Portland-based writer Cosima Bee Concordia, the second book-industry professional we’ve chosen to feature for this series of laid-off local booksellers, maintains a playful, clever, theory-informed social-media presence that almost daily offers us fresh humor mixed with genuine insight. We approached her to curate a list for us knowing that anything she put together would, inevitably, be the kind of collection that would upend your worldview and imagine a radically new society. We also knew it would have some titles that some might find controversial, uncomfortable, or surprising, and honestly, we kind of love that.
In her list, Cosima challenges us to think creatively, expansively, and systemically about what ails humanity, and offers us the kinds of texts that will surely lead your life (and dinner-table conversations) down entirely new paths.
Authors and sex workers Juno Mac and Molly Smith are not interested in making a moral argument about sex work being “good”—sex work is just as likely to involve abuse and exploitation as any other work under capitalism, which is exactly why sex work must be decriminalized and sex workers deserve full workers protections.
During any uprising, you see rhetoric trying to separate the good “peaceful” protestors from the bad “violent” ones. Here Vicky Osterweil makes the argument that not only is theft and property damage not violence, but that looting is one of the most effective and direct ways to incite change.
This gorgeous collection explores the trap of trans visibility from many different directions, gifting us with an expanse of rich history, theory, and art.
Cruising Utopia is a brilliant work against the assimilationist homonormativity that dominates so much of the discourse around gay rights, arguing that queerness itself has not yet arrived and can only seen in utopic glimpses of what could be.
Sophie Lewis is not here to give advice on the actual surrogate industry, but instead revitalizes older feminist claims that true liberation requires that we must first abolish the structure of the family itself—ripping up the roots of the things we are told from birth are “good” and “natural”.
This phenomenal collection takes on a thing that already exists (transness, Marxism, and the unusually high ratio of trans Marxists) and coalesces it into a series of theory pieces that have expanded and at times exploded my own notions of transness in ways nothing else ever has.
Sabrina Strings takes us on a voyage through our horrifying history to demonstrate how, like most of out bigotries, our notion of what bodies are healthy and beautiful was and is inherently constructed to enforce the systemic justification of white supremacy.