The best LGBT uplit novels

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since coming out as gay in my early 20s, I’ve sought out books that tell queer stories. Seeing ourselves reflected in the stories we read is so important, as it helps you learn and discover new things about yourself and makes you realise you’re not alone. I don’t limit myself to LGBT stories, but I always get a thrill when I find one in the bookstore and I do my best to support queer fiction. I’m now the author of gay uplit novel A Man and His Pride, which draws from some of my own experiences and explores what it means for gay people today to find their pride and learn to love themselves.


I wrote...

A Man and His Pride

By Luke Rutledge,

Book cover of A Man and His Pride

What is my book about?

‘Coming out’ has been the central focus of countless books – but what comes after the coming out? In this novel, Rutledge addresses this idea of how internalised homophobia continues well into adulthood and how shame can manifest long after you come out. 

Sean’s job as an online troll moderator is testing his mental health, his best friend and former girlfriend still resent him for coming out, his mother seems to blame him for a tragedy that tore their family apart, and his relationship with an 87-year-old nursing home resident pushes his identity crisis to the brink... all until he meets William. An unlikely friendship blossoms and Sean sets out on a path toward forgiveness, self-discovery, self-love, and pride. 

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Story of Love and Second Chances

Luke Rutledge Why did I love this book?

This was one of the first queer ‘uplit’ novels I ever read, and prior to this, I didn’t even know queer uplit was a thing! Set in country England, it’s about an elderly postman who comes out as gay, then sets out to find his long-lost love. It reminded me so much of Eleonor Oliphant is Completely Fine in terms of tone. Witnessing this broken and lonely character slowly come out of his shell and start to live his best life, at the same time tackling the demons of his past, is such a joy. It has all the warm and fuzzies you could want, while still tackling some serious issues around shame and the importance of self-love.

By Matt Cain,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“This rollicking romance entrapped me! True in its detail and its scope, it is amusing yet heart-breaking.” —Ian McKellen

Perfect for fans of Fredrik Backman and TJ Klune, this humorous, life-affirming, and charmingly wise novel tells the story of how the forced retirement of a shy, closeted postman in northern England creates a second chance with his lost love, as he learns to embrace his true self, connect with his community, and finally experience his life’s great adventure…

Indie Next List Selection | Library Reads Selection

Every day, Albert Entwistle makes his way through the streets of his small English…


Book cover of The Guncle

Luke Rutledge Why did I love this book?

This book was just so much fun. Full of wit, heart, and laugh-out-loud jokes, The Guncle is about a middle-aged gay man who takes on caring responsibilities for his young niece and nephew. It was the sweet relationship that develops between the main character and these kids that made this book a standout for me – you will fall in love with the children and their innocence, but more importantly, your heart will melt as you start to see our protagonist learn from these children some important lessons about responsibility, family, and love.

By Steven Rowley,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Guncle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

National Bestseller • Wall Street Journal Bestseller • USA Today Bestseller
An NPR Book of the Year
Semi-finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor
Finalist for the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor comes a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.

Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out…


Book cover of Honeybee

Luke Rutledge Why did I love this book?

This is such a life-affirming Australian story about a transgender teen and how their unlikely friendship with an elderly man sets them on a path to self-acceptance and peace. There are some heavy themes explored in this book – from suicide to drug abuse – but it is ultimately an uplifting and deeply moving novel that is told in such a tender way. It personally opened my eyes to the struggles transgender people go through with gender dysphoria, and shows how having the right people in your life can be the difference between life and death. It’s essential reading for LGBT people and allies.

By Craig Silvey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Find out who you are, and live that life.'

Late in the night, fourteen-year-old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below.

At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette.

The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other.

Honeybee is a heartbreaking, life-affirming…


Book cover of Dog Days

Luke Rutledge Why did I love this book?

This novel contains one of the most beautiful and simultaneously heartbreaking ‘coming out’ storylines I have read in a long time. Dan is a psychologist living with OCD. He knows he’s gay but has never had the courage to come out (let alone sleep with another man). I just loved seeing this character come out of his shell bit by bit and wrestle with all the feelings that come with lust and first love. It was an absolute joy to read (along with the other two major storylines), it was unpredictable, sweet, and genuinely took my breath away.   

By Ericka Waller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dog Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant...Definitely one of my favourite novels of 2021' AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully

'A charming, surprising and moving story of three troubled characters' encounter with love, grief, healing...and dogs' Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures

'Funny, sad, gritty and beautifully told.' Hazel Prior, author of Away with the Penguins

_______________________________________________

George is angry at the world. His wife has died and now all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking…


Book cover of Love Notes To Men Who Don't Read

Luke Rutledge Why did I love this book?

Okay, so this book isn’t exactly ‘feel good’ ... far from it. But it is a realistic and unflinching portrayal of gay life in the Grindr era, and for that reason I couldn’t not include it. I read this book at a time when I myself was exploring the world of online gay dating, and boy did it leave an impression. The story follows a gay man who lives a superficial, unfulfilled life of self-destruction and fleeting connections with men on Grindr. It’s beautifully handled and holds up a mirror to a section of the gay community that I had never seen depicted in a book before. It’s quite brutal in its honesty, but any novel that depicts gay life in today’s modern world in an authentic way – no matter how ugly that might be – is a winner in my book! 

By North Morgan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love Notes To Men Who Don't Read as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between London and Los Angeles, the gym and the gay scene, Instagram and Grindr, what it means to be a gay man has never been so bisected. North Morgan's third novel moves beyond the confines of fiction to examine how homosexuality's acceptance into society has created a new breed of demons for a generation of men born as outsiders yet living at the forefront of popular culture. Heartbreaking but never far from humour, Love Notes to Men Who Don't Read confirms Morgan's place as the leading interpreter of gay culture on either side of the Atlantic.


You might also like...

The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

By Robert F. Barsky,

Book cover of The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

Robert F. Barsky Author Of Clamouring for Legal Protection: What the Great Books Teach Us about People Fleeing from Persecution

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Professor of Humanities Borders Radicalist

Robert's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Noam Chomsky has been praised by the likes of Bono and Hugo Chávez and attacked by the likes of Tom Wolfe and Alan Dershowitz. Groundbreaking linguist and outspoken political dissenter—voted “most important public intellectual in the world today” in a 2005 magazine poll—Chomsky inspires fanatical devotion and fierce vituperation.

In The Chomsky Effect, Chomsky biographer Robert Barsky examines Chomsky's positions on a number of highly charged issues—including Vietnam, Israel, East Timor, and his work in linguistics—that illustrate not only “the Chomsky effect” but also “the Chomsky approach.”

Chomsky, writes Barsky, is an inspiration and a catalyst. Not just an analyst…

The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

By Robert F. Barsky,

What is this book about?

"People are dangerous. If they're able to involve themselves in issues that matter, they may change the distribution of power, to the detriment of those who are rich and privileged."--Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky has been praised by the likes of Bono and Hugo Chávez and attacked by the likes of Tom Wolfe and Alan Dershowitz. Groundbreaking linguist and outspoken political dissenter--voted "most important public intellectual in the world today" in a 2005 magazine poll--Chomsky inspires fanatical devotion and fierce vituperation. In The Chomsky Effect, Chomsky biographer Robert Barsky examines Chomsky's positions on a number of highly charged issues--Chomsky's signature issues,…


Topics
  • Coming soon!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, LGBTQ+ topics and characters, and dogs?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay men, LGBTQ+ topics and characters, and dogs.

Gay Men Explore 125 books about gay men
LGBTQ+ Topics And Characters Explore 1,048 books about LGBTQ+ topics and characters
Dogs Explore 403 books about dogs