5 LGBT Authors to Check Out in Celebration of Pride Month

To celebrate Pride month, I’ve compiled a list of 5 LGBT authors to check out, along with the book descriptions from some of their most famous works.

LGBT Authors to Check Out in Celebration of Pride Month

1. Kristin Arnett

Felt in the Jaw 

Kristin Arnett Felt in the Jaw 

“In her debut story collection, Kristen Arnett, with dark humor, explores the lives of queer women and their families in the light of the bleak Florida sun. A young dancer suddenly loses language while her family struggles to understand their new roles. A mother endures a horrifying spider bite while camping with her daughters in the backyard. A family reunion goes sour when a group of cousins are left to their own devices. In these ten stories, outward strength is always betrayed by deep vulnerability: these are characters so desperate for family and connection that they often isolate themselves–and sometimes, it’s the world isolating them.”

Mostly Dead Things 

Kristin Arnett Mostly Dead Things

“One morning, Jessa-Lynn Morton walks into the family taxidermy shop to find that her father has committed suicide, right there on one of the metal tables. Shocked and grieving, Jessa steps up to manage the failing business, while the rest of the Morton family crumbles. Her mother starts sneaking into the shop to make aggressively lewd art with the taxidermied animals. Her brother Milo withdraws, struggling to function. And Brynn, Milo’s wife—and the only person Jessa’s ever been in love with—walks out without a word. As Jessa seeks out less-than-legal ways of generating income, her mother’s art escalates—picture a figure of her dead husband and a stuffed buffalo in an uncomfortably sexual pose—and the Mortons reach a tipping point. For the first time, Jessa has no choice but to learn who these people truly are, and ultimately how she fits alongside them.”

P.S. Do yourself a favor and follow Kristin on Twitter.

2. Daniel Ortberg

Texts from Jane Eyre

Daniel Ortberg Texts from Jane Eyre

“Hilariously imagined text conversations—the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange—from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O’Hara to Jessica Wakefield. Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.”

The Merry Spinster 

“From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from the beloved “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, “The Merry Spinster” takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and the best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. The feature has become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief. Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg’s boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg’s oeuvre will delight in this collection’s unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface. Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night. Bed time will never be the same.”

3. Shay Youngblood

Black Power Barbie 

Shay Youngblood Black Power Barbie 

“Black Power Barbie vol 1. love lives of heroes, is a hybrid novel about Tabitha X and her younger brother, Jackson Five, the children of murdered African American Civil Rights activists, battle for Black Power Barbie as they relive vivid and frightening memories in therapy sessions in the mid 1990’s. As adults, Tabitha remains psychologically wounded, living in the past, while Jackson faces the reality of living with AIDS. They both discover romantic love and struggle to hold on to it while seeking justice for their parents’ murder. Written in the form of a graphic novel with cinematic sensibilities.”

Black Girl in Paris 

Shay Youngblood Black Girl In Paris 

“Eden leaves her home, in the American South arriving in Paris, where she experiments freely, inhabiting different incarnations – artist’s model, poet’s helper, au pair, teacher, thief, and lover – to heal the wounds of her broken heart, discover her sexual self, and, finally, to wrestle her dreams of becoming a writer into reality. Black Girl in Paris wends its way around the mythology of Paris as a city that has called out to African-American artists. Like James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and Josephine Baker before her, Youngblood’s heroine leaves her home, in the American South, nurturing a dream of finding artistic emancipation in the City of Light. She experiments freely, inhabiting different incarnations – artist’s model, poet’s helper, au pair, teacher, thief, and lover – to keep body and soul together, to stay afloat, heal the wounds of her broken heart, discover her sexual self, and, finally, to wrestle her dreams of becoming a writer into reality.”

4. James Baldwin

Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone 

James Baldwin Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone 

“At the height of his theatrical career, the actor Leo Proudhammer is nearly felled by a heart attack. As he hovers between life and death, Baldwin shows the choices that have made him enviably famous and terrifyingly vulnerable. For between Leo’s childhood on the streets of Harlem and his arrival into the intoxicating world of the theater lies a wilderness of desire and loss, shame and rage. An adored older brother vanishes into prison. There are love affairs with a white woman and a younger black man, each of whom will make irresistible claims on Leo’s loyalty. And everywhere there is the anguish of being black in a society that at times seems poised on the brink of total racial war. Overpowering in its vitality, extravagant in the intensity of its feeling, Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone is a major work of American literature.”

Another Country 

“Baldwin’s haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality, and a classic of gay literature. In a 1950s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterized by dangerous liaisons and hidden violence, an American finds himself unable to repress his impulses, despite his determination to live the conventional life he envisions for himself. After meeting and proposing to a young woman, he falls into a lengthy affair with an Italian bartender and is confounded and tortured by his sexual identity as he oscillates between the two. Examining the mystery of love and passion in an intensely imagined narrative, Baldwin creates a moving and complex story of death and desire that is revelatory in its insight.”

5. Bushra Rehman

Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism 

Bushra Rehman Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism 

“It has been decades since women of color first turned feminism upside down, exposing the ‘70s feminist movement as exclusive, white, and unaware of the concerns and issues of women of color from around the globe. Now a new generation of brilliant, outspoken women of color is speaking to the concerns of a new feminism, and their place in it. Daisy Hernandez of Ms. magazine and poet Bushra Rehman have collected a diverse, lively group of emerging writers who speak to their experience—to the strength and rigidity of community and religion, to borders and divisions, both internal and external—and address issues that take feminism into the twenty-first century. One writer describes herself as a “mixed brown girl, Sri-Lankan and New England mill-town white trash,” and clearly delineates the organizing differences between whites and women of color: “We do not kick ass the way the white girls do, in meetings of NOW or riot grrl. For us, it’s all about family.” A Korean-American woman struggles to create her own identity in a traditional community: “Yam-ja-neh means nice, sweet, compliant. I’ve heard it used many times by my parents’ friends who don’t know shit about me.” An Arab-American feminist deconstructs the “quaint vision” of Middle-Eastern women with which most Americans feel comfortable. This impressive array of first-person accounts adds a much-needed fresh dimension to the ongoing dialogue between race and gender, and gives voice to the women who are creating and shaping the feminism of the future.”

Corona 

Corona 

“Razia Mirza is a Pakistani woman from Corona, Queens, who grew up in a tight Muslim community surrounding the first Sunni masjid built in New York City. When a rebellious streak leads to her ex-communication, she decides to hit the road. Corona moves between Razia’s childhood and the comedic misadventures she encounters on her journey, from a Puritan Colony in Massachusetts to New York City’s Bhangra music scene. With each story, we learn more about the past she’s escaping, a past which leads her to constantly travel in a spiral, always coming closer to but never quite arriving home.”

Who are some of your favorite LGBT authors?