When it comes to tales of transgender people, we often hear stories of transwomen (from Jeffrey Tambor on the new Amazon series Transparent to Laverne Cox in Orange Is the New Black), but the stories of transmen are much more rare. Local writer Thomas Page McBee, who was born female, offers an intriguing reverse perspective in his memoir about becoming a man, appropriately titled Man Alive. Given that two of the most memorable men in his life were his abusive father and a mugger who almost killed him, McBee was unsurprisingly conflicted about his transition. He uses his personal story to investigate what it means to be a man, and what it takes to be a good one: a question that holds interesting implications for men, women, and everyone in between.
Appearances: City Lights, 10/9
Reggae legend Bob Marley was almost assassinated in 1976, when a group of gunmen stormed his house just days before the Jamaican general election, injuring Marley, his wife, his manager, and others in his home. In Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings, we get a fictional look at not only the assassins, but the entire rich tapestry strung between Jamaica and the US in the '70s, encompassing CIA agents, journalists, drug dealers, and even children. James' previous novel, The Book of Night Women, was wildly acclaimed, and the early word on this book is that he's topped himself.
Monthly reading series Writers with Drinks is a reliable source for hearing a lot of great writers in a short span. But for this month's edition, they've really gone above and beyond: the readers will be mega-acclaimed novelist Jonathan Lethem (Dissident Gardens), NoViolet Bulawayo (whose debut novel We Need New Names was a hit), Molly Antopol (who got some of the year's best reviews for her story collection The UnAmericans), and Mallory Ortberg, who's quietly become one of the literary world's best and funniest critics via her website, The Toast. If you can only make one WWD, make it this one.
Appearances: Make-Out Room, 10/11 (admission $5-20 at the door)