One of the elements of the book club I pride myself on is choice, allowing readers to vote on which book they want to read most each month. However, a few times arise when there’s a new book being released that I want to read and discuss with other people so badly that I will make the executive choice on the month’s selection. As I don’t do this that often, I hope it’s okay with all of you. I did it last year with a new release from Malinda Lo. And now I want to do it again with Janet Mock’s memoir, Redefining Realness, which will be released February 4th.
We haven’t given nearly enough attention to transfolk in this book club thus far, and black transwomen in particular remain the members of the LGBTQ community most at risk of physical violence, abuse, and imprisonment. The fact that Mock’s memoir is being released a mere few weeks after the release of CeCe McDonald from prison feels like a particularly hopeful moment of time for black transwomen in America, and a moment of at least temporary triumph. (You can read Mock’s letter to CeCe upon her prison release at her website.) I also can’t think of a better way to start off Black History Month than to celebrate the personal histories that not enough people have heard–while acknowledging that yes, devoting just one month out of the year to black history is and always will be weird. Still, this is a good way to do it.
You can pre-order Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, which has been praised by the likes of bell hooks and Laverne Cox, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Powells, and IndieBound. I’ll post discussion threads once the book has been released on our Goodreads page, and will write some final thoughts and questions here on AfterEllen at the end of the month. You can also check out random queer literary news on the AfterEllen Book Club Tumblr. Until then, enjoy the gorgeous and courageous Janet Mock.