Books: 739

Photo courtesy of BigStock/howtogoto
Photo courtesy of BigStock/howtogoto

Inverse Cowgirl: A Memoir
Alicia Roth Weigel
HarperOne
$18.99

Moving, powerful; a lived look at the least understood position on the GLBTQIA+ spectrum. An earlier amniocentesis had shown XY chromosomes, yet baby Wiegel appeared with a vagina (though no ovaries or uterus). Doctors diagnosed with “complete androgen insensitivity syndrome” (CAIS). The ”problem” was, and is still to a great degree, “fixed” by surgeons removing her internal testes to “normalize” the infant. It didn’t. These essays show, with acerbic wit and courageous honesty, the results of that decision, Weigel regaling the reader with her worldwide travels, boundless energy and activism used on behalf of the intersex community and to educate others, including those in the GLBTQIA+  acronym, through her firm, Intrepedia Strategy, and work as a human rights commissioner for the city of Austin, TX.

Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates
Katie Barnes
St. Martin’s Press

“Transgender” wasn’t coined until the 1960s, provoking no gender skirmishes–then. Title IX’s 1972 passing proved a massive sea-change for girls’ and women’s athletics, though Barnes shows even under its umbrella, women’s sports require protection. With the appearance of transmen and transwomen athletes, regulations for who may enter what and what protocols should be in place, although Barnes’s meticulous research shows considerable, growing conflict still exists concerning what rules and who will make them. Sports themselves aren’t always fair, so it behooves the human element to not place barriers in the paths of variously skilled young athletes. Fair Play offers a good entry into an athletic world that is becoming more rule-ridden, politicized, and monetized than is healthy for athletes of whatever age or skill.

The Virgin Homicides: A Mahu Investigation
Neil S. Plakcy
$14.99

Plakcy fans: rejoice at this lucky-thirteenth Mahu investigation. Newcomers: you’re blest to have a dozen more! Detective Kimo Kanapa’aka (letting slip some background) is married to his firefighter partner Mike, and parents of 10-year-old twins. Technology and social media vastly different from volume one; Kimo’s niece, Apikela, is in college, student and influencer with a 6-figure income. A fellow-student is murdered,  then an older woman. Related? Kimo and partner find few substantive clues, but now there’s Sensorvault, geofencing, reverse location that cast wide nets for cell devices, while new widgets can pull prints from fabric. Far from the lone, angst-ridden sleuth,  partners and close-knit families pull together to protect and serve. Plakcy remains a master of mood and mayhem–and of letting in the light.

The Sunset Years of Agnes Sharp
Leonie Swann
Soho Crime
$27.95

The elderly residents of Sunset Hall are disconcerted when police come a-knocking to announce their neighbor has been murdered, but relieved the fuss isn’t about the corpse in their shed. Sunset Hall’s denizens are like one’s university mates, only slower, more forgetful, more achy, and include Hetty, a fretful tortoise. She’s slow of step but remembers her destination. The titular Agnes Sharp actually owns the Hall, but, determined not to be warehoused in a tomb like the nearby Lime Tree Court, she collected a like-minded crew for house shares; they settle in…until it’s obviously time to go. Now, the obvious solution is find the neighbor’s killer, and add the body in the shed to their tally. Humorous? Yes, and not so. A cozy with frissons.

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