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Special Topics in Being a Human: A Queer and Tender Guide to Things I've Learned the Hard Way about Caring for People, Including Myself

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As an author, educator, and public speaker, S. Bear Bergman has documented his experience as, among other things, a trans parent, with wit and aplomb. He also writes the advice column "Ask Bear," in which he answers crucial questions about how best to make our collective way through the world. Featuring disarming illustrations by Saul Freedman-Lawson, Special Topics in Bein As an author, educator, and public speaker, S. Bear Bergman has documented his experience as, among other things, a trans parent, with wit and aplomb. He also writes the advice column "Ask Bear," in which he answers crucial questions about how best to make our collective way through the world. Featuring disarming illustrations by Saul Freedman-Lawson, Special Topics in Being a Human elaborates on "Asking Bear"'s premise: a gentle, witty, and insightful book of practical advice for the modern age. It offers Dad advice and Jewish bubbe wisdom, all filtered through a queer lens, to help you navigate some of the complexities of life--from how to make big decisions or make a good apology, to how to get someone's new name and pronouns right as quickly as possible, to how to gracefully navigate a breakup. With warmth and candor, Special Topics in Being a Human calls out social inequities and injustices in traditional advice-giving, validates your feelings, asks a lot of questions, and tries to help you be your best possible self with kindness, compassion, and humor.


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As an author, educator, and public speaker, S. Bear Bergman has documented his experience as, among other things, a trans parent, with wit and aplomb. He also writes the advice column "Ask Bear," in which he answers crucial questions about how best to make our collective way through the world. Featuring disarming illustrations by Saul Freedman-Lawson, Special Topics in Bein As an author, educator, and public speaker, S. Bear Bergman has documented his experience as, among other things, a trans parent, with wit and aplomb. He also writes the advice column "Ask Bear," in which he answers crucial questions about how best to make our collective way through the world. Featuring disarming illustrations by Saul Freedman-Lawson, Special Topics in Being a Human elaborates on "Asking Bear"'s premise: a gentle, witty, and insightful book of practical advice for the modern age. It offers Dad advice and Jewish bubbe wisdom, all filtered through a queer lens, to help you navigate some of the complexities of life--from how to make big decisions or make a good apology, to how to get someone's new name and pronouns right as quickly as possible, to how to gracefully navigate a breakup. With warmth and candor, Special Topics in Being a Human calls out social inequities and injustices in traditional advice-giving, validates your feelings, asks a lot of questions, and tries to help you be your best possible self with kindness, compassion, and humor.

30 review for Special Topics in Being a Human: A Queer and Tender Guide to Things I've Learned the Hard Way about Caring for People, Including Myself

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura Sackton

    Read my full review of this book here: https://booksandbakes.substack.com/p/... This is such a warm, tender, open-hearted, and sweet book full of practical and thoughtful advice about living life. I loved so many of the smaller, useful tips: making a weighted pros and cons list, how to take up less space/be less threatening in public if you're a man (or cis, white, straight, etc.), really useful steps for making a meaningful apology, how to get someone's pronouns/name right quickly. But there's a Read my full review of this book here: https://booksandbakes.substack.com/p/... This is such a warm, tender, open-hearted, and sweet book full of practical and thoughtful advice about living life. I loved so many of the smaller, useful tips: making a weighted pros and cons list, how to take up less space/be less threatening in public if you're a man (or cis, white, straight, etc.), really useful steps for making a meaningful apology, how to get someone's pronouns/name right quickly. But there's a lot more big-picture stuff too, really excellent thoughts on how to make big decisions, how to do things you're not good at, how to love people with your actions. The art is an absolute joy. There are so many kinds of people and bodies represented, of all genders, races, religions, abilities, body types. There are fat people and wheelchair users and people wearing hijabs and just so much beautiful human diversity. It makes the book feel actually inclusive, like it's really meant for everyone. And, this is a seemingly small thing but I can't stop thinking about it — so many of the people in the drawings are not smiling! It took me a little while to notice it and then it just made me so happy. It felt like this big relief, to see these drawings of folks just doing daily stuff, or having conversations, or even interacting with loved ones and just...not always smiling. It felt so real to me. It's also such a joy to read a self-help/advice book like this written from a queer/trans lens. Being poly or non-monogamous, having nontraditional families, valuing friendships equally to romantic relationships — all of these things are named, expected, deemed normal. I have loved all of Bergman's previous work, and I love this one, too. What a gem. Funny and smart and so deeply kind. Bergman's tone is so inviting and so caring. Reading this book was so comforting, even when I was nodding along at hard but good advice, thinking, oh, this is something I should work on or think about. Really lovely, highly recommend.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Special Topics in Being a Human: A Queer and Tender Guide to Things I've Learned the Hard Way about Caring for People, Including Myself is a graphic novel written by S. Bear Bergman and illustrated by Saul Freedman-Lawson. This delightful, neatly intersectional graphic compendium of advice tailored to a variety of situations lands as so down-to-earth that few readers will mind that it’s telling them what to do. Bergman of the web advice column "Asking Bear," approaches his mission with humility, Special Topics in Being a Human: A Queer and Tender Guide to Things I've Learned the Hard Way about Caring for People, Including Myself is a graphic novel written by S. Bear Bergman and illustrated by Saul Freedman-Lawson. This delightful, neatly intersectional graphic compendium of advice tailored to a variety of situations lands as so down-to-earth that few readers will mind that it’s telling them what to do. Bergman of the web advice column "Asking Bear," approaches his mission with humility, humor, and practicality. Each section contains numbered steps, considerations of context, and illustrations showcasing a refreshing range of human bodies. The artwork by Freedman-Lawson includes some examples drawn from the co-creators' real lives. Delivered with more than a spoonful of kindness, this medicine goes down easy and has the potential to facilitate real healing. Special Topics in Being a Human: A Queer and Tender Guide to Things I've Learned the Hard Way about Caring for People, Including Myself is written and constructed rather well. Bergman is an American trans man of Jewish heritage who has spent twenty-five years writing, performing, and educating about gender and sexuality issues, trans and Jewish experiences – simply human experiences. He might be best known for his advice column "Asking Bear," which offers more-or-less general advice but tends to favor letters focusing on minority or LGBTQ communities. All in all, Special Topics in Being a Human: A Queer and Tender Guide to Things I've Learned the Hard Way about Caring for People, Including Myself is a wonderful collection of comics that calls out social inequities and injustices in traditional advice-giving, which is generally targeted towards white, cis-gendered men.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Eckstein

    SPECIAL TOPICS IN BEING A HUMAN combines thoughtful words and personality-filled illustrations to provide advice that any human can use. Among the special topics are chapters titled "How to Tell People Things They Very Probably Won't Be Happy to Hear, at Least at First" and "How to Avoid Getting Your Upset All Over Other People When You Feel Out of Control." Other subjects include how to take both criticism and compliments, a formula for apologizing properly, methods to keep disagreements from b SPECIAL TOPICS IN BEING A HUMAN combines thoughtful words and personality-filled illustrations to provide advice that any human can use. Among the special topics are chapters titled "How to Tell People Things They Very Probably Won't Be Happy to Hear, at Least at First" and "How to Avoid Getting Your Upset All Over Other People When You Feel Out of Control." Other subjects include how to take both criticism and compliments, a formula for apologizing properly, methods to keep disagreements from becoming fights, and several approaches to being a better ally. Every aspect of this book is a delight. The advice is as enjoyable to read as it is useful. Bergman writes with his usual tenderness and humor, and his willingness to share his own flaws and vulnerabilities makes the guidance land that much harder. Freedman-Lawson's drawings add another layer of charming humor, and they've taken care to fill the pages with the widest variety of human beings. The great book design includes distinct color schemes for each chapter and summarized instructions for the step-by-step advice. Highly recommended for all humans trying to do better! View some pages here, here, and here.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Miriasha

    Thank you to Edelweiss for the ARC, review to come

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Well written and informative. I liked the way the guide was laid out and created. I love that it was a "queer and tender" guide because I feel like this world can be harsh and hard. Well written and informative. I liked the way the guide was laid out and created. I love that it was a "queer and tender" guide because I feel like this world can be harsh and hard.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Adina

    Very straightforward useful advice about how to navigate the challenges of being a complex human being. I highly recommend it to people who find themselves getting emotionally tangled up in human interactions. Plus the drawings are fun.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heron

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elyse

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tuesday

  10. 5 out of 5

    maria

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stoney

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  14. 4 out of 5

    Constanza

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Dean

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erinmayhanley

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eliana

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  19. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jayden

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brandee

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alice

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  26. 4 out of 5

    Randomproxy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Em

  28. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Wong

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erin Brooke

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