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Best Lesbian Books

Explore the richness of lesbian literature through this curated selection of celebrated works, widely recognized and repeatedly highlighted by leading LGBTQ+ voices and literary critics.

Recommendations from 58 articles, Hillary Clinton, Andy Cohen, Shonda Rhimes and 20 others.
Best Lesbian Books
100 books on the list
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Rubyfruit Jungle book cover
Rubyfruit Jungle
A Novel
Rita Mae Brown - 1980-10-01 (first published in 1973)
Goodreads Rating
A groundbreaking coming-of-age novel that launched the career of a celebrated author. Rubyfruit Jungle follows the story of Molly Bolt, who defies societal norms as a Southern adoptee forging her own path in America. With sharp humor and bold wit, Brown's prose masterfully portrays Molly's journey as a lesbian woman unapologetically loving and living life on her own terms. A literary milestone about being true to oneself, this transformative work continues to resonate with readers even after forty years.
The Color Purple book cover
The Color Purple
A Novel
Alice Walker - 2019-12-10 (first published in 1982)
Goodreads Rating
In this modern classic, Alice Walker depicts the lives of African American women in early 20th-century rural Georgia. The story follows Celie and Nettie, two sisters separated as girls who sustain their loyalty and hope in each other through a series of letters spanning 20 years. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. With deep compassion and beautiful writing, this Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner is a must-read journey towards redemption and love.
Fingersmith book cover
Sarah Waters - 2002-10-01
Goodreads Rating
Discover a captivating Dickensian world in this thrilling novel of deception and secrets. Follow Sue Trinder, an orphan raised by a family of petty thieves, as she is approached by an elegant con man with a tempting proposal. If she helps him seduce and deceive a naïve gentlewoman named Maud Lilly, they will all share in her vast inheritance. But as Sue becomes more involved in the scheme, she begins to question if it's worth the price. Engage in a journey of twists and turns in Fingersmith.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post book cover
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Emily M. Danforth - 2012-02-07
Goodreads Rating
This coming-of-age novel follows Cameron Post as she navigates survival in Miles City, Montana after the sudden death of her parents. Forced to move in with her conservative aunt and old-fashioned grandmother, she learns to blend in and keep her true self hidden. But when she meets the beautiful and unexpected Coley, Cam's world turns upside down. Aunt Ruth takes drastic measures to "fix" her niece, forcing Cam to confront the cost of denying her true identity. This stunning debut is a reminder to live life on your own terms.
The Price of Salt, or Carol book cover
The Price of Salt, or Carol
Patricia Highsmith - 2004-03-17 (first published in 1952)
Goodreads Rating
A timeless classic of lesbian fiction, this book tells the story of Therese and Carol. Both women are struggling against the societal norms of mid-century femininity and find love in an unlikely encounter. The two take to the open road to escape their oppressive daily lives and enjoy a romantic adventure. However, their happiness is short-lived when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover. Written by Patricia Highsmith, known for her thrillers, this book showcases her ability to create compelling characters and narratives that depart from the stereotypical lesbian pulp fiction of the time. A must-read that explores the importance of following one's heart.
Annie on My Mind book cover
Annie on My Mind
Nancy Garden - 1992-01-01 (first published in 1982)
Goodreads Rating
Experience love and confusion in its most wonderful and complicated forms in this heartwarming LGBTQ+ novel. Follow Liza Winthrop as she meets Annie Kenyon at the Met and watches their relationship blossom into something special. It's a tale of first love, and all the complexities it brings.
Under the Udala Trees book cover
Under the Udala Trees
Chinelo Okparanta - 2015-09-22
Goodreads Rating
This book explores the coming-of-age story of Ijeoma during the civil war in Nigeria. She falls in love with another displaced child, who happens to be a girl from a different ethnic community. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma must hide her feelings and face the cost of living a lie. This inspiring tale by Chinelo Okparanta depicts how a nation's struggles manifest in its people's lives, with a beautiful and precise prose.
Tipping the Velvet book cover
Tipping the Velvet
A Novel
Sarah Waters - 2000-05-01 (first published in 1998)
Goodreads Rating
Follow the captivating journey of Nan King, a former oyster girl, as she falls for a cross-dressing music-hall singer, Miss Kitty Butler. Set in turn-of-the-century England, Nan becomes Kitty's dresser and secret lover, joins the act in pants herself, and learns about life, friendship, and love. Sarah Waters' debut novel is an erotic, vivid, and expertly written piece of historical fiction that casts a new light on the era. Explore the complex relationships and riveting adventures of Nan in this lush and tantalizing read.
Fun Home book cover
Fun Home
A Family Tragicomic
Alison Bechdel - 2007-06-05 (first published in 2006)
Goodreads Rating
A graphic memoir about a woman's complicated relationship with her father, who was a strict English teacher and director of the local funeral home. After coming out as a lesbian in college, the author discovered her father was also gay. Shortly after, he passed away, leaving her to unravel the mysteries of his life.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit book cover
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Jeanette Winterson - 1997-08-20 (first published in 1985)
Goodreads Rating
A story of zealousness and passion, a young girl seemingly destined for life as a missionary falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, she decides to leave behind everything she has ever known for the love of another woman. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit takes readers on an innovative and tender journey into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg
Zami by Audre Lorde
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
Ash by Malinda lo
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer
Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue
Rage by Julie Anne Peters
The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
Nevada by Imogen Binnie
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Maurice by E. M. Forster
When Women Were Warriors Book I by Catherine M Wilson
The Midnight Hunt by L. L. Raand
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Desert Of The Heart by Jane Rule
Women by Chloe Caldwell
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-benn
Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Huntress by Malinda lo
Valencia by Michelle Tea
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
You Know Me Well by Nina Lacour
Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel
And Playing the Role of Herself by K. E. Lane
Backwards to Oregon by Jae
I Can't Think Straight by Shamim Sarif
Perfect Rhythm by Jae
Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
Sissy by Jacob Tobia
The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie
Missed Her by Ivan Coyote
Five Moons Rising by Lise MacTague
Inseparable by Emma Donoghue
Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller
Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters
Ex-Wives of Dracula by Georgette Kaplan
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
The House You Pass On the Way by Jacqueline Woodson
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
The Second Mango by Shira Glassman
Everfair by Nisi Shawl
Breaking Character by Lee Winter
Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
The Headmistress by Milena McKay
Felt in the Jaw by Kristen N. Arnett
City of Night by John Rechy
The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
The Last Nude by Ellis Avery
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni
Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen
Pulp by Robin Talley
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
The Hellion's Waltz by Olivia Waite
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
The One Woman by Laura May
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Ask Me Again by E. J. Noyes
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
Care Work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman
Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Another Country by James Baldwin
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara