15 Best Lesbian Books Update 05/2022

Best Lesbian Books

Lesbian literature is a long-running genre that has been around for over 2,500 years. Sappho, an ancient Greek poet, is said to have written the first forms of lesbian writing. The genre as we know it today didn’t come into existence until the 19th century. Works from this time period were mostly based on subtext and often ended in heartbreak or tragedy. In the early 20th century, specific references to lesbians in literature began to appear in literature. The Well of Loneliness, which was written in 1928, is thought to be the first English-language book with explicitly lesbian themes. There were many pulp fiction novels about lesbian relationships in the 1950s and ’60s, and Women’s Barracks, a book about World War II written by Tereska Torres, is the first of its kind. The most important texts in lesbian literature were written at the end of the 20th century. Today, the genre has grown to include more people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Overwhelmed by the number of great books to choose from? Want to read more books about lesbians? Take a look at this list to find the best lesbian books in any kind of genre.

Lesbian Fiction Books

The Price of Salt (1952) – Patricia Highsmith

The Price of Salt (1952) – Patricia Highsmith

Based on The Price of Salt, one of the first lesbian romance novels with a happy ending, Carol has been called one of the best movies ever. As soon as Therese meets Carol, an elegant older woman who buys a doll for her daughter in a department store, she falls in love. Carol gives Therese her address so that the doll can be sent to her. Therese sends Carol a Christmas card with the doll. How does Carol, who is in the middle of a very bad divorce, feel about the question? As Carol and Therese spend more time together, they become more attracted to each other.

The Color Purple (1982) – Alice Walker

The Color Purple, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983, tells the story of Celie, a poor girl who lives in the rural South and has to deal with very bad things. Father: Celie is abused by him, then married off to a man who is even worse, Mister. When Celie and Mister are sick, Mister’s mistress, a jazz singer named Shug, comes to stay with them. Celie and Shug become close friends.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1987) – Fannie Flagg

Evelyn Couch, a bored housewife from Alabama, meets Ninny Threadgoode, an elderly resident of a nursing home, while visiting her mother-in-law in a nursing home. They become friends. During her childhood in the 1920s, Ruth Jamison came to live with the Threadgoodes to teach Idgie how to behave. Ninny tells Evelyn about how Ruth Jamison was very religious and proper when she came to live with the Threadgoodes. Idgie and Ruth become inseparable and start to have an unspoken crush on each other. Ruth has to leave Whistle Stop at the end of the summer to marry Frank Bennett. Idgie is sad about it. Years later, Idgie and Ruth see each other again.

Stone Butch Blues (1993) – Leslie Feinberg

Jess has a hard time figuring out how to live as a butch lesbian in upstate New York in the 1970s. As a child, she was taken under the wing by older butches. In gay bars, she finds refuge from the world around her and makes new friends. They harass and arrest everyone in the bar, and the bar shuts down, leaving Jew with no home. Jess is looking for a new place to fit in, and she also finds herself on the way.

Fingersmith (2002) – Sarah Waters

Fingersmith (2002) – Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters writes a lot of lesbian historical fiction. Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet, two of her best-known works, were made into BBC miniseries. Fingersmith is about Sue, a pickpocketing orphan who was raised on the streets of London in the 1800s. One night, a conman comes up to her and asks for help. He wants her to help him defraud the heiress Maud Lilly and get her sent to an insane asylum. agreed to be a maid so she can earn the trust of her friend. It may be too late for Sue when they form a friendship. Sue was a part of the conman’s plan.

Sing You Home (2011) – Jodi Picoult

It’s hard for Zoe and her husband Max to have a baby, but they want to. They try in vitro fertilization, but after many failed attempts, they give up. The couple’s fertility problems strain their marriage, which leads to divorce. Later, Zoe meets Vanessa Shaw, and they have a lot to talk about. The two women fall in love, get married, and decide to have children with the embryos Zoe had from her previous marriage. They will use them to have babies. Then Max, who is now a born-again Christian and doesn’t like his ex-new wife’s relationship, has to give them the OK to do it first.

Young Adult Lesbian Books

Annie on my Mind (1982) – Nancy Garden

On My Mind was one of the first young adult books to show a love story between two teenagers who were lesbian. Two 17-year-olds in New York City are Annie and Liza. They are both coming of age in the city. Annie lives in a wealthy neighborhood and goes to a private school. Liza comes from a poorer background. When Annie and Liza meet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a rainy day, they fall in love even though they don’t like the same things.

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (1985) – Jeanette Winterson

Despite not being a memoir, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is partly based on Jeanette’s own experiences growing up in an evangelical home in England. It also talks about how she came to believe in God. Jeanette doesn’t fit in at school because of her religious upbringing. She starts a relationship with another girl, which makes her even more of an outsider at church and makes her think about faith in a different way.

Keeping You A Secret (2003) – Julie Anne Peters

Keeping You A Secret (2003) – Julie Anne Peters

Peters is a well-known YA author who writes about LGBT characters in her books. Luna, Between Mom and Jo, and Rage: A Love Story are also well-known titles. A 17-year-old named Holland is having a great senior year of high school. She has a great boyfriend, is the president of Student Council, and is going to an Ivy League college. However, the arrival of new girl CeCe makes Holland think about everything again.

The House You Pass on the Way (2003) – Jacqueline Woodson

Staggerlee has never fit in because she is biracial in a mostly black town, and her grandparents were killed in a racist bombing that is still talked about today. Staggerlee is quiet and doesn’t talk to anyone because she doesn’t want to be talked about. Her cousin Trout comes to visit and changes everything. When they spend a summer together, they learn to accept who they are and help each other learn how to do the same.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2012) – Emily M. Danforth

Cameron Post, 12, lost her parents in a car accident in Montana in 1990. She is taken in by her religious aunt and grandmother, who teach her about God. When Cameron was going through the death of her parents, she started to question her sexuality and fell in love with her best friend, Coley Taylor. Cameron’s conservative aunt finds out and takes extreme steps to “cure” Cameron, but it doesn’t work. The book was made into a movie in 2018, and it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in that year.

Lesbian Fantasy Books

Ash (2009) – Malinda Lo

This Cinderella-like story is called Ash and it is about a teenage girl who is forced to live with her cruel stepmother after her father dies. Ash has a beautiful twist on the story. Fairy tales give Ash a sense of peace. She wishes a fairy would take her away. One night, she meets a fairy prince who can help her get what she wants. The next day, she meets the King’s Huntress Kaisa and quickly falls in love with her. This is a hard choice for Ash: go with the fairy prince or stay with Kaisa. There is a prequel called Huntress that takes place in the same world.

Of Fires and Stars (2016) – Audrey Coulthurst

Of Fires and Stars (2016) – Audrey Coulthurst

Denna has been in love with the prince of Mynaria since she was a child, but she can make fire, which is against the rules in Mynaria. It’s Mare’s sister who will be Denna’s teacher when she grows up to be a queen one day. Denna and Mare don’t get along, but when an assassin comes into the kingdom, they have to work together to save the kingdom from death.

Lesbian Vampire Books

Carmilla (1872) –  Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla is one of the first vampire stories, even before Dracula. When a mysterious girl named Carmilla shows up in town, Austrian teen Laura is excited to have a new friend. The two become close, but Carmilla’s sudden mood swings and refusal to tell anyone about her past drive a wedge in their friendship. It’s also killing young girls in nearby towns who have a rare disease. People love the web series Carmilla and the movie of the same name that were made after reading the book. At Project Gutenberg, you can read the whole novella for free.

The Gilda Stories (1991) – Jewelle Gomez

They are told in a series of short stories called “vignettes.” They show the many lives of a black lesbian vampire over a period of 200 years, from about 1850 to 2050. The book won two Lambda Literary Awards, one for fiction and one for science fiction, which means that it did well.

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