Books that will make a guy come out as gay

You’re young. You’re impressionable. You’re eying your sister’s scarves. So your parents suggest you read more. Something to keep your hands busy! Little do Dad and Mom know: Books are the gateway drug to being gay.

I know the drill. I was this orphaned kid adopted by Texas fundamentalists. Not the kind with cool bands on stage. The really serious kind that worry about the end of the world. But I found worlds that end without CGI effects.

I read books… a lot of books. My list was super weird. It started with The Stepford Wives and went in all directions from there. But there are better ways to try and distract your mind. I know about them because I once had a psychotic break from reading too much. Talk about being gay!

Now that I’m on the other side of that, here are five well-loved books to read to get you out of the closet. Or to celebrate being gay all together. From literary classics to self-help trends, my inspiration comes from my recently released memoir Bookmarked: How the Great Works of Western Literature F*cked Up My Lifewhich flips the script on western literature and its false narratives that brought me to question my sexual identity.

1. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

Shorter: Dude slides into your DMs, you hook up a few times (forest sex! hot!), and the Puritans leave you alone for the rest of your life. Plus, you get to wear designer clothes. (Monograms!) And you even get a kid out of it. (Auto follow-back from the Brooklyn Instagays.)

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Cocktail parties! Morning coats! Great Neck! Sure, Jay Gatsby’s a bootlegger. Okay, he’s really from North Dakota. But aren’t all the best gays from states with ninety-degree angles? And those super witty friends of his. That big lawn on Long Island. You always wanted a place in the country. Okay, he’s married. They all are. But his wife has the hots for another guy, this jock Tom. That is, when she’s not in for electro shock. So, a possible threesome!

3. Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

Straight people are straight-up boring. This book will prove it. They yammer on about sweet potatoes and mumble shit about cornbread. Plus, they walk the hell all over creation just so they can be a dirt farmer in Georgia, rather than stick around the mountains of North Carolina, where all those hot otters in flannel own espresso bars in Asheville. No way you’d leave that scene. (Although, if you stay in the closet, Nicole Kidman could play you in the movie, so there is a serious trade-off.)

4. Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

This is the other thing straight people do: They love to buy great stuff, then feel guilty about it. They can shit on the best brocade, the finest velvet. Not you. This Japanese clean freak will clear the malls so the halls are wide open for your next spree. Besides, you spent years in the closet working on that collection of antique whisks and dough hooks. Read this book and you’ll realize it’s really a short step from those to a tragic hook-up off Grindr. Welcome to the family.

5. George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones

This one’s more advanced, for when you’re sort of out, just not enough for a real gay. Start with any book in the series. Doesn’t matter which one. They’re all a zillion pages long with leather daddies and lipstick lesbians talking like frat boys think Shakespeare would. Once you’ve read the tome, you can get into fascinatingly long, late-night conversations with that hot straight bae you’ve been eying for weeks. A few beers in, he’ll be talking about some chick riding dragons. Casually mention Renly or Oberyn and before you know it, he’s curious. Downside: the crying afterwards. Keep a box of tissues handy.

About the author

Mark Scarbrough is a New York Times bestselling cookbook author, half of the duo with Bruce Weinstein who've written such titles as THE INSTANT POT BIBLE and THE ESSENTIAL AIR FRYER COOKBOOK. 

Before all that, he was an academic who lectured on lit until he lost everything because he couldn't stop living the plots that had been put in his head. 

BOOKMARKED, his memoir, is the first book he's published on his own and a guide to the ultimate question: how can I be who I am when others are always telling me who I am. Learn more on his website

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