Today is World Mental Health Day and I wanted to make this my last book recommendation collab of 2021. With a mixture of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, there is something for almost everyone. We tried to gather a selection of books with a variety of representation. Anxiety, Depression and Eating Disorders saturate publishing as ‘acceptable’ and ‘glamorous’ mental illnesses to have. Whilst we know that isn’t true, and all three are very difficult to deal with, I wanted to give my love to other conditions but found it a bit of a struggle to really find representation in books I hadn’t read. My list includes: Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Grief/Loss, Addiction/Alcohol Dependence, Eating Disorders, Gender related Dysphoria and mental health struggles. I would love to find more books around OCD, BPD, Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and other heavily demonised conditions, so if you know of any please leave the recommendation in the comments!
We Can Do Better Than This by Amelia Abraham: We talk about achieving ‘LGBTQ+ equality’, but around the world, LGBTQ+ people are still suffering discrimination and extreme violence. How do we solve this urgent problem, allowing queer people everywhere the opportunity to thrive? In We Can Do Better Than This, 35 voices explore this question. Through deeply moving stories and provocative new arguments on safety and visibility, dating and gender, care and community, they present a powerful manifesto for how – together – we can start to create a better future. GoodReads. Buy Here and support me too!
The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver:When Liam Cooper’s older brother Ethan is killed in a hit-and-run, Liam has to not only learn to face the world without one of the people he loved the most, but also face the fading relationship with his two best friends. Feeling more alone and isolated than ever, Liam finds themself sharing time with Marcus, Ethan’s best friend, and through Marcus, Liam finds the one person that seems to know exactly what they’re going through, for the better, and the worse. This book is about grief. But it’s also about why we live. Why we have to keep moving on, and why we should. GoodReads.
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs. Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher: Finally, after four hit novels, Carrie Fisher comes clean (well, sort of ) with the crazy truth that is her life in her first-ever memoir. In Wishful Drinking, adapted from her one-woman stage show, Fisher reveals what it was really like to grow up a product of “Hollywood in-breeding,” come of age on the set of a little movie called Star Wars, and become a cultural icon and bestselling action figure at the age of nineteen. Intimate, hilarious, and sobering, Wishful Drinking is Fisher, looking at her life as she best remembers it (what do you expect after electroshock therapy?). It’s an incredible tale: the child of Hollywood royalty—Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher—homewrecked by Elizabeth Taylor, marrying (then divorcing, then dating) Paul Simon, having her likeness merchandised on everything from Princess Leia shampoo to PEZ dispensers, learning the father of her daughter forgot to tell her he was gay, and ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed. GoodReads. Buy Here and support me too!
Biting Anorexia: A Firsthand Account of an Internal War by Lucy Howard Taylor: So begins Biting Anorexia, an extraordinary account of a teenage girl’s descent into the tortured existence of anorexia and her arduous, remarkable recovery. Much of this unflinchingly candid memoir is ripped directly from the pages of author Lucy Howard-Taylor’s diary as she struggled with the torturous condition, offering a rare glimpse into the thoughts and fears that grip the minds of those struggling with anorexia, the most fatal of all psychiatric illnesses. Tinged with a wicked sense of humor, Lucy’s beautifully written, penetrating insights capture the overpowering anxiety that comes with anorexia and reveal the challenge of recovery. This courageous and compelling story will inspire and support those troubled with the condition, and their family and friends, the world over. GoodReads.
Hungry by Crystal Renn: An inspiring and cautionary tale for women of all ages, Hungry is an uplifting memoir with a universal message about body image, beauty and self-confidence. GoodReads.
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz: Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown. Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself? GoodReads.
The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Phillipa Perry: The most influential relationships are between parents and children. Yet for so many families, these relationships go can wrong and it may be difficult to get back on track. In The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad that You Did), renowned psychotherapist Philippa Perry shows how strong and loving bonds are made with your children and how such attachments give a better chance of good mental health, in childhood and beyond. GoodReads. Buy Here and support me too!
WinterGirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory, and feeling guilty for not being able to help save her. In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all—hope. GoodReads.
Madness, Distress and the Politics of Disablement by Helen Spandler: This book explores the challenges of applying disability theory and policy, including the social model of disability, to madness and distress. It brings together leading scholars and activists from Europe, North America, Australia, and India, to explore the relationship between madness, distress, and disability. Whether mental health problems should be viewed as disabilities is a pressing concern, especially since the inclusion of psychosocial disability in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This book will appeal to policy makers, practitioners, activists, and academics. GoodReads. Buy Here and support me too!
The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk: Ironically, I’ve heard this writer was also abusive I’ll attach some links if I find them but I recommend buying this book second hand if possible. Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Such experiences inevitably leave traces on minds, emotions, and even on biology. Sadly, trauma sufferers frequently pass on their stress to their partners and children. Renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. GoodReads. Buy Here and support me too!
Gender Trauma by Alex Iantaffi: Exploring how the essentialism of the gender binary impacts on clients of all genders, this ground-breaking book examines how historical, social and culturally gendered trauma emerges in clinical settings. Weaving together systemic ideas, autoethnography, narrative therapy and somatic experiencing, the book charts the history of the gender binary and its roots in colonialism, as well as the way this culture is perpetuated intergenerationally, and the impact this trauma has on all bodies, gender identities and experiences. Featuring clinical vignettes, exercises and reflexive practices, this is an accessible and intersectional guide for professionals to develop their understanding of gender-derived trauma for supporting clients. Highlighting the importance of applying a trauma-informed approach in practice, this book provides insights as to how we can work towards collective healing, for future generations and for ourselves. GoodReads. Buy Here and support me too!
Heartstopper: Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…? Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner… Buy Here and support me too!
Radio Silence:What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong? Frances has been a study machine with one goal. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. Then Frances meets Aled, and for the first time she’s unafraid to be herself. So when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is caught between who she was and who she longs to be. Now Frances knows that she has to confront her past. To confess why Carys disappeared… Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has. Engaging with themes of identity, diversity and the freedom to choose, Radio Silence is a tour de force by the most exciting writer of her generation. Buy Here and support me too!
Solitaire: In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story. My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now. Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden. I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden. I really don’t. Buy Here and support me too!
I Was Born For This: For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world. Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare. Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be. Buy Here and support me too!
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Trans Britain: Our Journey From The Shadows by Christine Burns: Mentioned in my Trans Book Recs Blog post. Over the last five years, transgender people have seemed to burst into the public eye: Time declared 2014 a ‘trans tipping point’, while American Vogue named 2015 ‘the year of trans visibility’. From our television screens to the ballot box, transgender people have suddenly become part of the zeitgeist. This apparently overnight emergence, though, is just the latest stage in a long and varied history. The renown of Paris Lees and Hari Nef has its roots in the efforts of those who struggled for equality before them, but were met with indifference – and often outright hostility – from mainstream society. Trans Britain chronicles this journey in the words of those who were there to witness a marginalised community grow into the visible phenomenon we recognise today: activists, film-makers, broadcasters, parents, an actress, a rock musician and a priest, among many others. Here is everything you always wanted to know about the background of the trans community, but never knew how to ask. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay: From the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.” In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family by Garrard Conley: A beautiful, raw and compassionate memoir about identity, love and understanding. Now a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges, directed by Joel Edgerton.. The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness. By confronting his buried past and the burden of a life lived in shadow, Garrard traces the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds. GoodReads.Buy here and support me too!
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson: In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults. GoodReads.Buy here and support me too!
Nonbinary: Memoirs Of Gender and Identity by Micah Rajunov: What happens when your gender doesn’t fit neatly into the categories of male or female? Even mundane interactions like filling out a form or using a public bathroom can be a struggle when these designations prove inadequate. In this groundbreaking book, thirty authors highlight how our experiences are shaped by a deeply entrenched gender binary. The powerful first-person narratives of this collection show us a world where gender exists along a spectrum, a web, a multidimensional space. Nuanced storytellers break away from mainstream portrayals of gender diversity, cutting across lines of age, race, ethnicity, ability, class, religion, family, and relationships. From Suzi, who wonders whether she’ll ever “feel” like a woman after living fifty years as a man, to Aubri, who grew up in a cash-strapped fundamentalist household, to Sand, who must reconcile the dual roles of trans advocate and therapist, the writers’ conceptions of gender are inextricably intertwined with broader systemic issues. Labeled gender outlaws, gender rebels, genderqueer, or simply human, the voices in Nonbinary illustrate what life could be if we allowed the rigid categories of “man” and “woman” to loosen and bend. They speak to everyone who has questioned gender or has paused to wonder, What does it mean to be a man or a woman—and why do we care so much? GoodReads.
Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde: “Lorde seems prophetic, perhaps alive right now, writing in and about the US of 2017 in which a misogynist with white supremacist followers is president. But she was born in 1934, published her first book of poetry in 1968, and died in 1992. Black, lesbian and feminist; the child of immigrant parents; poet and essayist, writer and activist, Lorde knew about harbouring multitudes. Political antagonists tried, for instance, to discredit her among black students by announcing her sexuality, and she decided: “The only way you can head people off from using who you are against you is to be honest and open first, to talk about yourself before they talk about you.” Over and over again, in the essays, speeches and poems collected in Your Silence Will Not Protect You, Lorde emphasises how important it is to speak up. To give witness: “What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?” GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
Gender Explorers by Juno Roche: Life-affirming interviews with young trans people who share their empowering experiences of questioning and exploring gender. “I believe that children who are questioning and exploring their gender are the gender bosses that we all so desperately need. I believe that they are our future.” In this life-affirming, heartening and refreshing collection of interviews, young trans people offer valuable insight and advice into what has helped them to flourish and feel happy in their experience of growing up trans. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
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A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography Of A Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby and Mary Louise Plummer: Also Included in my Disabled Writers Rec List. A Two-Spirit Journey is Ma-Nee Chacaby’s extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby’s story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism. As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and by her teen years she was alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counselor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in her adopted city, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humor, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people. GoodReads.Buy here and support me too!
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Woman, and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman: In Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Saidiya Hartman examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. Free love, common-law and transient marriages, serial partners, cohabitation outside of wedlock, queer relations, and single motherhood were among the sweeping changes that altered the character of everyday life and challenged traditional Victorian beliefs about courtship, love, and marriage. Hartman narrates the story of this radical social transformation against the grain of the prevailing century-old argument about the crisis of the black family. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship that were indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading conditions of work. Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives recreates the experience of young urban black women who desired an existence qualitatively different than the one that had been scripted for them—domestic service, second-class citizenship, and respectable poverty—and whose intimate revolution was apprehended as crime and pathology. For the first time, young black women are credited with shaping a cultural movement that transformed the urban landscape. Through a melding of history and literary imagination, Wayward Lives recovers their radical aspirations and insurgent desires. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me by Janet Mock: Riveting, rousing, and utterly real, Surpassing Certainty is a portrait of a young woman searching for her purpose and place in the world—without a road map to guide her. The journey begins a few months before her twentieth birthday. Janet Mock is adjusting to her days as a first-generation college student at the University of Hawaii and her nights as a dancer at a strip club. Finally content in her body, she vacillates between flaunting and concealing herself as she navigates dating and disclosure, sex and intimacy, and most important, letting herself be truly seen. Under the neon lights of Club Nu, Janet meets Troy, a yeoman stationed at Pearl Harbor naval base, who becomes her first. The pleasures and perils of their union serve as a backdrop for Janet’s progression through her early twenties with all the universal growing pains—falling in and out of love, living away from home, and figuring out what she wants to do with her life. Despite her disadvantages, fueled by her dreams and inimitable drive, Janet makes her way through New York City while holding her truth close. She builds a career in the highly competitive world of magazine publishing—within the unique context of being trans, a woman, and a person of color. Long before she became one of the world’s most respected media figures and lauded leaders for equality and justice, Janet was a girl taking the time she needed to just be—to learn how to advocate for herself before becoming an advocate for others. As you witness Janet’s slow-won success and painful failures, Surpassing Certainty will embolden you, shift the way you see others, and affirm your journey in search of self. GoodReads.
Redefining Realness: My Path To Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More by Janet Mock: In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America. Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world. This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself. Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself. GoodReads.Buy here and support me too!
Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History by Blair Imani: An inspiring and radical celebration of 70 women, girls, and gender nonbinary people who have changed–and are still changing–the world, from the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall riots through Black Lives Matter and beyond. With a radical and inclusive approach to history, Modern HERstory profiles and celebrates seventy women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change in a bold, colorful, illustrated format for all ages. Despite making huge contributions to the liberation movements of the last century and today, all of these trailblazers come from backgrounds and communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-celebrated: not just women, but people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, young people, and people of faith. Authored by rising star activist Blair Imani, Modern HERstory tells the important stories of the leaders and movements that are changing the world right here and right now–and will inspire you to do the same. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability by Robert McRuer: Crip Theory attends to the contemporary cultures of disability and queerness that are coming out all over. Both disability studies and queer theory are centrally concerned with how bodies, pleasures, and identities are represented as “normal” or as abject, but Crip Theory is the first book to analyze thoroughly the ways in which these interdisciplinary fields inform each other. Drawing on feminist theory, African American and Latino/a cultural theories, composition studies, film and television studies, and theories of globalization and counter-globalization, Robert McRuer articulates the central concerns of crip theory and considers how such a critical perspective might impact cultural and historical inquiry in the humanities. Crip Theory puts forward readings of the Sharon Kowalski story, the performance art of Bob Flanagan, and the journals of Gary Fisher, as well as critiques of the domesticated queerness and disability marketed by the Millennium March, or Bravo TV’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. McRuer examines how dominant and marginal bodily and sexual identities are composed, and considers the vibrant ways that disability and queerness unsettle and re-write those identities in order to insist that another world is possible. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
Desiring Desirability: Queer Theory Meets Disabled Studies by Robert McRuer: In multiple locations, activists and scholars are mapping the intersections of queer theory and disability studies, moving issues of embodiment and desire to the center of cultural and political analyses. The two fields are premised on the idea that the categories of heterosexual/homosexual and able-bodied/disabled are historically and socially constructed. Desiring Disability: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies explores how the frameworks for queer theory and disability studies suggest new possibilities for one another, for other identity-based frameworks of activism and scholarship, and for cultural studies in general. Topics include the study of “crip theory” and queer/disabled performance artists; the historical emergence of normalcy and parallel notions of military fitness that require both the production and the containment of queerness and disability; and butch identity, transgressive sexual practices, and rheumatoid arthritis. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
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I Will Not Be Erased: Our Stories About Growing Up As People Of Colour by Gal-Dem: Fourteen joyous, funny and life-affirming essays from gal-dem, the award-winning magazine created by young women and non-binary people of colour. gal-dem, the award-winning online and print magazine, is created by women and non-binary people of colour. In this thought-provoking and moving collection of fourteen essays, gal-dem’s writers use raw material from their teenage years – diaries, poems and chat histories – to explore growing up. gal-dem have been described by the Guardian as “the agents of change we need”, and these essays tackle important subjects including race, gender, mental health and activism, making this essential reading for any young person. GoodReads.
Female Husbands: A Trans History by Jen Manion: Recommended by my friend Piper! Long before people identified as transgender or lesbian, there were female husbands and the women who loved them. Female husbands — people assigned female who transed gender, lived as men, and married women — were true queer pioneers. Moving deftly from the colonial era to just before the First World War, Jen Manion uncovers the riveting and very personal stories of ordinary people who lived as men despite tremendous risk, danger, violence, and threat of punishment. Female Husbands weaves the story of their lives in relation to broader social, economic, and political developments in the United States and the United Kingdom, while also exploring how attitudes towards female husbands shifted in relation to transformations in gender politics and women’s rights, ultimately leading to the demise of the category of ‘female husband’ in the early twentieth century. Groundbreaking and influential, Female Husbands offers a dynamic, varied, and complex history of the LGBTQ past. GoodReads. Buy here and support me as well!
Gender Outlaws: the Next Generation by Kate Bornstein: There are several books by this author of similar titles, I recommend you check them all out! In the 15 years since the release of Gender Outlaw, Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking challenge to gender ideology, transgender narratives have made their way from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today’s transgenders and other sex/gender radicals are writing a drastically new world into being. In Gender Outlaws, Bornstein, together with writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, collects and contextualizes the work of this generation’s trans and genderqueer forward thinkers — new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world’s most respected mainstream news sources. Gender Outlaws includes essays, commentary, comic art, and conversations from a diverse group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives. GoodReads.
Eat, Gay, Love by Calum McSwiggan: In the spring of 2012, Calum finds himself single again after his relationship of six years comes to an end. Heartbroken, unhappy and unsure of what to do next, he leaves the hometown he has been in all his life to embark on a journey that takes him all around the world, from teaching in a school on the outskirts of Rome to exploring the sex clubs of Berlin, to raising tigers in an animal sanctuary deep in the jungles of Thailand. Along the way, he meets LGBT+ people from all walks of life and every part of the rainbow – from an Italian teenager struggling with a homophobic father to a kathoey navigating life as a trans person in Thailand, to a young HIV-positive man living on the streets of London. Their individual stories, not only of hardship and sorrow but also of profound strength and hope, show the breadth and depth of queer life and experience, shedding light on themes such as homophobia, sexual violence, marriage equality and gender identity. Through these meetings and friendships, Calum not only finds the encouragement to embrace life after heartbreak, but also discovers a beautiful, loving global community who support and uplift him through the best and worst moments of his time on the road. A travel memoir with a difference, Eat, Gay, Love is a celebration of the power of community and a personal tribute to the extraordinary lives of LGBT+ people everywhere in the world. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin: A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle…all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-binary Life by Jamie Windust: “There is no one way to be non-binary, and that’s truthfully one of the best things about it. It’s an identity that is yours to shape.” Combining light-hearted anecdotes with their own hard-won wisdom, Jamie Windust explores everything from fashion, dating, relationships and family, through to mental health, work and future key debates. From trying on clothes in secret to iconic looks, first dates to polyamorous liaisons, passports to pronouns, Jamie shows you how to navigate the world and your evolving identity in every type of situation. Frank, funny, and brilliantly feisty, this must-read book is a call to arms for non-binary self-acceptance, self-appreciation and self-celebration. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!
I thought it would be a nice idea to talk through the NetGalley ARCs I’ve been reading recently. I did do a reading vlog on my channel you can watch, but it didn’t get a lot of traction when it comes to views so trying it out on the blog and seeing how it does here. Some of the books I talk about on instagram or probably still on my channel depending on how I felt about them, but for the most part I just review them on NetGalley and mark them as read on my GoodReads (reading goals to get to yanno!) I’ve been in and out of a reading slump recently it feels because I have had a lot going on in my life when it comes to creative projects and trying to make sales to support my needs, but these are all the NetGalley ARCs I’ve read so far and my general thoughts and opinions. I have a reading wrap up video up for February and March which includes a lot of these books too, and then a more recent video about my Recent 5 Star Reads with a lot of the ARCs I enjoyed best, and a reading vlog of trying to up my NetGalley ratings. All for you to have a watch and see if you prefer my content written, or as a video! Don’t forget to follow here and subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert: I made a whole reading vlog talking about my reactions I recommend you watch! This was such a fun read and something I really needed! I love that the book showed two very different outward expressions of autism traits but how Neurodivergent people can understand each other in ways Neurotypical people can’t always do. I felt very seen by Eve as I am also an undiagnosed autistic. It was so lovely to read such a subtle and authentic creation about autistic people, love, and characters, as well as the struggles they faced.I related to both the main character and the love interest a lot! You don’t need to read the other books in the series to understand anything, it would probably add some context and Easter eggs but that didn’t inhibit my enjoyment. It did make me want to go and read the other two books though! (Get a Life Chloe Brown, Take a Hint Dani Brown) Highly recommend!!!
My Sister Daisy by Adria Karlsson: This one is hard to explain how I feel. It decentres the trans character, the marketing keeps misgendering the trans character. The images are of a Black family, but the writer is white and so is the artist… it feels a bit ‘look how inclusive we are’ without really being inclusive. Also the author contacted me through my facebook page about my feedback, and whilst the interaction was okay, I think generally this shouldn’t be done.
Ace of Spades Sneak Peak by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé: The sneak peak was really exciting, really disclosed more about the book than I previously understood and has solidified the books space on my TBR/wish list. Also the two main characters are both queer, always love that.
You Don’t Have To Be Everything by Diana Whitney (editor): I liked the idea of this book, I know one of these poems was by a trans woman writer, I am unsure if there is a trans man/nonbinary writer in this too I hope not as this is a poetry book for young girls and women. The contradiction of including trans writers and having a poem that’s very bio-essentialist in it’s feminism and discussing women’s bodies which was extremely explusionary of trans women. And there was a poem promoting the ‘not like other girls’ cliche rather than promoting loving all girls and women for their differences.
Dead Sea by Mia Kerick: definitely not written for a queer audience. Doesn’t seem to have any real understanding of queer sex between boys, also these are roughly 17 year old boys… and this not feeling written for a queer audience and not written for a YA audience, I have a few issues there. Also the book generally didn’t make any sense? The main plot was the main character was caught dressed up as a character in a gay bar, it wasn’t the fact he was at a gar bar that was the issue, it was his outfit. This book basically talks about this as if cosplaying doesn’t exist.
Dogs of Devtown by Taylor Hohulin: This was a surprise for me. I’ve never read a sci-fi book all the way through until this. I’m always sceptical of men writing women main characters, but I felt like it was done really well. I really enjoyed the plot and the elements of mystery helped keep me interested. Very visual, and very easy to follow along. I enjoyed the three main characters a lot, they were all very different to each other. I’m pretty sure there is a second book coming from the prologue.
She Memes Well by Quinta Brunson: A book for the internet memers. An Interesting memoir of how Quinta accidentally became internet famous. A lot of social commentary as well and a look into the experiences of a Black woman in the comedy/performing industry. I skipped a couple of chapters that were like listicles, one was a chapter of songs… I just wans’t interested in those bits. I did find the end of the book was a bit long and felt like it carried on.
Boys Run The Riot vol 1 by Keito Gaku: A book I keep recommending. A manga by a trans man and about a trans man. These two kids in school start a fashion brand coz no one else is interested in the same things they are so a random selection of weirdo’s join forces and start designing clothes and setting up their site. I don’t think this plot is for me, but I don’t think there was anything wrong with it. I keep promoting it as I don’t think I have ever read a manga by a trans person or with a trans character (and i mean trans characters not, cross dressing for laughs).
The Dream Team: Jaz Santos vs The World by Priscilla Mante: This was such a fun little book. Middle Grade based in my hometown Brighton! An Own Voices book, the main character Jaz is Black and so is the writer. Jaz loves football but is always mocked by the boys and none of her friends who are girls want to play, until there’s a way to show the boys up and enter the local football competition. Amazing. This is going to be a series so I think I need to buy these to be totally honest, two sets. One for me and one for my friend’s kids. I also identified a lot of myself in Jaz and I believe she shows a lot of ADHD traits, I’m interested to see if this becomes canon and if it will be added to the commentary of racism, sexism, etc. the book already discusses.
Dear Azula, I Have A Crush On Danny Phantom by Azura Tyabji: this was a fun and very short poetry book using characters in cartoons and pop culture and how they affected the writers, either discovering their sexuality, gender, or finding a character that reminded them of themselves, etc. Created by Button Poetry.
The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver:Check out this video, I did a reading vlog for the book tour. This is a YA about familial grief but also a little bit romantic grief. From the POV of Lee, their brother dies in a freak accident and everything changes. There’s a huge emphasis on kids relationships with parents, a teenagers relationship with friends and when to call it quits on toxic friends, and how to find closure/cope with losing a family member you didn’t know as well as you thought. Heartbreaking, I cried a bunch.
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean: This was a really enjoyable read. You can check out my original review on my instagram. I loved Princess Diaries films, and this book gives off that vibe but with the beautiful and rich culture and history of Japan.
Artie and the Wolf Moon: This was super fun! I love werewolf stories and the main character having my name might have helped me pick this one up ! :’) but I’m glad I read it. The art style reminded me on the walking dead games, I loved the colour palette so much! Also, anything gay gets extra points! I love Artie and her mum, and their little werewolf family. It was a fun but emotional read, I think I would really like to continue reading this graphic novel! Give the review on my insta a like.
Finding The Wolf by Mell Eight: An accidental erotica selection. Wasn’t well written, didn’t make a lot of sense, hard reaching for a lot of the plot. I loved the premise of a dragon falling in love with a Prince with the werewolf spin, it just wasn’t well executed.
Sick Girl Secrets by Anna Russell: This book was pretty simple and short. Not amazin writing or literature, but I included it in my Disabled writers blog post as the writer is disabled and this book specifically is about a disabled young girl in school. They were kind of like poetry but without much rhyming.
Glass Syndrome by Eiko Ariki: A queer romance manga, the characters are in highschool and it isn’t graphic, more of a fade to black moment. It’s nice to read more manga that is meant to be LGBTQ+ as many manga use it as a joke or a random thing mentioned in the character profile but never anywhere else or actually in plot. I would like to read more written by LGBTQ+ manga writers though, but so far I haven’t found any with plots and characters that interest me.
Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Rebecca Podos: Recently reviewed on my instagram as well, not usually the kind of book I pick up as I don’t usually enjoy anthologies or short story books. This is a book with lots of diverse stories, LGBTQ+ characters and romance, but also a few straight romance stories, BIPOC characters and a mixture of cultural backgrounds. Most of the stories I really enjoyed and felt they were fun spins on the prompt they used, but there were a handful that felt rush, unfinished, or didn’t link to the prompt at all. If it wasn’t for those few stories, this would be a five star for me. But I still highly recommend as I enjoyed reading different genres and from different writers. Definitely for you if you enjoy short romantic one-shots.
Drõmfrangil by Cynthia McDonald: Ooft this one was bad. I went to read it because it was written by a disabled person and has a disabled main character, but the writing was poor. Lazy info dumping sessions regularly throughout instead of weaving the information through the text better. Dodgy terminology. Pacing was very weird and off. And it was very boring having the human main characters constantly explaining words to the magical creatures. A lot of it was outdated slang which made the characters hard to believe to be real. hard NO. Also why I didn’t include it in my Disabled writers blog.
Carmilla by J Sheridan Lefanu: Another Classic I didn’t enjoy. Still searching for a classic novel I enjoy. Even though this was a short book, it took me two weeks to get through because it was very dull. Slow pace until 70% where another character basically told the same story we just read but in three chapters, and then suddenly everything happened all at once and that was the end.
How do I get all these free book ARCS? I’ve signed up to NetGalley and this is my main mode of reading ARCs, I am also signed up with a few booktours who have provided me with free physical and digital ARCs as well, and occasionally I have worked directly with a publisher if I have seen their call out on Twitter.
Please check out my Kofi and consider donating if you enjoy my content, I now have Memberships available on kofi! £1 a month is the current basic tier, access to my spam instagram account, a shout out in one video a month, and some behind the scenes info and content! I also have the book club tier for £1.50 a month which is the same as tier one but plus the reading and book content! Subscribe to my YouTube if you enjoy your book content in video format too. Don’t forget to follow my blog as well! Have you read any ARCs this year? Let me know what they are in a comment below!
I hope everyone has had a good disability pride month! It’s been hard for me for many reasons, but I wanted to bring you a small collab of 70+ disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill writers to go and support! Many people on the list are smaller indie writers and some do not yet have a book out but have one coming. One thing I have learned since realising I am also disabled is that people do not listen to disabled people, let alone multiply marginalised disabled people. Many of the writers on this list are also multiply marginalised, some multiply disabled, some may not even identify with the word disabled which is why I have tried to make the greater post specific to disabled, neurodivergent and chronically ill as I do not want to prescribe a label to someone who may not use it. But everyone listed has openly discussed or mentioned having one of these three things. This collaboration is with Anniek’s Library and Zoe of Books and Coffee. Please check out their posts for the rest of the writers we gathered for this project!
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty First Century ed. Alice Wong: “One in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some disabilities are visible, others less apparent—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together this urgent, galvanizing collection of contemporary essays by disabled people. From Harriet McBryde Johnson’s account of her debate with Peter Singer over her own personhood to original pieces by authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma; from blog posts, manifestos, and eulogies to Congressional testimonies, and beyond: this anthology gives a glimpse into the rich complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and the past with hope and love.” GoodReads. Alice Wong’s other books. Buy Here and support me.
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho: “Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt. But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process. Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway. With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.” GoodReads. Kat Cho’s Other books. Buy here and support me.
Sosann: A Corazon Abierto by Susana Ramírez: This is a book by a Spanish photographer with Takayasu’s. It is only available in Spanish but I wanted to include this as I also have Takayasu’s and I want to continue promoting a broad range of media by chronically ill people all over the world. “Two years ago Susana was diagnosed with a rare disease: Takayasu’s Arteritis. A failure in the immune system that causes the body itself to attack the main arteries that lead to the heart. It inflames them, making it difficult for blood to flow through your body. During this time Susana has read a lot about her illness, until she found the emotional meaning of her illness. They say that the Takayasu’s appears in people who are not capable of channeling love and their feelings well. This process leads Susana to rewrite love stories, her greatest escape since adolescence. In this book you will find a compilation of love poems combined with the diary of the reality that Susana has been living these last years. Includes unpublished photographs of the author and illustrations.” Buy Here Amazon. Buy Here Casa De Libro.
Harley Quinn: The Animated Series: The Eat Bang Kill Tour! (2021) by Tee Franklin: “Harley and Ivy on the road trip of the century! Following the wedding disaster of the decade, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy end up on the run from Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD! But as fun as all that sounds, Ivy still worries over leaving Kite Man at the altar… Luckily, Harley’s got the perfect scheme to shake her out of her wedding-day blues!” More Info Here. Tee Franklin’s Other Writing.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert: Also, the Brown Sisters trilogy and numerous other Romance novels but this is the one I have read so far! “Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how… Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right. Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.” GoodReads. Talia Hibbert’s other books. Buy here and support me.
Ophelia After All (2022) by Racquel Marie: “Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to. So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.” GoodReads. Racquel Marie’s other books.
Crohn’s Disease: Wrestling The Octopus by Nigel Horwood: “After a couple of false starts (or in this case “false ends”) my book “Wrestling The Octopus – The Diary of an IBD Patient” is finally finished. Several times I had thought it was complete only to find that some new, unexpected experience warranted adding an extra chapter or two. What’s the book about? It charts the 40+ years from my diagnosis with Crohn’s Disease up to the start of this new decade. It is not intended to lay out a plan for living with the disease but I hope you find that some of the situations I describe and the ways I have coped (or not coped) may help you with your own methods to manage your disease. The book has been adapted and expanded from the original online journal that I started writing almost ten years ago. Why did I start? Wind the clock back to Summer 2010. I was going to be away from work for an extended period whilst undergoing surgery. A colleague made an off-the-cuff remark that she would like to know how I was getting on whilst away so why not try blogging? She thought it might also prove interesting to other IBD sufferers who were about to follow a similar path. As the list of individual posts grew it seemed sensible to amalgamate them into a narrative and take the opportunity to cull some of the more long-winded or repetitive sections. To fill in the years up to 2010 I obtained my medical records all the way back to diagnosis. They have allowed me to reconstruct the whole story and answer some of the questions that I have had for a long time. The research and writing have proved very therapeutic. I believe it has helped me cope with various new conditions that have arisen and I would recommend it to anyone suffering from a chronic illness.” Nigel Horwood’s Website. Download the book free here.
Kin (2022) by Karl Knights: “I only realised what Kin is about as I was editing it. In a lot of ways, the poems are actually more conventional than they’re given credit for, as they are very much coming of age poems. The only difference is it’s a disabled coming of age! In a very direct way, Kin explores communication, intimacy and community, and the ways we do (or don’t) feel community in our lives.” Publish date June 2022 with the Poetry Business. Follow Karl Knight here.
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan: I discovered Naoise in a book of essays recently, her essay in We Can Do Better Than This (ed. Amelia Abraham, buy here) was very relatable to me. It lead me to looking her up, and luckily I had some spaces left to fill in this collaboration so I wanted to include this queer, autistic, Irish writer. “Ava moved to Hong Kong to find happiness, but so far, it isn’t working out. Since she left Dublin, she’s been spending her days teaching English to rich children—she’s been assigned the grammar classes because she lacks warmth—and her nights avoiding petulant roommates in her cramped apartment. When Ava befriends Julian, a witty British banker, he offers a shortcut into a lavish life her meager salary could never allow. Ignoring her feminist leanings and her better instincts, Ava finds herself moving into Julian’s apartment, letting him buy her clothes, and, eventually, striking up a sexual relationship with him. When Julian’s job takes him back to London, she stays put, unsure where their relationship stands. Enter Edith. A Hong Kong–born lawyer, striking and ambitious, Edith takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her—and wants her. Ava has been carefully pretending that Julian is nothing more than an absentee roommate, so when Julian announces that he’s returning to Hong Kong, she faces a fork in the road. Should she return to the easy compatibility of her life with Julian or take a leap into the unknown with Edith? Politically alert, heartbreakingly raw, and dryly funny, Exciting Times is thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love. In stylish, uncluttered prose, Naoise Dolan dissects the personal and financial transactions that make up a life—and announces herself as a singular new voice.” GoodReads. Buy here and support me!
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang: “A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick. Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position… Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic… ” GoodReads. Helen Hoang’s other books. Buy here and support me!
The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability and Other Reasons To Fall In Love With Me by Keah Brown: “From the disability rights advocate and creator of the #DisabledAndCute viral campaign, a thoughtful, inspiring, and charming collection of essays exploring what it means to be black and disabled in a mostly able-bodied white America. Keah Brown loves herself, but that hadn’t always been the case. Born with cerebral palsy, her greatest desire used to be normalcy and refuge from the steady stream of self-hate society strengthened inside her. But after years of introspection and reaching out to others in her community, she has reclaimed herself and changed her perspective. In The Pretty One, Brown gives a contemporary and relatable voice to the disabled—so often portrayed as mute, weak, or isolated. With clear, fresh, and light-hearted prose, these essays explore everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (called “the pretty one” by friends) to navigating romance; her deep affinity for all things pop culture—and her disappointment with the media’s distorted view of disability; and her declaration of self-love with the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute. By “smashing stigmas, empowering her community, and celebrating herself” (Teen Vogue), Brown and The Pretty One aims to expand the conversation about disability and inspire self-love for people of all backgrounds.” GoodReads. Keah Brown’s other books.
Crippled: Austerity and the Demonisation of Disabled People by Frances Ryan: “By the end of 2018 over £28bn of benefit will be cut as a result of the government’s policies on social security, housing, employment, and healthcare, specifically aimed at the disabled community. In the age of austerity, it’s disabled people who are hardest hit, affecting over 3.7 million people. This is in addition to a situation in which half of those in poverty are either disabled or living with a disabled person. In Crippled, leading commentator Frances Ryan tells the story of those most affected by this devastating regime, people who have been too often been silenced. This includes the tetraplegic living in a first floor flat forced to crawl down flights of stairs because the council doesn’t provide accessible housing; the young girl forced to sleep in her wheelchair and admitted to hospital with malnutrition because cuts mean she no longer had a carer to help her get to bed or cook; or the Londoner with schizophrenia found ‘fit for work’, and with nothing to live on was found dead at home three months later. Through these personal stories the book shows the scale of the crisis, while also showing how the disabled community is fighting back. It is a passionate demand for the recognition of disability rights and a call for an end to austerity policies that disproportionately affect those most in need.” GoodReads. Frances Ryan’s other books. Buy here and support me!
Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally by Emily Ladau: “An approachable guide to being a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people, with actionable steps for what to say and do (and what not to do) and how you can help make the world a more accessible, inclusive place. Disabled people are the world’s largest minority, an estimated 15 percent of the global population. But many of us–disabled and non-disabled alike–don’t know how to act, what to say, or how to be an ally to the disability community. Demystifying Disability is a friendly handbook on important disability issues you need to know about, including:. How to appreciate disability history and identity. How to recognize and avoid ableism (discrimination toward disabled people). How to be mindful of good disability etiquette. How to appropriately think, talk, and ask about disability. How to ensure accessibility becomes your standard practice, from everyday communication to planning special events. How to identify and speak up about disability stereotypes in media. Authored by celebrated disability rights advocate, speaker, and writer Emily Ladau, this practical, intersectional guide offers all readers a welcoming place to understand disability as part of the human experience.” GoodReads. Emily Ladau’s other books. Buy here and support me!
Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism: Voices from Across the Spectrum by Eva A. Mendes and Meredith R. Maroney: “Bringing together a collection of narratives from those who are on the autism spectrum whilst also identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and/or asexual (LGBTQIA), this book explores the intersection of the two spectrums as well as the diverse experiences that come with it. By providing knowledge and advice based on in-depth research and personal accounts, the narratives will be immensely valuable to teenagers, adults, partners and families. The authors round these stories with a discussion of themes across narratives, and implications for the issues discussed. In the final chapter, the authors reflect on commonly asked questions from a clinical perspective, bringing in relevant research, as well as sharing best-practice tips and considerations that may be helpful for LGBTQIA and ASD teenagers and adults. These may also be used by family members and clinicians when counselling teenagers and adults on the dual spectrum. With each chapter structured around LGBTQIA and autism spectrum identities, Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism highlights the fluidity of gender identity, sexual orientation and neurodiversity and provides a space for people to share their individual experiences.” GoodReads. Buy here and support me!
Growing Up Disabled in Australia ed. Carly Findlay: “One in five Australians have a disability. And disability presents itself in many ways. Yet disabled people are still underrepresented in the media and in literature. Growing Up Disabled in Australia is the fifth book in the highly acclaimed, bestselling Growing Up series. It includes interviews with prominent Australians such as Senator Jordon Steele-John and Paralympian Isis Holt, poetry and graphic art, as well as more than 40 original pieces by writers with a disability or chronic illness. Contributors include Dion Beasley, Astrid Edwards, Jessica Walton, Carly-Jay Metcalfe, Gayle Kennedy and El Gibbs.” GoodReads. Carly Findlay’s other books. Buy here and support me!
Drama Queen: One Autistic Woman and a Life of Unhelpful Labels by Sara Gibbs: “During the first thirty years of her life, comedy script writer Sara Gibbs had been labelled a lot of things – a cry baby, a scaredy cat, a spoiled brat, a weirdo, a show off – but more than anything else, she’d been called a Drama Queen. No one understood her behaviour, her meltdowns or her intense emotions. She felt like everyone else knew a social secret that she hadn’t been let in on; as if life was a party she hadn’t been invited to. Why was everything so damn hard? Little did Sara know that, at the age of thirty, she would be given one more label that would change her life’s trajectory forever. That one day, sitting next to her husband in a clinical psychologist’s office, she would learn that she had never been a drama queen, or a weirdo, or a cry baby, but she had always been autistic. Drama Queen is both a tour inside one autistic brain and a declaration that a diagnosis on the spectrum, with the right support, accommodations and understanding, doesn’t have to be a barrier to life full of love, laughter and success. It is the story of one woman trying to fit into a world that has often tried to reject her and, most importantly, it’s about a life of labels, and the joy of ripping them off one by one” GoodReads. Sara Gibbs’ other books. Buy here and support me!
Being Seen by Elsa Sjunneson: “A Deafblind writer and professor explores how the misrepresentation of disability in books, movies, and TV harms both the disabled community and everyone else. As a Deafblind woman with partial vision in one eye and bilateral hearing aids, Elsa Sjunneson lives at the crossroads of blindness and sight, hearing and deafness—much to the confusion of the world around her. While she cannot see well enough to operate without a guide dog or cane, she can see enough to know when someone is reacting to the visible signs of her blindness and can hear when they’re whispering behind her back. And she certainly knows how wrong our one-size-fits-all definitions of disability can be. As a media studies professor, she’s also seen the full range of blind and deaf portrayals on film, and here she deconstructs their impact, following common tropes through horror, romance, and everything in between. Part memoir, part cultural criticism, part history of the Deafblind experience, Being Seen explores how our cultural concept of disability is more myth than fact, and the damage it does to us all.” GoodReads. Elsa Sjunneson’s other books.
Twisted Roots by A G Parker: “White lies and good intentions have paved the way for Laela’s untamed magic to bleed into the land, resurrecting a terrible power intent on vengeance. Haunted by dreams of a skeletal tree, Laela lives on the outskirts of a village shrouded in secrets. Her mother died hoping to free Laela from a life of duty. Instead, she denied her the chance to know the magic of her bloodline – and the reality of the horrors they were tasked to guard. When her dark and violent history begins to unravel, Laela must reclaim her magic – and uncover the truth of her origin – before the mist and wickedness destroy everything she loves. But Laela’s path is steeped in betrayal, and overcoming evil may not be as easy as killing it… If you enjoyed Aiden Thomas’s Cemetery Boys, Victoria Lee’s The Fever King, and Vylar Kaftan’s Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water, you’ll love Twisted Roots – a dark contemporary fantasy, which weaves together the stories of Laela and her vengeful counterpart, the Witch, in a story of redemption and compassion.” Author Website here.
The Uncertainty of Light by Alana Saltz: “Released by Blanket Sea Press in January 2020. My debut poetry chapbook explores how it feels to inhabit a body that is misunderstood. Through lenses of the natural world, astronomy, science fiction, and pop culture, this evocative collection captures snapshots of a life with chronic illness while tapping into universal experiences of searching for meaning, seeking acceptance, and falling in love.” Purchase this book and the other books by Alana Saltz here.
Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig: “Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right; and as she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling. Writing about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life. Disability affects all of us, directly or indirectly, at one point or another. By exploring this truth in poignant and lyrical essays, Taussig illustrates the need for more stories and more voices to understand the diversity of humanity. Sitting Pretty challenges us as a society to be patient and vigilant, practical and imaginative, kind and relentless, as we set to work to write an entirely different story.” Buy here and support me! Rebekah Taussig’s website.
Beyond The Red by Gabe Cole Novoa: “A series of young adult dystopian science fiction novels by Gabe Cole Novoa, writing under the pen name Ava Jae. Set on a planet where humans and a humanoid native species are in violent conflict, the books include action, forbidden romance, political intrigue, and queer themes. Beyond the Red is Novoa’s debut novel and was written while he was in college. The story, which follows a half-human who finds himself caught in the middle of two cultures, was informed by Novoa’s experiences as a white-passing latinx person. The book was released in 2016 and received critical praise for its worldbuilding. It was followed by the sequels Into the Black (2017) and The Rising Gold (2018)” GoodReads. Check out their other books here.
The Centaur’s Wife by Amanda Leduc: “Heather is sleeping peacefully after the birth of her twin daughters when the sound of the world ending jolts her awake. Stumbling outside with her babies and her new husband, Brendan, she finds that their city has been destroyed by falling meteors and that her little family are among only a few who survived. But the mountain that looms over the city is still green–somehow it has been spared the destruction that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Heather is one of the few who know the mountain, a place city-dwellers have always been forbidden to go. Her dad took her up the mountain when she was a child on a misguided quest to heal her legs, damaged at birth. The tragedy that resulted has shaped her life, bringing her both great sorrow and an undying connection to the deep magic of the mountain, made real by the beings she and her dad encountered that day: Estajfan, a centaur born of sorrow and of an ancient, impossible love, and his two siblings, marooned between the magical and the human world. Even as those in the city around her–led by Tasha, a charismatic doctor who fled to the city from the coast with her wife and other refugees–struggle to keep everyone alive, Heather constantly looks to the mountain, drawn by love, by fear, by the desire for rescue. She is torn in two by her awareness of what unleashed the meteor shower and what is coming for the few survivors, once the green and living earth makes a final reckoning of the usefulness of human life and finds it wanting. At times devastating, but ultimately redemptive, Amanda Leduc’s fable for our uncertain times reminds us that the most important things in life aren’t things at all, but rather the people we want by our side at the end of the world.” GoodReads. Amanda Leduc’s other books. Buy Disfigured and support me!
A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby and Mary Louisa Plummer: “A Two-Spirit Journey is Ma-Nee Chacaby’s extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby’s story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism. As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and by her teen years she was alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counselor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in her adopted city, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humor, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people.” GoodReads. Buy here and support me! Check out this book if you are interested in reading more about Native American People and their Culture.
Stim by Kevin Berry: “Robert is different. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. He experiences the world differently to 99% of the population. Follow his entertaining and highly empathetic story as he struggles to realise and accept who he really is, try to understand other people—which he cannot—and find a girlfriend. Especially find a girlfriend—he’s decided it’s his special project for the year. Accompanied on this transformative journey by his quirky flatmates, Chloe (who also has Asperger’s, amongst other things), Stef (who hasn’t, but doesn’t mind) and their oddly-named kitten, Robert endures a myriad of awkward moments in his quest to meet a nice, normal girl…and not even a major earthquake will stop him. This absorbing and humorous story is starkly told from Robert’s point of view, through the kaleidoscope of autistic experience.” GoodReads. Kevin Berry’s other books.
Brace Yourself by S.E. Smart: “Brace Yourself is a light-hearted look at the atypical life of ‘nice’ Lizzy, who doesn’t understand why her body and her men always let her down. Looking to regain control of her life in this rom-com with a twist, will Lizzy’s bright-side attitude finally attract the perfect partner? This isn’t a self-help book, but if you’ve lived with chronic illness you’ll identify with Lizzy’s struggles to stay upright in a world that knocks her down. We join Lizzy on her humorous journey through a series of painful disasters. But with bad choices, bad men and bad Doctors behind her, Lizzy finally braces herself for a comfortable life.” GoodReads.
Stairs and Whispers by Sarah Alland and Khairaini Barrokka and Daniel Sluman: “Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, edited by Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman, is a ground-breaking anthology examining UK disabled and D/deaf poetics. Packed with fierce poetry, essays, photos and links to accessible online videos and audio recordings, it showcases a diversity of opinions and survival strategies for an ableist world. With contributions that span Vispo to Surrealism, and range from hard-hitting political commentary to intimate lyrical pieces, these poets refuse to perform or inspire according to tired old narratives.” GoodReads. Buy here and support me!
Sanatorium by Abi Palmer: “A young woman spends a month taking the waters at a thermal water-based rehabilitation facility in Budapest. On her return to London, she attempts to continue her recovery using an 80 pound inflatable blue bathtub. The tub becomes a metaphor for the intrusion of disability; a trip hazard in the middle of an unsuitable room, slowly deflating and in constant danger of falling apart. Sanatorium moves through contrasting spaces – bathtub to thermal pool, land to water, day to night – interlacing memoir, poetry and meditations on the body to create a mesmerising, mercurial debu.” GoodReads. Buy here and support me!
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All The Right Reasons (2022) by Bethany Mangle: “Cara Hawn’s life fell apart after her father cheated on her mother and got remarried to a woman Cara can’t stand. When Cara accidentally posts a rant about her father online, it goes viral—and catches the attention of the TV producers behind a new reality dating show for single parent families. The next thing Cara and her mother know, they’ve been cast as leads on the show and are whisked away to sunny Key West where they’re asked to narrow a field of suitors and their kids down to one winning pair. All of this is outside of Cara’s comfort zone, from the meddling producers to the camera-hungry contestants, especially as Cara and her mother begin to clash on which suitors are worth keeping around. And then comes Connor. As the son of a contestant, Connor is decidedly off-limits. Except that he doesn’t fit in with the cutthroat atmosphere in all the same ways as Cara, and she can’t get him out of her head. Now Cara must juggle her growing feelings while dodging the cameras and helping her mom pick a bachelor they both love, or else risk fracturing their family even more for the sake of ratings. Maybe there’s a reason most people don’t date on TV.” GoodReads.
Spear (2022) by Nicola Griffith: “The girl knows she has a destiny before she even knows her name. She grows up in the wild, in a cave with her mother, but visions of a faraway lake come to her on the spring breeze, and when she hears a traveler speak of Artos, king of Caer Leon, she knows that her future lies at his court. And so, brimming with magic and eager to test her strength, she breaks her covenant with her mother and, with a broken hunting spear and mended armour, rides on a bony gelding to Caer Leon. On her adventures she will meet great knights and steal the hearts of beautiful women. She will fight warriors and sorcerers. And she will find her love, and the lake, and her fate. Nebula and Lambda Award-winning author Nicola Griffith returns with Spear, a glorious queer retelling of Arthurian legend, full of dazzling magic and intoxicating adventure.” GoodReads.
I hope you have all enjoyed my post of recommendations! I wanted to give some promotion to Disabled, Neurodivergent and Chronically Ill writers as I wasn’t personally aware of many until I went looking and most I knew of were people I followed on Twitter, who are Activists, Comedians, and Screen-writers, and were writing memoirs. Whilst I love a good Non-Fiction, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I wanted to show there are plenty of writers out there who probably write something you will enjoy. We see lots of posts about ‘supporting Trans and Nonbinary authors‘ or ‘Supporting Black authors’ etc. But I haven’t often seen people promoting Disabled/Neurodivergent/Chronically Ill writers to support, and as a creative who comes under all three of those subcategories, it’s something I am passionate about. Don’t forget to check out the other two’s posts linked at the top!
Disabled people are almost twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. Life costs you £583 more on average a month if you’re disabled. The proportion of working age disabled people living in poverty (27%) is higher than the proportion of working age non-disabled people (19%). These are some statistics from the UK charity Scope. With that in mind, please consider buying these books by disabled writers, and supporting myself and my fellow collaborators with a donation or a tip. You can tip me at my Kofi. I love making posts like this, and my more in-depth educational posts like my We Need To Talk About White Privilege post, as well as all the things I make across other socials. I openly talk about my inability to find accessible work and the pennies I receive from benefits. I’m also open about a lot of the things I deal with as a multiply-marginalised, multi-disabled person. I would like to create change and an impact on society but cannot financially support myself. I put out a lot of free content, so if you like what I do, have learned or gained something from me, or think you’d just like to help me out, please do.