Winter Book Recommendations


Looking for last-minute gift ideas, stocking stuffers, or items to put on your own holiday list? These eight books — some new and some old — are what GayCities suggests are guaranteed worthwhile reads, especially enjoyed snuggled up by the fireplace with a hot toddy or warm cup of cocoa.

Happy reading!

Scroll down to see GayCities’ 8 fireside book suggestions…

Alice in Tumblrland by Tim Manley

Queer writer and illustrator Tim Manley released his debut collection of grown-up fairytales called Alice in Tumblrland in November. In the book, Manley reinvents classic fairytales in a hilarious, surprising and, at times, quite sexy way. Repunzal is a lesbian. King Arthur has the hots for Lancelot. And Mulan is transgender. Alice in Tumblrland is a quick and delightful read. It would also make for a great gift (for anyone over the age of 18, that is).

Insignificant Others by Stephen McCauley

Stephen McCauley’s 2010 novel Insignificant Others tells the story of everyman Richard and his passionate affair with a very unavailable married man, Benjamin. If that’s not juicy enough, Richard is also in a relationship with a man named Conrad. This delightful gay soap opera is packed with McCauley’s signature dark humor and poignant insights.

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive by Julia Serano

Excluded is the latest nonfiction title from Transgender activist Julie Serano. In the book, Serano examines the discrimination that happens within the LGBT community, particularly the tendency for lesbians and gay men to dismiss bisexuals, transgender people, and other gender and sexual minorities. Serano advocates for a new approach to fighting sexism and inequality that fosters inclusivity rather than exclusivity.

Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran

Originally published in 1978, Dancer from the Dance is like the Great Gatsby of gay novels. It tells the story of Malone, a young man searching for love in New York’s emerging gay scene. From bathhouses to discos to the deserted parks of Fire Island, Malone looks high and low for meaningful companionship. Dancer from the Dance is both hilarious and heartbreaking, and is a must-read for anyone interested in gay literature.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle

This next book may not be the kind you sit down and read, but it’s a must-have for any home bartender and would make a great gift or stocking stuffer. Tim Federle’s Tequila Mockingbird is the ultimate cocktail book for the book nerds. It features 65 delicious drink recipes paired with wry commentary on history’s most beloved novels, plus tasty bar bites, fun drinking games, and whimsical illustrations throughout.

Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns by David Margolick

In the mood for a great biography? Check out David Margolick’s Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns, which tells the life story of the notorious gay author John Horne Burns. In the book, Margolick also explores what it meant to be gay in mid-20th century America, the cost of fame, the allure of postwar Italy, and the tragedy of a man who has been described by many as “unlikeable” and an “uncompromising loner.”

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel’s 2007 graphic memoir (aka a memoir written in the form of a graphic novel) tells the story of her relationship with her father, Bruce, who was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home (aka the “Fun Home”). In college Alison comes out as a lesbian, only to discover that her father is also gay. Just weeks after this revelation, he dies, leaving behind a legacy of mystery that Alison must solve. Fun Home is filled with rich history, laugh-out-loud humor, and, of course, heartbreak.

Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

This 1949 novel withstands the test of time as a fun and dishy read. It tells the story of young English aristocrat Polly Hampton, who suffers from an overbearing mother and a husband she can’t stand. After revealing a long-held secret, Polly shatters her mother’s dreams and loses her disinheritance. She then embarks on an adventure overseas where she meets perhaps the most charming gay character ever written, Cedric Hampton. Many misadventures ensue. Love in a Cold Climate is a must-read for anyone who likes witty characters and outrageous story lines. It’s the perfect book to read while curled up next to the fire nursing a cup of eggnog.

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