Autostraddle Read A F*cking Book Club #2 – Let’s Read The IHOP Papers!

So! The first Autostraddle Book Club has been a resounding success, in that we managed to get the post up within a three-day margin of when we said we would and it appears that several people actually read the book, so onward and upward, right? Right.

After we finished basking in the communal literary accomplishment that was Talking About Inferno, we realized that we had no real metric or plan for how to choose the next book. Our first thought was “we should look at upcoming novel/memoir releases from prominent gay or female authors!” Obviously we had temporarily forgotten about the patriarchy and how despite the fact that women read more than men; men won’t read books written by women and male authors outnumber female authors at something like a 66 to 27 ratio (yes, it’s a weird statistic, follow the link and draw your own conclusion). Those things are all reasons why we insist on only reading books written by women or transpeople and perhaps excuses for why the “upcoming novel/memoir releases from prominent gay or female authors that are not primarily about heterosexual romance/relationships” category was so challenging. I mean is it just us or does every female-penned literary masterwork that came out this year look like a Jodi Picoult novel? I guess that’s judging a book by its cover.

Anyhow, the only two books we could think of in that category were Portia’s Unbearable Lightness and Lorrie Moore’s A Gate At The Stairs, which we all have read/are reading but the former we decided was too triggering and the second is, sadly, completely un-gay. Also they are both really sad, which I feel like none of us needs right now.

Rachel: So [Gate At The Stairs] is just totally heterosexual?

Laneia: Yeah, and it’s also really depressing.

Rachel: That’s how you can tell it’s, like, important, right?

Laneia: Yeah, well let me just say that that book gets real important at the end.

Having taken all these factors into careful consideration, we’ve decided that our standard for new book club selections will be Books Rachel Feels Like Reading until someone has a better suggestion. So! Who wants to read Ali Liebegott’s The IHOP Papers?

I first became aware of Ali Liebegott when I saw her read with Sister Spit. She told a story about calling into Dr. Laura’s show to ask advice about her gambling addiction, and then read the part of her book where the protagonist talks about being in love with a soap opera character and then fucks herself with a highlighter. So, I mean, yeah, I was on board after that. Liebegott has actually published about a million really wonderful things through small presses, like her first book (a book-length poem, I feel like we possibly need to diversify our genre choices in the future) The Beautifully Worthless, which won a Lambda Literary Award. The IHOP Papers, in turn, won the Lambda for Best Lesbian Debut Novel the year it was written. I think this is appropriate for Autostraddle readers because it features a dysfunctional but highly relatable young lesbian protagonist, not unlike Inferno, but includes more substance abuse and relationship drama and rats, so I think it’s a good next step.

Ok? Ok. READY SET GO. Buy the book on Amazon and we’ll get a small percentage of your purchase in our bank accounts.

We will reconvene at this space on January 12th. Can we do that? Does that sound good? Talk to me. I love you.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Could we read “The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith” next it is amazing but disturbing.

    • Oh I have been interested in reading this! She was very interesting and beautiful and, it seems, terrible as a person. But I just read her single lesbian novel, The Price of Salt, and it’s very good — shockingly, for the time, the ending will not make you miserable, I promise.

  2. i have never heard of this book, but i am a big fan of places that will serve large groups of (kind of drunk but) friendly people pancakes at 7 am on new year’s day so i’m going to say this is a good choice

  3. I know rachel isn’t in charge of this, but what happened to the record club? I was really excited for being able to overanalyze music with other people who overanalyze music…

  4. weeeee should read catherynne valente’s palimpsest at some point.

    likely no one will have any patience for it, but overwrought, wonderful, transcendent queery wordporn is MY favorite

  5. Yeeesssss! I was just discussing my desire to read this! Rachel is inside my head. I wish she were inside other body parts as well, but alas, I’ll take what I can get.

    sorry i’m just following this trend of making rachel feel flattered/possibly uncomfortable.

  7. This book looks good. I’m very excited. You’re all smart and pretty as usual. My budget appreciates that it’s only $10.61.

  8. I came across this book a few weeks ago! The voice is so good, right off the bat. I’m excited to start itttt

  9. great! this time there is a slight chance I will be able to read the book in time (I always say it’s getting less stressful at university, but who am I kidding?).
    I ordered it and now I’ll wait and then I will get my shit together and read even more, though I also want to order some or some more of Ivan Coyotes books and haven’t yet… :(

  10. I was just wondering what I would read over the holidays!

    Now, as soon as I figure out what to tell my parents the book is about when they see me reading it I will buy it.

    • it’s about pancakes and wristcuffs, clearly. very boring.

      p.s. it’s easy to read things no one will suspect you of reading because i find it tends to be a one-person activity

    • take some other book’s cover. wrap it around the suspicious book. I never had to do that but it’s a possibility. ;)

      • maybe i’m kidding myself, but i’m counting that the fact that the cover doesn’t really give much away to the unsuspecting parent :P

        i’ll have to borrow their credit card to buy it too :S

  11. Hey. Ain’t nothing wrong with a Jodi Picoult novel. I own most of them. :p

    Anyway, I kind of want to do this? This book looks really good, & right up my alley. I just have to talk my bank account into it.

  12. I’m so happy you picked this book! I bought it forever ago and read it and I was just thinking I should read it again…and now I have a great excuse to! Weeeee for the Autostraddle book club.

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