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