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BOOK LIST:

LGBTQIA: Gay Literature - Non-Fiction

Updated: July 8, 2021

Non-fiction books by or about gay writers, themes, issues.


American Savage : insights, slights, and fights on faith, sex, love, and politics
Savage, Dan.
Call Number: 301.4157092 S263

Inveterate iconoclast Dan Savage, fresh from the successful founding of the It Gets Better campaign, has written another book that’ll have prudes clutching at their pearls. Part memoir, part advice column, and part essay collection, Savage once again revels in butting heads with conservatives and other culture warriors.


The Andy Cohen diaries : a deep look at a shallow year
Cohen, Andy, 1968-
Call Number: 809.295092 C6783-1

Inspired by the Andy Warhol Diaries, Cohen chronicles one year of his life as Bravo's Vice President of original programming. In gossipy tones, Cohen revels in his fascination with celebrity, but ultimately reveals a deeper search for true love and companionship.


The Andy Warhol diaries
Warhol, Andy, 1928-1987.
Call Number: 759.14 W275-6

Art superstar, Andy Warhol, was the de facto fairy godfather of the New York art scene for over two decades. Here he offers ten years' worth of stories as told to his secretary, Pat Hackett. Released two years after his death, the diaries give a candid glimpse into the mind of a notoriously shy artist.


The animals : love letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy
Isherwood, Christopher, 1904-1986.
Call Number: 823 I79-8

Documented in letters is the love story and relationship between British writer Christopher Isherwood and California artist Don Bachardy. 


The art of gay cooking : a culinary memoir
Isengart, Daniel J.
Call Number: 641.092 I78

Cabaret performer and private chef, Daniel Isengart has written a memoir and food/cook book in the style of Alice B. Toklas' cook book. As in hers, this one is rich with anecdotes about food and people. In a heartfelt foreward, Jeremiah Tower states that this book has awakened memories his early passionate interest in food and his life as a chef.


Beautiful on the outside : a memoir
Rippon, Adam, 1989-
Call Number: 796.81092 R593

Know for being the first openly gay U.S. athlete to win a medal in the Winter Olympics, figure skaker Adam Rippon recalls his life and career in this engaging and comedic memoir.


Before Night Falls
Arenas, Reinaldo
Call Number: 863 A681A

One of modern Cuba's major writers, Arenas holds back little in this candid autobiography. Originally a young guerrilla fighter with Castro, he then spent 20 years in prison under the regime he had supported.  Finally making his way to the United State he fought a more desperate battle with AIDS.


Black boy out of time : a memoir
Ziyad, Hari
Call Number: 306.7662092 Z82

Hari Ziyad presents their experience and coming-of-age biography as a person of color and identifying as gay. Mainly told from a first-person narrative, they present insights about how thoughts and feelings have affected them, both positively and negatively. They give all of us a rare look into a life that has had many challenges, and from which Ziyad continues to change and grow.


The celluloid closet : homosexuality in the movies
Russo, Vito.
Call Number: 791.9 R969 1987a

A scholarly study of depictions of LGBTQ people in 20th century cinema.


The children of Harvey Milk : how LGBTQ politicians changed the world
Reynolds, Andrew, 1967-
Call Number: 306.766 R462

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay public official elected in California to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, and was assassinated, along with Mayor George Moscone in San Francisco City Hall. Andrew Reynolds documents the worldwide history of LGBTQ political leaders who have made great strides in getting elected to public offices since 1977.


Every true pleasure : LGBTQ tales of North Carolina
Call Number: 810.8 E932-1

.A collection of fiction and non-fiction from North Carolina's best writers who identify as gay, trans, bisexual and straight.


Frank : a life in politics from the Great Society to same-sex marriage
Frank, Barney, 1940-
Call Number: 92 F8278

There could not be a better last name for former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank. Outspoken, direct, combative, he led many battles for social justice for those who could not do it themselves. He was the first member of Congress to come out of the closet.  Age, time and retirement from politics have not softened his thoughts or manner of speech.


Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians
Faderman, Lillian.
Call Number: 301.415709794 F144

A history of the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles. Stories include the 1967 protests against police brutality in Silverlake, which predated the Stonewall Rebellion by two and a half years; and the nation's first gay pride parade in 1970.


Gay like me : a father writes to his son
Jackson, Richie, 1965-
Call Number: 306.76620973 J13

A gay father’s love letter to his gay teenage son, reflecting on his experiences, and the progess and setbacks for the LGBTQ community over the last fifty years.


The gay revolution : the story of the struggle
Faderman, Lillian.
Call Number: 306.7660973 F144

Historian Lillian Faderman delivers a riveting and panoramic chronicle of the LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) movement in the U.S. from the 1950s to the present day. Matching the excellence of her previous works, such as Gay L.A. and Surpassing the Love of Men, Faderman transmutes extensive research and interviews into a fascinating and gripping view of LGBT history. 


Heaven's coast : a memoir
Doty, Mark.
Call Number: 811 D7255Do
In 1989, the poet Mark Doty and his partner of many years, Wally Roberts, were tested for HIV - Doty's result was negative, but Wally's was positive. Doty, an award-winning poet, provides a moving account of their love and their life together.

I can't date Jesus
Arceneaux, Michael,
Call Number: 306.7662092 A668

In this highly rated collection of 17 essays, Michael Arceneaux, best-selling author of I don’t want to die poor, describes his early life as a young, gay, black man growing up in a religious southern household.


I have something to tell you : a memoir
Buttigieg, Chasten
Call Number: 306.7662092 B988

An honest and revealing memoir by Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Pete Buttigieg, who was a presidential candidate. Growing up in a small town, he endured bullying but still did well in 4-H activities, and always felt a disconnect with who he really was. He writes about coming out to his parents, feeling suicidal, dealing with a sexual assault, earning a degree in education and meeting Pete Buttigieg through a dating app.


In the province of the gods
Fries, Kenny, 1960-
Call Number: 810.92 F912-2

 

A coda to Fries' earlier autobiography, Body, remember: a memoirthe author embarks on a journey of self-realization in Japan, where, "... he discovers disabled gods, one-eyed samurai, blind chanting priests, and atomic bomb survivors." In addition, he is diagnosed as HIV positive.


LGBTQ comedic monologues that are actually funny
Call Number: 808.82 L6875

". . .  this cutting-edge and incredibly hysterical monologue book is specifically for actors auditioning for LGBTQ roles; . . . works by LGBT writers and comics (and their allies) who have written and/or performed for Comedy Central, Backstage magazine, NBC, the Huffington Post, the Onion, Second City, E!, and many more. This collection is the go-to source for the comedic monologue needs of actors seeking LGBT material, as well as a paean to LGBT characters and artists"


Mama's boy : a story from our Americas
Black, Dustin Lance,
Call Number: 306.7662092 B627

Dustin Lance Black was the least likely person to become an LGBTQ activist, born into a conservative Mormon family in Texas. His mother was a polio survivor, who had endured numerous painful surgeries, and wore braces and used crutches all her life. When he was 21-years-old he came out to his mother, who scorned his "choice" as sinful, and it seemed that their relationship was doomed forever.


The man in the glass house : Philip Johnson, architect of the modern century
Lamster, Mark, 1969-
Call Number: 720.914 J68La

One of the leading architects of the last century, Philip Johnson created and lived in one of the 20th century's most iconic buildings, The Glass House. Brilliant, innovative, opinionated, and a man of stark contradictions in his life and work, he designed numerous important buildings. In 2005 Johnson died having lived 98 years as closeted gay man.

 

The man who ate too much : the life of James Beard
Birdsall, John
Call Number: 641.092 B363Bi

James Beard is the doyenne of American cooking and cuisine. The James Beard Award is given out annually, and there is a James Beard Foundation. Behind the ebullient and happy demeanor, there was sadness and secrets. This is the first in-depth biography of the man who put American cuisine on the world map.


Master of ceremonies : a memoir
Grey, Joel, 1932-
Call Number: 812.092 G843

Joel Grey, star of stage and screen, reflects back upon a life filled with achievements, joy, inner turmoil and conflict.


Me
John, Elton,
Call Number: 789.24 J65-1

Sir Elton himself takes us through the fantastical journey that is his life.  From small town England to topping the music charts, year after year, Elton brings the excesses of 1970s and '80s pop stardom to the light of day in a disarming, self-deprecating and always entertaining way.  An honest, raucous autobiography by a legend, who has no need to tell tales other than his own.


My life as a goddess : a memoir through (un)popular culture
Branum, Guy, 1975-
Call Number: 817 B821

Branum comes from a part of California that rarely shows up in movies. He goes to college, to law school, and to Hollywood in order to remember (as Leto does in Greek mythology, when she turns a group of creeps into frogs) that despite being bullied and harassed, he is a goddess.   


Naturally Tan
France, Tan,
Call Number: 306.7662092 F815

Successful fashion designer and star of Netflix's Queer Eye, Tan France's memoir is funny, irreverent and perceptive.  He recalls growing up in South Yorkshire, England where he and his family were among very few people of color. Coming from a traditional South Asian family, he only came out to his family when he was 34-years-old.  However nothing stopped Tan from finding success in business and true love with a Mormon cowboy.


Neil Patrick Harris : choose your own autobiography
Harris, Neil Patrick, 1973-
Call Number: 812.092 H315

Actor, singer, magician Neil Patrick Harris uses literary sleight of hand revealing his life experiences in a whimsical Choose Your Own Adventure format.  Harris invites the reader to step into his shoes to witness first-hand the string of choices that make up his story.


Not My Father's Son: A Memoir
Cumming, Alan, 1965-
Call Number: 812.092 C9712

A searing memoir of a childhood living with his abusive father and how he rose above his difficult past to become the talented and beloved star he is today.


On the move : a memoir
Sacks, Oliver W.
Call Number: 616.8092 S121-2

In the final memoir written before his death on August 30th, neurologist Oliver Sacks vividly described the scenes of his eventful life: war-torn London in the 1940s, fitness obsessed Venice Beach in the 1960s, and the down-at-the-heels Bronx of the past five decades, where he achieved fame as a writer and treated patients with brain disorders. Sacks recounted the most stressful events of his life before he became well-known: coming out to his Orthodox Jewish parents, overcoming amphetamine addiction, and nearly losing a leg after a confrontation with a bull in Norway.

 

Outer voices, inner lives : a collection of LGBTQ writers over 50
Call Number: 810.8 O945

Sixteen stories by LGBT men and women, which provide a historical perspective and testimony for people of all ages.


Over the top : a raw journey to self-love
Van Ness, Jonathan
Call Number: 812.092 V217

In his autobiography Jonathan Van Ness, one of the stars of Netflix’s Queer Eye, describes growing up in a small midwestern town where he was misunderstood and ridiculed. He reveals his journey to self-love and acceptance.


The prince of Los Cocuyos : a Miami childhood
Blanco, Richard, 1968-
Call Number: 811 B6395B-1

The autobiography of the first Latino and openly gay presidential inaugural poet.  


Second Avenue caper : when goodfellas, divas, and dealers plotted against the plague
Brabner, Joyce,
Call Number: 616.9709747 B795

In 1980s New York City, a tight-knit group of friends find themselves coping with the AIDS crisis at ground zero. The group of artists and activists take matters into their own hands, hatching a caper to smuggle experimental antiviral drugs their friends desperately need from Mexico.


Shortest way home : one mayor's challenge and a model for America's future
Buttigieg, Pete, 1982-
Call Number: 92 B9889

Mayor Pete Buttigieg interweaves his autobiography with that of the city he represents, South Bend Indiana, one of many in Rust Belt America. He is the first openly gay U.S. presidential candidate.


Start the fire : how I began a food revolution in America
Tower, Jeremiah,
Call Number: 641.092 T737-1

Elegant and precise, Jeremiah Tower settles some scores about who was at the creation of California Cuisine in Berkeley at Chez Panisse. His autobiography reveals a stylish man who has lived a very interesting life, and done it his way.


The Stonewall Reader
Call Number: 306.7660973 S8815

The Stonewall uprising took place 50 years ago. This book is comprised of articles, diaries, memoirs documenting the importance of the event, and some of what followed in the fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.


Tennessee Williams : mad pilgrimage of the flesh
Lahr, John, 1941-
Call Number: 812 W727La

A big read, over 700 pages, which fly by in this freshly researched biography of one of our great playwrights.  Williams led a life that was troubled, from his early years and continued until his death. Despite all of his anguish, fears, and self-doubt, he produced some of the most beautiful and illuminating plays which are hallmarks and classics of the modern American theatre.


To shake the sleeping self : a journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a quest for a life with no regret
Jenkins, Jedidiah,
Call Number: 970 J518

With his thirtieth birthday fast approaching, erstwhile lawyer Jedidiah Jenkins decides to fight his looming torschlusspanik and spend 16 months bicycling 14,000 miles from Oregon to Patagonia. What follows is a picaresque travelogue in which he contends with the scars of European colonialism, his deeply ingrained Christianity, his dawning sexual identity, and his complicated relationships with his divorced parents.

 

Transparent : CNN anchor and special correspondent
Lemon, Don, 1966-
Call Number: 809.295092 L556

A painful and candid autobiography by Don Lemon, a multiple Emmy-winning CNN anchor, who faced numerous obstacles throughout his life. Continuously discouraged to follow his dreams and desires, he has become one of the most prominent African American and openly gay journalists.


When We Rise: My Life In The Movement
Jones, Cleve,
Call Number: 306.7662 J76

2017 LAMBDA award-winning memoir by Cleve Jones, who grew up gay and isolated in the 1950s. Coming out and moving to San Francisco, he was an AIDS and LGBTQ activist. He describes his political and social activism and association with Harvey Milk, and co-founding the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.


Wisecracker : the life and times of William Haines, Hollywood's first openly gay star
Mann, William J.
Call Number: 812.092 H153Ma

A truly extraordinary biography of silent and early talkie era actor William “Billy” Haines. Haines was the top box office draw at MGM in 1930 however, his refusal to walk away from a same-sex relationship that ultimately spanned more than 50 years led him to walk away from Hollywood stardom for good. Mann’s biography is not only a compelling analysis of Haines but a fascinating look at gay life during the first half of the twentieth century


Wrong : a critical biography of Dennis Cooper
Hester, Diarmuid, 1982-
Call Number: 811 C776He

Dennis Cooper has done it all: punk/alternative poet, queer novelist, blogger, indie filmmaker.  Based on extensive research, this biography explores the writer's life and motivations


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