30 Book Titles That Sound As Gay As “Tipping The Velvet” But Mostly Aren’t

1. Their Dogs Came with Them – Helena Maria Viramontes

2. Roommates – Erin Leigh

3. The Giver – Lois Lowry

4. Passionate Vegetarian – Crescent Dragonwagon

5. The Long Goodbye – Raymond Chandler

6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

7. The Trick is to Keep Breathing – Janice Galloway

8. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

9. The Voyage Out – Virginia Woolf

10. The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene

11. A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains – Isabella L. Bird

12. Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger

13. The Rainbow – D.H. Lawrence

14. Millions of Cats – Wanda Gag

15. Cider with Rosie – Laurie Lee

16. Coming Up for Air – George Orwell

17. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

18. The Book About Blanche and Marie – Per Olov Enquist

19. Sexing the Cherry – Jeanette Winterson

20. The Descent of Man – Charles Darwin

21. The Ladies’ Paradise (Les Rougon-Macquart) – Emile Zola

22. The Leatherstocking Tales – James Fenimore Cooper

23. Letters of Two Brides – Honore de Balzac

24. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

25. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters

26. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

27. Pompeii – Robert Harris

28. Two Caravans – Marina Lewycka

29. Merged – Andrea Speed

30. Farewell, My Subaru – Doug Fine

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Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.


  1. the trick is to keep breathing is a really really straight book about a really depressed scottish lady! BUT i’m a little upset you found out about my pen name, crescent dragonwagon.

  2. These make a lot more sense if you haven’t actually read the books, I think!
    I don’t get the one about The Giver either but that’s maybe because I actually know the book.

    Also, my mom totally gave me that vegetarian cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon for my birthday not long after I came out.

  3. I just feel like maybe rainbows are the result of Passionate Vegetarian and Fingersmith colliding

  4. What people seem to be missing is that these books are on the list for the titles alone, not their actual content. “The Giver” is on there because we sometimes describe partners as “givers” or “receivers.” “Pride and Prejudice” is on there because of the concepts of gay “pride” and “prejudice” against queer people.


      also i think the brilliance of this list is that so many of these books ARE books we know and love, books that are in fact so popular and well-known that we’ve never really analyzed their title, but then when you see them here like that you’re like Oh Shit, An Abundance of Katherines!

  5. Guilty:I actually bought “Franny and Zooey” because I thought it kind of sounded like a tale of two girls,like in a gay way?
    It’s not.
    But still.
    That scene in the restaurant has stuck with me a long, long time.

  6. I almost died at the inclusion of the passionate vegetarian, which I am! And which I owned way back when everyone thought I was a hippie and not queer and something by a lady named Crescent Dragonwagon!?!? would be appealing. Honestly, I was a terrible cook and nothing was good. I will refrain from blaming it on the cookbook.

    • “30 Book Titles That Sound As Gay As “Tipping The Velvet” But Mostly Aren’t”

      emphasis added. she’s not saying anything about how gay the novel itself is or isn’t. the “mostly aren’t” is just to clarify that there’s not a magical gay reading for books on the list like pride and prejudice. (tho like, probably there actually is.)

  7. I can forgive Franny and Zooey its non-gayness, because I love it so much! For no good reason, except that it meant a lot to me during my prime teenage existential crisis years.

  8. I used to work in a bookshop and totally bought Fingersmith off a catalogue, sight unseen, because it sounded gay as fuck. That’s how I found Sarah Waters!!

  9. Once I was reading Tipping the Velvet (as an e-book) in front of my grandmother, and when she asked what I was reading, I had to try and describe the plot without mentioning a) the title or b) the lesbian thing. That was fun.

    I know, it’s only marginally related, but the title reminded me of it, so there we go.

  10. Whenever I’m browsing books at Goodwill I always pick out “could’ve been queer” books based on their titles. This post is just like that!

  11. Now I can’t stop thinking about how much more I’d like Pride and Prejudice if it was actually about queer women.

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