Hello everyone, it's been a while since I've posted on this site, I started my MSc in renewables back in October and it took over my life a little, along with working and trying to get through lockdowns. All the researching and writing energy I usually put into this space is spent writing reports for my degree, hence the silence. But I have something a little different today, which I hope you like.

To be honest I debated whether to post this little set of reviews on this space at all, as it is very much about environmentalism more than personal things, but it is about personal things in many ways, it is about justice and opening horizons and learning things and I have no other place to put this blog post so here it sits. Also I asked people on twitter and they said yes so blame them.

Some of you may not know, but I am non-binary, and after years of trying to pretend I trying to slowly be more true to myself. So, in a bid to do that, as well as having watched enough Netflix to last a lifetime in the last 10 months, I decided to treat myself to a bunch of books either written by trans authors on trans issues, or with trans characters (or all three!). A Christmas present to myself, and I have now finished them1 It's been years since I've read books like this, and I'm not reading now stop, which is a joy in many ways. To read the types of stories I haven't in a very long time and to just get lost in books that remind me of life outside the room I've spend most of my time in for the last year.

There's a mix of novels, biographies, and even a little pocket book in here so I'm sure you'll find something of interest. All links to buy books are UK based independent LGBTQ+ bookshops! Right, let's get to it them.

Beyond the Gender Binar - Alok Vaid Menon

I could not wait to get my hands on this little book, I've followed Alok and their work on social media for quite a while now and their work has played a huge part in me accepting and loving myself and also learning about trans history, from body hair to gender policing. This book is a small pocket guide with some of Alok's experiences and musings, talking expression, creativity, the binary, and more.

 I read it in an evening, as soon as I received it, and though it started off a little difficult with Alok talking about experiences of transphobia, bullying, and a struggle to find themself I ended it feeling warm and loved. It's written in a way that feels like it's there both for trans people to feel that warmth and in a way to tell non-trans people about trans experience. It's small, but still pretty comprehensive.  Alok also regularly raises money to donate these books to schools to help teach kids about life beyond the gender binary, and has a pay it forward option on their website. Honestly I can't wait to see what Alok puts out next.

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl - Andrea Lawlor


This is one of those novels framed in such a way that you plop in and just read a snippet of someone's life as they navigate the world. A little chaotic, but also a lot of fun. As the title of the book suggests we follow Paul who can change his body at will, including his reproductive system. Switching himself to be more buff, better endowed, or into girl Paul (Polly). We follow Paul as he drifts through his twenties, attempting uni, working shit jobs, falling in love, and following his whims.

It's very queer, quite smutty at times, and has a load of characters that feel quite real in the way they're both lovable, and kind of annoying (Paul especially), but it has this essence that makes you keep reading.

Pet - Awaeke Emezi

Young Adult Fiction

This is a young adult novel that is right up my street, I loved it now, at 23, and I would have really loved it as a teenager. It's set in an almost Utopian future, following a non-verbal trans girl named Jam, exploring justice in a really interesting way. I finished it in an afternoon, something I definitely haven't done since I was a teenager, and can highly recommend it. The characters all feel really warm, yes even Pet in all it's creepy sinisterness, though it is gorey at times and deals with topics of abuse. 

I would go into more detail but I don't want to ruin even a single ounce of this book, it's a beautiful, easy read. A book with a fair few prizes to its name, and for good reason.

Yes you are trans enough - Mia Violet

Mia is a friend of mine, we met at The Real Catwalk in London back in 2018 and I bought her book shortly after. With very fond memories of basking in the sun in a park reading it. It's the story of Mia's life so far, in figuring out herself. Though it is sad at times it is also very witty and Mia never fails to make me laugh even when I probably should be crying. 

It's a book that is also incredibly kind to its reader, despite being mainly about Mia's life, and though when I first read the book I didn't consider myself trans the title definitely rings true for me now.

Mia is currently writing her second book and is very open online about her struggles with that, and with moving on from talking just about trans issues and struggles to truly being her wonderful, colourful, makeup loving, confident, self. Well, whenever that book happens to come out, I look forward to reading it too.

The Death of Vivek Oji -Akwaeke Emezi


Another wonderful book by Akwaeke Emezi (they're here twice for good reason), though this one is quite different to Pet. I can't say too much about it without giving details away but this book is as beautiful as it is sad.  It flits between timelines and as you read you reveal more and more details of the lives of Vivek. as well as Vivek's friends and family. Unravelling a story of life, of learning, of family, friendship, love, acceptance, and tragedy. 

Confessions of The Fox - Jordy Rosenburg


This book is a book within a book, which sometimes got a little confusing I won't lie, but was an incredibly interesting read. A story of 18th century jailbreak, thieving, and revolution, with a heap of queer theory and a lot of research put into it. Reminded me of classics like Sherlock Holmes but definitely from a different perspective, and definitely a lot more diverse, a lot smuttier, and a lot more queer. I learnt many many new words, and a bit about 18th century Britain as well. If you like a tale of adventure, especially a historic tale of adventure, I highly recommend this book.

In Their Shoes - Jamie Windust


Jamie is another person who's work I've followed for a while, and that I love. This book, like Alok's, feels like a warm hug, it talks though Jamie's own experiences being a femme non-binary person and navigating life while also giving advice to other non-binary people. It's thoughtful, it's kind, it's funny, vibrant and sometimes quite sad, quite painful. Each chapter ends with a little section of advice on how to just be your unapologetic non-binary self which is a warm touch. It was, however, uncomfortable for me in parts. Some of Jamie's own experiences hit a little too close to home...but that says more about my own relationship with myself than it does about Jamie's book.

Whether you're a person trying to figure yourself out of an ally wanting to know a bit more about non-binary people, this book is a great one.

And that's it for now, I have not bought myself a valentine's present of even more books that I'm speeding through so... it may be sooner rather than later that you see another post like this. A bit different to my usual environmental content but still something I love. Hope you enjoyed. Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think? Any recommendations for amazing trans books? Leave them in the comments. Until next time, ciao for now.

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