100 books like The Well of Loneliness

By Radclyffe Hall,

Here are 100 books that The Well of Loneliness fans have personally recommended if you like The Well of Loneliness. 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 Stone Butch Blues

Allan Hunter Author Of GenderQueer: A Story from a Different Closet

From my list on LGBTQIA+ YA on coming out and coming of age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Allan D. Hunter came out as genderqueer in 1980, more than 20 years before “genderqueer” was trending. His story is autobiographical: the story of a different kind of male hero, a genderqueer person's tale. It follows the author from his debut as an eighth grader in Los Alamos, New Mexico until his unorthodox coming out at the age of twenty-one on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque. 

Allan's book list on LGBTQIA+ YA on coming out and coming of age

Allan Hunter Why did Allan love this book?

Leslie Feinberg’s story is a powerful response to the notion that simply discarding sexist gender expectations ought to be enough. Feinberg’s main character Jess was still a young adult when modern feminism exploded onto the scene in the 1970s but Jess isn’t merely androgynous or resisting sexist limitations. She’s butch.  

By Leslie Feinberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published in 1993, this brave, original novel is considered to be the finest account ever written of the complexities of a transgendered existence.

Woman or man? That’s the question that rages like a storm around Jess Goldberg, clouding her life and her identity. Growing up differently gendered in a blue--collar town in the 1950’s, coming out as a butch in the bars and factories of the prefeminist ’60s, deciding to pass as a man in order to survive when she is left without work or a community in the early ’70s. This powerful, provocative and deeply moving novel sees Jess…


Book cover of Rubyfruit Jungle

Mari SanGiovanni Author Of Greetings From Jamaica, Wish You Were Queer

From my list on LGBTQ+ books that are also movies (…or should be).

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was young and just figuring out the whole gay thing, I had to cross state lines to see the one gay movie and smuggle out the one library book I was too afraid to check out. In the 1970s and 80s I grew up knowing I was part of a group that was rarely talked about, aside from jokes. I've enjoyed so many stories that didn't represent me. If the struggle is real, I want to see, hear, and feel the whole messy bunch of it. I like the uncomfortable process of writing, and make promises that I later break: I can always tone this part down later…and then I never do.

Mari's book list on LGBTQ+ books that are also movies (…or should be)

Mari SanGiovanni Why did Mari love this book?

I love a first-person narrative that sucks you in, and this compelling coming-of-age story as told by Molly Bolt, is a whopper. Not since the voice of Scout narrating To Kill a Mockingbird has a voice touched generations with its telling of her own story. This was the book that made me want to be a writer. I wanted to be brave like Molly…and brave like Rita Mae.

From childhood to adolescence, and all through college, we follow our hero Molly as she comes into her own about her sexuality with uncompromising strength and flat-out hilarious storytelling. It is remarkable that Rita Mae Brown’s 1973 novel has not yet found its way to the silver screen and it is the single book that made me want to be a writer. It seems that a story with such a strong roadmap, written long before the roads were paved, deserves a film.…

By Rita Mae Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover the classic coming of age novel that confronts prejudice and injustice with power and humanity.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY RITA MAE BROWN

Molly Bolt is a young lady with a big character. Beautiful, funny and bright, Molly figures out at a young age that she will have to be tough to stay true to herself in 1950s America. In her dealings with boyfriends and girlfriends, in the rocky relationship with her mother and in her determination to pursue her career, she will fight for her right to happiness. Charming, proud and inspiring, Molly is the girl who refuses to…


Book cover of On Intimate Terms

Carren Strock Author Of Married Women Who Love Women and More

From my list on lesbianism and married women who love women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that creativity has no boundaries and that it is only desire and determination that separate those who succeed from those who don't. I'm equally at home with a paintbrush and canvas, a needle and thread, or a hammer and nails, and am as eclectic in my writing as I am in my other interests. I'm best known for my definitive sociological study, Married Women Who Love Women and More, which began as a catharsis for myself when I realized I was gay. I'm also the author of an autobiographical how-to, an exciting mystery, a lesbian paranormal romance, a rhyming picture book, a cookbook, and a middle grade chapter book.

Carren's book list on lesbianism and married women who love women

Carren Strock Why did Carren love this book?

I found this to be an interesting read about how people are drawn to each other regardless of gender. It also discusses the special attractions between women who have been attracted to other women from an early age and those who once considered themselves heterosexual as I did.

By Beverly Burch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This provocative exploration of the internal logic of lesbian relationships argues that they are not patterned after heterosexual ones but rely on the interplay of psychosexual differences between women.


Book cover of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask

Carren Strock Author Of Married Women Who Love Women and More

From my list on lesbianism and married women who love women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that creativity has no boundaries and that it is only desire and determination that separate those who succeed from those who don't. I'm equally at home with a paintbrush and canvas, a needle and thread, or a hammer and nails, and am as eclectic in my writing as I am in my other interests. I'm best known for my definitive sociological study, Married Women Who Love Women and More, which began as a catharsis for myself when I realized I was gay. I'm also the author of an autobiographical how-to, an exciting mystery, a lesbian paranormal romance, a rhyming picture book, a cookbook, and a middle grade chapter book.

Carren's book list on lesbianism and married women who love women

Carren Strock Why did Carren love this book?

I found this book to be frank, compassionate, and sometimes funny. Some of the topics made me blush when I read it years ago. Others reaffirmed my normalness, and still others opened my mind to new possibilities. But I was especially interested in the alternative lifestyles section. It was years later that I realized I was a lesbian.

By David R. Reuben M.D.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The original edition of Dr. David Reuben's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask" is the most famous and successful book on human sexuality ever published. A #1 bestseller in over fifty-one countries, it has been read and enjoyed by more than 100 million people in virtually every country in the world. For more than thirty years, this modern classic has become part of our lives. It has made our sexual experiences more satisfying, our marriages more robust, and given our children a healthy and realistic attitude toward sex." [quoted from http://books.google.com/books/about/Everything_You_Always_Wanted_to_Know_Abo.html?id=PVxhQgAACAAJ ]


Book cover of Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A.

Jim Elledge Author Of An Angel in Sodom: Henry Gerber and the Birth of the Gay Rights Movement

From my list on gay history before Stonewall.

Why am I passionate about this?

In post-Roe America, gay people face the very real possibility of our rights being stripped from us, underscoring the importance of this adage: “Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.” That's why years ago, when I realize that many gay men were ignorant about gay history before Stonewall, I began editing anthologies of gay writings from the past. That led me to writing biographies and histories in which I explore gay men’s experiences, hoping my work shines a light on our forgotten past.

Jim's book list on gay history before Stonewall

Jim Elledge Why did Jim love this book?

Gay American History was an epiphany for me and thousands of other gay men and women who were eager to learn about our history because books about it were few. I can’t describe the wonder I felt as I opened the book to thousands of rare documents (letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, book excerpts, medical and legal reports, etc.) that connected me to LGBT individuals who lived centuries earlier. Puritans, indigenous people, cross-dressing (“passing”) women, military personnel, artists of every ilk, government officials—their struggles, their defeats, and their victories, I learned, were no different in essence from those of the LGBT individual of the 21st Century. Gay American History is, in short, a treasure trove of information.

By Jonathan Ned Katz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A collection of documents provides a continuous chronicle of homosexuality in America, from colonial times to the present, and of the persecution of gay males and lesbians throughout American history


Book cover of The Conversations of Cow

Ruth Vanita Author Of Memory of Light

From my list on lesbian and gay literary fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to my mother, I grew up immersed in English literature. I was educated in Delhi and co-founded the first nationwide feminist magazine, but same-sex love was never mentioned either in the classroom or in the women’s movement. I educated myself in Indian literature and discovered that same-sex sexuality had been practiced and written about until the British criminalized it. I wrote several books about same-sex unions in Indian literature and history and translated poetry and fiction from Hindi and Urdu to English. My first novel, Memory of Light, is a love story between two courtesans, based in pre-colonial India, where poets freely wrote about same-sex, as well as cross-sex love. 

Ruth's book list on lesbian and gay literary fiction

Ruth Vanita Why did Ruth love this book?

I love this book for its humour, magical qualities, deceptively simple language, and the way it weaves together Hindu and Western ideas of transformation.

I have taught it in many different types of classes and my students also loved its unique portrait of the artist as a young Indian woman, a lesbian living in the West. It was a great way to introduce them to India. I am an admirer of Suniti Namjoshi, and this is my favourite among her works.

By Suniti Namjoshi,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Ruth Vanita Author Of Memory of Light

From my list on lesbian and gay literary fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to my mother, I grew up immersed in English literature. I was educated in Delhi and co-founded the first nationwide feminist magazine, but same-sex love was never mentioned either in the classroom or in the women’s movement. I educated myself in Indian literature and discovered that same-sex sexuality had been practiced and written about until the British criminalized it. I wrote several books about same-sex unions in Indian literature and history and translated poetry and fiction from Hindi and Urdu to English. My first novel, Memory of Light, is a love story between two courtesans, based in pre-colonial India, where poets freely wrote about same-sex, as well as cross-sex love. 

Ruth's book list on lesbian and gay literary fiction

Ruth Vanita Why did Ruth love this book?

This intricately plotted semi-comic, semi-tragic novel, riffing off Much Ado about Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, keeps the reader guessing to the end.

Simon and Axel are the best gay male couple in fiction, for my money, quirky; adorable; absolutely believable characters whose relationship the villain tries to destroy as he does several other relationships.

I love the story of how they first met, their erotic banter, their clothes, their food and wine, and the way they move towards being more open about their relationship.

By Iris Murdoch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An exploration of love and its excesses, missteps, and modest triumphs, from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea, The Sea

In a dark comedy of errors, Iris Murdoch portrays the mischief wrought by Julius, a cynical intellectual who decides to demonstrate through a Machiavellian experiment how easily loving couples, caring friends, and devoted siblings can betray their loyalties. As puppet master, Julius artfully plays on the human tendency to embrace drama and intrigue and to prefer the distraction of confrontations to the difficult effort of communicating openly and honestly.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading…


Book cover of The Price of Salt: Or Carol

Mari SanGiovanni Author Of Greetings From Jamaica, Wish You Were Queer

From my list on LGBTQ+ books that are also movies (…or should be).

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was young and just figuring out the whole gay thing, I had to cross state lines to see the one gay movie and smuggle out the one library book I was too afraid to check out. In the 1970s and 80s I grew up knowing I was part of a group that was rarely talked about, aside from jokes. I've enjoyed so many stories that didn't represent me. If the struggle is real, I want to see, hear, and feel the whole messy bunch of it. I like the uncomfortable process of writing, and make promises that I later break: I can always tone this part down later…and then I never do.

Mari's book list on LGBTQ+ books that are also movies (…or should be)

Mari SanGiovanni Why did Mari love this book?

Groundbreaking at the time, simply because it featured a happy ending between two women…what a concept! Seems like this should not have been a tall order, yet, in 1952, it was a revolutionary idea that a lesbian love story would not end with tragedy which was the recipe of the day if a writer dared to write about forbidden love. 

If you are addicted to push/pull in romance stories where the stakes are high but the characters are willing to jump higher, you may fall in love with this book. 

The novel was mesmerizing and lovingly translated into film. Hollywood learned that if you want a straight audience to easily imagine how a woman who had been living a straight life previously (though not authentically) could fall for another woman, simply cast Cate Blanchett in the film and, boom, everyone gets it.

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Price of Salt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WITH A NEW FOREWORD BY VAL McDERMID

Therese is just an ordinary sales assistant working in a New York department store when a beautiful, alluring woman in her thirties walks up to her counter. Standing there, Therese is wholly unprepared for the first shock of love. Therese is an awkward nineteen-year-old with a job she hates and a boyfriend she doesn't love; Carol is a sophisticated, bored suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce and a custody battle for her only daughter. As Therese becomes irresistibly drawn into Carol's world, she soon realizes how much they both stand to…


Book cover of Safety Protocols for Human Holidays

J. S. Fields Author Of Ardulum: First Don

From my list on space lesbians.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my day job I’m a professor in a hard science and, unsurprisingly, a lesbian. I love sapphic fiction, especially speculative sapphic fiction, but it can be hard to find as the books are seldom labeled as such. Because I write in this genre I’ve been able to ferret out a lot of them, and have made it a mini mission to read as many as possible. I’m particularly drawn to those that get science right (bad science to a science professor is like nails on a chalk board), and those that have at least a little bit of kissing.

J.'s book list on space lesbians

J. S. Fields Why did J. love this book?

For a more romance-driven option, Safety Protocols for Human Holidays is a sweet winter holiday-themed novella, wherein Raskli, an alien security officer, is asked to check in on human Jen, who is exhibiting odd behavior. Jen is the only human on the ship and is depressed, and it is up to Raskli and the rest of the ragtag crew to sort out how to cheer her up. Perhaps a holiday! But what human holiday to pick? 

This book is straight-up joyful fluff. Yes, it’s in space, and yes, the pairing is sapphic, but it’s also a cute human/alien romance. No stress on this read, and no heavy thinking. Just, well, kissing. And antics. And Christmas.

By Angel Martinez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Safety Protocols for Human Holidays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Someone has to fix their broken human. Raskli's not sure why it has to be her.

As a security officer on an interspecies ship, Growlan Raskli's experienced in heading off species-specific aberrant behaviors in order to keep the peace. But when her captain asks her to find out what's bothering their sole human crew member, Raskli's out of her depths. She hardly knows anything about humans and she's not a psych doctor.

Something's definitely upset Human Jen, something to do with human holidays. The more time Raskli spends studying humans and interacting with the intriguing Human Jen, the more personal…


Book cover of No Strings

Nicole Pyland Author Of No After You

From my list on sapphic romance that will make you laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve published more than 30 books in this genre, and more are on the way. I am passionate about it because I started writing Sapphic romance myself after reading a few really great books in the genre for the first time and the books that made me want to write myself were the ones that made me laugh and had great character development to go along with the laughter. The books I write today are often funny, some are sarcastic, and they’re focused on characters. These books also fit that bill. 

Nicole's book list on sapphic romance that will make you laugh

Nicole Pyland Why did Nicole love this book?

As Lucy Bexley herself would say “Puppet Sex Jokes.” I recommend this book because the main character works on a children’s TV show and has a puppet named Fangley. There are jokes about the puppet swinging lifestyle, and pranks in the office, but it’s also about two people from opposite sides of the proverbial tracks falling in love and delivering a positive message to the future of the world (children). You’ll laugh at the jokes, but stay for the romance.

By Lucy Bexley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Strings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fun is the one thing Elsie Webb takes seriously. Though she’d be having a lot more of it if Haelstrom Media paid her enough to actually get out of debt. She’s determined to hold out on contract negotiations for her kids’ television show Fangley Heights until she gets what she deserves. There’s only one problem, the head of the network just died and left her future more uncertain than ever.

Forty-eight hours and one funeral–that’s all Jones Haelstrom has to get through before she can return to her life in LA that’s as ordered and sparse as an IKEA showroom.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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