Zackary Drucker: TOP TEN BOOKS


Photo by Jaesung Lee

“The mark of a good book for me is a book that I can’t hold onto because I give away every copy I own over and over again,” says Zackary Drucker, the transgender performance artist whose work explores gender, identity, and what it means to be human. Beyond art, her work has led her to television, where she finds herself a co-producer and sometime actor on Amazon’s Golden Globe-winning series, Transparent.

Below are Zackary Drucker’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


A Queer and Pleasant Danger

Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein addresses parts of her personal story that she had previously never talked about, including her childhood, her path to and escape from Scientology, and into a life of gender and sexual freedom. It is like having a spontaneous and often outrageous conversation with your dear old auntie who’s into S&M and radical gender play. 
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Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black

Cookie Mueller
Cookie Mueller is an enigmatic character in counterculture history, a talented writer, commentator, muse, actor, and overall renaissance woman. This collection of writings is her succinct rendering of an explosive life lived. 
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My Mother: Demonology

Kathy Acker
Kathy Acker was a punk-rock, post-modern writer-artist and she wrote this piece after her mother died. The title says all there is to know about her feelings towards her mother. Acker’s writing coalesces to its most epic as she reinvents, bends, and destroys language, to build a world that is a complete psychological immersion and creative experience. Her books are a gift to humanity.
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Another Country

James Baldwin
Baldwin’s grand novel, Another Country, delivers beatnik-era 1950s, with characters who are on all sides of black, white, gay and straight, twisting complex lives into a magical taffy of perfection. By humanizing the bourgeoning civil rights movement and changing attitudes towards women, Baldwin creates a historical portrait of America that is a great key to understanding where we come from.
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The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen: Passing, Quicksand, and The Stories

Nella Larsen
I think of this book as a secret key to understanding the division between stealth “passing” trans women and out trans women in our current culture. Quicksand is about a woman with a mixed background who escapes the racial injustice of America to Denmark in the 1920s. The thing that I’ve always thought was so curious was that Larsen published these books and then became a nurse, never to publish again. Larsen’s life is a mysterious allegory to her writing.
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Not Me

Eileen Myles
Though I love ALL of Eileen Myles’ books, Not Me was the first that I got my hands on as a young person and it’s the one that I’ve read over and over again through the years. Myles’s poetry is a river of words and beauty that a reader can float downstream, easy and profound and lyrical to read under your breath, making all of the ordinary moments we experience in life more complex and packed with meaning.
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Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration

David Wojnarowicz
This stage of his work is from a place of desperation and an itching demand to speak out about living with HIV/AIDS, and trying to survive a hopeless situation. Wojnarowicz’s words are resurrected cries of help from recent memory that are more relevant than ever.
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The Portable Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker
The way that Dorothy Parker navigates her own darkness with wit, and her commentary on what it was like to be a woman in America in the 1920s is wildly compelling. The amazing thing about this book is you can open to any page and read a great short story. Parker makes for a wonderful author to read aloud to your lover.
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Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl was a disciple of Freud. He was a psychoanalyst who, after surviving a death camp in the Holocaust, wrote this deeply spiritual book that is simultaneously psychoanalytic and autobiographical. This is a book about the power of the mind creating a reason to live in order to survive a dire situation. There is no more powerful a story than one about survival.
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Assata: An Autobiography

Assata Shakur
Of all the great memoirs to come out of the Black Power Movement (Angela Davis, Bobby Seales, Amiri Baraka, Nina Simone) Assata is my favorite. I draw a lot of inspiration from the Black Power Movement, and the way that she describes her activism is overflowing with passion and heart.
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