100 books like Guide

By Dennis Cooper,

Here are 100 books that Guide fans have personally recommended if you like Guide. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Book cover of Edinburgh

Alina Grabowski Author Of Women and Children First

From my list on exploring how place shapes community.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Austin, Texas. Though I haven’t lived in Massachusetts for over a decade now, I find myself drawn back to the state’s coast in my fiction. My novel, Women and Children First, takes place in a fictional town south of Boston called Nashquitten. I’m obsessed with how where we’re from shapes who we become and the ways we use narrative to try and exert control over our lives. 

Alina's book list on exploring how place shapes community

Alina Grabowski Why did Alina love this book?

This is a book about many things—guilt, artmaking, and love among them—but when I think of it, I think of a novel that depicts the complexities of making and sustaining a life more deftly than anything else I’ve read. How things like cruelty and beauty, innocence and evil, truth and lies all coexist. How we move forward despite this uneasy balance.

The novel follows Fee, a boy who grows up in Maine and sings in an all-boys choir. The choir director turns out to be an abuser, and his actions haunt Fee and the other boys in the choir into adulthood.

On a prose level alone, Chee’s writing is unparalleled, his sentences sharp enough to cut glass. I don’t see how anyone could read this book and come away unchanged. 

By Alexander Chee,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Edinburgh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poignant work of mature, haunting artistry, Edinburgh heralds the arrival of a remarkable young writer. Fee, a Korean-American child growing up in Maine, is gifted with a beautiful soprano voice and sings in a professional boys' choir. When the choir director acts out his paedophilic urges on the boys in the choir, Fee is unable to save himself, his first love, Peter, or his friends.


Book cover of Bath Haus: A Thriller

Michael Kiggins Author Of And the Train Kept Moving

From my list on unreliable and morally compromised characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was introduced to many authors published by Grove Press, I have been intrigued by transgressive literary fiction, especially stories and novels that feature narrators and protagonists whose unreliability and moral culpability fuel plots to surprising yet inevitable climaxes. Lesser writers of such works use the shocking and revolting as crutches for vapid prose, failing to lead readers to revelations that can be found in the darkest places and in the unlikeliest of people. What better accomplishment can any writer ask for except getting readers, in some way, to identify with characters whom they would avoid in real life?

Michael's book list on unreliable and morally compromised characters

Michael Kiggins Why did Michael love this book?

This thriller is a compulsively readable novel.

In dueling POVs of a gay couple, Vernon explores their relationship, with its power imbalances and manipulations, in all its messiness. Neither narrator is being honest with the other, and the novel is set in motion when Oliver decides to visit a bathhouse where a would-be trick attacks him, making him fear for his life.

The rest of the novel ping-pongs between the narrators, both of whom are concealing so much from each other for very different reasons. 

By P. J. Vernon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bath Haus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nominated for a 34th annual Lambda Literary Award • A scintillating thriller with an emotional punch: “The tension builds to unbearably claustrophobic levels. To say more would rob readers of the 'no, he didn’t' suspense that makes Bath Haus an unexpectedly twisted, heart-pounding cat-versus-mouse thriller" (Los Angeles Times).

Oliver Park, a recovering addict from Indiana, finally has everything he ever wanted: sobriety and a loving, wealthy partner in Nathan, a prominent DC trauma surgeon. Despite their difference in age and disparate backgrounds, they've made a perfect life together. With everything to lose, Oliver shouldn't be visiting Haus, a gay bathhouse.…


Book cover of The Guest

Michael Kiggins Author Of And the Train Kept Moving

From my list on unreliable and morally compromised characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was introduced to many authors published by Grove Press, I have been intrigued by transgressive literary fiction, especially stories and novels that feature narrators and protagonists whose unreliability and moral culpability fuel plots to surprising yet inevitable climaxes. Lesser writers of such works use the shocking and revolting as crutches for vapid prose, failing to lead readers to revelations that can be found in the darkest places and in the unlikeliest of people. What better accomplishment can any writer ask for except getting readers, in some way, to identify with characters whom they would avoid in real life?

Michael's book list on unreliable and morally compromised characters

Michael Kiggins Why did Michael love this book?

Cline’s novel is one of the most unsettling books I read this summer.

Readers follow the protagonist as she slowly and inescapably sinks lower and lower, all while losing her grip on reality. In almost every chapter, she disrupts, if not ruins, the lives of the people she uses in various schemes in the hopes of convincing the older rich man whom she had been sleeping with to take her back.

The novel has a languid pace, but there are so many exquisite passages peppered throughout the creeping dread as you watch the protagonist’s increasingly destructive choices play out.

By Emma Cline,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* A TIMES 'Book of 2023' * 'Addictive' STYLIST Books to Look Out For 2023 * 'Destined to be the status read of 2023' HARPER'S BAZAAR BEST NEW FICTION * 'The perfect summer read' CULTURE WHISPER * An EVENING STANDARD 'Best New Books for Spring' * A Financial Times Best Summer Read 2023 *

Summer is coming to a close on Long Island, and Alex is no longer welcome...

One misstep at a dinner party and the older man she's been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city. With…


Book cover of Hawk Mountain

Michael Kiggins Author Of And the Train Kept Moving

From my list on unreliable and morally compromised characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was introduced to many authors published by Grove Press, I have been intrigued by transgressive literary fiction, especially stories and novels that feature narrators and protagonists whose unreliability and moral culpability fuel plots to surprising yet inevitable climaxes. Lesser writers of such works use the shocking and revolting as crutches for vapid prose, failing to lead readers to revelations that can be found in the darkest places and in the unlikeliest of people. What better accomplishment can any writer ask for except getting readers, in some way, to identify with characters whom they would avoid in real life?

Michael's book list on unreliable and morally compromised characters

Michael Kiggins Why did Michael love this book?

Habib’s novel is an interesting and disturbing debut following a single father who unexpectedly reconnects with a former bully who has ulterior motives.

The first part of the novel jumps back and forth between their high school days and the present, leading to a moment of shocking violence. It’s the aftermath of that violence and how the protagonist deals (or fails to deal) with it that stands out the most, leading to a gut-wrenching conclusion.

By Conner Habib,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Single father Todd is relaxing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of a man approaching from the water's edge. As the man draws closer, Todd recognizes him as Jack, who bullied Todd relentlessly in their teenage years but now seems overjoyed to have "run into" his old friend. Jack suggests a meal to catch up. And can he spend the night?

What follows is a fast-paced story of obsession and cunning. As Jack invades Todd's life, pain and intimidation from the past unearth knife-edge suspense in the present. Set in a small town on the…


Book cover of The Boys on the Mountain

Jameson Currier Author Of The Wolf at the Door

From my list on ghost stories with gay characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

During the years that I have been writing ghost stories, many of them collected in The Haunted Heart and Other Tales, I have read a variety of classic and contemporary ghost stories, horror anthologies, and novels that included gay characters, written by authors who are also openly gay or whose legacy has identified the writer as homosexual. While there are a number of short stories that are personal favorites, this list focuses on novels. 

Jameson's book list on ghost stories with gay characters

Jameson Currier Why did Jameson love this book?

A string of supernatural events occurs when a gay writer moves into a house in the San Diego mountains built by a legendary film star of the 1930s. But the writer is not alone at the house—he has invited his close friends for a housewarming—and they soon discover the deceased actor had some nasty habits and a gruesome behavior. The investigations and resolutions of this absorbing novel unveil some shocking and grisly details, but there is a masterful balance of comedy along with the horror.

By John Inman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Boys on the Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jim Brandon has a new house, and boy, is it a pip. Built high on the side of the San Diego mountains by a legendary B-movie actor of the 1930s, Nigel Letters, the house is not only gorgeous, but supposedly haunted. As a writer of horror novels, Jim couldn't be happier.


But after a string of ghostly events sets Jim’s teeth on edge and scares the bejesus out of his dog, Jim begins to dig into the house’s history. What he finds is enough to creep out anybody. Even Jim. It seems long-dead Nigel Letters had a few nasty habits…


Book cover of Less

TJ Klune Author Of Wolfsong

From my list on what you should read read after a book destroys your feelings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a queer author of over thirty novels, most recently The House in the Cerulean Sea, Under the Whispering Door, In the Lives of Puppets, and my upcoming novel, Wolfsong. Though I’ve written across many genres, science fiction, and fantasy are where I feel most at home, and my writing reflects that. I love exploring worlds where good people fight for what’s right even when they make mistakes along the way. Humanity is always at the forefront of what I do, and though we can be disappointing, there is nothing quite like us in all the universe—as far as we know.

TJ's book list on what you should read read after a book destroys your feelings

TJ Klune Why did TJ love this book?

I was able to be on a couple of panels with Mr. Greer where he discussed this novel and its sequel, Less is Lost. The first book, Less, is a queer novel that won the Pulitzer Prize, a well-deserved accolade for this story about second chances in life—or third or fourth chances, depending upon the situation.

It’s remarkable to see a novel like this win such a major literary prize. Mr. Greer deserves it for his dynamic work.

By Andrew Sean Greer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018

'You will sob little tears of joy' Nell Zink

'I recommend it with my whole heart' Ann Patchett

'This book is basically perfect' Dolly Alderton

'Charming, languid and incredibly funny, I absolutely adored Arthur' Jenny Colgan

'Marvellously, endearingly, unexpectedly funny' Gary Shteyngart

'I adore this book' Armistead Maupin

'Bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful' New York Times Book Review

'A fast and rocketing read . . . a wonderful, wonderful book!' Karen Joy Fowler

'Hilarious, and wise, and abundantly funny' Adam Haslett

WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS?

Arthur Less is…


Book cover of The Magician

Rosemary Sullivan Author Of Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille

From my list on courage and putting your life on the line.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Villa Air-Bel, I wrote about an extraordinary man, Varian Fry. A journalist sent to France in 1940 with a list of 200 artists to save, he expected to stay 2 weeks. He stayed 15 months, establishing the Emergency Rescue Committee. By the time the Vichy police expelled him, he’d saved 2,000 people. Who has the courage to put their lives on the line for strangers? In The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, I recorded how five people risked their lives to hide the Frank family until they were finally betrayed. Two of the helpers were sent to concentration camps.  It takes courage to resist Fascism. Would I/ we have that courage?

Rosemary's book list on courage and putting your life on the line

Rosemary Sullivan Why did Rosemary love this book?

The Irish writer Colm Toíbín is one of our greatest novelists.

The Magician, a fictional biography of the German writer Thomas Mann, is a madcap family epic. So immediate are Toíbín’s portraits of Mann, his wife, and his children that one thinks one knows them. But Toíbín also offers a brilliant portrait of Mann as a writer.

We get inside his mind as he writes about his unfulfilled erotic desires. But perhaps what is most compelling for me is Toíbín’s portrait of Germany in the 1930s. Mann fled Germany for Switzerland in 1933 when Hitler became Chancellor, and eventually moved to the U.S. He was one of the few ex-pat German writers to speak publicly against the Nazis.

What is most impressive is how Toíbín examines, through Mann, what made Germany susceptible to Nazism. I have not read it more subtly and more compellingly explained.  

By Colm Toibin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE 2022
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION 2022

From one of our greatest living writers comes a sweeping novel of unrequited love and exile, war and family.

The Magician tells the story of Thomas Mann, whose life was filled with great acclaim and contradiction. He would find himself on the wrong side of history in the First World War, cheerleading the German army, but have a clear vision of the future in the second, anticipating the horrors of Nazism.

He would have six children and…


Book cover of In Case You Forgot

Hari Ziyad Author Of Black Boy Out of Time

From my list on loss and grief from a certified death doula.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, author and screenwriter, my work has always pondered loss and grief. I think this has something to do with the fact that of my mother’s religion; she was a convert to Hinduism and started conversations about the inevitability of death and how the soul and the body aren’t the same when us children were at a very young age. It probably also has something to do with the constant presence of death within my family and communities as a Black and queer person in a violently anti-Black and queerantagonistic world. I currently volunteer at a hospice, and provide community-building programming to death workers from diverse communities.

Hari's book list on loss and grief from a certified death doula

Hari Ziyad Why did Hari love this book?

This rare Black queer romance novel is a heartfelt exploration of friendship and second chances.

It doesn’t shy away from the complexities of maintaining relationships in the midst of grief, addressing head on one of the most difficult and underexplored aspects of loss. It’s a reminder that our past shapes us, but our present can redefine us, through the refreshing lens of Black queer characters just trying to figure out their lives.

By Frederick Smith, Chaz Lamar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Case You Forgot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two newly single, Black, queer, and socially aware men have packed up to start again--in love, career, and life--in the West Hollywood neighborhood of LA.

Zaire James, on the cusp of 30, has decided marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be. Despite friends, family, and coworkers loving Zaire's "perfect" partner, divorce is a necessary step for finding himself and being free. If only it were that easy.

Kenny Kane has made a career of deferring dreams, lowering expectations, and chasing partners not on his level in hopes of finding a love to call his own. However, on the verge…


Book cover of Yesterday Will Make You Cry

James Hannaham Author Of Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta

From my list on books for and about convicts and ex-convicts.

Why am I passionate about this?

Incarceration is a gigantic problem in the US, especially because of its connection to racial injustice. I have no firsthand experience with prison or the system, and yet it looms large in my imagination and my deepest fears. That should not be the case merely because I’m a Black gay American, but here we are. I feel that with the help of my mother and others, I have managed to sidestep a lot of the potential pitfalls of people’s misguided perception of my identity, but I have an active, paranoid imagination and profound survivor guilt, so I gravitate toward stories about people at who are odds with our society in ways that reflect that precarious status which allows me to explore a wide range of human experiences.

James' book list on books for and about convicts and ex-convicts

James Hannaham Why did James love this book?

This book has a provenance that’s almost like a prison sentence: released in 1953 under the title Cast the First Stone, it would have been Himes’ first novel, but its frankness about homosexual relationships in prison and the fact that a Black writer had written white main characters, made publishers shit their pants and doctor the life out of it to make it conform to 50s market expectations. Of course, in the process, they ruined it.

But in 1998, Old School Books released Himes’ "director’s cut,” a much different, more beautiful, raw, and thoughtful book that’s as much about prison life as it is about the prison of masculinity. Paradoxically, prison seems to be a place where people indulge homosexual desires, though the atmosphere somehow remains homophobic.

Reading this book could foster more compassion for queer desires, whether those of prisoners who identify as LGBTQIA+, or those who claim…

By Chester Himes, Marc Gerald (editor), Samuel Blumenfeld (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yesterday Will Make You Cry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic restored-the complete and unexpurgated text of a great African-American writer's brutal and lyrical novel of prison life. First published in reduced and bowdlerized form in 1952 as Cast the First Stone, Yesterday Will Make You Cry was Chester Himes's first, most powerful, and autobiographical novel. This Old School Books edition presents it for the first time precisely as Himes wrote it, a sardonic masterpiece of debasement and transfiguration in an American penitentiary and one of his most enduring literary achievements.


Book cover of Love, Hate & Clickbait

Avery Easton Author Of Not the Boy Next Door

From my list on romances to read when you're sick of the straights.

Why am I passionate about this?

Listen, I love straight people. I even married one! But sometimes, you have to get out of the hetero bubble. Most of the people in my life, outside of my family, are queer. Representation matters, and I am thrilled that the queer romance genre is booming. Experiencing lives outside of your own norm can only create more empathy, which is all we can hope for. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I did, and that you check out my Hearts of Broadway series for more representation. And showtunes.

Avery's book list on romances to read when you're sick of the straights

Avery Easton Why did Avery love this book?

I'm a political junkie. And if you want Veep in book form, this is for you. Are Thom and Clay likable? Eventually, yes! Is the premise completely nuts? Totally, and I love it.

I am a huge sucker for enemies-to-lovers. And pining. And the public lens being trained on our MCs. And this one has it all. The banter, the chemistry, everything you want in a romance, plus the absurd US political system is like a cherry on top. 

By Liz Bowery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love, Hate & Clickbait as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK SELECTED BY BUZZFEED & THE NERD DAILY

"Quick-paced, sharp, and thoroughly entertaining. I couldn’t put it down!”—Helen Hoang

Shake some hands. Kiss some coworkers.

Cutthroat political consultant Thom Morgan is thriving, working on the governor of California’s presidential campaign. If only he didn’t have to deal with Clay Parker, the infuriatingly smug data analyst who gets under Thom’s skin like it’s his job. In the midst of one of their heated and very public arguments, a journalist snaps a photo, but the image makes it look like they’re kissing. As if that weren’t already worst-nightmare territory,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, authors, and Los Angeles?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay men, authors, and Los Angeles.

Gay Men Explore 120 books about gay men
Authors Explore 188 books about authors
Los Angeles Explore 333 books about Los Angeles