Alexis Caught: Books that changed my life

Reader's Digest Editors 20 July 2022

Alexis Caught is an award-winning podcaster, therapist and author of Queer Up: an Uplifting Guide to LGBTQ+ Love, Live and Mental Health

Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin book cover

For my 16th birthday, my mother gifted me this landmark piece of LGBTQ+ fiction. She gave it to me with quiet, yet excited, reverence as she had enjoyed the series over the years and was now sharing it with me.

"The characters’ love and support for one another and sense of queer joy gave heart to me"

In these books, you meet a beautiful, charismatic, and touching “logical family” who are drawn from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum (and allies), while the events of the 1970s, Eighties, Nineties, Noughties and lately the Tens play out.

The characters’ love and support for one another and sense of queer joy gave heart to me as an isolated gay teenager, and something to hope for my future.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl book cover

Sometimes books come along and they’re exactly what you need at that point in your life.

Written by Frankl about his time as a prisoner in the concentration camps of the Second World War, there are many powerful words, insights and observations.

"He, who has a why to live for, can bear with almost any how"

The one which leapt out of the page and burned itself into my mind forever, though, was “He, who has a why to live for, can bear with almost any how”.

I read it at a point in my life where I had just begun to make sense of some dark times, and it helped with my framing, my understanding and my drive forward.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman book cover

I inherited a love of Tolkien from my dad, but this was the first fantasy series I had for myself.

I love that Pullman knows that young readers can handle big topics and includes critiques of religious dogma, control and patriarchal power all wrapped up in a beautiful and tender coming of age story.

"Pullman knows that young readers can handle big topics and includes critiques of religious dogma, control and patriarchal power"

I re-read it once a year, and I shed a tear every time.

The series has become even more important to me in times of rising hate where Pullman, unlike other some other authors, continues to be a beacon for a better, more inclusive and safer future, protecting and amplifying the messages—and legacy—of his work.

Listen to Alexis Caught on award-winning podcast Qmmunity. His book Queer Up: an Uplifting Guide to LGBTQ+ Love, Live and Mental Health is out now.

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