93 books like Narcisa

By Jonathan Shaw,

Here are 93 books that Narcisa fans have personally recommended if you like Narcisa. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Gutterboys

Ryszard I. Merey Author Of A + E 4Ever

From my list on queer, poisonous relationships with angst.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a mostly pre-Internet time, I was hungry for androgynous and queer characters and didn’t know why. Books offered an escape hatch into the heads of the people I wanted to be. As I got older, writing was how I processed this disconnect, but for a long time, my lack of clarity negatively affected many of my relationships. It was through words (mine and others’) that I learned who I am. Amongst other things, a fragile and flawed and wildly imperfect person. It’s been great to see all the wholesome, positive LGBT rep that’s come out in literature over the last years, but my heart and stories will always belong to the bad-angel queers struggling to get a foot into Heaven. 

Ryszard's book list on queer, poisonous relationships with angst

Ryszard I. Merey Why did Ryszard love this book?

Oh man, this book! It’s everything I want: Sweet, simple, cute, nostalgic, at times, just awful. Gutterboys taught me that a book with a soul and a soundtrack and a firm jab in the gut is the type of book I want to make. Set in the 80s, Jeremy is a naïve suburban Jewish teen who falls crazy-stupid in love with a gorgeous older hustler. Colin won’t date Jeremy, but he does take him on a New York adventure that will only unhinge innocent Jeremy more and more. If you like that intoxicatingly toxic unrequited gay love, give it a go!

By Alvin Orloff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


A twisted gay tale of unrequited love in Lower Manhattan in the early 1980s filled with scenes of humorous debauchery. Jeremy, a shy 19-year-old, falls madly in love with Colin, a disturbed yet well-read older hustler. Though Colin rejects Jeremy as a lover, he takes him on as a protégé, introducing him to the hilariously depraved world of new wave nightclubs and gay bars in the days before AIDS and the war on drugs. Innocent Jeremy, protected by the guardian spirits of his beloved dead grandmothers - one a fiery Jewish socialist, the other a proper British matron - becomes…


Book cover of City of Night

Ryszard I. Merey Author Of A + E 4Ever

From my list on queer, poisonous relationships with angst.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a mostly pre-Internet time, I was hungry for androgynous and queer characters and didn’t know why. Books offered an escape hatch into the heads of the people I wanted to be. As I got older, writing was how I processed this disconnect, but for a long time, my lack of clarity negatively affected many of my relationships. It was through words (mine and others’) that I learned who I am. Amongst other things, a fragile and flawed and wildly imperfect person. It’s been great to see all the wholesome, positive LGBT rep that’s come out in literature over the last years, but my heart and stories will always belong to the bad-angel queers struggling to get a foot into Heaven. 

Ryszard's book list on queer, poisonous relationships with angst

Ryszard I. Merey Why did Ryszard love this book?

The search for the self is an act of self-indulgence and that search and that act is on full display in this 60s gay classic. I adore Rechy’s prose, it’s just so different and beautiful, and although this is an old story, much of its loveliness and loneliness and promiscuity has never changed. I read City of Night and reread it for the tender, cracked characters who keep looking so patiently into every dark corner. 

By John Rechy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bold and inventive in style, City of Night is the groundbreaking 1960s novel about male prostitution. Rechy is unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling 'youngman' and his search for self-knowledge among the other denizens of his neon-lit world. As the narrator moves from Texas to Times Square and then on to the French Quarter of New Orleans, Rechy delivers a portrait of the edges of America that has lost none of its power.
On his travels, the nameless narrator meets a collection of unforgettable characters, from vice cops to guilt-ridden married men eaten up by desire, to Lance O'Hara,…


Book cover of Detransition, Baby

Tim Murphy Author Of Speech Team

From my list on LGBTQ+ characters who are a total mess.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a 54-year-old gay man who has led my own messy life here in New York City, marked as much by sex, romance, friendship, and culture as by drug addiction, relationship drama, mental illness and youthful trauma. I’ve published five novels, all of which contain queer characters who’ve not exactly been poster children for mainstream-world-approved LGBTQ behavior. I’m drawn to novels like the ones I’ve mentioned because they show queer people not as the hetero world often would like them to be—sanitized, asexual, witty and “fabulous”—but as capable of dysfunction, mediocrity, unwise choices and poor conduct as anybody else.

Tim's book list on LGBTQ+ characters who are a total mess

Tim Murphy Why did Tim love this book?

Like a hipster Brooklyn transgender Sex and the City, this novel is a chatty, hilarious, and moving look at queer folks grasping for parenthood and family in a world where all the rules have been thrown out.

The book’s narrator, transwoman Reese, takes us on this ride with such sardonic, poignant insight about the world she lives in that we begin to feel like we live in it, too. When Reese’s ex, Ames—who has detransitioned from his former transwoman identity, Amy—gets his straight female boss pregnant, the three of them begin negotiating how they might raise the child together.

But the novel’s true power lies in how Reese explains her life and her friends to us—bravely refusing to portray trans people as angelic role models and instead offering something deeper and more endearing: showing them as real people.

By Torrey Peters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The lives of three women—transgender and cisgender—collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires in “one of the most celebrated novels of the year” (Time)

“Reading this novel is like holding a live wire in your hand.”—Vulture

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by more than twenty publications, including The New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Time, Vogue, Esquire, Vulture, and Autostraddle

PEN/Hemingway Award Winner • Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Gotham Book Prize • Longlisted for The Women’s…


Book cover of Giovanni's Room

Nicholas McInerny Author Of How to Have a Perfect Marriage: A BBC Radio 4 Comedy Drama

From my list on being emotionally monogamous and sexually promiscuous.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am someone who has lived a number of different lives. Although I loved being a father and husband I knew I wasn’t being authentic. At 45 that all changed utterly when I finally came out as gay – and accepted myself for perhaps the very first time in my life. However, even before coming out I was a professional writer – it was my only way to make sense of the world. But I also knew that although a successful writer I wasn’t a truthful one – and the most beautiful thing in life is discovering your own truth, isn’t it? Join me here in a safe space to experience yours.

Nicholas' book list on being emotionally monogamous and sexually promiscuous

Nicholas McInerny Why did Nicholas love this book?

Set in Paris, with David the sexually conflicted central character who has an affair with the doomed Giovanni.

This book – written in 1956 – is an incredibly brave exploration by Baldwin into Gay/Bi sexuality – breaking new ground in LGBTQ+ representation whilst at the same time creating an atmosphere of almost stereotypically gay angst – perhaps even initiating some of the cliches around gay life that were to become mainstream – and used by heterosexual society against us.

That doesn’t stop it being a novella of great significance and febrile passion – like a passionate quickie up against the wall!

By James Baldwin,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Giovanni's Room as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When David meets the sensual Giovanni in a bohemian bar, he is swept into a passionate love affair. But his girlfriend's return to Paris destroys everything. Unable to admit to the truth, David pretends the liaison never happened - while Giovanni's life descends into tragedy.

United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds. Readers will be introduced to love's endlessly fascinating possibilities and extremities: romantic love, platonic love, erotic love, gay love, virginal love, adulterous love, parental love, filial love, nostalgic love, unrequited love, illicit love,…


Book cover of If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English

Liz Harmer Author Of Strange Loops

From my list on Eros and Thanatos desire mixed with doom.

Why am I passionate about this?

For about five years, I became obsessed by the question of erotic possession, of the kind erotic love that would be so powerful it would be difficult to distinguish from a desire for annihilation, especially at times when one’s life seems so settled and easy. Why does this sort of love overtake a person? As I began to write my own novel addressing this theme, I read everything I could find on the subject, including many not listed here. I have become a hobbyist of the question of romantic ruination, and I am now preparing to teach a course on the subject. 

Liz's book list on Eros and Thanatos desire mixed with doom

Liz Harmer Why did Liz love this book?

Naga’s beautiful, poetic prose is pervaded with an overwhelming sense that things will end very badly.

An Arab-American woman meets a “boy from Shobrakheit,” and the two begin a damaged, damaging romance in a book that’s been described as a “postcolonial novel for the twenty-first century.”

Desire mixes up with more complicated feelings, such as pity and resentment, feelings that stem from their cultural and class differences, and their relationship, told in alternating points-of-view, is soon touched with a threat of violence—and then more than a threat—of violence. 

By Noor Naga,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, an Egyptian American woman and a man from the village of Shobrakheit meet at a cafe in Cairo. He was a photographer of the revolution, but now finds himself unemployed and addicted to cocaine, living in a rooftop shack. She is a nostalgic daughter of immigrants "returning" to a country she's never been to before, teaching English and living in a light-filled flat with balconies on all sides. They fall in love and he moves in. But soon their desire-for one another, for the selves they want to become through the other-takes a…


Book cover of Girl Through Glass

T. Greenwood Author Of The Still Point

From my list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my daughter was three years old, I enrolled her in a “creative movement” class. I had taken dance lessons for ten years when I was younger, so this felt like an obvious choice. At age eleven, her teacher suggested that she had the facility, talent, and drive to pursue a career in ballet. What followed was seven years of being a “ballet mom,” as she studied, performed, competed, and ultimately left home to pursue her career. The Still Point comes from this experience. It's a novel about dark ambition, but it's also a love letter: to my daughter, to ballet, and to the mothers who became my closest friends inside the ballet studio walls.

T.'s book list on both the darkness and beauty of ballet

T. Greenwood Why did T. love this book?

Girl Through Glass offers readers entry into the magical and rarified world of an aspiring ballet dancer at the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet.

For readers who love a gritty New York setting, glimpses behind the beautiful façade that ballet offers, and dark secrets, this novel has it all. Fans of My Dark Vanessa will also appreciate the #metoo elements of this story.

By Sari Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

An Amazon Best Book of the Month 

A Buzzfeed Most Exciting Book of the Year

A The Millions Most Anticipated Book of the Year & Bestseller

Selected as a Skimm Read 

A Refinery 29 Best Book of the Year

Chosen as a Rumpus Book Club Selection

Chosen as a Bustle Best Literary Debut Novel Written By Women in the Last 5 Years

An enthralling literary debut that tells the story of a young girl’s coming of age in the cutthroat world of New York City ballet—a story of obsession and the…


Book cover of Spring Fancy

Victoria Chatham Author Of His Unexpected Muse

From my list on endings with happy everafters for any era.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Clifton, in the city of Bristol, England. Clifton is known for its elegant Georgian and Regency architecture. Growing up in these surroundings gave me an impression of what life might have been like for the people who lived there, the families upstairs and servants belowstairs. In front of a few houses on some streets, there are still stone blocks at the curb, worn smooth from countless feet entering and exiting their carriages. I have used Clifton as a setting in some of the books I have written, hoping to make those scenes more realistic and bring history alive for my readers. 

Victoria's book list on endings with happy everafters for any era

Victoria Chatham Why did Victoria love this book?

While this is not a Regency romance, it is the best contemporary romance I have ever read and is another one I come back to time and again because it is so well written. The characters are well drawn, there is snappy dialogue, several twists, high sexual tension, and who could resist a heroine who blinks with one eye? 

By Lavyrle Spencer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author LaVyrle Spencer comes a novel that perfectly captures the tender and delicate beginnings of love in bloom.

Confident and practical, Winn never imagined anything-or anyone-could overturn her perfect world and perfect wedding plans. But in a single passing moment, her heart told her otherwise.

Joseph knew Winn's love was promised to another man, that he must hide his heartfelt passions. But he also knew that the heart doesn't lie: This was that love of a lifetime.

They met at a spring wedding, only months before Winn's own. Were they carried away by the intoxicating…


Book cover of The Rogue of Fifth Avenue

Maggie Sims Author Of Sophia's Schooling

From my list on spicy historical romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many of us over (ahem…we’ll say) 40, I grew up reading historical romance—those were the first full-length romance novels on store shelves. My mum is British and visits there added to my interest in Regency England. Then 50 Shades exploded and people’s spice level tolerance increased. But mainly in contemporary romance, with all the tools and toys. Curious as to how spice in the Regency would look, I went searching. I found a few of these fabulous authors, but not many choices, so I decided to write one. Now there are more authors published in this subgenre, and I’m proud to be one of them.

Maggie's book list on spicy historical romance

Maggie Sims Why did Maggie love this book?

While I found Joanna Shupe from her Regency books, I heard an interview with her in which she talked about trying to write about the Gilded Age, but no publisher would take it. So to support her dream, I choose the first of her Gilded Age series—an opposites attract novel between an uptown girl and a downtown guy who works for her father and has some secrets. The spice level in this is steamy rather than erotic. I picked this because I will read a Robin Hood story with romance every time.

By Joanna Shupe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Silver-tongued lawyer.
Keeper of secrets.
Breaker of hearts.

He can solve any problem . . .

In serving the wealthy power brokers of New York society, Frank Tripp has finally gained the respectability and security his own upbringing lacked. There's no issue he cannot fix . . . except for one: the beautiful and reckless daughter of an important client who doesn't seem to understand the word danger.

She's not looking for a hero . . .

Excitement lies just below Forty-Second Street and Mamie Greene is determined to explore all of it-while playing a modern-day Robin Hood along the…


Book cover of Playing the Part

Elizabeth Caulfield Felt Author Of Wilde Wagers

From my list on historical novels that are light and silly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach writing and children's literature at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and for many years worked as a librarian. (Once a librarian, always a librarian!) First and foremost, I'm a reader. The real world can be an unpleasant and depressing place, so I regularly escape inside books. Although serious books are great, it's also nice to escape to a world where you can laugh and not worry about anything too bad happening.

Elizabeth's book list on historical novels that are light and silly

Elizabeth Caulfield Felt Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of Turano's historical romances. Playing the Part is my favorite; it is about a 19th-century New York City actress who hides away at a friend's country estate. Every character is quirky and engaging. I laughed out loud, over and over, at the myriad of crazy situations they got themselves into.

By Jen Turano,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"One of the funniest voices in the inspirational genre."--Booklist

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucetta's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no…


Book cover of Dominicana

David Kamp Author Of Sunny Days: The Children's Television Revolution That Changed America

From my list on coming of age in New York City.

Why am I passionate about this?

“You spend your first 18 years as a sponge and the rest of your life using those early years as material.” Martin Short said this to me when I collaborated with him on his memoir, I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend. My own writing bears this out. My nonfiction books The United States of Arugula and Sunny Days are not first-person books, but they examine two significant cultural movements that defined my formative years: the American food revolution led by the likes of Julia Child and Alice Waters and the children’s-TV revolution defined by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Much of my journalism finds me chasing down the cultural figures who captured and shaped my young imagination, e.g., Sly Stone, Johnny Cash, Charles Schulz.

David's book list on coming of age in New York City

David Kamp Why did David love this book?

Effectively a novelization of Cruz’s own mother’s story, Dominicana is about a 15-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic who, in the 1960s, is married off to a local man in his thirties. He has set up a new life for them in Washington Heights, in upper Manhattan. Despite its moments of struggle, spousal abuse, and loneliness, this novel reads lightly and inspirationally—a celebration of its protagonist’s fortitude.

By Angie Cruz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2020

'A story for now, an important story . . . told with incredible freshness' Martha Lane Fox, Chair of Judges, Women's Prize 2020

'The harsh reality of immigration is balanced with a refreshing dose of humour' The Times

'This compassionate and ingenious novel has an endearing vibrancy in the storytelling that, page after page, makes it addictive reading' Irish Times

'Engrossing . . . the story itself and Ana, the protagonist, are terrifically interesting. Loved this' Roxane Gay

'This book is a valentine to my mom and all the unsung Dominicanas like…


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