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Exploring the colourful world of LGBT fiction

Do you read for pleasure? Studies have shown there are many benefits to reading, so why not schedule some time with our top ten fiction picks for Pride Month? 

1. Sarah Waters, Fingersmith  

An enthralling novel about thievery and betrayal, set in Victorian London.  Sue Trinder grows up in the care of Mrs Sucksby and her ‘family’ of unwanted babies turned artful dodgers – ‘fingersmiths’. Maud Lilly is a genteel lady and a secretary to her uncle, who is not what he seems. Their fates are inextricably linked. Watch out for a plot twist that takes your breath away. 

2. Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man  

This short novel, set in 1960s America, is a poignant love story. George, an English professor in Southern California, is mourning the death of his long-term partner, Jim. The story follows one day in George’s life, as he encounters various people who help him rediscover what it means to be alive. A moving exploration of love, loss, and the search for human connection. 

3. Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt

You may know this as ‘Carol’ from the film starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Therese Belivet is a young stage designer working in a department store. Her life changes when Carol Aird, an older married woman, visits the store to buy a present for her daughter. Highsmith’s cult classic, set in a time of social repression, explores what happens when love meets prejudice.  

4. Virginia Woolf, Orlando

A daring novel that follows the life of its protagonist across centuries and genders. Beginning as a young nobleman in Elizabethan England, Orlando awakens from a trance as a woman. The book challenges conventional ideas about gender, exploring themes of identity, self-expression and time. Woolf’s novels aren’t the easiest reads, but this is well worth the effort.  

5. Alice Walker, The Color Purple  

This iconic novel is a classic of American literature. It depicts the lives of African-American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Written as letters between Celie and her sister, Nettie, the story spans two decades. The novel was groundbreaking in its portrayal of racism, misogyny and abuse. But ultimately it’s a celebration of love, hope and community.

6. André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name

A poignant coming-of-age novel set in 1980s Italy. Elio is holidaying with his family on the Italian Riviera. He falls in love with Oliver, a guest at their villa. Their passionate summer romance is explored in this modern classic that captures the intensity of first love. Both the novel and the subsequent film version received great acclaim. Not to be missed! 

7. Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

This bestselling novel is a captivating retelling of Achilles and the Trojan War from Greek mythology. Through the perspective of Patroclus, Achilles’ friend and lover, the novel explores their deep bond. But the two men face a terrible challenge when Helen of Sparta is kidnapped, and the heroes of Greece must lay siege to Troy. A story of love, honour and destiny.  

8. Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit  

This semi-autobiographical novel follows the life of Jeanette, a young girl growing up in a strict Pentecostal household in England. The story explores Jeanette’s journey of self-discovery as she struggles against the expectations of her religious community. Winterson weaves the themes of love, identity and religion in a rites of passage novel that’s also warm and funny.  

9. James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room  

One of the BBC’s 100 Novels That Shaped Our World. Baldwin’s groundbreaking book established him as one of the great American writers. Set in 1950s Paris, the story follows David as he embarks on a passionate relationship with Giovanni, an Italian bartender. But when David’s fiancée returns, he has to make a painful choice. A powerful exploration of love, loss and regret.  

10. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray  

We end with a classic by a literary legend. Dorian Gray is a beautiful youth who wishes he could stay young forever. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian begins to live a decadent and immoral life. But whilst Dorian remains eternally youthful, his portrait tells a different story. A cautionary tale of the consequences of hedonism! 

You can find all of these books in Kortext’s eBookstore. Let us know your favourites! Happy Pride Month 🏳️‍🌈 

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