Whether hardcover or soft, audio- or e-book, a good read is essential for some long-haul fliers. That’s why we reached out to some team members and Friends with Benefits (aka previous Out Adventurers) to share their favourite gay literature. Read on to see what they chose, and then…read on!
For Fans of the Classics
The City and the Pillar
by Gore Vidal
Recommended by Pablo Porras E
One of America’s great gay classics, The City and the Pillar, follows Virginia-native Jim Willard from his teens through adulthood. While camping, Jim pitches more than a tent with handsome high school senior and best friend, Bob Ford. Unfortunately, soon thereafter, Bob is swept to sea with the Merchant Marines. The rest of the novel sees sexually confused Jim wandering the country, taking up odd jobs and companionship while seeking his first true love, Bob. Spoiler alert: don’t expect a happy ending.
For the Pop Culture Glutton
Beyoncé Smells Like Unicorns
and Other Tales of the World’s Pop Divas
by Josh Murray
Recommended by Lino DiNallo, Staff Writer at Out Adventures
Not that I’m biased, but I *may* have been the editor of this fresh new read. Written by my friend Josh Murray, Former Senior Editor of American Idol Magazine, it’s laden with famous facts, hushed-up tales, and first-person accounts concerning superstar sirens. I should also note the hilarious foreword was written by Josh’s sister, Katharine Isabelle of TV’s The Arrangement. Available exclusively on Apple iBooks, it’s only $5!
For Something EXTRA
A Density of Souls
by Christopher Rice
Recommended by Steven King (no, not that Steven King)
As four friends enter high school, their bonds immediately devolve, and two begin gay-bashing a third. Their bullying is driven by a childhood secret the final member knows too much about. By the time you’ve reached Souls’ stormy conclusion, you’ll have plowed through more overwrought drama than multiple seasons of Passions married together. Expect bulimia, alcoholism, emotional breakdowns, institutionalization, gay bar bombings, broken families, and obviously major character deaths.
For those who like it short and sweet
In a Strange Room
by Damon Galgut
Recommended by Carl Hiehn, the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Out Adventures
Depending on your flight, you’ll likely finish this short, poignant novel before your captain announces, “Prepare for landing.” Three extended chapters profile Damon, a 20-something nomad from Johannesburg with an unquenchable wanderlust. He motorcycles through Greece, treks landlocked countries in Africa, and hostels on the southern coast of India. While exploring these regions, Damon develops a unique relationship with three individuals who will all impact the young man’s life.
For the Cynical Humourist
Lust & Wonder: A Memoir
by Augusten Burroughs
Recommended by Jeffrey Hecht
If you love reading about quirky gay lives, Burroughs takes top place. His latest read offers more insight into his crazy, often humorous past. It bridges gaps between his previous memoirs and fleshes out his love interests, how he got his start in advertising and his struggles with addiction and sobriety. Burroughs even reveals how he wrote Sellevision – his first novel – and it’s quite interesting.
For a Queer History Lesson
Tales of the City
by Armistead Maupin
Recommended by Brad Bannon & C Brian Devinney
Tales of the City is the lightest, silliest and gayest series ever. I’ve read all nine novels more than once, and the mystery threading through them is almost secondary to how it captures a bygone era of San Francisco…before AIDS, gay marriage, PrEP and Grindr. Outdated? Yes. But it’s still a testament to a gay world that’s gone but not forgotten.
For Two Personal Narratives in One
Like People in History
by Felice Picano
Recommended by David Thompson
Gay second-cousins Alistair and Roger meet at nine-years-old and become instant BFFs. The novel follows the duo as they bounce through decades with varying levels of maturity, free-wheeling, marijuana-smoking, and glory-hole-penetrating madness. Roger narrates the tale from his New York City apartment in 1991, just as Alistair’s battle with AIDS concludes.
A category is: Murder Mystery Realness
The Lo ng Shot
by Paul Monette
Recommended by Mateo Piedro
I’ve bought The Long Shot twice, and read it four times. Thanks to my terrible memory, I’ll probably even enjoy it again! This Who-Done-It is set in the gay underbelly of Hollywood. The corpses of closeted movie-star Jasper, and sensitive writer Harry, are discovered floating in a hot tub together. With three suspects and incessant red herrings, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your economy-class seat in anticipation of the mystery’s big reveal.
For Those Still Uninspired
Out Adventure bookworm LeeMichael McLean couldn’t give just one recommendation. So if none of the above sound interesting, here are four more from him:
- This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
- In One Person by John Irving
- The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Naked by David Sedaris (…or any of Sedaris’ other work, according to LeeMichael)
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