100 books like Nightcrawling

By Leila Mottley,

Here are 100 books that Nightcrawling fans have personally recommended if you like Nightcrawling. 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 Real Life

Lucy Jane Bledsoe Author Of Tell the Rest

From my list on not-the-same-old queer stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading queer fiction for, well, I guess about 50 years. First, brilliant novels by James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, and cheesy lesbian pulp novels. In the eighties, feminist presses and a wealth of new queer literature sprung into existence. It’s easier now to find great queer fiction, if you dig a little. My approach is to read widely, all kinds of authors, from all kinds of backgrounds. So the whole idea of a “best 5” is hard for me to get my mind around. I could have listed 25 more. Thank you for reading!

Lucy's book list on not-the-same-old queer stories

Lucy Jane Bledsoe Why did Lucy love this book?

A perfect fit for the not-the-same-old-queer novel list, Taylor’s story features a Black gay biochemist who is working on his degree at a Midwestern university.

I love this book for the intimacy in its portrayal of the protagonist, Wallace, the way his thoughts and feelings and decisions are revealed with such precision. I felt his joys and his pains so clearly.

A science nerd gay character! What’s not to love?

By Brandon Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A FINALIST for the Booker Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, the VCU/Cabell First Novelist Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, the NYPL Young Lions Award, and the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award 
 
“A blistering coming of age story” —O: The Oprah Magazine

Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Public Library, Vanity Fair, Elle, NPR, The Guardian, The Paris Review, Harper's Bazaar, Financial Times, Huffington Post, BBC, Shondaland, Barnes & Noble, Vulture, Thrillist, Vice, Self, Electric Literature, and Shelf Awareness

A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and…


Book cover of Cantoras

Christopher DiRaddo Author Of The Family Way

From my list on uplifting and celebrating queer kinship and chosen family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a queer author based in Montreal. When I came out in the early 1990s, at the age of 21, I remember feeling concerned about my future. Family has always been important to me, but I couldn’t imagine what mine would look like as I got older. I knew I wasn't going to have a traditional family like my parents, but I didn’t know what else was possible. Thankfully, I found the answer in books… As queer people, we must seek out and learn our traditions and history. We’re not taught them from birth. Finding books that demonstrate and uplift the bonds that queer people share provides a roadmap for those of us seeking community.

Christopher's book list on uplifting and celebrating queer kinship and chosen family

Christopher DiRaddo Why did Christopher love this book?

Five women find salvation in each other in a beachside hamlet on Uruguay’s eastern coast. With no running water or electricity, the isolated Cabo Polonio becomes their sanctuary, a place where these cantoras (women who "sing”) can exercise their voice – something denied them as queer women under the Uruguayan dictatorship of 1970s and 80s.

The book follows the friends over the span of 35 years as they continue to return to this family home of theirs, sometimes together, sometimes with new lovers. Beautifully written, the book is brimming with heart and is a testament to the power of activism and solidarity. 

By Carolina De Robertis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Cantoras is a stunning lullaby to revolution—and each woman in this novel sings it with a deep ferocity. Again and again, I was lifted, then gently set down again—either through tears, rage, or laughter. Days later, I am still inside this song of a story." —Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award–winning author

From the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of The Gods of Tango, a revolutionary new novel about five wildly different women who, in the midst of the Uruguayan dictatorship, find one another as lovers, friends, and ultimately, family.

In 1977 Uruguay, a military government crushed political dissent with ruthless force.…


Book cover of The Five Wounds

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?

Las Penas, New Mexico, is the setting for this moving novel that follows a year in the lives of the Padilla family. Valdez Quade creates characters with dazzling depth, and you’ll root for the Padillas as they stumble through twelve months, where everything they know is upended and destabilized.

The way this book portrays community reminds me of a favorite Sally Rooney quote from Normal People: “No one can be independent of other people completely, so why not give up the attempt, she thought, go running in the other direction, depend on people for everything, allow them to depend on you, why not.”

By Kirstin Valdez Quade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans for personal redemption. With weeks to go until her due date, tough, ebullient Angel has fled her mother's house, setting her life on a startling new path.

Vivid, tender, funny, and beautifully rendered, The Five Wounds spans the baby's first year as five generations of the Padilla family converge:…


Book cover of Rainbow Rainbow

Lucy Jane Bledsoe Author Of Tell the Rest

From my list on not-the-same-old queer stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading queer fiction for, well, I guess about 50 years. First, brilliant novels by James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, and cheesy lesbian pulp novels. In the eighties, feminist presses and a wealth of new queer literature sprung into existence. It’s easier now to find great queer fiction, if you dig a little. My approach is to read widely, all kinds of authors, from all kinds of backgrounds. So the whole idea of a “best 5” is hard for me to get my mind around. I could have listed 25 more. Thank you for reading!

Lucy's book list on not-the-same-old queer stories

Lucy Jane Bledsoe Why did Lucy love this book?

Conklin’s collection of short stories offers storylines that are utterly and marvelously original.

These queer characters are quirky, but not quirky for the sake of being quirky. They are so fully themselves, and their passions drive them through their relationships and actions so believably, that you don’t question the strangeness of the situations for a second.

Mainly I just love the big heart in Conklin’s stories. Their prose, the actual word choices, are a delight in the same way the characters are—they surprise you and yet are spot-on right.

By Lydia Conklin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A collection of stories that celebrate the humour, darkness and depth of emotion of the queer and trans experience that's not typically represented: liminal or uncertain identities, queer conception and queer joy.

In this delightful debut collection of prize-wining stories, queer, gender-nonconforming and trans characters struggle to find love and forgiveness, despite their sometimes comic, sometimes tragic mistakes. In one story, a young lesbian tries to have a baby with her lover using an unprofessional sperm donor and a high-powered, rainbow-coloured cocktail. In another, a fifth-grader explores gender identity by dressing as an ox - instead of a matriarch -…


Book cover of Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Sydney Dell Author Of Take My Hand

From my list on LGBTQ that evoke emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a part of the LGBTQ+ community my whole life and have always been passionate about advocating for the people who identify as such. Furthermore, I have always had a fascination with emotional stories and the combination of a lack of many LGBTQ+ books with an abundance of romance and emotional thrillers out there makes it a ripe topic for stories. As a lesbian myself, it is very hard to write stories that don’t have those kinds of couples, so I tend to stick to that genre and I’m absolutely addicted to lesbian books.

Sydney's book list on LGBTQ that evoke emotions

Sydney Dell Why did Sydney love this book?

By inserting the book into a time when the very essence of the story is dangerous, the people are made to be in a situation where I was turning one page after the next to find out what would happen to them.

Each question that arose in my mind made me urgently attempt to find answers and the smile that came to my face at each happy moment felt amazing. The emotions that echoed through the book found their way into me and made me feel as if I was along for the ride as well right beside the characters.

By Malinda Lo,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Last Night at the Telegraph Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

"That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall…


Book cover of Gay Bar: Why We Went Out

Amelia Abraham Author Of We Can Do Better Than This: 35 Voices on the Future of LGBTQ+ Rights

From my list on queer stories to expand your thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing about LGBTQ+ culture for magazines and newspapers for almost a decade, and am a voracious consumer of queer stories. Queer literature makes our various needs and desires as a community come alive on the page, and helps us to connect with and understand one another. Reading LGBTQ+ books is a way to learn about contemporary queer life, and work out what more we can be doing to help those more marginalised than us. 

Amelia's book list on queer stories to expand your thinking

Amelia Abraham Why did Amelia love this book?

Gay Bar is an imaginative history of gay bar culture in London, San Francisco, and LA – where the author has lived, over several decades. It is both personal and more widely historical, blending anecdotes and “overheard” with in-depth research to uncover the importance and also problems that come with these spaces, which are increasingly becoming extinct, as gay bars in major cities struggle to stay in business. 

By Jeremy Atherton Lin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: The New York Times * NPR * Vogue * Gay Times * Artforum *

“Gay Bar is an absolute tour de force.” –Maggie Nelson

"Atherton Lin has a five-octave, Mariah Carey-esque range for discussing gay sex.” –New York Times Book Review

As gay bars continue to close at an alarming rate, a writer looks back to find out what’s being lost in this indispensable, intimate, and stylish celebration of queer history.

Strobing lights and dark rooms; throbbing house and drag queens on counters; first…


Book cover of Tales of the City

Christopher DiRaddo Author Of The Family Way

From my list on uplifting and celebrating queer kinship and chosen family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a queer author based in Montreal. When I came out in the early 1990s, at the age of 21, I remember feeling concerned about my future. Family has always been important to me, but I couldn’t imagine what mine would look like as I got older. I knew I wasn't going to have a traditional family like my parents, but I didn’t know what else was possible. Thankfully, I found the answer in books… As queer people, we must seek out and learn our traditions and history. We’re not taught them from birth. Finding books that demonstrate and uplift the bonds that queer people share provides a roadmap for those of us seeking community.

Christopher's book list on uplifting and celebrating queer kinship and chosen family

Christopher DiRaddo Why did Christopher love this book?

There were only three Tales of the City books when I picked up my first copy. There are now nine of them, spanning 40 years.

First written as a newspaper serial, the collected Tales explore the lives and loves of a diverse group of folks living in the same boarding house at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. Among them is landlord Anna Madrigal, an early trans icon, and gay everyman Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver, a hopeless romantic looking for love in the Castro.

The book is an easy read with short chapters, lots of dialogue, and zany plot twists. What I love most is how much these characters – some of whom are estranged from their biological families – start to feel like close friends whose lives you get to follow. 

By Armistead Maupin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tales of the City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NAMED AS ONE OF THE BBC'S 100 MOST INSPIRING NOVELS

Now a Netflix series starring Elliot Page and Laura Linney . . .

'It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco.' Oscar Wilde

Mary Ann is twenty-five and arrives in San Francisco for an eight-day holiday.

But then her Mood Ring turns blue.

So obviously she decides to stay. It is the 1970s after all.

Fresh out of Cleveland, naive Mary Ann tumbles headlong into a brave new world of pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, spaced-out neighbours and outrageous parties. Finding a…


Book cover of Out of the Blue

Jen Desmarais Author Of Crushing It

From my list on queer cozy YA romances that make you want to fall in love.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a teenager, I didn’t have romance in my life. I was so extremely shy that I could barely look at people I thought were cute, let alone talk to them. I lived vicariously through books. Now that I’m older (and way less shy), I still love reliving that time of my life through books. How would I have reacted differently in the same situation? How would things have been different if I had been more outgoing? Only recently, I realized that I was queer, and I’ve been slowly dipping my toes into that world as well.

Jen's book list on queer cozy YA romances that make you want to fall in love

Jen Desmarais Why did Jen love this book?

This was my first read of Jason’s work, and I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I loved it.

The mythology of the world was incredibly well-built, and I loved it when the humans got involved, too. The fat rep was incredible. It’s amazing to read about characters described like myself. The non-binary rep was excellent.

Overall, this was a fun read that I borrowed from the library and then bought because I loved it.

By Jason June,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of the Blue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

From Jason June, author of the breakout teen debut novel Jay's Gay Agenda, comes Out of the Blue, a stand-alone dual POV queer rom-com that asks if love is enough to change everything you've grown up believing. Perfect for fans of Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas and Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly.

Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the month-long sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder-or fail and remain stuck…


Book cover of The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings

Molly Ringle Author Of Lava Red Feather Blue

From my list on fantasy with great queer representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been making up magical worlds ever since childhood, when I populated the creekbanks and vacant lots in my hometown with ghosts, fae, Land of Oz residents, and other creatures from my imagination. Fantasy and forbidden love have always been my two main allures in reading, and different varieties of sexuality and gender identity also fascinated me once I became more aware of such issues in college, through books as well as my anthropology classes. I was recently pleased to learn there’s at least one cool label for me as well—demisexual—and nowadays I love populating my fantasy novels with queer characters. Everyone deserves adventures in the otherworld!

Molly's book list on fantasy with great queer representation

Molly Ringle Why did Molly love this book?

Do not read after dark! At least, don’t do so if you’re a scaredy-cat like me when it comes to ghost stories. That said, I found this story lovely and fun and steamy—when it wasn’t scaring the daylights out of me, that is. The premise is fabulous: a man moves to York, England, because he has inherited an old house there, which turns out to be super haunted. So who does he turn to for help? One of the many ghost-tour guides who roam the city telling their tales, of course. Turns out this particular guide—aside from being a highly sexy fellow with dyed-blue hair—can in fact see ghosts. And the ones in this house would rather murder the living than be politely ushered out.

By Lily Morton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Levi Black is at a crossroads. After suffering a loss and breaking up a long-term relationship, he’s looking for a change. When he receives the news he’s inherited a house in York, he seizes the opportunity to begin a new chapter in his life.However, when he gets there, he finds a house that has never kept its occupants for very long. Either through death or disinclination, no one stays there, and after a few days of living in the place, Levi can understand why. Strange noises can be heard at all hours of the day and night, and disturbing and…


Book cover of A Betrayal of Storms: Realm of Fey

Laura R. Samotin Author Of The Sins On Their Bones

From my list on queer family fantasy give you the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a trope-obsessed author who counts found family among her favorite Ao3 tags. I cannot get enough of books which read like fanfiction, and I’ll recommend my favorites every chance I get. I also do my part to put more queer found family books into the world—my debut adult fantasy The Sins On Their Bones is being published by Random House Canada in May 2024. When I’m not writing, I’m a full-time servant to my two enormous cats. 

Laura's book list on queer family fantasy give you the feels

Laura R. Samotin Why did Laura love this book?

As a fan of epic fantasy, swoon-worthy romance, and political intrigue, I fell so hard for this book—and it’s the first in a series of four books, so there was more than enough to feed my desire for all the action.

The series follows Robin, a seemingly ordinary boy whose kidnapping leads him to discover that he’s anything but. His journey of self-discovery and self—acceptance truly spoke to me as a reader, and the kick-ass family he gathers around him along the way cemented the Realm of Fey series as one of my favorite found family fantasies.  

By Ben Alderson,

Why should I read it?

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


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