I found a copy of Stone Butch Blues in a bookstore in Ann Arbor and read it in my 20s. The story of butch Jess Goldberg grounded me in a feeling of context and lineage that is often missing from queer life. Physical copies of this out of print title are now rare, which is a shame. After fighting to get the rights to hir novel back, author Leslie Feinberg (who passed away in 2014) made this crucial text available for free online, because sie is a transgender revolutionary badass.
Very readable, however not an easy read. Serge chronicles his life as part of the anarchist movement in France, his imprisonment, his involvement in the Russian Revolution, and his exile. His observations are clear sighted and shocking, he paints humanistic thumbnail portraits of totalitarian giants- Lenin as a quite and argumentative ingenue, Trotsky the dynamic general of the civil war. Absolutely required reading for understanding the often obscured history of the 20th century.
This book exists in an in-between space, between genres. It is poetic and speaks to performance, encounter, disorientation and longing. A linguist arrives in a city called Ravicka that is inscrutable. The linguist speaks the language of the city Ravick, but is unable to communicate clearly with its inhabitants because the language requires complex gestures. There are so many beautiful sections and moments. The experiential unfolding of the disembodied and somatic experience of living under capitalism is described here like no other.
"Abolish the Wage System, Abolish the State! All Power to the Workers!" This is the text contained in the printers bug (a small symbol printed on items that are produced at union shops) of the Detroit Printing Co-Op, a collectively run print shop that operated in southwest Detroit from 1969-1979. Lorraine & Fredy Perlman (author of Against History, Against Leviathan) were founding members of the shop that printed Black & Red books includding the first English translation of Society of the Spectacle.
Cantoras (a slang word for lesbian) tells the stories of five queer women who survive the dictatorship in Uruguay in the 70s. This novel is the perfect read to remind you that we can get through hard times. Uplifting and beautiful while also bringing forward suppressed histories.
I love memoir, and I love when people are able to observe their lives and give it to us, it is so generous. This book is a gift that is also a hit of trans-acid. I am always blown away when people are able to observe their lives when they are living on the edge. T brings us there, into the messed up world of loving each other as trans people, as people who make art and try to survive.
Burroughs wrote a short story called the Popling that is highly disturbing but also compelling in that cannot-look-away, way. Imagine if the Popling was set in Houston, two boys find a fantasy creature. There is an erotic charge and their whole lives could change. Washington weaves stories about the everyday that are queer in the way that real life is- often heartbreaking in it's commonness and beauty.
If our goal is to survive the ecological catastrophe of our time- a hefty chunk of that burden is imaginary. In 1969 Monique Wittiq wrote Les Guérillères. This book is a series of prose-poems, short stanzas interrupted by pages that are lists of women's names. In Les Guérillères the revolution has already happened, the women are now free, they play games, they perform ceremonies and confound language. Just over one hundred pages this book is eco-sexual salve for the modern ADD brain, pure pleasure is imaging other ways to live.
A quiet psychological book set at the beginning of WWII in Amsterdam. Funny and wry, a tormented friendship between two women who live together, one is a lesbian and the other is in love with her, set in domestic space shattered by impending war and forbidden love, the writing shines.
Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask: Anishinaabe Botanical Teachings (Paperback)
Over five generations of Anishnaabe plant knowledge, ethnobotany, plant stories & recipes.
I couldn't put it down. The main character Awa is a smokewalker- she is able to travel on an unseen plane in this distopian adventure. Fans of Rothfuss & NK Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy will enjoy this epic adventure story that weaves in West African folklore & classic fantasy.
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
Inspired by a photograph that the author found. The photo captures Marlena Dietrich, Leni Riefenstahl & Anna May Wong together. The stories of the three stars captured in the photo are interwoven into a fictional account of what might have been. The writing shines, frank, haunting and queer.
Notorious SF Mission nightclub Esta Noche is no longer the iconic latinx club in the pulsing heart of the mission. The space that was once Esta Noche is now a sporty straight hipster bar. In this beautiful book Lopera interviews latina trans women and drag queens whose stories are mostly not written down and continue to be threatened with erasure & violence. A love letter to Trans Latinx artists.
Essential reading on the US/Mexico border & why & how the US has manufactured a crisis of death and suffering. This book explains why US border policy is not to keep people out, but to make it painful, costly, and deadly to have to cross the both arbritrary and all to real line.
"What is NPR afraid I'll do- insert a seditious comment into a synopsis of Madame Butterfly?" asks Lisa Simeone, who's NPR show was removed from distribution after she attended an occupy wall street demonstration. Lewis Wallace wrote this book about the myth of objectivity in journalism after being fired from the show Marketplace in 2016. Full of easy to dijest and vital history on the pervasive myth of neutrality.
Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security (City Lights Open Media) (Paperback)
You can tell Todd Miller is a journalist because he writes very compellingly. Both terrifying and hopeful, Miller documents a permaculture project on the border between Mexico and Texas, as well as climate activists in the Philipines and other global sites of conflict impacted by climate change. One of the best books I have read on climate change and borders.