Speak its name

Speak its name

Speak its name is a long-term project: I intend to read books considered essential in LGBTQ fiction. The project’s starting point is the list “100 best lesbian and gay novels” (Goodreads), published by The Publishing Triangle. The project’s title is a reference to the verse “I am the Love that dare not speak its name, from the poem Two Loves, by Lord Alfred Douglas.


  • Read books are marked as (✓)
  • Reviews, when available, are linked below
  • I have crossed off a few books which do not interest me or that I DNFed.
  • Books read: 20/100
  1. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann ✓
  2. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin ✓
  3. Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet
  4. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
  5. The Immoralist, by André Gide, tr. Dorothy Bussy (1930. Original: L’Immoraliste, 1902) ✓
  6. Orlando by Virginia Woolf ✓
  7. The Well of Loneliness, by Radclyffe Hall (1928) ✓
  8. Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig
  9. The Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar ✓
  10. Zami by Audré Lorde
  11. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde ✓
  12. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes ✓
  13. Billy Budd by Herman Melville
  14. A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White
  15. Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran
  16. Maurice by E. M. Forster
  17. The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal
  18. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
  19. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  20. Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima
  21. The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers ✓
  22. City of Night by John Rechy
  23. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal
  24. Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller ✓
  25. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein ✓
  26. Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote
  27. The Bostonians by Henry James
  28. Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles ✓
  29. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
  30. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers ✓
  31. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf ✓
  32. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
  33. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
  34. The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
  35. Olivia by Dorothy Bussy ✓
  36. The Price of Salt (Carol) by Patricia Highsmith ✓
  37. Aquamarine by Carol Anshaw
  38. Another Country by James Baldwin
  39. Chéri by Colette ✓
  40. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James ✓
  41. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  42. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
  43. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  44. The Friendly Young Ladies, by Mary Renault (1944. US title: The Middle Mist, 1945) ✓
  45. Young Törless by Robert Musil
  46. Eustace Chisholm and the Works by James Purdy
  47. The Story of Harold by Terry Andrews
  48. The Gallery by John Horne Burns
  49. Sister Gin by June Arnold
  50. Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall by Neil Bartlett
  51. Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram
  52. Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
  53. The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
  54. The Young and Evil by Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler
  55. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  56. A Visitation of Spirits by Randall Kenan
  57. Three Lives by Gertrude Stein
  58. Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli by Ronald Firbank
  59. Rat Bohemia by Sarah Schulman
  60. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
  61. The Counterfeiters by André Gide
  62. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
  63. Lover by Bertha Harris
  64. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  65. La Bâtarde by Violette Leduc
  66. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  67. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  68. The Satyricon by Petronius
  69. The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
  70. Special Friendships by Roger Peyrefitte
  71. The Changelings by Jo Sinclair
  72. Paradiso by José Lezama Lima
  73. Sheeper by Irving Rosenthal
  74. Les Guerilleres by Monique Wittig
  75. The Child Manuela (Mädchen in Uniform) by Christa Winsloe ✓
  76. An Arrow’s Flight by Mark Merlis
  77. The Gaudy Image by William Talsman
  78. The Exquisite Corpse by Alfred Chester
  79. Was by Geoff Ryman
  80. Théresè and Isabelle by Violette Leduc
  81. Gemini by Michel Tournier
  82. The Beautiful Room Is Empty by Edmund White
  83. The Children’s Crusade by Rebecca Brown
  84. The Story of the Night by Colm Toibin
  85. The Holy Terrors (Les Enfants Terribles) by Jean Cocteau
  86. Hell Has No Limits by José Donoso
  87. Riverfinger Women by Elana Nachman (Dykewomon)
  88. The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon by Tom Spanbauer
  89. Closer by Dennis Cooper
  90. Lost Illusions by Honoré de Balzac
  91. Miss Peabody’s Inheritance by Elizabeth Jolley
  92. René’s Flesh by Virgilio Piñera
  93. Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
  94. Wasteland by Jo Sinclair
  95. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing by May Sarton
  96. Sea of Tranquillity by Paul Russell
  97. Autobiography of a Family Photo by Jacqueline Woodson
  98. In Thrall by Jane DeLynn
  99. On Strike Against God by Joanna Russ
  100. Sita by Kate Millett

More lists on LGBTQ fiction:

2 thoughts on “Speak its name

    1. I’ve not yet strayed from the list, as I still have many left to read. If I were to add books to this project, I suppose I would follow other lists – in particular, the Lambda Literary Award 🙂


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