Adult Books with Lesbian Characters: Fiction and Non-Fiction

Updated: September 14, 2015

Aimée & Jaguar : a love story, Berlin 1943
Fischer, Erica, 1943-
Call Number: 940.5343 F529

Photos, letters and love poems chronicle the unlikely love story of Felice and Lily, a German Jew and Nazi housewife respectively, surviving together in war-torn Berlin. A timeless true story about living and loving like there is no tomorrow.

Before the rain : a memoir of love and revolution
Torregrosa, Luisita Lopez.
Call Number: 071.092 T6892

While covering the 1986 Philippine Revolution, Puerto Rican journalist Luisita Lopez Torregrosa falls in love with another writer, Elizabeth.  The love affair is overwhelming and changes Torregrosa's life forever.

The celluloid closet : homosexuality in the movies
Russo, Vito.
Call Number: 791.9 R969 1987a

A scholarly study of depictions of LGBTQ people in 20th century cinema.

The Color Purple
Walker, Alice, 1944-
Call Number: Ed.d

Also available for download as an e-book and e-audiobook.
Fourteen year old, Celie is poor, ugly and Black in the Jim Crow era South. She survives a father who rapes her and sells her babies without her consent, only to be married off to an older widower, Albert, to perform the duties of his dead wife. When Celie’s younger sister comes to live with them, she teaches Celie to read and opens her eyes to the world through books. The power of words and the love of the women in her life transform Celie into an unstoppable force.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café
Flagg, Fannie.
Call Number: Ed.b

Also available for download as an e-book and e-audiobook.
When middle-aged Evelyn meets feisty Mrs. Threadgoode in a nursing home, she finds an escape from her mundane life in the octogenarian’s tall tales. Mrs. Threadgoode’s countless stories about Idgy and Ruth, a pair of women who ran the only café in the town of Whistlestop together, breathe life into the abandoned train town, the community that Idgy and Ruth transformed with their love, and Evelyn too

Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians
Faderman, Lillian
Call Number: 301.415709794 F144

A history of the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles. Stories include the 1967 protests against police brutality in Silverlake, which predated the Stonewall Rebellion by two and a half years; and the nation's first gay pride parade in 1970.

Breedlove, Lynn.

Hurtling through San Francisco on a bicycle, Jim is torn between speed (both on her bike and in her veins) and her sexy stripper girlfriend. When Ally gets tired of endlessly losing the battle, Jim hits the road and rock bottom as a roadie for her all-girl punk band. Breedlove, lead singer of the lesbian punk band Tribe 8, evokes the drug-lust of Irvine Welsh, the wacky wanderlust of Hunter S. Thompson, bound together by Charles Bukowski's endless obsession with women.

Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America
Faderman, Lillian
Call Number: 301.415709 F144-1

Faderman’s groundbreaking work uses a myriad of sources including interviews, photographs, and medical literature to chronicle the history of American lesbian culture in the 20th century.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Winterson, Jeanette, 1959-
Call Number: Ed.b

Also available for download as an e-book.
Jeanette humorously recalls her childhood in northern England with an evangelical Christian adoptive family. As Jeanette becomes an adolescent and comes to terms with her attraction to women, the precarious balance that held the family together begins to wobble.

Rose of no man's land : a novel
Tea, Michelle.

14-year-old Trisha feels trapped at home with a hypochondriac mother, her mom's loser boyfriend, and a sister obsessed with reality TV. When Trisha meets Rose at her crappy job, she leaves it all to follow Rose on an epic journey of chemical-fueld romance.

Rubyfruit jungle
Brown, Rita Mae.
Call Number: Ed.d
Molly is a poor, southern tomboy who has to fight for everything, and she does so with humor and self-confidence, even when she discovers she prefers women to men. One of the foremost coming-of-age stories for American lesbians, this book blew the lid off the women's movement when it was published in the early 70s and still has touching moments (especially the first half of the book).

Stone Butch Blues: A Novel
Feinberg, Leslie
Call Number: Ed.a

Feinberg's semi-autobiographical novel about growing up butch and Jewish in working-class Buffalo, New York during the 1950s paints a portrait of a time in America when coming out was a crime the police were intent to enforce. Rejected by her family as a child for presenting masculine traits, Jess survives by passing as a man and navigating the pre-Stonewall NYC underground bar scene in search of a chosen family.

Tales of the City (series)
Maupin, Armistead.
Call Number: Ed.b

Find the complete series in our catalog.
Maupin’s seminal mystery series brings together a cast of young eccentrics at the height of the sexual revolution of the 1970s. When Maryann Singleton visits San Francisco for the first time, she instantly knows she can never go back to Cleveland. When she rents an apartment at 28 Barbary Lane, the perks are endless: from the “welcome” joint neatly taped to her door by the landlady, to the friends and loves that will last a lifetime. The landlady, Anna Madrigal, keeps her tenants as close as family, but none of them realize just how close they really are until her secret is revealed.

Tipping the velvet
Waters, Sarah, 1966-

Nancy Astley fancies herself an ordinary oyster girl, working for her family's fishmonger business in a British seaside village. When eighteen-year-old Nan sees the stunning Kitty Butler performing as a man in a local music hall, she is instantly captivated. When Nan finally gets Kitty's attention, she follows her on an epic passionate journey.

Trash : stories
Allison, Dorothy.

In a collection of stories that was to become the basis for Bastard out of Carolina,  Allison examines the myriad of emotions evoked by her mother's illness and ongoing commitment to Allison's stepfather, who physically and sexually abused them both. Brimming with love, Allison recounts the haunting memories of her past while fearlessly moving forward with her life and her love of women.

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
Lorde, Audre.
Call Number: 818 L867 1983

This biomythography chronicles Lorde’s life, beginning with her childhood in 1930s Harlem to the women who shaped her adulthood. A poignant chronicle of Black lesbian life in mid-century New York City.