I’d advertised that this would be posted yesterday, sorry for the lateness!
As part of Pride Month, today we point out three asexual books and three intersex books to keep an eye out for.
For a Good Time, Call by Anne Tenino & E.J. Russell
Thirty-seven-year-old Nate Albano’s second relationship ever ended three years ago, and since he’s grace — gray asexual — he doesn’t anticipate beating the odds to find a third. Still, he’s got his dog, his hobbies, and his job as a special effects technician on Wolf’s Landing, so he can’t complain — much.
Seth Larson, umpteenth generation Bluewater Bay, is the quintessential good-time guy, content with tending bar and being his grandmother’s handyman. The night they meet, Seth’s looking for some recreational sex to escape family drama. But for Nate, romantic attraction comes before sexual attraction, so while Seth thinks they’re hooking up, Nate just wants to talk . . . genealogy?
So they declare a “just friends” truce. Then Seth asks for Nate’s help investigating a sinister Larson family secret, and their feelings start edging way beyond platonic. But Nate may want more than Seth can give him, and Seth may not be able to leave his good-time image behind. Unless they can find a way to merge carefree with commitment, they could miss out on true love —
the best time of all.
Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.
Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.
Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.
But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.
After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Finding Your Feet by Cass Lennox
While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though — he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.
Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.
Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.
Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word) by Thea Hilman
“In Hillman’s world, the surer you become about who you are, the more vulnerable you get.”—The San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Hillman’s writing is sexy because it’s smart and refuses to simplify things.”—Fabula Magazine
“Hillman’s utterly unabashed memoir…showcases both the personal, embodied realities of intersex, and the social and political milieus that shape them… Intersex, too, is gorgeously written.”—Women’s Review of Books
“It’s utterly impossible to not be spellbound by performer-activist Thea Hillman, in person or in print … A must-read.”—Curve
“There’s nothing else in print like this amazing and courageous book.”—Patrick Califia, author of Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism
“An important and wonderfully disarming book. Poetic, political, and deeply personal.”—Beth Lisick, author of Helping Me Help Myself
Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word) chronicles one person’s search for self in a world obsessed with normal. What is “intersex”? According to the Intersex Society of North America, the word describes someone born with sex chromosomes, genitalia, or an internal reproductive system that are neither clearly male nor clearly female. In first-person prose as intimate as a diary, Thea Hillman redefines memoir in a series of compelling stories that take a no-holds-barred look at sex, gender, family, and community. Whether she’s pondering quirky family tendencies (“Drag”), reflecting on “queerness” (“Another”), or recounting scintillating adventures in San Francisco’s sex clubs, Hillman’s brave and fierce vision for cultural and societal change shines through.
Born Both: An Intersex Life by Hida Viloria
“Fierce, brave, and a clarion call to celebrate our differences.”—People
From one of the world’s foremost intersex activists, a candid, provocative, and eye-opening memoir of gender identity, self-acceptance, and love.
My name is Hida Viloria. I was raised as a girl but discovered at a young age that my body looked different. Having endured an often turbulent home life as a kid, there were many times when I felt scared and alone, especially given my attraction to girls. But unlike most people in the first world who are born intersex–meaning they have genitals, reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomal patterns that do not fit standard definitions of male or female–I grew up in the body I was born with because my parents did not have my sex characteristics surgically altered at birth.
It wasn’t until I was twenty-six and encountered the term intersex in a San Francisco newspaper that I finally had a name for my difference. That’s when I began to explore what it means to live in the space between genders–to be both and neither. I tried living as a feminine woman, an androgynous person, and even for a brief period of time as a man. Good friends would not recognize me, and gay men would hit on me. My gender fluidity was exciting, and in many ways freeing–but it could also be isolating.
I had to know if there were other intersex people like me, but when I finally found an intersex community to connect with I was shocked, and then deeply upset, to learn that most of the people I met had been scarred, both physically and psychologically, by infant surgeries and hormone treatments meant to “correct” their bodies. Realizing that the invisibility of intersex people in society facilitated these practices, I made it my mission to bring an end to it–and became one of the first people to voluntarily come out as intersex at a national and then international level.
Born Both is the story of my lifelong journey toward finding love and embracing my authentic identity in a world that insists on categorizing people into either/or, and of my decades-long fight for human rights and equality for intersex people everywhere.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
‘I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974.’
So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and her truly unique family secret, born on the slopes of Mount Olympus and passed on through three generations.
Growing up in 70s Michigan, Calliope’s special inheritance will turn her into Cal, the narrator of this intersex, inter-generational epic of immigrant life in 20th century America.
Middlesex won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.