Reading LGBTQ+ books is a year-round pastime, but Pride Month is a fantastic time to take a deep dive into queer literature. It’s also a great time to read books that celebrate all the joys of LGBTQ+ history, life, and culture. Gay Pride began as a way to recognize the work of LGBTQ+ activists, and while it’s important to continue the work our ancestors began, it’s also important to celebrate our successes. These nine books are just a drop in the bucket of all the joyful LGBTQ+ books out there, but if you’re looking for some humor, whimsy, and fun this Pride Month, this is a great place to start. Whether you’re craving memoirs, essays, novels, or a novel in verse, these fabulous books all celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives.
Cameron Esposito is a comic, and her wry humor comes through loud and clear in Save Yourself. She writes about growing up in a Catholic family, coming out, navigating the male-dominated world of stand-up comedians, and learning to love herself. It's tender, warm, and full of compassion. Even when she's writing about heavy subjects, the underlying tone is one of hope and optimism. This is a laugh-out-loud-through-the-whole-thing kind of book.
There's a common misconception that life for LGBTQ+ people in conservative places is bleak, and the only way through is to leave. In this blend of memoir, travelogue, and journalism, trans reporter Samatha Allen thoroughly and beautifully squashes that assumption. She travels from Salt Lake City to the Rio Grande Valley to eastern Tennessee, visiting with queer and trans people building communities, doing important work, and living rich, vibrant, fulfilling lives. Though she doesn't gloss over the challenges faced by the people she visits, the book as a whole is funny, hopeful, and inspiring.
David Sedaris is without a doubt one of the most renowned humorists of our times. The Best of Me collects the highlight reel from his decades-long career. These pieces are full of his sharp wit, keen observations, and hilarious but moving meditations on the messy business of living. Form taxidermy to foreign languages to the banalities of long-term partnership, these essays represent the best work of a remarkable writer.
While Sedaris is best known for his sharp humor, it's often in his most personal writing where he really shines. That's the case in Calypso, which focuses mostly on time spent with his family at a beach house in North Carolina. These essays are certainly full of humor, but they're also insightful ruminations on the complexities of family and aging.
In this honest and often hilarious memoir, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon recounts his sometimes tumultuous journey from being a kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania to a successful figure skater on the world stage. His warm tone and friendly style make this book a delight to read, whether he's reminiscing about good times or bad.
In need of a good belly laugh? Samatha Irby is your go-to gal. In Wow, No Thank You, she writes about aging, life as a Black queer woman in small town Michigan, the challenges of step-parenting, writing for TV, adult friendships, and, of course, snacks. Her dry wit overflows on every page. Whether she's talking about the mundane rhythms of everyday life or serious matters of the heart, she manages to make it both funny and moving every time.
The Black Flamingo is a YA novel in verse and an ode to self-love, queer community, drag, and the freedom that comes with self-expression. Michael is a biracial teenager living in London with his mother. The novel charts his journey from a boy who isn't sure of his place in the world, to a teenager discovering his gay identity, to a young man overflowing with pride, immersed in the drag scene at his university. It's a fast-paced, joyful, and heartfelt book that'll leave you smiling.
Juliet Takes A Breath is an exuberant, funny, and wise coming-of-age novel about Juliet, a nineteen-year-old Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx. After coming out to her family, she takes an internship in Portland, Oregon with a famous white feminist writer. Over the course of the summer, she learns a lot about herself, the world, and who she wants to be.
What could be more joyful than a magical romance between a brujo and a ghost? Yadriel is a trans boy determined to prove to his family that he's a real brujo. But he accidentally messes up the ritual he's trying to do, and ends up summoning a ghost. It gets him in all sorts of trouble—not the least of which is falling in love. While this book deals with some heavy topics, the sweet romance and happy ending make it an enjoyable and celebratory read.