As you may have seen if you frequent TikTok or Instagram, this week has been declared by many on bookish bits of the internet to be a trans rights readathon, raising awareness of trans stories and authors, and donating to some great causes, all while celebrating some amazing books.
While we may not be page counting or tracking numbers of books read, here at Nerds of a Feather we wanted to do our bit and join in, so we've come up with a list of books we wanted to highlight, celebrate or look forward to that are by trans or nb authors and/or include trans and nb stories.
If you are interested in donating, there are also some orgs that could use your support:
And here are the books:
Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill (they/them).
Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (previously reviewed by Adri here)
Ryka Aoki’s debut Light From Uncommon Stars is at its heart a story of trans joy. Set around a legendary violinist who is bound to deliver seven of her students’ souls to hell and an alien-run donut shop in San Francisco, the book introduces readers to Katrina Nguyen, seventh student - and trans woman, shunned by family and friends. Aoki manages to weave a strand of hopeful comfort that draws out moments of acceptance and love in a story that has a lot of potential to be dark. Her greatest strength as an author is to bring out emotions, with the book’s highlight being not a dramatic revelation but the moment Katrina first gets to try on and buy a dress that fits her and is gender-affirming. I cried. That scene alone should have clinched Aoki last year’s Hugo for this novel - which she was up for. It also bears mentioning that she herself is the loveliest, most joyful person I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She is so thrilled to be a part of this community, to be read and to have written a book that resonates with readers. And that makes me want to get even more people to read this masterpiece.
The Machineries of Empire trilogy by Yoon Ha Lee
Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire trilogy is a superbly imaginative tale of empire and resistance, a science fantasy book in which the space-empire's power is maintained through a central calendar, and when rebels begin to indulge in calendrical heresy, the laws of the universe begin to change. Start with Ninefox Gambit.
Politics, magic, talking animals, a quest to bring back dragons: This is classic high epic fantasy, with tragedy and grandeur and, yes, it must be admitted, some whiney teen boy angst. The world that Hobb has created in this trilogy extends across multiple series in a cycle called the Realm of the Elderlings, and it is exquisitely crafted, with different nations, creatures, politics, and magics. Throughout all the books and trilogies and tales we have the Fool, a gender fluid source of wisdom, a catalyst for events, and a guiding thread that connects everything together.
Deep Wheel Orcadia follows Astrid as she returns to her home station in the fringes of deep space, reacquainting herself with family and old faces and a life she left behind for her studies, and Darling, who finds herself there while running from a life and identity she never wanted, interspersed with snippets of the viewpoints of others who live on the station. It's a haunting and emotionally vivid story told in a collection of poems in the Orkney dialect of Scots, weaving in themes of homecoming and estrangement, love and loss. A skillful synthesis of narrative, poetry and translation, it was one of the most beautiful things I read in 2022, and really quite unlike anything else. You may need to sit with it to digest what you're reading and take it slow to really linger on the poems, but if you do, it's well worth the effort. The audiobook is also beautifully read by the author, and I cannot recommend strongly enough listening to it while reading the physical text at the same time.