93 books like Last Call

By Elon Green,

Here are 93 books that Last Call fans have personally recommended if you like Last Call. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Know My Name: A Memoir

Genevieve Kingston Author Of Did I Ever Tell You?: A Memoir

From my list on young women on journeys of self-discovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young girl and aspiring writer, I was shocked when I learned how recently women had been afforded the right to publish under our own names. As a life-long reader of female authors, and lover of complex female protagonists, I’m passionate about supporting and sharing stories by and about women. As an author and playwright, I love to seek out buried narratives or minor characters, and put them center stage. I hope you enjoy these extraordinary books by these extraordinary women.

Genevieve's book list on young women on journeys of self-discovery

Genevieve Kingston Why did Genevieve love this book?

My overwhelming feeling after finishing this book was gratitude. I felt so grateful to Chanel Miller and to all the women who somehow find the courage and capacity to speak out about sexual assault.

Miller writes skillfully and devastatingly about the details of her own highly publicized attack on the Stanford Campus. I was glad to get to know the human being behind the headlines and to read an honest and meticulous account of the long legal process that follows such a harrowing event. I devoured this approachable, relatable, fearless book quickly, unable to put it down.

By Chanel Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Universally acclaimed, rapturously reviewed, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, and an instant New York Times bestseller, Chanel Miller's breathtaking memoir "gives readers the privilege of knowing her not just as Emily Doe, but as Chanel Miller the writer, the artist, the survivor, the fighter." (The Wrap).

"I opened Know My Name with the intention to bear witness to the story of a survivor. Instead, I found myself falling into the hands of one of the great writers and thinkers of our time. Chanel Miller is a philosopher, a cultural critic, a deep observer, a writer's…


Book cover of Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference, and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Rebecca McKanna Author Of Don't Forget the Girl

From my list on true crime that still honor the victims.

Why am I passionate about this?

After writing a novel about the toll true crime can take on victims’ loved ones and the risk it runs of glamourizing killers while overshadowing victims, I’ve been on the hunt for true crime books that don’t fall into these traps. The titles on this list showcase beautiful writing and tell compelling stories without dehumanizing the victims or glamourizing the perpetrators. 

Rebecca's book list on true crime that still honor the victims

Rebecca McKanna Why did Rebecca love this book?

Gabby Petito. Natalee Holloway. Laci Peterson. These names probably sound familiar. Lauren Cho, Stephany Flores, and Latoyia Figueroa might not. This illustrates what news anchor Gwen Ifill dubbed “missing white woman syndrome,” the disproportionate media coverage in missing persons cases that attractive, upper-middle-class white women receive.

McDiarmid’s moving book illustrates this phenomenon, following the cases of thousands of Indigenous women who have disappeared from a stretch of road in British Columbia dubbed “The Highway of Tears.” For decades, the cases garnered little media attention until a white woman named Nicole Hoar disappeared in 2002, bringing more resources and coverage.

In painstaking detail, this immersive and necessary book follows several of these previously ignored women’s lives, illustrating the systemic issues that failed the victims and their loved ones.

By Jessica McDiarmid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“These murder cases expose systemic problems... By examining each murder within the context of Indigenous identity and regional hardships, McDiarmid addresses these very issues, finding reasons to look for the deeper roots of each act of violence.” —The New York Times Book Review

In the vein of the bestsellers I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and The Line Becomes a River, a penetrating, deeply moving account of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls of Highway 16, and a searing indictment of the society that failed them.

For decades, Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been found…


Book cover of We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence

Rebecca McKanna Author Of Don't Forget the Girl

From my list on true crime that still honor the victims.

Why am I passionate about this?

After writing a novel about the toll true crime can take on victims’ loved ones and the risk it runs of glamourizing killers while overshadowing victims, I’ve been on the hunt for true crime books that don’t fall into these traps. The titles on this list showcase beautiful writing and tell compelling stories without dehumanizing the victims or glamourizing the perpetrators. 

Rebecca's book list on true crime that still honor the victims

Rebecca McKanna Why did Rebecca love this book?

As a Harvard undergrad, Cooper hears a story about an anthropology professor who murdered a female graduate student with whom he was having an affair, burning her body with cigarette butts and surrounding her in red ochre.

This “macabre legend” illustrates a common critique of true crime—a victim provided no name and no identity beyond the way she was brutalized. A former New Yorker editorial staff member, Cooper performed meticulous research on the 1969 murder, debunking the affair rumor and instead exploring a more interesting story about memory, institutional power, and misogyny in academia.

She also excavates the story of the crime’s victim, 23-year-old Jane Britton. Full of twists and turns, this real-life whodunit provides an exacting portrait of who Jane was and what her loved ones lost.

By Becky Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Keep the Dead Close as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2021 CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION

'I'm obsessed!' REESE WITHERSPOON

'Exhilarating ... Becky Cooper masterfully uncovers the story of Harvard undergrad Jane Britton.' VOGUE
________________________
You have to remember, he reminded me, that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember because Harvard doesn't let you forget.

1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an…


Book cover of I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her

Rebecca McKanna Author Of Don't Forget the Girl

From my list on true crime that still honor the victims.

Why am I passionate about this?

After writing a novel about the toll true crime can take on victims’ loved ones and the risk it runs of glamourizing killers while overshadowing victims, I’ve been on the hunt for true crime books that don’t fall into these traps. The titles on this list showcase beautiful writing and tell compelling stories without dehumanizing the victims or glamourizing the perpetrators. 

Rebecca's book list on true crime that still honor the victims

Rebecca McKanna Why did Rebecca love this book?

While on assignment for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Connors was raped by a man recently released from prison. Before, he lets her go, he tells her not to contact the police, warning her, “[…] I will find you.”

The phrase becomes the through line of Connors’ book, which is both about her quest to find a way forward after the assault and about her journey to uncover her assailant’s past and the reasons he might have committed this crime. The result is a poignant look at both the trauma left in crime’s wake as well as the societal influences that cause crime to occur in the first place.

By Joanna Connors,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A hard-hitting memoir about a woman's search to understand the man who raped her

Joanna Connors was thirty years old when she was raped at knifepoint by a stranger.

Many years later she realised she had to confront the fear that had ruled her life ever since that day. She needed, finally, to understand. So she went in search of her rapist's story, determined to find out who he was, where he came from, what his life was like - and what leads a person to do something as destructive as what he did to her.

'More chilling than a…


Book cover of Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940

Why am I passionate about this?

I started my career teaching high school. I attended amazing professional development institutes, where scholars showed me how the stories I’d learned and then taught to my own students were so oversimplified that they had become factually incorrect. I was hooked. I kept wondering what else I’d gotten wrong. I earned a Ph.D. in modern US History with specialties in women’s and gender history and war and society, and now I’m an Associate Professor of History at Iowa State University and the Coordinator of ISU’s Social Studies Education Program. I focus on historical complexity and human motivations because they are the key to understanding change.

Amy's book list on books about twenteith-century U.S. History that make you rethink something you thought you already knew

Amy J. Rutenberg Why did Amy love this book?

If you’ve ever wondered about where the terms “coming out,” “tea room,” or “fairy” came from, this book has the answers. But more importantly, this book showed me the extent to which my preconceived notions about the relationship between gender and sexuality were simply wrong.

Chauncey’s careful and readable reconstruction of gay communities in early twentieth-century New York illustrates very clearly that ideas of masculinity and deviance and the meanings attached to sex between men are socially constructed and change over time.

His story also showed me how much history can hide in plain sight and how there are still so many stories left to tell.

By George Chauncey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The award-winning, field-defining history of gay life in New York City in the early to mid-20th century

Gay New York brilliantly shatters the myth that before the 1960s gay life existed only in the closet, where gay men were isolated, invisible, and self-hating. Drawing on a rich trove of diaries, legal records, and other unpublished documents, George Chauncey constructs a fascinating portrait of a vibrant, cohesive gay world that is not supposed to have existed. Called "monumental" (Washington Post), "unassailable" (Boston Globe), "brilliant" (The Nation), and "a first-rate book of history" (The New York Times), Gay New Yorkforever changed how…


Book cover of To Paradise

Joan Silber Author Of Secrets of Happiness

From my list on linking characters who seem to be strangers.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of my favorite bits of praise for my books was Michael Silverblatt, of KCRW, saying, "There is no one else like her—she invents a new improvised form for her fiction." The last five books of fiction I’ve written (my total is nine) have been webs, spinning out from one character to another, across different times and places. It lets me be intimate and distant both at once. So I’ve naturally loved reading writers who’ve done this in various ways. People like to quote John Berger saying, “Never again shall a single story be told as though it were the only one,” and I’m in line with that. 

Joan's book list on linking characters who seem to be strangers

Joan Silber Why did Joan love this book?

The novel is set in three end-of-century time-frames—1893, 1993, and 2093. In the opening, set in a mansion on Washington Square in New York, we discover we’re in an America where same-sex marriage has been legal for a long time, and a young man is about to run off with a suitor his father distrusts (a new version of a Henry James plot). The next section is in Hawaii, the colonized Paradise, where descendant characters (with the same set of names, juggled) stumble and grab what they can of freedom and love. My favorite section is the last, where characters with those recurring names are in a New York of “cooling suits” and “decontamination chambers” and totalitarian rule. This is a wild and really quite brilliant book, whose sprawling parts are fueled by a searing vision.  

By Hanya Yanagihara,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2022

'This magisterial follow-up to A Little Life offers three books in one . . . Yanagihara weighs up damage and privilege - social, emotional, political, colonial in a gripping, immersive ride through alternative Americas.' - The Guardian 'Best Reads For Summer'

'After the painfully affecting [A Little Life] To Paradise gives us three stories far apart in space and time but each unique in their power to summon the joy and complexity of love, the pain of loss. I'm not sure I've ever missed the world…


Book cover of Best Men

KC Carmichael Author Of Boystown Heartbreakers

From my list on lighthearted gay romance books about men in their thirties.

Why am I passionate about this?

On paper, it would be easy to think I’m the wrong person to recommend these books and write my own, which would fit easily onto this list. But as a lover of love and someone who has always enjoyed the company of men, particularly gay men, this is an area I have passion for - seeing hopeful and authentic love stories written for the masses. 

KC's book list on lighthearted gay romance books about men in their thirties

KC Carmichael Why did KC love this book?

I loved this book from page one because I instantly wanted to be the main character, Max Moody’s, friend. He’s incredibly relatable and has impeccable taste in music.

His love interest, Chasten, was charming and sweet, and the combination of their personalities made them easy to root for. Plus, I laughed out loud and smiled all the way through their love story. 

By Sidney Karger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Bursting with laughs and so much love, Sidney Karger's debut novel delivers a truly refreshing spin on the romantic comedy…A big-hearted, feel-good summer escape."—Anderson Cooper, #1 New York Times bestselling author and journalist

When two best men in a wedding party fall for each other, they realize love isn’t a piece of cake in this hilarious and heartfelt romantic comedy debut by screenwriter Sidney Karger.

Max Moody thought he had everything figured out. He’s trying to live his best life in New York City and has the best friend a gay guy could ask for: Paige. She and Max grew…


Book cover of The First to Die at the End

David Valdes Author Of Finding My Elf

From my list on romantics dying for something different.

Why am I passionate about this?

As I mention in my book picks, I’m a romantic. I love stories with characters who have big emotions, even more so if they face unique challenges. And I have always loved reading – I was the kid lugging 12 books home from the library. (Technically, we were only allowed six at a time, but I used my brother’s library account and checked out his share too!) Reading that many books, I discovered that a lot of the plots get repeated, so I’m always on the lookout for something fresh. In my previous Young Adult novels, I’ve tried to put my own stamp on romance by focusing on queer protagonists and kids of color.

David's book list on romantics dying for something different

David Valdes Why did David love this book?

I’ve been singing the praises of Silvera’s They Both at the End for so long, I was a little nervous about the prequel that came out this year. What if it couldn’t hold up?

Silly me: Silvera knows exactly what he’s doing, setting a doomed romance against the dawn of a new technology, and keeping the reader invested despite knowing the young lovers are on the clock. It’s a romance that reads like a thriller. I’m a sucker for both!

By Adam Silvera,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The First to Die at the End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In this prequel to the NO. 1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING phenomenon of TIKTOK fame, They Both Die at the End, two new strangers spend a life-changing day together after Death-Cast make their first fateful calls.

'If They Both Die at the End broke your heart and put it back together again, be prepared for this novel to do the same. A tender, sad, hopeful and youthful story that deserves as much love as its predecessor.' Culturefly
'[A] heart-pounding story [full] of emotion and suspense.' Kirkus
'An extraordinary book with a riveting plot.' Booklist

Meet Orion and Valentino.

It's the night before…


Book cover of Dancer from the Dance

Nicholas Blair Author Of Castro to Christopher: Gay Streets of America 1979-1986

From my list on LGBTQ history through photography and print.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became aware of the struggles of the LGBTQ community as a 22-year-old touring the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, where hundreds of gay men were imprisoned—my mother was a Holocaust survivor who survived Auschwitz. A month later, in October 1978, after I returned to San Francisco, Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were murdered. As a hippie, San Francisco seemed extremely tolerant, but after the murders, I realized there was a monumental struggle for “unalienable rights” in the LGBTQ community. I started photographing LGBTQ political events and, for six years, documented the “gay liberation movement” as it exploded across the streets of New York and San Francisco.

Nicholas' book list on LGBTQ history through photography and print

Nicholas Blair Why did Nicholas love this book?

I was mesmerized by this masterfully written and engrossing page-turner that emotionally landed me in the intimate orbit of Anthony Malone and Andrew Southerland, the book’s two main characters.

Honest and unflinching, it describes a life and culture unknown to me in such a beautiful, romantic way that, although intrinsically tragic, I regretted not being a part of it.

Holleran illuminates a period essential to understanding LGBTQ history, “Imagine a pleasure in which the moment of satisfaction is simultaneous with a moment of destruction: to kiss is to poison; lifting to your lips this face after what you have dreamed, long for, the face shatters every time.”

By Andrew Holleran,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dancer from the Dance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Astonishingly beautiful... The best gay novel written by anyone of our generation' Harpers

'A life changing read for me. Describes a New York that has completely disappeared and for which I longed - stuck in closed-on-Sunday's London' Rupert Everett

Young, divinely beautiful and tired of living a lie, Anthony Malone trades life as a seemingly straight, small town lawyer for the disco-lit decadence of New York's 1970's gay scene. Joining an unbridled world of dance parties, saunas, deserted parks and orgies - at its centre Malone befriends the flamboyant queen, Sutherland, who takes this new arrival under his preened wing.…


Book cover of Ice Blues

Gayleen Froese Author Of The Girl Whose Luck Ran Out

From my list on hard-boiled comfort reads for a disappointing world.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was nine years old, I joined a book club. The members were me and my dad. He’d throw detective books into my room when he was done with them, and I’d read them. We’d never discuss them. But that’s why hard-boiled detective fiction is comfort food for me and how I know it so well. I’ve been binging on it most of my life and learning everything the shamus-philosophers had to teach me. Now I write my own, the Ben Ames series, for the joy of paying it forward.

Gayleen's book list on hard-boiled comfort reads for a disappointing world

Gayleen Froese Why did Gayleen love this book?

You know what I like about Donald Strachey? His boyfriend. I’m kidding—Strachey’s fine.

He’s a smart, tough detective in the hard-boiled tradition so of course I like him, but do you ever think way more of someone because they had the good taste to pick the partner they did? Timothy Callahan is a Jesuit-educated political aide, former Peace Corps volunteer and one of those characters who gets called a “moral centre” because they are one.

I was half in love with him before he (accurately) dissed Mother Teresa but I adored him after that. I came to the Strachey books for canny, realistic and never twee gay detective fiction but I’ve stayed for Timmy. He’s a soothing, reaffirming, hilarious wonder and you never know—he might smack-talk Gandhi next.

By Richard Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shocked to discover the body of the grandson of the godfather of Albany's political machine in his car, P.I. Donald Strachey knows he is in for trouble. But when he learns that the murder victim left a $2.5 million legacy with instructions that it be used to destroy that machine, along with a personal letter to Strachey asking for his help, his suspicions are confirmed. Faced with power-brokers at all levels, Albany's only gay P.I. tries to fulfill the dead man's mission-with his own survival at stake.


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