#5OnMyTBR — Classics

Hello Darlings!

How was your week?


#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook (me!) and you can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. It occurs every Monday when we post about 5 books on our TBR.

This week’s prompt is Classics!

Fun fact (sarcasm): I had to delete two books from my TBR while making this post because classics are awful and full of romanticising pedophilia 🙂 Good riddance!

Anyway, autumn makes me think of classics so here we go. Hopefully, I’ll read some of them soon.

|| Maurice by E.M. Forster||


💛 m/m
💛 boarding school
💛 happy ending!

Anyway, Forster said the gays deserve happy endings and had this story sit in his drawer for fifty-seven years so it can have one.

I’ve read Forster’s The Machine Stops and his technical book on writing, which I recommend, and the man has a big brain so I can’t wait to read his queer book full of gay yearning and set in a boarding school!! I’ve been reading lots of historical romances recently so a classic about gay love would fit in well into that.

|| Yellow Rose by Nobuko Yoshiya ||


💛 f/f
💛 launched the genre of shōjo fiction
💛 Japan

Ok, I don’t remember precisely now but when I read on this Nobuko’s short-story series Flower Stories started this movement of writings with sapphics being somewhat acceptable in Japan — they were mostly about young women who then moved on to straight relationships but sometimes they got a happy ending.

I think Yellow Rose is one of those happy endings because I hate sad endings and I doubt I would have this on my TBR if it had one.

|| The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde ||


💛 m/m
💛 horror?
💛 friends to lovers?

I feel like everyone and their mother read it but me lol.

Anyway, from what I know there are two versions — censured and not censured. I want to read both, of course. I want to see how much gay subtext was sneaked into the censored version but I also want to read about the gay.

Also, tw for antisemitism because we’re reading critically lads.

|| Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin ||


💛 queer
💛 Taiwan
💛 group of misfits

This is about five Taiwanese queer students, love, friendship, and art.

So, a lesbian Lazi is into this older woman who runs hot and cold. Not knowing what to do with that, she assigns help of her queer circle — two gay men and two gay women in established relationships.

It was published in the 90s but let’s call it a classic because, let’s be honest, that was nearly 30 years ago. And Adult Literary Fiction books are basically aspiring classics so whatever.

|| Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin ||

38462. sy475

💛 m/m
💛 set in Paris
💛 sad

On one hand, I’m not into sad books. On the other hand, I want to read more of LGBTQ+ canon — and that means lots of sad books.

An American in Paris proposes to a young woman and then promptly falls into a love affair with an Italian bartender.

It’s an exploration of the choice between leading sad and heteronormative life and happiness with someone of your own sex.

Last thought!

As you can see, all classics I mentioned are LGBTQ+. Well, I have some other classics on my TBR but everyone heard about Shakespeare and I see no point mentioning I need to catch up on the Big Name books.

So, my question is — do you know of more queer classics that you would recommend to me?


  • Do you participate in #5OnMyTBR?
  • Do you have any of those on your TBR?
  • Have you read them maybe? (Make me read them then!!)


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27 thoughts on “#5OnMyTBR — Classics

  1. I loved The Picture of Dorian Gray, it is a thought-provoking book! I read the uncensored edition and it didn’t really have any gay scene to it, so that’s disappointing. 😅
    And I am going to add Giovanni’s Room to my tbr because it sounds right up my alley!
    I’ve been reading less and less classics recently, because tbh I just can’t tolerate them anymore (except for old favorites). I need diversity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, no! And I’ve heard there’s lots of gay content? I’ve been lied to! I’ll still be reading both because I’m curious what got censured lol!
      Yeah, it sounds sad but intriguing!
      Me too 😦 I’ve read more of them when I had access to my uni’s library — it feels weird to read old books on kindle 😅 But, yeah, most of them are classics only because they were written by white men…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the Picture of Dorian Gray was one of the first classics I’ve read outside of school and it was amazing. I loved it so much! I also really want to read James Baldwin’s books but I’m also a little (okay, a lot) intimidated? Feeling like some of it will go flying over my head 😂 Great picks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that was it for a lot of people! Personally, I was curious about Shakespeare in original — I hated the translations 😅 Same, Baldwin seems a bit intimidating but also I feel it deserves the effort 😉 Thank you!! ❤


  3. Wait MAURICE HAS A HAPPY ENDING?? Well then, I shall read one gay classic as a treat. I usually stay as far away from classics as I can, mainly because 1) I find them extremely difficult to read. It took me like two months to finished P&P. 2) They’re usually sad and I hate sad. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I know it was published posthumously JUST SO it can have a happy ending 😭😭😭 I love Forster so much for that — he shelved his work for more than half a century just so we can have a HEA!! I’m!! soft…
      Yeah, me too… Long sentences + little dialogue + old vocab and my brain can’t keep up… And I don’t deal well with sad either 😅


  4. Thank you so much for showing off these LGBT+ classics! I had honestly never heard of most of these, especially not ones that get happy endings. (Ironically, my own pick for this TBR challenge was The Well of Loneliness) I’m gonna add Yellow Rose to my TBR right away!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this list, thank you so much! So many new books to add. I also have two Forster books on my list. For queer classics, I did also mention Walt Whitman – while his poems aren’t all overtly queer, he has many on sexuality and sex in general, and was a known bisexual (think, “I Sing the Body Electric”). Also, I haven’t read it yet, but have heard Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is wonderful. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, I saw — love the man, I hope you enjoy 🙂 I’ve heard a lot about Whitman but never checked him out! Need to do that sometime. Loved Woolf’s Orlando! Such a great tale!
      Sorry for the late reply, I got busy this week 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t know there were two versions of Dorian Gray, now I need to figure out which one I read! I REALLY liked the ending of Maurice, it’s what made the book for me. Giovanni’s room has been on my radar recently too, it will probably be the next classic I read.

    The last queer classic I read was Orlando. I really liked it and the way Orlando’s queerness was discussed- it’s just a fact that isn’t contested (at least from what I can remember).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, apparently they made him censor the first one because it was too gay 😅 I can’t wait to read it then!! I think I will be wailing by the end knowing it was written over a century ago and got to have HEA!! I hope you’ll enjoy it then 🙂

      Oh, I loved Orlando as well! I don’t remember it much too because it’s been a while but it’s been wonderful to read!

      Sorry for the late reply!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I really enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Gray but it doesn’t really feel as gay as it seems. Or maybe I read the censored version and I didn’t know the difference.
    E.!!!! Can I just say that I LOVE that you included so many queer classics of so many different cultural backgrounds??? 💕💕💕 I’ve read Notes of a Crocodile in Chinese (鱷魚手記) back when I was baby queer, so I didn’t understand much of it. It’s something I need to revisit (and her Last Words from Montmartre 蒙馬特遺書).
    Another Taiwanese queer classics from another alumnus of my university is Crystal Boys (孽子) by Pai Hsien-yung. It was originally published in 1983 (so older than Qui’s book) and the story is about a group of gay men cruising in New Park (which I walk by every day in high school because it’s that close). I read it many years ago and don’t remember much, but it is super classic and enjoyable if you’re for Taiwanese literature.
    I’ve read a couple more Taiwanese queer classics but I think only Qiu’s and Pai’s were queer #ownvoices, if that’s what you’re looking for.
    (this whole comment block is now a huge oversharing by me, an excited Taiwanese.)
    P.S. My high school anduniversity neighborhoods are probably the two gayest parts in Taiwan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve heard that the censored version is very read-between-the-lines. Or maybe the other version is not as gay as we would like to. I’ll come back with the answers after I finally pick them up!
      Thank you!! I’ve been looking for LGBTQ+ classics from different countries for ages because it’s so few of them (especially the happy ones!!)
      Oh, I’m adding the other book by Qiu and the Crystal Boys to my TBR!! I haven’t read any Taiwanese books yet sadly but hopefully those will not be the last ones!
      Yeah, I love #ownvoices ones but with LGBTQ+ books you never know whether they just weren’t ‘out’ or in fact straight people.
      (Oh, feel free to overshare here!! I love that 😀 )
      That’s so neat!! My university city didn’t even have a gay club :/ But my favourite park was apparently a gay men meet up spot during Polish People’s Republic times!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m looking forward to reading what you think about all these books!! I don’t think Qiu’s books are happy ones, though, but hopefully they are still enjoyable! 😊
        And so true about not-out authors! For LGBTQ+ books, #ownvoices are so easily used as a weapon to force authors come out and we don’t want that!! ☹️
        Ohhhh I love that your favorite park plays such an important part in the gay history of Poland! That’s so cool!! Thank you for sharing! ☺️


  8. I love this post so much!!!! so many to add to my goodreads tbr omg ❤ & I agree with being scared of reading classics LGBTQ+ because so many of them end sadly???? I can't emotionally take sad endings, it hurts me too badly sldkjfsd

    amazing post! I can't wait to join in on this meme ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t heard of several of these but they all sound amazing?! Adding all to my TBR! I really want to read Maurice too and I am very ashamed to say I actually got it from the library earlier this year and then never read it and had to return it undead 😬 I am the worst

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Noooooo my weird WordPress ate my comment the other day!! 😭 (If you see duplicates, I’m terribly sorry.)

    (disclaimer: this comment is just me being an excited Taiwanese)

    I LOVE how you included so many LGBTQ+ classics from so many different cultures!! And I’m extra happy to see a Taiwanese classic. 💕 I read Notes of a Crocodile when I was out to myself for ~2 years, so honestly it was very long ago and I was still so confused I didn’t understand much of it. But I think it’s now time for a reread! Qiu also has another famous classic Last Words from Montmartre that I own but have yet to read. It sounds like something I’d enjoy more and maybe you’ll like the epistolary format as well.

    If you’re interested in more Taiwanese LGBTQ+ classics, I’d say the most famous one is Crystal Boys by Pai Hsien-yung. I also read it ~8 years ago and don’t remember much but the storytelling is probably easier to get into compared to Qiu’s books. Fun fact: the story of Crystal Boys is set in New Park, a real and popular place for cruising gay men (probably not now since it’s not a gay secret anymore), and I had walked through the park every day in high school because my school was right next to it. My uni and high school were probably in the two gayest part of Taiwan. 😂 Ohhh, in addition to me sharing high school and uni with Qiu (but she sadly passed away the year I was born), Pai also went to my uni and had taught there. Another random fact: Pai has written an essay collection shu you ru ci (not sure if an English translated version exists yet, but roughly translates to Even Trees are So) to mourn his lover.

    There are a few other Taiwanese LGBTQ+ classics I’ve read yet cannot recall, but I think Qiu’s and Pai’s books are the only famous ownvoices works, if they’re what you’re looking for.

    Also, I’ve read Dorian Gray and though I didn’t know about a censored version and have no idea which one I read, it wasn’t really as queer as it sounded imo. But it’s a wonderful book and I enjoyed it so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It didn’t eat it it sent your comment to SPAM and I didn’t check that for a while 😅 Sorry you had to write this twice!

      I’ll try to answer to what is new then?

      Yes, I love to read in different formats!! Definitely sparked my interest! Added to my TBR 😉

      Haha, that must felt nice to kind of walk through gay history 😉 I used to frequent a park which also used to be a hangout for cruising gay men and loved it even more after I found out!
      Oh, no! That’s so sad! But also romantic!! I want to hug Pai!! 😭😭😭

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In the end, I figured it was the Chinese characters that fast-tracked my comments to nothingness. 😅 I’m so sorry for all the duplicates you must be seeing in your spam…
        It’s so beautiful to suddenly realize the historical context of a place!! ☺️ Yay for us both!
        Yes, and it’s therefore one of the books I very much want to read and finish (kind of difficult to get into as I’ve tried multiple times before). It is sad and beautiful at the same time. 💞


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