Your Ultimate Summer Reading List

And Finally, A Reading List of Queer Classics We Always Meant to Read But Never Did Because We Suck

You know how colleges sometimes send out summer reading lists in preparation for the fall semester? Let’s pretend that’s happening, except the college we’re attending is all about being queer. Best college ever!

1. Orlando, Virginia Woolf

Because Virginia Woolf was all over genderqueerness before it was even a phrase.

2. The Color Purple, Alice Walker

Because I’m mainly making this list to spell out all my reading guilt and I have yet to read this and what’s up with that?

3. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lorde

Because Lorde named this book a “biomythography,” and that still deserves mad props.

4. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson

Because it’s Winterson.

5. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg

Because the straight-washing of the moving is still bullshit. Never forget.

6. Fingersmith, Sarah Waters

Because when are we going to get a new Waters novel when when wheeeen?

7. Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison

Because damn, just this title always gives me chills.

8. Annie on My Mind, Nancy Garden

Because everyone’s talking about queer characters in YA being a new thing when Nancy Garden was all over it ages ago.

9. Desert of the Heart, Jane Rule

Because lesbian love in the desert, you guys.

10. The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel

Because I always want to know more dykes.

I’ve created a Goodreads list that includes all these titles so you can easily add them to your “to read” piles, with the exception of Freaks of Nurture, which I disappointingly couldn’t find listed on Goodreads, but I’ll continue to check on it.

If you do decide to read any of these and document it on Goodreads, feel free to make an “AfterEllen Summer Reading” tag. I’m going to try to read as many as I can and will use that tag, as well, and would be interested in seeing who else is reading along!

What other recent, forthcoming, or old books would you add? How many of these 27 titles have you already read?

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