Teddypig’s All-Time Top 5 Gay Romance Reads Ever

I asked Teddypig to come up with his all time list of gay romance books. TP has been reading these books for decades, and I thought his recommendations would carry a lot of weight. I love his editorial comments – you may or you may not, depending on your perspective –  but I do think they were quite appropriate in light of the longevity of these books.

TPTheFrontRunner#1. Patricia Nell Warren ~
From: Wildcat Press (Not available in eBook)

 Here it is, my starting point. The very first Gay Love Story I ever read… Yes, a “lesbian woman” wrote the first Gay Love Story I ever read. I say Gay Love Story because this novel has a tragic ending. But, read it anyway it was one of the firsts.


#2. Marion Zimmer Bradley ~ The Catch TrapTPTheCatchTrap
From: Ballantine Books (Not available in eBook)

My very first Gay Romance Novel EVER and it is written by guess what? A “straight woman”! Comes complete with a full blown HEA and a huge two part epic Historical Romance about two male trapeze artists meeting and falling in love in the 1940’s and the 1950’s. A must read for anyone looking into the origins of today’s Gay Romance.


TP_MrBenson#3.  John Preston ~ 1980
From: Cleis Press (Not available in eBook)

OMG! An actual gay male type author! Mr. Benson is a Gay BDSM Romance more than it is Gay Erotica in my opinion. It has the required HEA and lot’s of great emotional character growth in the story arc and several wonderful BDSM erotic scenes. OK, so the last part gets a bit hokey. Another must read in my opinion and well worth it as a glimpse of the type of important storytelling Drummer Magazine brought to the Gay Leather Community during it’s heyday. I had to mention this book since I am a member of the Gay Leather Community and an alumni member of the Centaur MC. Not an expert mind you.


  #4. Annie Proulx ~
From: Scribner (Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Available in eBook)

Yep, another Pulitzer Prize winning “straight woman” writing here and probably the most well known Gay/Bisexual Love Story ever written. Another must read and another tragic ending. Gay Love Stories tend to have the dramatic tragic ending in order to underline the ideal love between two men because as we all know… two living gay men are just two horny sexual perverts. We are pigs too but that’s another story.


TPTheTinStar#5.   J.L. Langley ~ 2006
From: Loose Id (Available in eBook)

Yep, another “straight woman”! But but but, that’s not Gay Romance Teddypig, she’s an M/M Romance writer who started at Loose Id!


Did you learn anything here? Look at my list above. These are all simply Gay Love Stories starting from around 1974. There is nothing special about how these books were written or who they were written by or who they were written for. Do you honestly think any writer straight or gay, man or woman, or even “a good writer” has this special magic capability to write only a certain type of story for a certain group of people?

How is that working for you?

The fact is The Tin Star was the NUMBER ONE bestseller for 2008 at A Different Light in San Francisco on Castro Street. That means the gayest fucking bookstore on this god damned planet sold this paperback (of what people say is just M/M Romance) to real “gay men” who loved it. That says to me one thing of note… it’s all just Gay Romance between the covers people.

As a gay man who has been around this planet for a while I faced very real bigots and very real homophobia and very real deaths caused by such thinking. In my opinion trying to separate M/M Romance from any other form of Gay Literature or Gay Romance based solely on the “perceived notion” of a writer’s or reader’s gender or a writer’s or reader’s sexuality is playing into yet another form of bigotry and prejudice that I will never respect and personally do not feel has any place in our community. Teddypig says “Gay Ghetto Thinking” is for losers who need to stop reading and flapping their lips and get out of their mother’s basement and see the real world… news at eleven.

So there you have them, T.P’s Top 5 Gay Romance Reads Ever. What do you think about his other comments?

What are your  Top 5 gay or M/M romances?

6 years 2 months ago

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6 years 2 months ago

hon mention: Kori Roberts “Missing Linc”MMF, Cameron Dane “Knowing Caleb”, “Hell Cop” anthology, Astrid Amara “Holiday Outing”, Carol Lynne Cattle Valley Series.
5. EM Lynley “Sex, Lies, and Wedding Bells”
4. Evangeline Anderson “The Assignment”
3. Lynn Lorenz “Edward Uncondtionally”
2. Terre Michaels “Faith and Fidelity”
1. tie Ryan Field “Sleepless in Seattle”/”When Harry Met Sal”

6 years 2 months ago

Ryan Field’s book is titled “Sleepless in San Francisco” not “Seattle”. Sorry for the error. Awesome book. The only similiarities are that one of the main characters has a son and is mouring the death of his life partner.

6 years 3 months ago
Just now getting around to commenting on this thread because I have been WAY swamped lately o_O Anyway, Mr. Pig, I haven’t read all of your suggestions but I definitely want to read some of the ones I’ve missed. Like THE CATCH TRAP. I’ve heard so much about it, I’m super curious at this point * BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is one of my favorites too. I first read it many years ago and it freakin’ HAUNTED me ever since. It’s not happy (a love story, yes, but not a romance IMO), it’s not conventionally written, but Annie Proulx manages to convey… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago
Is the gay and m/m romance world small or what? The Front Runner is also the first gay novel I’ve read and yes – it always means something to me. I don’t think I can articulate how much Brokeback Mountain means to me, I’ve never been so affected by a short story, less than 50 pages. Just amazing. John Preston was also a big part of my early gay erotica (or gay porn) reading. Mr Benson is something else But I am more into John Preston’s Alex Kane series, they are so hot and fun to read.
6 years 3 months ago
Teddypig, it’s really pleasing to see “The Catch Trap” in your list. That’s one of the first gay romances I read, and I really loved it. I’ve read it again several times, and each time I find something a little different. (I was very naive about man loving the first time, and some of it went over my head. ;p ) * I also read Vincent Virga’s “Gaywyck” around the same time, and even though I enjoyed it, I think “The Catch Trap”‘s a much better book. * And Mary Renault’s “The Charioteer” is in a different category again –… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago
My first experience with women writing gay romance/porn was Chris Owen’s Bareback. I was flabbergasted for awhile, and then I got over it. Good writing is good writing. * I’m sorry but there is only one author in my top 5 books and that’s M.L. Rhodes. (Impatiently waiting, M.L., and you know what I’m waiting for!) * I guess I’m a weird duck here, but I read Brokeback Mountain and didn’t like it at all. It was quite short and really didn’t see how a movie could be made out of it. I didn’t like the movie either. * TeddyPig,… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago
Chris Owen is a woman?! Mark another one as proof that I really can’t tell the gender of the author. Which just goes to show how little gender matters when the writing is just that good. * And Tin Star has been on my ‘to read’ list forever. I’ve just been focused on her Sci-fi supernatural works. * Thanks for the other recs. If you’ve included Langley, who I love to read, then the others should be just as awesome for me! * Also, where did the negative connotation for m/m come from? I always used the phrase interchangeably with… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago
During the whole Lambda Lit Foundation wankfest and drama-o-rama it came out that many people online were defining “M/M Romance” strictly as being written by “straight women” for “straight women” readers. Which I thought was down right offensive since it assumes gender and sexuality with no proof and then those same folks were demanding that “straight women” again an assumption from their made up definition had no place in Gay Lit to begin with which ignores the many “women both gay and straight” who contributed so much to creating the whole Gay Lit genre. As far as I am concerned… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago
I don’t know about Derek Adams but I have read Phil Andros and I even reviewed Jack Fritscher’s Leather Blues on Naughty Bits even though that is strictly hard core Gay BDSM Erotica. There are really good books out there in Gay Erotica though I do try very hard to keep a focus on heavier Romantic stories even when I wander over into those genres unless I am intentionally trying to turn people on to something a little different for a change. Though I am sure many people here would love to find out about the more romantic Gay Erotica… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago

“just ordered Mr. Benson. You will hear from me if it’s crud.”

My only warning is in my opinion Mr. Benson is “real” BDSM Romance so be prepared for some tough love.

6 years 3 months ago

I need to read Almost Like Being in Love. I’ve heard great things.

I just received a first edition copy of The Charioteer for my birthday and …ok I need to crack it open. I’m on page 3. Last time I tried, I was distracted.

6 years 3 months ago

You need to read Almost Like Being in Love. I read it last month and it immediately zoomed to the number one place on my top ten for 2009 list. I keep it next to me at work and flip through it and read favorite passages at least three times a day. Yes, I’m obsessed.

To those who say they won’t read Brokeback Mountain — you need to read Brokeback Mountain. That’s all. I’ve read it in English, French, and Dutch and I don’t even speak Dutch! LOL. There’s an accomplishment…


6 years 3 months ago

“To those who say they won’t read Brokeback Mountain — you need to read Brokeback Mountain. That’s all.”

Totally agree!
The book expresses things about the characters you will not see in the movie. It’s whats going on in their heads that makes this a Real Love Story. The movie attempts to define their relationship but the book goes much further.

6 years 3 months ago

Well other great authors that would have to fit on my list somewhere if I was going to really start listing ALL the good Gay Romance books I have read…

Victor J. Banis ~ Longhorns is there and J.M. Snyder ~ Trin and Josh Lanyon ~ Fatal Shadows is there of course and Laura Baumbach ~ Out There In The Night (My first eBook) and Sienna Black ~ To Touch The Stars (Good Gay Romance Sci-fi is actually rare to find)…

I could go on and on.

6 years 3 months ago
Lilli… Mary Renault is a very important example of yet another woman writing Gay Romance. I just find I like more heat if you know what I mean. She would show up in my top twenty easy. She tends to feel more Sweet Romance to me though. **** TC… Gordon Merrick is a great beach read but I find him more erotic than romantic kinda. Which is funny because people think Mr. Benson is more erotic just because it has BDSM. I know people love Merrick’s stuff and he again would be one of those guys that showed up on… Read more »
TC Blue
6 years 3 months ago

Teddypig~ Not saying Merrick wrote romances, as such, just that he was my first intro to the gay fiction. And I do think there were a lot of romantic elements in his books. *shrugs*

I guess my definition of romance may be slightly skewed, as well. As long as someone in there–even just one person–says “I love you” when there’s NOT sex going on? It counts for me. LOL

Loved your list, btw, though I’ve never read Brokeback. Only saw the movie. 😛


6 years 3 months ago

5. Dancers of Arun
4.My Fair Captain
3. The Hell You Say
2. Death of a Pirate King
1. Well…that’s a secret.

Site looks smexcellent.

6 years 3 months ago
I’m often getting confused myself about the labeling. I do not care about it, honestly, I’m just happy that there are so many great books out there tackling gay issues, especially love stories. 😉 But I guess – now that somebody pointed it out – I can see the judgemental element in the definition of M/M. Now I have something to think about. Personally PNW’s TFR and HR would be on my Top 5 (or 10?) list. I read those two within 2 weeks and the story ripped my heart to pieces. Deeply emotional on so many levels, it took… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago

I have Brokeback and The Tin Star in my “to be re-read” over and over and over list, and I would love to check out these other titles too! Thanks for the heads-up on three books I never would have looked for, as I tend to look for current titles. I am a fairly new fan of the m/m or gay-love genre…..I don’t care what they are classified as, I love a truly good story, no matter the genre.

TC Blue
6 years 3 months ago
I’ve always used the terms “gay romance” or “m/m romance” interchangably. *shrugs* The first time I read the gays was Gordon Merrick, back in the day. I must have been 13 or so. That led me to Elizabeth Lynn (theDancers of Arun is still a personal favorite). I don’t know that I can narrow the field to just a top 5, honestly. There are many books in the genre that I love for different reasons. I’ll just say that there are a LOT of good books out there, whether we want to call them gay romance or m/m (which I… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago
Well, when I come “out” (in the reader sense) to people who have no clue what m/m is, I always say “I read gay romance.” People understand what that is, but most not in “the know” haven’t got a freaking clue what m/m means. Or m/f or m/f/m. * I’m pretty new to the whole thing so I’m not sure how m/m got it’s title vs gay romance. Same thing no? Like gelato and ice-cream are basically the same thing? Or close enough to overlap when you need one? * I have read The Tin Star but not the others.… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago
The Front Runner was the first gay love story I ever read… way back in 1981.(I was 12, an early bloomer perhaps) It even has the same cover. The covers are different now I went on to read all PNW books, The Fancy Dancer being my favourite. She is a lovely person and answered all my letters. (it was snail mail in those days) At one of my lowest times she sent me signed copies of Harlan’s Race and Billy’s boy to cheer me up.(which still have pride of place on my ‘no touch’ bookcase, you know the one… the… Read more »
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