A Little Life shirt

‘Queer Eye’ Star Antoni Porowski’s 6 Book Recommendations

If you’ve binge-watched the new Netflix Queer Eye reboot, you know who Antoni Porowski is. As the show’s food and wine expert, Porowski offers cooking advice and recipes in each episode. But it’s not his cooking skills that I noticed upon my first watch— it was a T-shirt. The shirt says “Jude & JB & Willem & Malcolm,” the names of four characters from Hanya Yanagihara’s 2015 novel A Little Life. In addition to his literary wardrobe, Porowski has posted on Instagram and spoken in interviews about his favorite reads. Check out his top six below!


1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara


A Little Life cover

Image via Goodreads


“At the end of the day, it’s a story about showing up for somebody who doesn’t even believe in themselves, which is exactly what we do on the show,” Porowski explained in an interview with Vulture. Yanagihara’s novel focuses on four college classmates as they move to New York City. It’s a story of male friendship, addiction, and abuse, but Porowski says the main message of the book is kindness. 


2. The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs


The Velvet Rage cover

Image via Goodreads


In an Instagram post, Porowski quotes author and psychologist Alan Downs, “Gay men are the worldwide experts on style, fashion, etiquette, bodybuilding, art, and design. In every one of these fields gay men predominate. If this weren’t so, there would be few tuning in to the hit television show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” In The Velvet Rage, Downs offers tales of his own struggle with rage and shame, as well as research and stories from his patients. The result is an empowering book that offers practical strategies for those “growing up gay in a straight man’s world.”


3. My Struggle: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard


My Struggle: Book 1 Cover

Image via Amazon


Porowski told Vulture that prior to picking up A Little Life, he was reading My Struggle, six-volume autobiographical novel by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard. Though marketed as fiction, the novel reveals Knausgaard’s dark thoughts and the innermost details of his personal life. In fact, many of the names of his relatives remain unchanged. 


4. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman


Call Me By Your Name Cover

Image via Amazon


In a tweet, Porowski referred to Aciman’s novel as “one of my fave ’17 summer books.” The novel is set in 1980s Italy and centers around a romance between a teenage boy and the twenty-four-year-old man staying with him as a house guest for the summer. The film adaptation of the book won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, but make sure you read the book first!


5. In My Kitchen by Ted Allen


In My Kitchen Cover

Image via Amazon


Porowski first met Allen, the host of Food Network’s Chopped and the original Queer Eye food and wine expert, at his book signing in Brooklyn. After discovering that they lived across the street from one another, a friendship blossomed. This friendship paved the way for Porowski to eventually take over Allen’s Queer Eye legacy. Allen’s cookbook, In My Kitchen offers from-scratch recipes for dedicated and passionate cooks.


6. The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst


The Sparsholt Affair

Image via Penguin Random House


On his Instagram story, Porowski thanked A Little Life author Hanya Yanagihara for this recommendation. The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Holinghurst spans seven decades, telling a tale of family, art, and gay culture. The novel begins in 1940’s Oxford and ends in London in 2012, taking large leaps through time and leaving readers to fill in the gaps. 


Featured Image Via The Cut