LGBT+ book recommendations

Seta's senior work has collected book tips from rainbow seniors.

Literature may have played a major role for rainbow seniors during their lifetime - especially at a time when factual information about sexual orientation and gender diversity was difficult to find and obtain.

Rainbow seniors have described the significance of literature for themselves as follows:

“Books have opened up a new world for me, especially the first books I read whose names I’ve already forgotten. When I was still looking for my own identity, it was good to read about people in the same situation, even imaginary ones. The knowledge that I wasn't the only one has been reassuring.”

In this book tip list, you will find book recommendations from older people belonging to sexual and gender minorities. All these works are available in Helmet libraries in English. For detailed information on the books' availability, click on their titles. Then come to the library and borrow the ones that interest you the most!

For a more extensive version of this list, including Finnish books, please select “Suomeksi” at the top right of this page.

Below are select works from our collection, recommended by Helmet's librarians, that are available in English. For more LGBT book recommendations from Helmet Libraries in Finnish, please see here.

  • Radclyffe Hall: The Well of Loneliness
    The Well of Loneliness tells the story of tomboyish Stephen, who hunts, wears trousers and cuts her hair short - and who gradually comes to realise that she is attracted to women. Charting her romantic and professional adventures during the First World War and beyond, the novel provoked a furore on first publication in 1928 for its lesbian heroine and led to a notorious legal trial for obscenity. Hall herself, however, saw the book as a pioneer work and today it is recognised as a landmark work of gay fiction.
  • Sarah Waters: The Night Watch
    Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the story of four Londoners – three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy.
  • David Levithan: Two Boys Kissing
    Based on true events, Two Boys Kissing follows Harry and Craig, two seventeen-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record. While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teens dealing with universal questions of love, identity, and belonging.
  • Dian Hanson: My Buddy : World War II laid bare
    Every harrowing day for a serviceman during World War II was potentially his last. To help bolster troops against the horrors of combat, commanders encouraged them to form tight, intimate “buddy” relationships for emotional support. These images by photographer Michael Stokes show men barely out of boyhood, at their physical peak, responding to the reality of battle by living each day to the fullest—a side of the war never before made public.

To browse all works in Helmet Libraries’ Rainbow Shelf, click here.

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