Chase Connor’s Suggested Reading List

Aside from the LGBTCrew Books page, I wanted to create a list of books (indies, traditional, and everything in between) that are my absolute favorites. This is a list of my favorite books of all time, regardless of how they were written or published. If you’re looking for a book that will touch you in some way, I highly recommend any of these.

Granted, my taste is not your taste, so I can’t guarantee that you will love them the same way that I do. Fair warning, my taste (for reading) leans toward literary works, realistic fiction, and magical realism. However, if a book is good, it’s good, regardless of genre. So, you’ll probably find something on this list that will catch your eye.

Enjoy!

THE SATANIC VERSES by Salman Rushdie – A terrorist’s bomb goes off on a London-bound plane. Two men from India fall to the Earth, one transformed into an angel, the other into a demon. The themes of immigration/emigration, plus the gorgeous writing style of Rushdie make this my favorite book of all time.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery – a novel about the things we never take time to see in each other. Barbery writes gorgeously about classism – a friend I recommended this book to said it, “reads like listening to a symphony.” I’ve re-read this book many times over.

THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran – a wise prophet leaves his adoptive foreign home to return to his native lands. Before he leaves, he treats the townspeople to his views on 26 topics. You’ll find the philosophy in this book written about in other books, but never as beautifully, in my opinion. Another multi-read for me.

A MAN CALLED OVE was the first book I ever read by Fredrik Backman and I instantly fell in love with his writing. It’s also one of those rare instances where the movie adaptation is really good, too! The humanity that Backman injects into his characters, the way he draws out the readers’ emotions–he is never overly dramatic, but instead, finds the humanity in all of the little moments in life to which we can all relate.

ICARUS by Adam Wing is a retelling of the ancient Greek myth. Wing is the type of indie that makes me scream: “Why isn’t he with one of the Big Four???” This book takes a tale you think you know, yet somehow makes it fresh, new, and devastates you in the best of ways.

THE DANCING TURTLE by A.J. Stiles is an indie book I learned about on Twitter through a passing interaction with the author. I’m so glad that I paid attention and read this book. There are M/M romance elements to this story–but it’s so much more than that. This was like reading Gilbert, mixed with Hemingway, mixed with Theroux. It’s rare that a day goes by that my mind doesn’t take me to this book, its characters, and its setting of Brazil.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is one of the few books that I’ve read that is written partly in epistolary style that I actually enjoyed. This is another book that has a romance plot point, but is more literary in nature. It’s more about the human spirit and how it can flourish, even when something as horrific as war tries to beat it down. This book broke my heart while making it soar.

THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD by Zora Neale Hurston is a divisive book and has been on “Banned Books Lists” before. However, the people who take issue with this book are wrong. A story about a black woman and the importance of finding your own voice, not being defined by a man or a relationship, and reclaiming one’s identity and individuality, regardless of the obstacles put in one’s path. Adore this book.

THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas is an always relevant book about injustice, racism, finding the strength, courage, and voice to speak out, and standing up for what is right. I felt like the Carters were a family I knew and loved from the beginning of the book and wanted them to thrive so badly. I can’t recommend this book enough.

BUTTERFLY BOY by Rigoberto Gonzalez is about facing one’s complicated family history, class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation in a machismo driven world. Absolutely stunning.

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera is a novel that asks the question: What would you do if you knew you were going to die, and how would you know that you mattered to someone? This novel touched my heart in so many ways and the fact that it ends with no answers or resolutions made it even more profound. I loved this book.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky is the definitive coming-of-age story. Period.