Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

100 Must-Read Bisexual And Lesbian Books

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Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

When I was just a babygay, I passionately identified as both queer and bookish, but I had not yet considered the intersection between the two. It was one conversation with my mom about lesbian books that set me on a lifelong path of queer women reading. It went like this:

“Danika, have you read Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown?”
“No, what’s that?”
“And you call yourself a lesbian.”

That back-and-forth opened the door to a whole world of stories in which women could love women. At first, I thought there were dozens of these lesbian books. When I couldn’t find many, I started a book blog with the “humble” goal of reading “everything lesbian” (The Lesbrary). Six years later, that idea is laughable. There are way more lesbian and bi women books out there than I could possibly read in my lifetime, and although I want there to be even more, I am profoundly grateful for the many, many we do have. It’s easy to think that only a handful of LGBTQ books exist: the ones that are recommended over and over by mainstream book media as their token Pride examples. Happily, that’s not true. There are queer books in every genre, for every reader.

A 100-book list can’t possibly contain the multitudes of queer women books worth reading out there! I tried to make this an example of the diversity of lesbian and bi women books out there, but it does come with my own bias. For example, I don’t read much romance (yet), so there aren’t many romance titles on this list (but you can find more here). I included some of the classics, but also titles that are my personal favourites, that are lesser-known and might be new to you.

If you feel like I’ve left off a must-read bisexual or lesbian books, definitely let me know in the comments! I want this list to be the start of a conversation, not the end of it!


1. Odd Girl Out by Ann Bannon

2. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

rubyfruit jungle by rita mae brown cover

3. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

4. The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

5. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

6. Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller

7. Women’s Barracks by Tereska Torres

8. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

9. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

10. Orlando by Virginia Woolf



11. Nevada by Imogen Binnie

12. Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg

13. My Education by Susan Choi

14. Missed Her by Ivan Coyote

15. Painting Their Portraits in Winter by Myriam Gurba

16. When Fox is a Thousand by Larissa Lai

17. The Collection edited by Tom Leger and Riley Macleod

18. Lost Boi by Sassafras Lowrey


19. Hero Worship by Rebekah Matthews

20. A Safe Girl To Love by Casey Plett

21. I Can’t Think Straight by Shamim Sarif

23. Empathy by Sarah Schulman

23. The Long Way Home by Rachel Spangler

24. (You) Set Me On Fire by Mariko Tamaki

25. Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Historical Fiction


26. The Last Nude by Ellis Avery

27. Miss Timmins’ School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy

28. Prairie Ostrich by Tamai Kobayashi

29. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

30. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

31. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson



32. Not Vanishing by Chrystos

33. Sisterhood by Julie R. Enszer 

34. Movement in Black: The Collected Poetry of Pat Parker

35. Bodymap by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

36. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho edited by Anne Carson

37. When I Was Straight by Julie Marie Wade

Young Adult and New Adult


38. Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

39. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth

40. Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole

41. Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

42. The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

43. Just Girls by Rachel Gold

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

44. Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin

45. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

46. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

47. Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

48. Under Threat by Robin Stevenson

49. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

50. The House You Pass On the Way by Jacqueline Woodson

SFF Young Adult

Labyrinth Lost cover

51. Love In the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

52. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

53. All Good Children by Dayna Ingram

54. Adaptation by Malinda Lo

55. Inheritance by Malinda Lo

56. Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce

57. As I Descended by Robin Talley

Science Fiction & Fantasy

58. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

60. The Narrows by m. craig

60. Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellamonica


61. Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue

62. Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older

63. The Second Mango by Shira Glassman

64. The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson

65. Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi

66. Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks

67. Hellebore & Rue edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff

68. The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson

Horror, Vampires, and Zombies


69. Fist of the Spider Woman edited by Amber Dawn

70. The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez

71. Eat Your Heart Out by Dayna Ingram

72. The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan

73. Better Off Red by Rebekah Weatherspoon


74. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

75. Darlin’ It’s Betta Down Where It’s Wetta by Megan Rose Gedris

76. 100 Crushes by Elisha Lim


77.  Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comic Anthology edited by Sfé R. Monster

78. On Loving Women by Diane Obomsawin

79. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters

80. Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

81. Jem and the Holograms by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell

82. War of Streets and Houses by Sophie Yanow


83. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison

84. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

85. The Family Tooth by Ellis Avery


86. The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin

87. When We Were Outlaws by Jeanne Cordova

88. Prairie Silence by Melanie Hoffert

89. The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister

90. Zami by Audre Lorde

91. First Spring Grass Fire by Rae Spoon

92. Gender Failure by Rae Spoon & Ivan E. Coyote

93. Before the Rain: A Memoir of Love & Revolution by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa

94. Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family and Identity by Candace Walsh


95. Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme edited by Ivan Coyote and Zena Sharman


96. Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire by Lisa M. Diamond

97. Inseparable: Desire Between Women In Literature by Emma Donoghue

98. Aimée & Jaguar: A Love Story, Berlin 1943 by Erica Fischer

99. Kicked Out edited by Sassafras Lowrey

100. Dear John, I Love Jane edited by Candace Walsh and Laura Andre

What do you think are the best bisexual and lesbian books out there?