Reading group: which book about gay life should we read in August?

To mark the 50th anniversary of decriminalisation in the UK, please help choose a novel to mark the occasion. There are hundreds to choose from

This month we’re asking for nominations for books that can bring us a bit of Pride. As you’re probably aware, 27 July marked 50 years since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act entered the statute books. Stating that “a homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of 21 years”, the Act only partially decriminalised gay relationships, but is regarded as the beginning of more liberal public attitudes to sexuality. Fifty years on, the anniversary is being celebrated across the country, from London’s Tate Britain to National Trust events on Hadrian’s Wall.

We want to join in the celebrations on the reading group. We also want to commemorate the long, ongoing struggle for equality and some of the brave and eloquent writers who have helped along the way.

The obvious choice would be to read a classic like Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City (which would also be a hugely enjoyable choice!) – but there are hundreds of different ways to approach the subject. If you’re looking for ideas, you could do worse than look at this excellent top 10 from Paul Burston, who highlights essential books by Oscar Wilde, Jean Genet and Michael Cunningham. There’s also a wonderful top 50 here, featuring more fine books by Mary Renault, Michael Chabon and Christopher Isherwood, among others.

I’d happily read any of those – but this month, of all months, I don’t want to be too prescriptive. We could read a history, a romance, a lament, a cry of rage or a whoop of joy, so long as it’s somehow related to equality and the freedom to love. The broader the spectrum, the better.

All you need to do to nominate a book is to post its title and author in the comments. If you want to briefly explain your choice, so much the better. I’ll be putting the nominations into a hat in a few days’ time and we’ll read the book that comes out over the rest of the month.

Contributor

Sam Jordison

The GuardianTramp

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