The best books to read on lesbianism, married women who love women, and on understanding what it’s all about

Who am I?

I believe that creativity has no boundaries and that it is only desire and determination that separate those who succeed from those who don't. I'm equally at home with a paintbrush and canvas, a needle and thread, or a hammer and nails, and am as eclectic in my writing as I am in my other interests. I'm best known for my definitive sociological study, Married Women Who Love Women and More, which began as a catharsis for myself when I realized I was gay. I'm also the author of an autobiographical how-to, an exciting mystery, a lesbian paranormal romance, a rhyming picture book, a cookbook, and a middle grade chapter book.


I wrote...

Married Women Who Love Women and More

By Carren Strock,

Book cover of Married Women Who Love Women and More

What is my book about?

The discovery of same-gender orientation can be made by any woman at any age. Many of the women I interviewed (myself included) had no idea of our same-gender orientation until after we were married. Many women believed they were the only ones to ever have had these feelings and their realization was often terrifying.

When I originally wrote Married Women Who Love Women, I focused primarily on the women who were in marriages—how they dealt with husbands and children, and how they coped with double lives. But there were other important parts of the picture that I had inadvertently left out: the single lovers of married women, women who left their marriages, and the meaning of all this if you are transgender. The third edition covers everything. 

The books I picked & why

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Stone Butch Blues

By Leslie Feinberg,

Book cover of Stone Butch Blues

Why this book?

This semi-autobiographical novel by a transgender activist gave me a whole new understanding about gender nonconformity. I thought realizing and coming out as a lesbian was difficult, but it was a piece of cake compared to what this individual, who didn't fit in with society as we know it, went through.

Stone Butch Blues

By Leslie Feinberg,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Stone Butch Blues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published in 1993, this brave, original novel is considered to be the finest account ever written of the complexities of a transgendered existence.

Woman or man? That’s the question that rages like a storm around Jess Goldberg, clouding her life and her identity. Growing up differently gendered in a blue--collar town in the 1950’s, coming out as a butch in the bars and factories of the prefeminist ’60s, deciding to pass as a man in order to survive when she is left without work or a community in the early ’70s. This powerful, provocative and deeply moving novel sees Jess…


The Well of Loneliness

By Radclyffe Hall,

Book cover of The Well of Loneliness

Why this book?

The Well of Loneliness, written in 1928 was banned upon publication because of its lesbian theme. I think the banning of this book brought it enough publicity to make it a must read. It is the story of Stephen Gordon, an Englishwoman who struggles to be who she knows she is in her upper-class society. Stephen’s strength and compassion, and her courage kept me reading while I was in the early stages of my own discovery.

The Well of Loneliness

By Radclyffe Hall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Well of Loneliness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'As a man loved a woman, that was how I loved...It was good, good, good...'

Stephen is an ideal child of aristocratic parents - a fencer, a horse rider and a keen scholar. Stephen grows to be a war hero, a bestselling writer and a loyal, protective lover. But Stephen is a woman, and her lovers are women. As her ambitions drive her, and society confines her, Stephen is forced into desperate actions. The Well of Loneliness was banned for obscenity when published in 1928. It became an international bestseller, and for decades was the single most famous lesbian novel.…


Rubyfruit Jungle

By Rita Mae Brown,

Book cover of Rubyfruit Jungle

Why this book?

 Rubyfruit Jungle is one of the first American novels to deal openly with lesbianism. I identified with this book and a great many other women did too as it has become a classic of LGBT literature. I could feel Molly Bolt's torment. This tale of courage and survival against all odds helped me to realize and accept that I was a lesbian.

Rubyfruit Jungle

By Rita Mae Brown,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Rubyfruit Jungle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the classic coming of age novel that confronts prejudice and injustice with power and humanity.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY RITA MAE BROWN

Molly Bolt is a young lady with a big character. Beautiful, funny and bright, Molly figures out at a young age that she will have to be tough to stay true to herself in 1950s America. In her dealings with boyfriends and girlfriends, in the rocky relationship with her mother and in her determination to pursue her career, she will fight for her right to happiness. Charming, proud and inspiring, Molly is the girl who refuses to…


On Intimate Terms

By Beverly Burch,

Book cover of On Intimate Terms

Why this book?

I found this to be an interesting read about how people are drawn to each other regardless of gender. It also discusses the special attractions between women who have been attracted to other women from an early age and those who once considered themselves heterosexual as I did.

On Intimate Terms

By Beverly Burch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Intimate Terms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This provocative exploration of the internal logic of lesbian relationships argues that they are not patterned after heterosexual ones but rely on the interplay of psychosexual differences between women.


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask

By David R. Reuben M.D.,

Book cover of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask

Why this book?

I found this book to be frank, compassionate, and sometimes funny. Some of the topics made me blush when I read it years ago. Others reaffirmed my normalness, and still others opened my mind to new possibilities. But I was especially interested in the alternative lifestyles section. It was years later that I realized I was a lesbian.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask

By David R. Reuben M.D.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The original edition of Dr. David Reuben's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask" is the most famous and successful book on human sexuality ever published. A #1 bestseller in over fifty-one countries, it has been read and enjoyed by more than 100 million people in virtually every country in the world. For more than thirty years, this modern classic has become part of our lives. It has made our sexual experiences more satisfying, our marriages more robust, and given our children a healthy and realistic attitude toward sex." [quoted from http://books.google.com/books/about/Everything_You_Always_Wanted_to_Know_Abo.html?id=PVxhQgAACAAJ ]


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in lesbian topics and characters, the patriarchy, and LGBTQ topics and characters?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about lesbian topics and characters, the patriarchy, and LGBTQ topics and characters.

Lesbian Topics And Characters Explore 85 books about lesbian topics and characters
The Patriarchy Explore 53 books about the patriarchy
LGBTQ Topics And Characters Explore 114 books about LGBTQ topics and characters

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Running with Scissors, The Color Purple, and Assata if you like this list.