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Archive for the ‘Beyond Binaries Book Club’ Category

Second Mango cover art

Cover art for The Second Mango by Shira Glassman. The cover shows two mangos, one with a image of a green dragon on the skin.

After one heck of a hiatus, we’re back!

First: after some thought, I decided to change the name of our book club to “Beyond Binaries Book Club” instead of “NonBinary Book Club.” (more…)

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heart-featured

Via Tor.com. [Image: cover of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. The cover shows an open wooden door in a doorframe in the middle of a forest.]

What’s the Beyond Binaries Book Club?

While Book Club might have fallen a bit by the wayside as I (and many of the other participants in this group and in my blogging community) have spent the post-election weeks calling representatives, donating, and just reading, reading, reading everything about bills and political issues and the Electoral College and trying everything to get through to the people who are not concerned about marginalized groups because it’s easier to say “you’ll survive, don’t be a sore loser” than “you and your loved ones might be in danger and your fear is rational, what can we do to help each other? I am listening.”

Plus, Thanksgiving, that great “oh god please no one talk politics at the dinner table but also I am angry and feel like yelling” holiday is this week. Maybe you need a nice fantasy book to warm your heart as you crash in the guest room or on the couch, or to give to your cousin or sibling who just came out, or to remind yourself that you are real, you exist, and you matter.

In light of this disaster of an election, I want to highlight groups relevant to each post where you can donate, volunteer, share with others, utilize, and/or learn more. Since today’s book features ace and trans youth, here are a few ways you can support them under the VP-elect’s anti-LGBTQ Christian extremism.

The Trevor Project, which has support for LGBTQIA and questioning youth, and is ace and trans inclusive. In addition to the (telephone) hotline, there are also options to text and chat; the hotlines are staffed by trained counselors. If you’re an adult, you can receive training for youth-serving professionals.

Trans Lifeline deals specifically with trans issues and is staffed by trans people. A $25 donation pays for someone’s call. The Lifeline received 400 calls on election night–essentially a month’s worth of calls.

PFLAG: don’t let the name mislead you: “Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” covers all our rainbow alphabet-soup letters, not just LG. If you have an LGBTQIA family member or friend and want to learn how to be a good ally* without relying on that person for your education, this is THE place to go. And not just for straight and cis allies: maybe you’re bi+ or trans and your partner isn’t–go together. Maybe you want your parents to see other people like you, or they want to network and advocate for you. Maybe you need a guided space to sort out your feelings about your orientation or gender, or had someone come out to you and want to educate yourself. There’s plenty of reasons to attend. There are chapters all over the country. *Note: including within the queer community–trans and nonbinary individuals and bi+ are marginalized within the monosexual-cis queer community.

Finally, here’s an article on supporting ace youth.

Our Sept/Oct 2016 book: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.

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We’re back from our summer hiatus! I also totally missed the one-year anniversary of the book club in May 2016, so happy birthday, lovely book-clubbers and commenters.

heart-featured

Via Tor.com. [Image: cover of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. The cover shows an open wooden door in a doorframe in the middle of a forest.]

At the recommendation of a couple of our members, we’ll be reading Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, a YA fantasy novel featuring asexual and trans characters.

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swordspoint

[Image: Richard St. Vier, looking hella dramatic with flowing cape and sword, on the cover of Swordspoint.]

This is very! late! But here it is!

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. 1987.

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless–until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye. 

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What’s the Beyond Binaries Book Club?

Our Feb/Mar 2016 book was Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1969 The Left Hand of Darkness, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

The review contains spoilers.

The novel follows the story of Genly Ai, a native of Earth (referred to as “Terra” in the novel), who is sent to the planet of Gethen as an envoy of the Ekumen, a loose confederation of planets. Ai’s mission is to persuade the nations of Gethen to join the Ekumen, but he is stymied by his lack of understanding of Gethenian culture. Individuals on Gethen are “ambisexual”, with no fixed gender identity, a fact which has a strong influence on the culture of the planet, and creates a large barrier for Ai, a male raised on Earth. –Wikipedia (that’s how hard it is to find a short description!)
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Ann Leckie herself recommended it to me. In person. LeftHandOfDarkness-ebook

We wrapped up Imperial Radch, and now we’re time-traveling back to 1969, the year Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness was published. This work fits our theme by featuring an entire planet of “ambisexual” (bigender and bisexual) humans, who are androgynous for most of the month except when in “kemmer,” during which time they essentially develop genitalia and hook up with each other.

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leckie_ancillarymercy_cover-520x780We tried this with discussion prompts this time!

This review contains MAJOR spoilers for Ancillary MercyAncillary Sword and Ancillary Justice.

Ancillary Mercy

For a moment, things seem to be under control for the soldier known as Breq. Then a search of Athoek Station’s slums turns up someone who shouldn’t exist – someone who might be an ancillary from a ship that’s been hiding beyond the empire’s reach for three thousand years.

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