Trans Rights Readathon – Recommendations

I’m participating in the Trans Rights Readathon, sparked by authour Sim Kern, on tiktok, so if you’d like to sponsor my reading, please check out my fundraiser. I will be fundraising for Skipping Stone and Trans Wellness. Skipping Stone is an organization in Alberta that connects trans and gender diverse youth, adults, and families with low barrier access to the support they need and deserve. Trans Wellness is a mental wellness organization that provides low barrier support to individuals and families in Ontario.

I have had the privilege and delight of reading a lot of books by a lot of different Trans and Non-binary authours over the years and I wanted to share some recommendations. You may find my summaries minimalistic, but I like to keep things simple, and my reviews don’t usually include a synopsis because they’re easy enough to find on the book review sites. I hope that you’ll find this list helpful, and perhaps find some new to you authours to follow.

Some disclaimers: all authours below have claimed trans or non-binary identity publicly in some way, all books below have potentially triggering content, which you can find more specific details of on their Storygraph pages which I will link to. This list is not comprehensive at all, but some of the books I wanted to share with others.

So, in no particular order, let’s begin:

Unstoppable Series by Charlie Jane Anders

You really cannot go wrong with anything from Charlie Jane Anders, but this is a great time to get into the Unstoppable Series; The final book of the trilogy is coming out on April 11, 2023. Read the first two books (Victories Greater than Death, Dreams Bigger than Heartbreak) during the readathon, and get excited for book three, Promises Stronger than Darkness.

I had the opportunity to read Promises Stronger than Darkness as an e-arc, and I was very happy with how the series played out. It’s a book I would have loved as a young person, and as a result, I think it has a significant amount to offer us adults that maybe didn’t see ourselves in books growing up.

Read it if: just do it. but also, you like space operas, found family, space princesses!, unexpected heroes, villainous villains, great character development and communication, mostly queernorm, adventure.
Content Notes: Yes, please check storygraph for this series.
Other great books by this authour: Genuinely, all of them, that said, my other absolute favourite is All the Birds in the Sky. I’m hoping to read Never Say You Can’t Survive during the readathon.

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

I read this book and it’s lived rent free ever since it came out. It’s simply so so very good, but also bleak? But also desperately good. The book is set on a ship heading to “the promised land.” It sort of functions as a sci-fi version of American enslavement and the Antebellum south, but on a ship where escape seems impossible. I’m not going to say more – there is a lot going on, and it’s just an exceptional and gutting, and will probably make you think.

Read it if you like: unlikely heroes, mysteries, dystopia.
Content Notes: Yes.
Other Great Books: The Deep. I’m planning on reading Sorrowland during the Readathon.

Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Featuring a trans woman virtuoso violinist, a Faustian bargain, aliens, a donut shop, and a battle between good and evil. It’s GREAT. I don’t want to ruin it for you. It was just entirely a delight.

Read it if you like: love, triumph, identity, found family.
Content Notes: Yes.
Other Great Books: We have The Great Space Adventure written by Ryka Ayoki and illustrated by Cai L. Steele. (This book is for kids, published by the phenomenal Flamingo Rampant and is absolutely gorgeous.)

Seeds for the Swarm by Sim Kern

I’m not just adding Sim’s work because they sparked this whole readathon, but because I genuinely enjoyed Seeds from the Swarm. I thought the world was brilliantly created world, based on our own possible outcomes, in a way that was entirely believable – it was full of potential while not deifying anyone. I’m looking forward to the next books in the series. (you can read my review of this one here if you want to)

Read it if you like: solar punk, speculative fiction, potential, disaster baby queers, queernorm, to start a series that is still in progress.
Content Notes: Yes.
Other Great Books: Depart! Depart! was the first book I read from Sim Kern, which got me interested in following their work, and also one of their wonderful publisher’s Stelliform Press. Sim’s short story collection, Real Sugar is Hard to Find is full of possibilities, and I’m going to keep my eye out for Free People’s Village on netgalley and/or elsewhere.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Ever since I read Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi has been an authour I just automatically pre-order – I haven’t ever been disappointed by any of their incredible work, and their range is nearly unbelievable. Jumping around from romance, to young adult, to fantasy, to memoir, to adult contemporary, to poetry, they’re just great. Pet was their first young adult novel, followed by the prequel Bitter, which is also worth checking out in the order they were published.

Read it if you like: good vs evil, magical realism, queernorm
Content Notes: Yes
Other Great Books: All of them. But if you’re looking for something unexpected in the romance genre, their romance novel You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty is an absolute journey through grief and art, and also entirely delightful (though also very spicy).

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White

A friend recommended this book to me recently and wow it was incredible. Absolute religious dystopia full of monsters, body horror, and religious trauma BUT also full of absolutely righteous anger and triumph – it’s so powerful and worth reading.

Hell Followed with Us is a debut book from Andrew Joseph White, but judging by this piece, he’s an authour to follow.

Read it if you like: righteous anger, found community in dystopia
Content Notes: YES.
Other Great Books: He’s got so many good looking books coming up over the next few years, watch his work!

Little Fish by Casey Plett

Little Fish is about a young Winnipeg trans woman struggling with friendship and sex work while investigating whether her Mennonite grandfather also might have been trans. Casey Plett has written several lovely, and this is but one of them. So if you haven’t read her work yet, it’s time!

Read it if you like: small(ish) town trans life, solving family secrets, imperfect but very real characters, stories that ache.
Content Notes: Yes
Other Great Books: All of them. I recently read A Dream of a Woman, which was her newest, and a short story collection.

LitenVerse Series by Nino Cipri

LitenVerse Series has two novellas in it – Defekt and Finna – and both are twisty mind bending searing critique of capitalism and worker treatment, and it’s dark and dreary at times, but also fantastic. I love a funny, queer, anti-capitalist adventure through the multiverse, and you can too! I was happy there were two books, and from the perspectives they chose.

Read it if you like: to laugh, to travel through space time, you like having your expectations turned upside down and inside out.
Content Notes: Yes

A Country of Ghosts by Margaret Killjoy

I picked this book up when it was republished by AK Press as part of their Black Dawn Series – which is an exciting series in and of itself, “focused on honouring anarchist traditions and explores themes that do not reinforce dependency on oppressive forces and will generally express the values of antiracism, feminism, anticolonialism, and anticapitalism.”

Anyway, this novel is sort of a utopian alternative history novel. I especially enjoyed build out around Hronople. I felt very pulled into the world, like I was looking it through the eyes of Dimos Horacki (the cynical journalist narrator)

Read if you like: the idea of workable anarchism, sort of cynical characters that get pleasantly surprised by new possibilities.
Content Notes: Yes
Other Great Books: I have been enjoying her short story collection, We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow: And Other Stories and am aiming to finish it soon, and plan to read Escape from Incel Island during the readathon.

Small Beauty by jia quin wilson-yang

This 160 page novella packs a punch, and when I read it the first time I left having strong feelings, so when I see the cover, I think of those feelings, but I don’t remember the details. Please trust my vibes okay? Pick this book up.

Read if you like: Small town Ontario, stories that feature trans woman characters but aren’t transition stories, mysteries, explorations of ancestry and family history and identity.
Content Notes: Yes

Belly of the Beast by Da’Shaun L. Harrison

Last but not least, this is a non-fiction book looking at the intersection of fat phobia and anti-Black racism. It’s a small book, but mighty and may challenge some pre-conceptions you have or teach you something new.

Read it if you: want to destroy fatphobia, racism, sexism, and want to learn about the history of and interrelationship of all of those things.
Content Notes: Yes

So here are just a few suggestions for the Trans Rights Readathon of some of the books I’ve enjoyed over the last decade or so. For my next readathon related post, I’m planning to list off some of the books I’m hoping to read.