I'm Nate, a 21 year old gay transgender man living in the Pacific Northwest. I left Goodreads for this website after they insisted that transphobia doesn't count as bigotry. (Yes, I'm very bitter.)


My main interest is LGBT literature, especially specifically transgender literature, especially specifically gay/M4M transgender man literature. I also love linguistics and translation studies, historical fiction and SFF, especially if it involves LGBT romance (though I'm very tired of tragic trans/gay romance, and LGBT work written by non-LGBT authors), and I love non-fiction about history, biology and animals, and mental health studies. I'm a novice knitter and have been into reading the history of fiber craft lately.

The Fall of Language in the Age of English

The Fall of Language in the Age of English - Minae Mizumura, Mari Yoshihara, Juliet Winters Carpenter If you are at all interested in: translation studies, linguistics, the history of Japanese language, the history of English language imperialism, the long-lasting effect the USA had on the state of Japanese language as a consequence of English language imperialism, the history of the concept of national language, the ways in which language is politicized... read this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, learned a LOT from it, and while I read a library copy, I'm hopefully going to get my own copy to have on hand to use as reference.

The translation by Yoshihara and Winters-Carpenter is absolutely beautiful, and despite some very minor things (mainly Japanese as a noun when it should be the adjective of a noun ("a Japanese" instead of "a Japanese person")), the English text has none of the 'tells' of being a Japanese translation many other translators mess up on.

The last few pages (around 180~200) were uncomfortable in that Mizumura really injected her personal politics into the writing, when she could have written more neutrally on the subjects. I also disagree with her assertion that being able to speak a language is what makes someone Japanese, or any group that could be applied to. There's more to ethnic and national identities than understanding a language, especially when it comes to nations that have more than one local language (Especially considering Japan has more local languages than simply Japanese, albeit not as widely spoken.)

I do agree with her conclusions at the end about the importance of learning foreign language as mandatory education, and that native English speakers need to especially learn foreign languages, and recognize the immense privilege brought by being a native speaker of the most widely spoken, and most globally important, universal languge.

The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain (Mandarin Chinese and English Edition)

The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain (Mandarin Chinese and English Edition) - Cold Mountain (Han Shan) I couldn't get through this. the translated poems were beyond dry. there was absolutely no attempt to retain any flow or rhythm or any imagery. this is going to be one of the collections I use as an example of why it's important to be good at writing prose if you plan to translate prose.

translation is more than just directly translating words. you need to try your best to translate the the existence of meter, the imagery, the metaphors, the between-the-lines messages, the emotions. translation without any thought beyond the words at first glance just leaves you with a lifeless husk of the writer's work.

also why do English translators of Chinese continue to insist on using Wades Giles when hanyu pinyin is a billion times more accurate and easier to read? and stop with the literally translating names of people...

the information in the preface and the notes in the annotation , and the fact it's a bilingual book that included the original poems to compare the translations with, which is something I feel strongly about and wish people would do more, are the only reasons I'm not giving it one star.

Station Eleven

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel I wish we got more of Clark and his life before the flu. Everything was Arthur and his parade of ex-wives 24/7, I want to hear about the only gay character in the entire god-damn post-apocalyptic world. Seriously, why is he the sole character with a same-gender relationship, and he doesn't even get to meet another man, he has to die yearning for his old boyfriend and isn't allowed to move on... Also no transgender people. :/

Other than that the story was much better than a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction I've read. Probably because the focus was very much on the daily life of people, it wasn't super action-packed or fraught with peril. It was just people quietly getting on. I liked that the story was not super anti-technology like a lot of old fart author post-apoc fiction tends to be; it even had a moment where Clark realized how hypocritical hating young people locked into their phones is.

I think the ending was far too sudden, especially for what is discovered only within the last few pages, but that and the Clark thing are my only concerns.


Transposes - Dylan Edwards Love it. I love everything about trans men loving other men, and the last story with the trans men who met and became life-long partners made me so happy.

It wasn't really anything new, and I wish it gave perspective from trans men of color, or disabled men, but I like it for what it is, since there's such a dearth of trans men who love men anywhere in media.

While England Sleeps

While England Sleeps - David Leavitt I understand there was an apparent plagiarism issue with this book but I can't find a lot about it online so I'm just not going to focus on it in the review. I am going to look up the author who sued though and read his own work eventually. And I don't know nearly enough about the Spanish Revolution of 1936 so I need to find books on that as well.

I really got attached to this story and the characters quickly. The prose was fluid and engaging, the author set up 1930s England very well, the character Brian had a clear voice. The supporting characters are great- I loved Lil, I loved Lucy and her Parisian lesbian escapades, Louise was fun, I wish we got to see more of Philippa's sexuality exploration. I got very invested in Brian and Edward's relationship (and extremely frustrated the more Brian slept around (though of course, there's a history here with promiscuity by necessity that I don't want non-gay men criticizing honestly)), which is built up through maybe 3/4 of the novel before the climatic plot moment described in the synopses, where Edward runs off to Spain.

And then... it kind of fell apart. I got less interested the more overwrought it became. When it became obvious that Edward was going to die well before the end, and the last few chapters were Brian grieving I just... lost a lot of interest. I'm so burnt out on stories with gay characters that end tragically like this. I did only set it aside for a few hours before finishing the rest but it was a major let down. Also, after that rant Nigel gives Brian in the very beginning of the story, I can't understand why they hook up afterwards. It felt like a 180 change of personality.

Some bullet point issues I feel are pertinent to address:

-There's one single mention of anything related to transgender people in the entire book, and it's a single line afforded to a 'transvestite whore' that emphasizes the falseness of her eyelashes and her breasts. As if fiction didn't hyper-fixate on how different transgender people are from cisgender people enough, or put trans women into the roles of prostitutes enough. (And you can say, but a transvestite isn't a transgender person! And I will say, the history of conflating them is long, in fact before transsexual existed the only word we had was transvestite.)

-There's one single mention of a Jewish character in the whole book, when the story takes place in the 1930s and frequently references of the horrors of the Third Reich and holocaust, and that Jewish character is a greedy, amoral banker. Does no one see the issue here?

-There are NO people of color, except for a once-mentioned Ethiopian man who Brian apparently has a fling with. He's not named, he's just a description of traits in a list of men. Considering the setting- 1930s London, which has always been a diverse city, a focus on the Communist movement, where working-class people of color would have been involved- there should be way more people of color involved in the story.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey I actually read this years ago in early high school but a friend reminded me of how awful, misogynistic, racist and ableist it is. Note to teachers: if your student opens about mental illness and forced institutionalization in an essay in your class, do not recommend them this book in some show of solidarity or understanding. Thanks for fucking me up and making me hate myself even more, 10th grade English teacher.

Authority: A Novel

Authority: A Novel - Jeff VanderMeer

Not as into this as the first book. Not at all. I understand the tone change, but I guess the shift after the wonderful first book is just an unavoidable let-down. I like Control a lot, and I like the biologist a lot, and I really hope the final book doesn't end with the culmination of Typical Lead Man/Lead Woman Heterosexual Romance. It probably will though.

The cliffhanger is frustrating, though I appreciate how in the last portion the climatic moments kept coming and coming until the final crescendo, which doesn't even really get a chance to drop. There's suspense all the way to the end, and you're left desperate to read the final novel for closure. Frustrating but well done.

I felt like throughout the work there were too many scenes that amounted to needless bloat, and sentences that read like odd non-sequiturs, but maybe I was missing something. Still, I think quite a few bits could have been edited out without losing anything, and making it more satisfying instead of oddly meandering at times.

I want to know more about Grace's life and the woman she was in love with. I want to know how deep her devotion to the director goes, if it's romantic in nature. (I'll read it as such regardless of the canon.)

There's a brief mention, at some point in the story, about "What about people who don't identify as men or women?" While I appreciate an acknowledgement of trans people existing, and nonbinary ones at that, I do not appreciate how regularly cisgender authors throw in a brief, one-line nod and then you see nothing of trans people ever again. This isn't representation and it's not satisfying to see as a trans reader. Make a trans character with more than one scene or three lines and then we'll talk.


Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer This book was so wonderfully written and constructed. I didn't know what to expect beyond what was given in the blurb on the cover, and it just exceeded all expectations. It's probably one of the most convincing and well-planned out books in first person point-of-view I have read in a long while. It's meant to be read as if you are reading a journal the character has written in, and VanderMeer keeps information regarding other characters, and events the heroine does not fully understand, sparse and vague, just enough to make you curious and spur you to read more.

The horrors of the story are in the fact so many horrifying things are left just barely explained, just enough to let you imagine something terrifying. By the end, you have more questions than answers, but I did not think this was unsatisfying. It makes you more interested, with a stronger desire to pick up the next book and see what happens next, what gets explained next.

The biologist was also an extremely endearing character, to me at least. She was a very flawed person, but very human, very relatable. There's no way to pin her personality or character down to one or two words to represent traits. She is the biologist, and there is so much to her.

I started the second book today and it looks like I'm going to get a lot of answers (there was actually a major revelation in the first few pages in regards to a major character from the first book and I loved it.) While I expect that the scrubbing away of the mysteries won't be 100% satisfying, may take away some of the fun of the first story, I'm still eager to read.

I'm also very excited at seeing people tag this series with "LGBT characters!" I was kind of tired that the heroine in the first book had things go back to her husband so often, though at the very least I'm happy that this time the story was a woman with a dead (?) husband, and not a man with a dead wife., so knowing there will hopefully be less straightness (maybe less cis-ness? Too much to hope for?) is nice.

Brendan Wolf

Brendan Wolf - Brian Malloy This is certainly a book about people not being altogether good or altogether bad, and making an endless list of mistakes. I like that it isn't "everyone is really bad at heart everyone is awful endlessly" like Grotesque, and there was some hope for the main character learning from his mistakes by the very end.

Other things I really liked: Malloy makes a point of not just describing skin or ethnicity for characters of color, leaving undefined characters to be assumed white because White Is Default. He describes white characters as being such upon introduction, just as he does characters of other races.

The characters also have very realistic physical descriptions; there's no fantastical beauty or sex appeal, it's just average people with average people attractiveness (which can be very attractive). I liked how Sean's thinning, receding hair was described almost fondly by the end.

Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie I do not have the energy to properly write a review, but I am so grateful for this book and how it explores gender. From the perspective of someone who is very into linguistics, and from the perspective of someone who is transgender and gay, this book is so amazing in how it touches on all of these topics in its creativity in language and cultural perception of gender.

Also it's very heavy on the leftist revolutionary ideals and I was told it is just going to get heavier when I start the second book.

Also! I ship Seivarden/Breq so hard okay.

Can't wait for the second book <3

Candle Lightin' Time

Candle Lightin' Time - Paul Laurence Dunbar These poems were really good. I love finding English poems written in dialects, and this is all in dialect spoken by African Americans of the antebellum south during the late 1800s/early 1900s.

You can read an archived first edition of the book scanned online here:

Beloved Pilgrim

Beloved Pilgrim - Christopher Hawthorne Moss DNF 55%

This is too hetero for me. Better review later.


I was very excited to read this book. Knowing that the author came out as a gay trans man after writing it as a lesbian historical romance, I was very interested to see how he changed it up to fit a trans narrative. It was honestly very interesting but it just had too much going against it for me personally.

-I'm very very very gay. I'm very very very tired of het romance. I'm very, very, very bitter about the fact everyone assumes me being a trans man means I must be, HAVE TO BE straight, that me being gay means I can't be trans, so I don't have much interest in reading about straight trans men. So I just cannot get invested in Elias' romantic and sexual exploits at all. There was a brief moment where it looked like he might be headed towards something with a man but it ended so unsatisfactorily for me.

-I did not like the part where Elias comes out of nowhere and forces his tongue down Maliha's throat and she fights back but then goes with it in the end. That's not romantic, it's fucking disturbing.

-This book is so SEXIST. Elias is written trying to argue against sexism but still falls into it himself. It's also CISsexist in particular. I understand the author is trying to fit the mores of the period, the scientific understanding of sex and gender, and (hopefully) does not agree with anything, but my god, it's overwhelming. I didn't want to deal with that stuff in my fictional escapism.

-From a technical point, the book is badly paced. Plot points transition very suddenly with no clear sign of where the last point ended and moved into the next. One minute our heroes are discussing something in a bedroom, then we are instantly flung with no segue into Elias speaking with someone in a great hall several mornings later. (Which may not match with a specific scene in the book, I returned it earlier today to the library so I can't get it a direct reference.

-There is SO little description of the scenes. Usually books that over-describe environments bore me to tears but this did the opposite- we got absolutely 0 real dsecription to help us envision any of the places in the story. I have 0 idea what the mansion Elias lived in is supposed to look like. The descriptions of Constantinople just talked about high walls and gold leaf on everything and everywhere having a fountain and ended there.

Suffered from the Night: Queering Stoker's Dracula

Suffered from the Night: Queering Stoker's Dracula - Steve Berman, Lee Thomas, Livia Llewellyn, Ed Madden, Damon Shaw, Jason Andrew, Rajan Khanna, Elka Cloke, William P. Coleman, Traci Castleberry, Jeff Mann, Laird Barron, Sven Davisson, Seth Cadin This was an okay anthology. I think the stories started out strong when they were directly involving the canon or time period of Dracula, but the last few stories set in modern times were... really bad, in my opinion. I skimmed them. One thing about the anthology is that, considering the source material it is inspired by, a lot of the stories have tragic, unhappy endings. It certainly brings to mind "No LGBT Person can be Alive and Happy" tropes that I loathe, but at the very least all of these authors fall somewhere on the LGBT identity spectrum, so I am not too upset about it.

One majorly disappointing thing about this anthology is, from the cover and the title it seems to purport it would be a wide LGBT anthology, but in reality 90% of the story are focused on cis gay men. I think there were two stories focused on cis lesbians and one story focused on a straight trans woman. Unfortunately, one of the lesbian stories (Bloofer Ladies) was an epistolary with over-done description that bored me to tears and the trans woman's story (My Arms Are Hungry) had an extremely creepy plot dynamic. (Orphaned child absorbs the essence of Lucy's feelings for Arthur and is sexually attracted to him for her whole life, until she's an adult after being in his care since childhood and they fuck and fall in love... Like... no. That's fucking creepy and strongly brings to mind pedophile grooming.)

I did enjoy the first lesbian story, "Yours is the Right to Begin" by [a:Livia Llewellyn|2966042|Livia Llewellyn|]. It was very stream-of-consciousness with a very deliberate confusing prose, which made it complicated to read at times, but it worked really well and you could feel all the emotions it wanted to get across.

I also enjoyed The Tattered Boy by [a:Lee Thomas|145792|Lee Thomas|] (a perfect opening to this anthology, very strong writing) and

My favorite story HAD TO BE: Seven Lovers and the Sea by [a:Damon Shaw|4410251|Damon Shaw|] (oh gosh I cannot sing the praises of this story ENOUGH, it is so well-written, perfect sense of time and place and space and ACTION, perfectly brought to life these two original characters in the Dracula plot and universe, perfect erotic content, and it has a perfect ending that keeps the tone of a dark Victorian vampire story, I seriously cannot explain what this story did for me, I wish there were a full-length novel about the characters) JUST PERFECT

One story I wanted to like, Protect the King , because it had erotic elements I LOVE, suffered from unnecessary misogyny and misogynist slurs, like please you don't need to toss the c-slur around so much honestly. Also the writing was just pretty dry and suffered from telling and not showing.

Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary

Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary - Morty Diamond, Julia Serano, Shawna Virago, Sassafras Lowrey, Silas Howard, Shawna   Virago I ordered this because I loved [b:From the Inside Out: Radical Gender Transformation, FTM and Beyond|1059288|From the Inside Out Radical Gender Transformation, FTM and Beyond|Morty Diamond||1045867], which was collected and published by [a:Morty Diamond|526474|Morty Diamond|] as well. I was expecting some thoughtful recollections on relationships and sexual experiences that would help younger or newly-transitioning trans people learn how to navigate and be comfortable in romantic pursuits.

This... was not really what I was expecting at all. For the worse.

The collection was published in 2011 but reads like something from the mid-90s era of "gotta be as radical queer as possible!!!!", that obnoxious facade of ultimate transgressiveness that just feels... extremely unrelatable after you have grown out of your teenage years. Like it's a contest to see who can describe themselves with the most radical terms and the most slurs. In the end, I didn't get anything out of most of the submissions at all, because most weren't written to impart a message- it just felt like empty bragging of sexual conquests.

On top of that, it makes me think the mid-90s because it is sooooooo outdated in the terminology used in all of the submissions. I don't think a single person used 'cisgender', its all 'biologically male/female, bio/natal/biological-man/woman.' Someone even used the term 'woman-born-woman' which I have literally only ever seen by TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, who are cisgender women) in an effort to push the view that trans women aren't real women like them.

With that, the use of slurs was horrific and discomfiting. It actually made me just skip over so many of the entries with how slurs were used. I am all for reclaiming slurs, but the thing about reclamation that people constantly forget is, you can only reclaim a slur for yourself. You can only decide when you yourself are comfortable taking a violent slur used to oppress and hurt you back. You can't decide this for others- you can't know if that person has been hurt by the word, how they feel about the word, if they want to reclaim it or not. So much of the writers in this anthology used words as strong as the 'tranny' or 'faggot' as broad labels for all trans people and all gay men, and then used it to describe not just themselves as individuals but any other individual people they brought up in their recollection.

This is an issue I feel strongly about because for me in particular, I have had to grow up since as soon as I could understand speech, hearing my father and his friends use the word 'queer' as a horrible, hateful, disgusting word for people like me, before I even realized who I was. I internalized what 'queer' meant, what 'queers' were, and hated myself before even coming out. It probably set me back coming out because i didn't want to be a 'queer'. Now, the LGBT community has a loud subset that thinks everyone should be comfortable reclaiming and identifying as 'queer' or part of a 'queer' community. But I am not comfortable. I do not want to reclaim that word my father still to this day screams at me when he gets a chance. I don't consent to having it used to describe me.

That's what it comes down to. Don't use words that oppressors use in violent, disgusting ways to describe another oppressed person without their consent.

OK, now that I went completely off-topic, these are the stories I appreciated reading in some way in this anthology (few and far between because most of the stories in this collection seemed to be about man-woman relationships or just about sex sex sex with no substance):

Out of the Darkness by Jakob Hero (was very relatable in terms of seeing my own teen-self in Hero's teenage years, though I hate how Hero uses the f-slur in this writing)

ReSexing Trans by Kai Kohlsdorf (Very good writing about we view and talk about our bodies and our roles in sex as trans people)

On Not Fucking or Running in Huế by Aren Z. Aizura (REALLY heartfelt and bittersweet)

Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures

Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures - Bill Schutt, Patricia Wynne A really well-written non-fiction novel about vampire bats, leeches, bed bugs, and the substance they all feed on. The biological and anatomical information is written in language easy to decipher and digest even for those of us not well-educated in the fields of study, and the author makes just the right amount of humorous quips throughout. He includes quite a few personal anecdotes as bridges for discussing the majority of the topics, and sometimes the dialogue sounds contrived for maximum edge/humor, but it's not an issue or a detraction from the work. Another thing I noticed first and foremost was that the book... editing? Stylization? Was very on-point, it's a gorgeously crafted book.

I read all of the sections on vampire bats and leeches but started to skim at bed bugs because insects make me super squeamish, but I definitely learned a lot.

House of Leaves

House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski I've read this book multiple times. It's more like, I've read The Navidson Record multiple times. I can really do without the ribald tales of Johnny's very-straight-dude sex life/fantasies.

Currently reading

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
The Force Awakens (Star Wars) by Alan Dean Foster
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
Women in the Language and Society of Japan: The Linguistic Roots of Bias by Naoko Takemaru