In 2022, LGBTQ books told new stories and experimented with form.

This year has brought stellar books from and about the LGBT community, but what’s especially refreshing is how the 2022 titles have given new insights into queer lives past and present.

It was a year in which queer history was explored like never before, thanks to intrepid writers dedicated to finding long-lost case studies, secret documents, and forgotten stories.

LGBTQ writers also published books, experimenting with hybrid works and various literary forms, subverting the expectations of their genres and distorting not only narratives but literature itself.

“Secret City”

“Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington” by James Kirczyk.Holt, Henry and Company, Inc.

Washington DC is a city of secrets, and only this year has the existence and influence of LGBTQ people in our nation’s capital been cataloged in such a comprehensive way. “Secret City: Washington’s Gay Hidden HistoryWriter James Kirchik has spent years researching previously classified government documents, presidential archives and long-forgotten interviews to outline decades of queer history between the administrations of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bill Clinton. In an NBC News interview with Kirchik earlier this year, the author spoke about some of the strange stories lurking in the background of the nation’s capital.

“Helen House”

"Helen House" by Kayla Kumari Upadhyay.
“Helen House” by Kayla Kumari Upadhyay.Nora Press

A sexy, hilarious ghost story that can be read in one delightful sitting.”Helen Housetakes an already complicated premise – getting to know your girlfriend’s parents – and gives it a ghostly feel. The unnamed narrator is in a relationship with Amber, whose parents live in a “looming A-frame in the woods” that is heated to the point where it seems to the narrator that something “is blowing its feverish breath around me”. A story as much about grief and trauma as it is about the ghosts within all of our families, Kaila Kumari Upadhyaya’s Helen’s House is a journey through what truly haunts us.

“Thrown Out of Space”

"Ejected from Space" by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer.
“Ejected from Space” by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer.Harry N. Abrams

Along with the gay internet, NBC News celebrated “Carol Season”, an annual meme festival celebrating the 2015 film Carol. The film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, which she first published under a pseudonym. “Ejected from Space: Based on the Lewd Adventures of Patricia Highsmithis a graphic novel written by Grace Ellis and illustrated by Hanna Templer that tells a reimagined behind-the-scenes story of The Price of Salt through the eyes of Highsmith, a caustic, problematic, and self-loathing writer who drank, smoked, and had harrowing love affairs that forced her to write in notepad.

“My government wants to kill me”

"My government wants to kill me" by Rashid Newson.
“My government wants to kill me” by Rashid Newson.Flatiron Books

It’s the 1980s, and Earl “Trey” Singleton III is a wealthy black gay teenager who abandoned his trust fund and fled his Indiana home “to be able to claim his own successes and failures.” He heads to New York at the start of the AIDS epidemic, first landing at the Chelsea Hotel. “My government wants to kill meby Rashid Newson is written in the form of a memoir and covers two years of Trey’s various works, entanglements and connections. An amazing bonus to this fictional coming-of-age story are the book’s footnotes, which reference real people and events and give readers historical context and a new way to explore queer history. That the book is divided into lessons rather than chapters suggests that as Trey learns who he is, we will also learn who we are.

“Gods of Desire”

"Gods of Need" by K-Ming Chang.
“Gods of Need” by K-Ming Chang.One world

A moving collection of short stories about homosexuality, the body, memories and myths, K-Ming Chang’s bookgods of need” is a lyrical collection, as dynamic as it is fantastic, now a fairy tale, now a parable. Stories range from ghost cousins ​​chasing a living relative to the adventures of two young girls who talk about escaping. Weird and surreal, this collection will leave readers with an updated idea of ​​what’s possible if you just let your imagination run a little stronger, a little bolder.

“Brown Neon”

Neon Brown by Raquel Gutierrez.
Neon Brown by Raquel Gutierrez.Coffee House Press

A book of essays that at various stages is a memoir of masculine identity, a travel diary and an exploration of intergenerational queer dynamics, this collection is rooted in the dusty, sepia-tinged landscapes of both memory and southwestern deserts. Raised in Los Angeles in the 1980s to parents from El Salvador and Mexico, writer Raquel Gutierrez also reflects on the migrant journey and how migration traumas haunt families and communities. Poet, educator and accomplished art critic, Gutiérrez is imbued with “brown neonwith references to art, artists and history – and looks at what it means to be a Latin American artist working today.

“Solo dance”

"Solo Dance" by Lee Kotomi.
“Solo Dance” by Lee Kotomi.World editions

A novel that explores mental illness and is preoccupied with death, this story of identity searches for meaning. The main character is Cho Norie, a closed corporate worker in Japan. When we meet Chow, it is revealed that she was born in Taiwan as Yingmei Zhao and moved to Tokyo to start over after a traumatic event. “solo danceincludes references to Japanese and Taiwanese literature, in particular Qiu Miaojin’s Notes of a Crocodile, a 1994 novel that is an important literary touchstone for Taiwanese queer women. “Solo Dance,” written by Lee Kotomi and translated from Japanese by Arthur Reiji Morris, may leave some readers devoid of a description of queer trauma, but there is beauty in the prose and what Chow is looking for.

“Women’s House of Detention”

Cover "Women's House of Detention"
“Women’s House of Detention” by Hugh Ryan.Bold type books

The Women’s Detention House was a prison that was located in Greenwich Village, New York City from 1929 to 1974. The now-demolished building was down the street from the historic Stonewall Inn, and while House D, as it was commonly known, is far less well-known than its famous neighbor, its role in queer history is just as important. Read the NBC News interview with “Women’s detention center: the strange story of a forgotten prison writer and historian Hugh Ryan on how the history of the House of D helps us understand the criminalization of queer Americans throughout the 20th century.

‘Minor Chorus’

"Small Choir" by Billy-Ray Belcourt.
“Small Choir” by Billy-Ray Belcourt.W. W. Norton and company

The narrator in this debut novel by Billy-Ray Belcourt is a Cree doctoral student who has become disillusioned with academia and is “seized with a new ambition, a more all-consuming hunger – a hunger for a different way of being in the world.” The narrator sets out to research a new book, heading to his hometown in rural Alberta, Canada to interview relatives, acquaintances, and people of interest in order to write something that will be both a novel and an “autobiography of the city”. Poetic and searching”,Minor choircombines autobiographical literature, fiction, critical theory, and oral history to ask questions about masculinity, colonialism, and queerness, and explore what the place and hometown can accommodate.

“No one cared what happened to Carlotta”

“No one cared what happened to Carlotta” by James Hannaham.Little, Brown & Company

Set over the weekend of July 4th, this novel combines humor and horror to trace the experience of Carlotta Mercedes, an Afro-Colombian trans woman who returns to Brooklyn, New York after spending time in a men’s prison. last 20 years. Carlotta takes off the page with such energy and wit that it’s impossible not to root for her. Funny and a little chaotic,No one cared what happened to Carlotta» James Hannaham experiments with form, switching between first and third person, and is great for readers who enjoy rollercoasters.

“Black Cake”

"Black Cake" Charmaine Wilkerson.
“Black Cake” Charmaine Wilkerson.Ballantyne Books

AND Book Club Choice “Read with Jenna”Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel begins with the death of a woman named Eleanor Bennett, who leaves behind a traditional Caribbean black pie made from a family recipe and an audiotape filled with mystery. The recipients of this inheritance are her adult children Byron and Benny. Once close, they haven’t seen each other for eight years, having parted ways since Benny opened up to the family. A family saga of betrayal, secrets and what is inherited,black cakeIt is also a story about identity and how choices affect the trajectory of the entire family.

“Time is a mother”

"Time is a mother" by Ocean Vuong.
“Time is a mother” by Ocean Vuong.Penguin Press

Ocean Vyong’s latest book is a reflection on the loss of his mother, who died of breast cancer in 2019. He worked onTime is mother“in the early days of the pandemic and said time earlier this year: “I mourned, the world mourned, and the only thing I really had was to return to poetry.” What came out is an intimate search for meaning and survival, a book that traces the rhythms of sadness and loss while trying to come to terms with how the absence of a person can feel so real.

“100 Queer Poems”

100 Queer Poems, edited by Andrew MacMillan and Mary Jean Chan.
100 Queer Poems, edited by Andrew MacMillan and Mary Jean Chan.Vintage

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