100 books like The First Man-Made Man

By Pagan Kennedy,

Here are 100 books that The First Man-Made Man fans have personally recommended if you like The First Man-Made Man. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Death Comes for the Archbishop

Ernest Hebert Author Of Whirlybird Island

From my list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.

Ernest's book list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers

Ernest Hebert Why did Ernest love this book?

I read Death Comes for the Archbishop when I was fifteen. It was my first encounter with literary prose that was not assigned by a teacher, and it changed my life for the better by giving me a better understanding of myself and the human drama. I thought at the time: This is the best book I ever read. I re-read the novel in 2017 and thought: This is the best book I ever read. There’s no sex in it, but it’s a love story between two men. Cather’s novel has guided my work as a writer for more than sixty-five years.

By Willa Cather,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Death Comes for the Archbishop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of the most highly acclaimed novelists of the twentieth century—"a truly remarkable book" (The New York Times),an epic—almost mythic—story of a single human life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert.

In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes to serve as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico. What he finds is a vast territory of red hills and tortuous arroyos, American by law but Mexican and Indian in custom and belief. In the almost forty years that follow, Latour spreads his faith in the only way he knows—gently, all the while contending with an unforgiving landscape,…


Book cover of Remembrance of Things Past

Ernest Hebert Author Of Whirlybird Island

From my list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.

Ernest's book list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers

Ernest Hebert Why did Ernest love this book?

I didn’t come into contact with Remembrance of Things Past until I was in my late twenties—and was immediately turned off. I thought, what a windbag and slammed the book shut. Later, I gave it another try. Then another. I never did finish Swann's Way and the other novels in Remembrance of Things Past. And yet Proust remains not only a powerful influence on my writing, but a guide in the practice of good prose. What has stayed with me were Proust’s long gorgeous sentences. Any time my writing slackens, or my vision falters, I pick up Proust. I read those long long sentences with my lips moving. They inspire me. They make me pay attention to the most important craft element in the writer’s tool kit—the sentence.

By Marcel Proust, CK Scott Moncrieff (translator), Terence Kilmartin (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Remembrance of Things Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the French intellectual, novelist, essayist, and one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century: The first two volumes of his monumental achievement, Swann’s Way and Within a Budding Grove.  

The famous overture to Swann's Way sets down the grand themes that govern In Search of Lost Time: as the narrator recalls his childhood in Paris and Combray, exquisite memories, long since passed—his mother’s good-night kiss, the water lilies on the Vivonne, his love for Swann’s daughter Gilberte—spring vividly into being. In Within a Budding Grove—which won the Prix Goncourt in 1919, bringing the author instant fame—the narrator turns…


Book cover of Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War

Ernest Hebert Author Of Whirlybird Island

From my list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.

Ernest's book list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers

Ernest Hebert Why did Ernest love this book?

My book is a story about what often happens to some soldiers after a war, in today's lingo, PTSD. As one who is a veteran himself, I’ve always been conflicted about soldiering, war, the aftermath of war, and the American penchant for war. One book put it all into perspective for me, Enduring Vietnam by historian James Wright. Wright gives you the historical context that brought about the war; the politics that influenced the war; and the battles fought during the war. But he tells it all from the perspective of the soldiers who fought the war, from our fellow Americans and allies in South Vietnam, but also from the perspective of the enemy soldiers, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese.

By James Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Enduring Vietnam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Vietnam War is largely recalled as a mistake, either in the decision to engage there or in the nature of the engagement. Orboth. Veterans of the war remain largely anonymous figures, accomplices in the mistake. Critically recounting the steps that led to the war, this book does not excuse the mistakes, but it brings those who served out of the shadows. Enduring Vietnam recounts the experiences of the young Americans who fought in Vietnam and of families who grieved those who did not return. By 1969 nearly half of the junior enlisted men who died in Vietnam were draftees.…


Book cover of Fer-de-lance

Ernest Hebert Author Of Whirlybird Island

From my list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.

Ernest's book list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers

Ernest Hebert Why did Ernest love this book?

In 1967 I worked for seven months at DePaul psychiatric hospital in New Orleans, LA as an attendant during the 11 pm to 7 am shift. During that time period, there was often nothing to do but stay awake, because schizophrenics, like everybody else, usually sleep through the night. There was a tiny library in the "Seton Unit" section of the hospital where I worked that featured a dozen or more Nero Wolfe murder mysteries by Rex Stout. I read them all, some of them more than once. The books brought me back to my late childhood years when I read all of the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. What fascinated me about both these sets of books later when I became a writer was the relationships between the storytellers (John Watson/Archie Goodwin) and the larger-than-life detectives (Sherlock Holmes/Nero Wolfe). They acted like bickering but loving married couples while…

By Rex Stout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fer-de-lance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As any herpetologist will tell you, the fer-de-lance is among the most dreaded snakes known to man.  When someone makes a present of one to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he's getting dreadully close to solving the devilishly clever murders of an immigrant and a college president.  As for Wolfe, he's playing snake charmer in a case with more twists than an anaconda -- whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch a killer who's still got poison in his heart.


Book cover of Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man

Jiordan Castle Author Of Disappearing Act: A True Story

From my list on resilience for young adults and adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in stories about becoming. Whether it’s a coming-of-age story, a story about overcoming adversity, or a story about discovery or recovery, I find that the best books about becoming also tend to be books about resilience. For me, the lure of a book is often more about its themes and perspective than it is about where it’s categorized and shelved. Having written a memoir in verse for an upper young adult reading group, this is especially true of my experience as an author. Each of the books on this list has something profound and singular to offer young adult readers and adult readers alike.

Jiordan's book list on resilience for young adults and adults

Jiordan Castle Why did Jiordan love this book?

This memoir hurts and heals in equal measure, with thoughtful retellings of childhood trauma (CW: sexual abuse), an adult mugging, and all of the moments that fracture a life and reshape an identity.

No one is more self-made, in so many ways, than McBee, who takes readers on a journey of discovery, forgiveness, and survival. And the emphasis isn’t solely on surviving, but on what it means to be unapologetically, wholly alive in the world. For anyone who has lived through major trauma, or loved someone who has, this book is a vessel of hope.

By Thomas Page McBee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Man Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner - Best Transgender Nonfiction - 2015 Lambda Literary Awards Best Books of 2014 - Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2014 - NPR Books Best Nonficton Books of 2014 - Kirkus Reviews 10 Best Transgender Non-Fiction Books - Advocate "Thomas Page McBee's Man Alive hurtled through my life. I read it in a matter of hours. It's a confession, it's a poem, it's a time warp, it's a brilliant work of art. I bow down to McBee--his humility, his sense of humor, his insightfulness, his structural deftness, his ability to put into words what is often said but rarely, with…


Book cover of Crossing: A Transgender Memoir

John Horgan Author Of Mind-Body Problems: Science, Subjectivity & Who We Really Are

From my list on mind-body.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been baffled by everything, especially myself, for as long as I can remember. In my late 20s, after years as a wandering hippy poet, I decided that science is our best hope for answers, and I became a science journalist. The mystery at the heart of science—as well as religion, philosophy, and the arts--is the mind-body problem. In a narrow, technical sense, the mind-body problem investigates how matter generates the mind, but it really asks: What are we, what can we be, what should we be? Below are some of my favorite books touching on these questions.

John's book list on mind-body

John Horgan Why did John love this book?

Sex is an essential part of who we are. What determines our sexual preferences? Do they stem primarily from nature or nurture? Deirdre McCloskey, an eminent economist, is especially qualified to answer these questions. She began her life as Donald, who was married and in his 50s when he realized that he was really a she and became a woman. Crossing, a memoir of McCloskey’s agonizing, exhilarating transformation, is a fascinating deep dive into sexual identity.

By Deirdre N. McCloskey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crossing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

"I visited womanhood and stayed. It was not for the pleasures, though I discovered many I had not imagined, and many pains too. But calculating pleasures and pains was not the point. The point was who I am."

Once a golden boy of conservative economics and a child of 1950s privilege, Deirdre McCloskey (formerly Donald) had wanted to change genders from the age of eleven. But it was a different time, one hostile to any sort of straying from the path--against gays, socialists, women with professions, men without hats,…


Book cover of Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us

Wendy-O Matik Author Of Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships

From my list on to ignite the revolution and smash patriarchy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a rebellious woman who is passionate about words and the revolutionary force of books, I know the power of stories. Stories are the seeds that give life to your purpose. Stories give you a reason to fight the good fight, care about something bigger than yourself, and want to be a part of social justice and positive change. The daily grind can kick you down, but a good story can remind you that there's still time to rise up, speak truth to power, help others less fortunate, and commit to what you value most. The books that I’m recommending are meant to be your personal guide to what really matters most in life to you.

Wendy-O's book list on to ignite the revolution and smash patriarchy

Wendy-O Matik Why did Wendy-O love this book?

Growing up as a hardcore tomboy, the gender binary issue has always been a challenge for me. Why do I have to choose between male or female? I resent being given only one gender with no option to explore a spectrum of gender possibilities. The gender battle is raging at the forefront of American politics. If you don’t understand the debate, this is a great book to start with to learn more about gender and identity. The writing is bold, courageous, and hilarious, and does a great job of smashing gender conformity.

By Kate Bornstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gender Outlaw as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gender Outlaw is the work of a woman who has been through some changes--a former heterosexual male, a one-time Scientologist and IBM salesperson, now a lesbian woman writer and actress who makes regular rounds on the TV (so to speak) talk shows. In her book, Bornstein covers the "mechanics" of her surgery, everything you've always wanted to know about gender (but were too confused to ask) addresses the place and politics of the transgendered and intterogates the questions of those who give the subject little thought, creating questions of her own.


Book cover of Orlando: A Biography

Donna M. Lucey Author Of Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas

From my list on women who broke the rules—or new ground.

Why am I passionate about this?

A New York Times bestselling author, I love excavating the lives of eccentric, strong-willed women. There’s the thrill of the chase—holding handwritten letters and diaries and uncovering, bit by bit, the story of each woman—and the adventure of encountering the unexpected: Wandering through a rattlesnake-infested Montana cabin (Photographing Montana 1894-1928: The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron); being woken by a ghost while staying at a decaying Astor mansion in the Hudson Valley (Archie and Amélie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age); climbing 200 stone steps to reach the Royal Archives in Windsor Castle, while the recently-departed Queen Elizabeth was in the courtyard below (Victoria’s Island, in process). Such fun.

Donna's book list on women who broke the rules—or new ground

Donna M. Lucey Why did Donna love this book?

Because even its subtitle is subversive. Written as a valentine to Woolf’s lesbian lover, the book is anything but a biography. It is a gender-bending, time-traveling work of fiction that stretches from Elizabethan England to modern times—with the central character never aging, but changing sex. The book explores the fluidity of gender while poking fun at the pageantry and conventions of aristocratic English life, as well as taking to task the English tradition of male primogeniture. Fans of the book must also watch director Sally Potter’s brilliant film adaptation, Orlando, that stars a young, transcendent Tilda Swinton. 

By Virginia Woolf,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Orlando as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics.

'The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice.'

Written for her lover Vita Sackville-West, 'Orlando' is Woolf's playfully subversive take on a biography, here tracing the fantastical life of Orlando. As the novel spans centuries and continents, gender and identity, we follow Orlando's adventures in love - from being a lord in the Elizabethan court to a lady in 1920s London.

First published in 1928, this tale of unrivalled…


Book cover of Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era

Merrill Cole Author Of The Other Orpheus: A Poetics of Modern Homosexuality

From my list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been pondering philosophical questions and trying to understand my queer sexuality since childhood. While checking out The Portable Nietzsche in my high school library, the librarian warned me the philosopher was “a bad man.” Then I had to read the book, which not only taught me to become critical of all forms of authority, but also, perhaps paradoxically, empowered me to embrace my queerness. As a college and graduate student, I studied many of the American academic movements based in Continental philosophy grouped under the rubric, “theory.” When queer theory emerged in the early 1990s’, I found a place for myself. I'm convinced that we should never stop putting our identities under critique.

Merrill's book list on queer theory to gain an understanding of the field

Merrill Cole Why did Merrill love this book?

Paul B. Preciado’s Testo Junkie, originally published in Spanish in 2008 and republished in English translation in 2013, is lusty, hyperbolic, and explosive.

It’s part postqueer, trans-feminist manifesto, part record of a cis-female’s illicit experimentation with testosterone, and part explicit fucking. A much more enjoyable book than Judith Butler’s groundbreaking Gender Trouble and Bodies that Matter, and it has the advantage of updating Butler’s Foucault-based theory with the twenty-first-century concerns.

Preciado argues that today’s “pharmacopornographic” regime utilizes drugs and erotic imagery—hormone shots and money shots—to control our subjectivity and gender, instating a system of knowledge and power in which the body “no longer inhabits disciplinary spaces but is inhabited by them.”

By Beatriz Preciado,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Testo Junkie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This visionary book on gender and sexuality weaves together high theory and intimate memoir, with "spectacular" results—"and the gendered body will never be the same again" (Jack Halberstam). 

What constitutes a "real" man or woman in the twenty-first century? Since birth control pills, erectile dysfunction remedies, and factory-made testosterone and estrogen were developed, biology is definitely no longer destiny.

In this penetrating analysis of gender, Paul B. Preciado shows the ways in which the synthesis of hormones since the 1950s has fundamentally changed how gender and sexual identity are formulated, and how the pharmaceutical and pornography industries are in the…


Book cover of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Zoë Playdon Author Of The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes: And the Unwritten History of the Trans Experience

From my list on trans liberation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Alongside my professional role as Emeritus professor and former head of postgraduate medical and dental education for NHS London and the South East region, I’ve been engaged with LGBTI human rights for thirty years, working with legal teams and advising a range of government departments and stakeholders. I wrote The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes to remind us all that until the late 1960s, trans people self-identified, received affirmative medical care, corrected their birth certificates, and lived in full equality. At a time when discussion of trans lives is almost submerged by entrenched ideological dogma, the historical and scientific facts of trans experience feel particularly important. I hope you enjoy my selection on this theme. 

Zoë's book list on trans liberation

Zoë Playdon Why did Zoë love this book?

Every list should have a classic, and Whipping Girl is a classic in spades. Written for a mainstream audience in 2007, but still vibrantly relevant to today’s trans lives, it brought the terms ‘cissexual’ and ‘cisgender’ into the mainstream, and introduced crucial concepts, such as ‘cissexual privilege’ and ‘trans misogyny’. Julia does brilliantly the difficult balancing act required to make complex ideas easily accessible to a general readership and covers a wide spectrum of debate. It’s a tour de force, and a favourite of mine when thinking or teaching about LGBT social justice. 

By Julia Serano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whipping Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the updated second edition of Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist, shares her powerful experiences and observations,both pre- and post-transition,to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole. Serano's well-honed arguments stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. In this provocative manifesto, she exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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