Alternative Mainstream: The Best GLBT Books to Read

Publish date:

Growing up as a minority on the multicultural island of O’ahu left me with a personal history of being treated differently. I am familiar with enduring social stigma because of the color of my skin. Throughout the years, this inevitable birthright of judgment subconsciously produced my unwavering and blatant compassion for the GLBT community, even long after living off the island. Although my sexual orientation is considered mainstream, I feel very connected to people born under the proverbial flashing neon pink sign of Alternative. Being a creative person lends itself to certain
ways of thinking; having an open mind is just one. GLBT (Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual, Transgender) writing has always been considered alternative,
yet some of the most infamous works of fiction are underlined with this
very thing.

Image placeholder title

Guest blogger Christine Macdonald's article, "The
is Always Trite," earned her a cover
spot and

Editor’s Pick on Open Salon and gives a snapshot
into her
current writing project: the memoir

Tales from an Ex-Stripper: The
Chronicles of

Stripperocity. Christine founded Another Way
To Say It Greetings®, a greeting card company
launching in spring 2010 that caters to her friends
of the GLBT community. See her blog here.

For great books to start with, we can turn to The Publishing Triangle, an online resource featuring GLBT writers. The following is a list of just 10 of the Top 100 best lesbian and gay novels:

1. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
2. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
3. Even Cowgirls Get The Blues by Tom Robbins
4. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
5. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
6. Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig
7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
8. Maurice by E. M. Forster
9. Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote
10. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Omit the subject matter in which it’s served, and this above-mentioned list becomes a literary feast. Whether it is your first of 50th time reading these picks, you will undoubtedly satiate on each unique and masterful story. Characters run the gamut from vampire to vixen but the common ingredient remains: Every protagonist is a survivor in the face of adversity. As writers, isn’t this what we all aim to do?

Want more on this topic?

  • Want to pen a guest column? Write me at
  • See all posted stories of writers finding their agents.
  • Agent Janet Reid provides 20 Query Letter Tips.
  • Confused about formatting? Check out Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript.
  • Read about What Agents Hate: Chapter 1 Pet Peeves.
  • Want the most complete database of agents and what genres they're looking for? Buy the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents today!

20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.


Gerald Brandt: Toeing the Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Science fiction author Gerald Brandt explains how this new series explores the genre boundary and how he came to find his newest book's focus.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Moment of Doubt

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character experience a moment of doubt.