The Transgender Manifesto by Ian Thomas Malone

Ian Thomas Malone succinctly knocks down a wide swarth of talking points anti-trans activists use to attack trans folks in her book The Transgender Manifesto. Her perspective is unique and refreshing, brutally honest, but ultimately hopeful. The title fits perfectly - this really reads like a manifesto - and I am here for it. Her sense of humor comes through without watering down a vital message. You know those tracts fundamentalist conservative Christians leave in bookstores, bathrooms, on the RedBox machine...basically every public space they can? If Malone's brief chapters were printed as individual tracts, I'd be leaving those puppies all over the place for cis people to find. The Transgender Manifesto is a fantastic and important quick read.

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We Need To Talk by Celeste Headlee

I have to admit, We Need To Talk started off on the wrong foot with me. I had some issues with the way Headlee backed up her points, and I felt like I wasn't reading much new information. I also started to worry Headlee was advocating that "can't we put our differences aside and just try to get along" mindset that can actually be dangerous for marginalized folks. She wasn't, and I'm glad I pushed through the opening chapters, because my early frustrations were eventually cleared up. I ended up learning quite a bit and was left with a lot to think about. This book reminded me a lot of my late grandmother. She loved to debate. My family moved…

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Mr. Neutron by Joe Ponepinto

Joe Ponepinto's Mr. Neutron is a tricky one to sum up. It left my head spinning. I liked this book. It was funny and clever, it had twists and turns I didn't expect, but it wasn't exactly a page-turner for me (and that's probably because political fiction with deep satire are a little outside my comfort zone, reading-wise). I think my favorite aspect of the book is the main character, Gray. I could not stand him! He's misogynistic and ableist. Super cringey. But people are complicated, and the way the author portrays Gray really showed the depth of that. He's so very far from perfect, and that made him incredibly interesting. Mr. Neutron would make for a very lively book club…

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The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

Ariel Levy's writing in The Rules Do Not Apply is lush, her phrasing beautiful in a way similar to Cheryl Strayed. Levy shares a deeply personal, harrowing experience with brutal honesty. She conveys exactly how she felt without mincing words. That's significant, because talking about miscarriage is still such a taboo. Her openness is sure to help readers understand what others go through. That said, the memoir didn't feel cohesive overall. There were too many unconnected filler stories, and her privilege was painfully obvious time and time again. Trans folks, heads up in chapter 9 for blatant transphobia. The way the author refers to and talks about her trans friend is shockingly disrespectful and problematic. I thought she might have…

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Burn the Binary! and TRANS/gressive by Riki Wilchins

Burn the Binary!: Selected Writings on the Politics of Trans, Genderqueer and Nonbinary This collection of Wilchins' writings is provocative and thought-provoking. I felt like everything I thought I believed was being turned inside out and back again. Also, Wilchins seems to be speaking to others within the queer community, which felt like a big hug. I recently read Serano's Whipping Girl, and this was a perfect follow-up book for working through concepts that were still spinning their wheels in my mind. Love the hopefulness of this book, too! TRANS/gressive: How Transgender Activists Took on Gay Rights, Feminism, the Media & Congress...and Won! This is such a great book! It's a pretty thorough history of trans exclusion in both feminist…

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