Top Book Picks of 2015

As you look back over your year, there are a lot of things you notice. You had fun – probably more than once. You had some really great meals with really great friends – also probably more than once. And in ...
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Retired Navy SEAL comes out as transgender

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After 20 years in the military and as part of the SEAL unit that went on to kill Osama bin Laden, Kristen Beck has come out as transgender in a new memoir, "Warrior Princess."

The book, to be published Tuesday according to The Atlantic, tells how Beck finally decided to transition to female after retiring from the Navy in 2011.

What makes this story especially important is that the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell does not include allowing openly transgender people to serve in the military. But when a soldier in the elite, and tough, Navy SEALs comes out, people have to listen. And it appears fellow soldiers are on board.

Beck said the news of her being transgender was greeted warmly by her fellow SEAL soldiers:

Soon, the responses from SEALs stationed all around the world suddenly started pouring in: "Brother, I am with you ... being a SEAL is hard, this looks harder. Peace" * "I can't say I understand the decision but I respect the courage. Peace and happiness be upon you...Jim" * " ... I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that Kris has all the support and respect from me that Chris had ... and quite possibly more. While I'm definitely surprised, I'm also in amazement at the strength you possess and the courage necessary to combat the strangers and 'friends' that I'm guessing have reared their ugly heads prior to and since your announcement. ..."

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Memoir takes humorous look at women’s sexual fluidity

Elena Azzoni is a lesbian who finds herself sexually attracted to men

It’s hard to believe that such a funny book would stir up any controversy, but author Elena Azzoni has managed it with her new memoir, “A Year Straight: Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Lesbian Beauty Queen.”

Penned by a “Miss Lez” pageant winner who then got the hots for her male yoga teacher, the book is full of humor, observations about dating both genders, poetic moments and a conclusion that any reader will know isn’t really going to be the end of the story. The Georgia Voice spoke with Azzoni about her book, the controversy and sexual fluidity.

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‘Spoon Fed’ details lesbian writer’s hunger for meaning in food and life

Kim Severson set out to simply write about female cookbook authors. But the result was her memoir “Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Changed My Life,” the compelling tale of how lessons learned at the table helped her cope with alcohol addiction, drug use, coming out, and more.

Released in April 2010, “Spoon Fed” drew instant praise for Severson, who has worked as a journalist and food writer for newspapers in Alaska and California, and finally for the New York Times.

In November, Severson became the Atlanta bureau chief for the New York Times, and now lives in Decatur with her partner and their daughter. She reads from “Spoon Fed” Aug. 25 at Atlanta’s feminist bookstore, Charis Books & More.