Amateur by Thomas Page McBee

In his memoir Amateur, Thomas Page McBee tackles the masculinity crisis and toxic masculinity, drawing from his own experiences as a trans man. McBee's insights complement the works of both Julia Serano and Brené Brown. If you're like me and the thought of reading about boxing makes your eyes glaze over, don't worry - it's honestly not too bad, and he connects it to broader, truly important points. This was so compelling that I listened to the audiobook straight through. Even though I was left feeling grieved at the end, I also had a lot of points to mull over, things I'd never considered before. Amateur is the kind of book that sparks compassion, encourages discussion, and effects change.

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Universal Love by Alexander Weinstein

I loved Weinstein's Children of the New World, so I was eager to read this title. The speculative stories in Universal Love imagine how future technology will impact humanity; how we survive, how we come to know ourselves, and how we connect to each other. The premises seem far-fetched, but terrifyingly not the more you read. I enjoyed every single story, but "Beijing" and "Comfort Porn" were my favorites by far. LGBTQ+ folks who've been made to feel that living authentically creates problems for others will be moved by "Beijing." "Comfort Porn" frankly explores social media's effects on friendship and human connection, especially in a capitalist society that reduces people to transactions. Universal Love was everything I love in speculative…

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Things You Leave Behind by M.L. Kennedy

First off, how about that retro cover?! As I read M.L. Kennedy's Things You Leave Behind, I kept thinking, yeah, this is good. I'm enjoying myself, I'm turning the pages, eager to find out what's going on. And then the end was SO profound for me, I can't put it into words. It tied the whole book together, and it's one of those endings that I think will mean something different to each reader. Two things kept this from being 5 stars for me: 1) A brief conversation about gender identity occurs between Angela and Susan. It's realistically clunky, but in a way that felt bad to read and perpetuated outdated views instead of correcting them. 2) Angela uses a…

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