What I’m Reading, including Felix Ever After

I finished a book this week!

I’ve been watching shows (Doctor Who and the Great Pottery Throw Down most recently, but it was the Umbrella Academy before that) and watching many YouTube videos of both fountain pens, bullet journals, and tarot cards (some favorites include leena journals, Goulet Pens, Carrie Mallon), but I haven’t been reading much lately, even though I’ve been writing reviews for the Lesbrary (sometimes) and reviewing for Lambda Literary & the NLA-I leather awards.

Mostly, all I want to do is sit at my desk and play with art supplies. rife spends a lot of time outside, especially on the nice days. I’ve been trying to upgrade what I’m listening to while I’m playing with the art supplies, so instead of watching Doctor Who every night, I’ve been listening to audiobooks or podcasts. While I appreciate good TV and I think the entertainment is also some study of how to put character, setting, conflict, story, and plot together, it just feels more productive to have read books than to have watched TV — even if the “reading” of the book is via audio.

I hear audio book sales have risen during the pandemic.

So, let me tell you about the book a little. Maybe you want to read it, or listen to it.

Kacen Callendar’s novel Felix Ever After (Amazon | Bookshop) is the story of seventeen-year-old trans guy Felix, navigating attending a fancy private art school in Manhattan, living in Brooklyn with his dad, working on his art portfolio to apply to college, and stories about his group of friends and classmates. Felix has never been in love, but wants to be. Some transphobic things happen, and Felix discovers some good friends and gains confidence in pushing back against the pressure in his summer before senior year.

It was really sweet. I found myself excited to come back to it, eager to get back to my desk and have time to myself or be finished with all my meetings. It’s smart and clever, has some really insightful identity development, and showcases a lovely world of queer art and liberation.

I have mixed feelings about coming of age stories set in New York City, probably because I lived there for about ten years and have mixed feelings about the city in general. It’s just such a particular place — the city almost always functions as another character in a novel. And it gets romanticized and held up as some sort of standard, which I think can end up being pretty negative. But I appreciated the complexities of New York that were depicted in this novel — clearly the author has lived there and knows a lot about how things actually work.

Also, the audiobook narrator was fantastic and it was highly entertaining and fun to listen to.

If you need something fun and easy to read to pick up, it’s a good one.

What have y’all been doing during the pandemic — are you reading? Are you listening to audiobooks? Are you holed up at your desk playing with art supplies? Did you discover any amazing TV shows? (I especially loved the newest Star Trek series, Enterprise — if you haven’t seen that one yet, it’s pretty extraordinary.)

Pick up Felix Ever After at your local independent bookstore, or online at Bookshop, or, if you must, on Amazon.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

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