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Top 5 gay books

I know there is an uncountable amount of books to read on this topic. Even apart from light novels, there are remarkable new novels every year. In this article I just want to show my personal top 5 gay literature list, only those i appreciate most, of whom I think they have much to say and, although some of them published many years ago, are still modern books.

  • Édouard Louis – The end of Eddy
    2014, 208 pp., (orig. fr.: En finir avec Eddy Bellegueulle, dt.: Das Ende von Eddy)

Young french literature star Édouard Louis wrote this first book in 2014. It is about his childhood, growing up in french countryside within working class surroundings. This young guy couldn’t be farer away from this world. Harsh manners, clear views on how „a man“ has to be make him struggle with himself. His father doesn’t understand him, even feels ashamed of his son, who is so different to other male childrens. Young Eddy experienced bullying in school, felt coldness around him. He underwent everything, a young gay either breaks or becomes strong and self confident. This story is hard, but realistic and alive; the author has a sensibility to show the milieu he came from in all its dread, helplessness and rough naturality. It’s a story how a boy suffers under this conditions but also how he’s getting through it. The end of „Eddy“, how he was called as child, describes the end of this phase in his life and the start of a brighter one.

  • André Aciman – Call me by your name
    2007, 256 pp.

Well, actually I didn’t want to write anything on this book, cause I guess everyone has already heard about it, or has seen the movie. But I have to say: Even if you’ve seen the film, read the book, it’s much more sensitive, shows that affinity between Elio and Oliver with even more intensity. You can dip into this beautiful world of two men, feel their attraction to each other on that italian coast. So i really recommend this book. By the way: A sequel is underway…

  • Christopher Isherwood – A single man
    1964, 170 pp, (dt.: Der Einzelgänger)

Who doesn’t know the movie with Colin Firth and Nicholas Hoult? But I promise, this book has another end, and the story proceeds partly in a different way. Although this book was published in 1964, Chris Isherwood is a marvellous story teller, and his story is much more „alive“ than the movie! Tom Ford, as director of the movie, probably can shoot great pictures but the story in Isherwoods book, is much more captivating.

  • Oscar Wilde – Teleny
    1893, 144 pp.

No, I won’t talk about Dorian Gray. I think most of you know it anyway. But this little book – Teleny – is about two guys, Teleny and Camille, who fall in love with each other. This all plays in Paris, but the alert reader knows, it actually takes place in London. This book has its own story: It was published for a long time under another name, cause Wilde was convicted for living out Homosexuality, and cause of that, publishers didn’t want to take the risk of selling such a book. But nowadays it is seen as Oscar Wildes text. Although from the 19th century, it is quite easy to read, and, as all of Wildes work very joyful and full of wit and wisdom.

  • James Baldwin – Giovannis Room
    1956, 160 pp, (dt.: Giovannis Zimmer)

David meets Giovanni in a Parisian bar. They fell in love with each other. When Davids fiancee comes back from a travel, the drama starts. This story has no happy ending. But Baldwin is able to write all this in a sentinent tone, which shows Davids inner conflicts crystal clear, where he’s trapped into his relationship with his girlfriend and his homophobic environment. This story is a statement against cruelty, if people can’t live their love. In this book it doesn’t mean physical- but instead mental violence. James Baldwin himself was homosexual and fought in his live, as a black person, for civil rights in the US. This book can be quite awakening!

I will add more books to this list from time to time.

Michael

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