Top Ten Tuesday: Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!
1. The Secret History by Donna Tartt: BEST BOOK EVER HANDS DOWN. Is there any way I wouldn't love this? Classicists (and one of them queer, no less), intense friendships, Bacchic madness, characters who are all total assholes but utterly compelling. Dark, beautiful, heartbreaking. Exquisite prose.
2. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst: The life of a gay man in 1980s Britiain, with commentary on class, politics, and sexuality. I don't know how Hollinghurst does it but reading his prose always feels so oddly intimate. Like he knows exactly what goes on in my head.
3. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente: A fantasy based on Russian folklore and myth woven with Russian history. INCREDIBLE.
4. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault: Second book in a trilogy but stands completely fine on its own. Okay, so I know I've seen people flail and talk about how good The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is. I was really unhappy with a few things in that book, particularly Patroclus' characterisation, but I'm happy to see people interested in queer Ancient Greek stuff! So if you want something similar but, in my opinion, far better, read Mary Renault. I'm ashamed to admit that this and The Mask of Apollo are the only two books by hers I've read – I must read the other two books in the Alexander trilogy. But holy shit, The Persian Boy is good. Made me cry a lot kind of good. It's about Alexander the Great and a Persian eunuch called Bagoas and their love story, and it is searingly beautiful and the detail is astounding.
5. The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson: I actually still haven't read past the first three books but The Alloy of Law is sort of a separate thing, I guess. But the first three books – amazing. If you like fantasy you have to read this.
6. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor: I loved this series to death. It was five-star all the way through for me, and that's rare.
7. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth: I have gushed about this book so much. It's honestly just so beautifully written and honest and authentic – it perfectly captures what it is like to be queer.
8. The Skyscraper Throne series by Tom Pollock: I still can't believe this series exists. Imaginative as hell urban fantasy set in London with a queer Pakistani Muslim girl as one of the main characters and an f/f romance? WHERE CAN I GET MORE BOOKS LIKE THESE.
9. Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill: HAVE I TALKED ABOUT THIS BOOK ENOUGH YET. Haunting, terrifying, brutal. Real insight into the way women are treated in society and the way it makes women treat themselves and each other. So awful and depressing and important.
10. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan: For a real breadth of queer teenager portrayals, this book wins. The problem with a lot of books is that if they only have one LGBTQ character, then it feels like a burden falls on them to be representative of far too much. But here we have quite a few gay teenagers, including a trans boy and a couple of PoCs, some of them happy and some of them not. This book was so terribly moving and I thought the chorus of dead gay men provided a fantastic perspective.
Well, is it surprising that most books on this list are queer in some way? Haha. I regret nothing.