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 ~ The Front Runner
1974
From: Wildcat Press (Not available in eBook)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Nell_Warren

 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
1979
From: Ballantine Books (Not available in eBook)
http://mzbworks.home.att.net/

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 ~ Mr. Benson
1980
From: Cleis Press (Not available in eBook)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Preston

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 ~ Brokeback MountainTP_BrokebackMountain
1998
From: Scribner (Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Available in eBook)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Proulx

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 ~ The Tin Star
2006
From: Loose Id (Available in eBook)
http://www.jllangley.com/jllangley/Home.html

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!

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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?

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

32 comments

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    Reply
  • 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”

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  • 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 a staggering amount of information and emotion with minimal, perfectly placed words. Just phenomenal. The movie was good, but it did not have the gut-punch power of the book.
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    I don’t really have a lot to add. Most of my all-time favorite books are horror and sci-fi O_O

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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 )
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    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.
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    And Mary Renault’s “The Charioteer” is in a different category again – a much slower, more literary gay romance.
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    There are so many great stories out there, and just when I think I’ve run out of something to read, I’ll discover a new author, and fall in love all over again.

    Reply
  • 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.
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    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!)
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    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.
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    TeddyPig, I started out reading gay stroke books and still do. Might be a little bit of romance, but mostly it is sex, sex, and more sex. And my favorite author of that type of gay writing is Derek Adams. And then you pair a Derek Adams story with Kent artwork. WOOF! Adams had a detective series, Miles Diamond, and my favorite book of his is Boy Toy. Not sure if these are in print anymore.

    JOHN

    Reply
    • 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 available in the old stroke books.

      Reply
    • John
      Bareback is on my list and was on my Top 10 list last year.

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      M.L.’s Fire’s of Ballian is scheduled to be released December 20. 😀 She’s working very hard to make it happen.

      Reply
    • 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.
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      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 gay romance. It wasn’t until recently that I realized some people looked down on it.

      Reply
      • 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 Annie Proulx a Pulitzer Prize winner deserves to be considered writing Gay Lit more than some Gay Authors I have read so either those Gay Authors need to get off their entitled fat ass and write better stuff or find something else to do instead of wasting people’s time and god damn quit whining about how “straight women” are somehow cheating them out of their entitled community recognition. It’s humiliating to hear crap like that from supposed adult men. Man Up Mary your slip is showing!

        As far as I am concerned women both gay and straight were here and supporting and writing Gay Lit from the beginning and I can provide some of the evidence and history right here.

        Reply
  • You could have gone for a Top 10. I could never just list a Top 5.
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    So, is Mr. Benson like the Deviations series by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne? Or something like Training to Pleasure by Julian Masters if you know anything about that one? Or Natural Law by Joey W. Hill which is probably my best loved BDSM book so far (I used to read het a long time ago) 😀 The blurb for Mr. Benson looks very promising.

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    I read a lot of BDSM but most of the books are not worth the money.

    Reply
    • Well let’s just say Joey W. Hill was gentle well mannered BDSM Romance this is the raw masculine original 70s style Mr Drummer type Gay BDSM Romance so let’s just say the BDSM sex scenes go all the way to 11. Joey W. Hill is Pearl Jam and John Preston is The Rolling Stones on a coke binge around 1972.

      Reply
      • TP
        I love this analogy.

        >>so let’s just say the BDSM sex scenes go all the way to 11. Joey W. Hill is Pearl Jam and John Preston is The Rolling Stones on a coke binge around 1972.< < * Since the Stones is my fave rock band I think your Mr.Benson is in safe hands. 😀

        Reply

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