Lez Liberty Lit Is Going South

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Hi and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!

At Lit Hub, Tamm Lynne Stoner writes about queer Southern literature, particularly how hard it is to find and how it combines queerness, repression and madness:

“The struggling homosexual has been a force in southern lit, though often as a secondary character or as the unrecognized force that ruins lives. Often we only see the secret and true life of a queer character in the results of keeping that secret: the madness—or at least severe intoxication, the repression, the rampages. It’s like knowing a black hole exists even when we can’t see it because we can measure it’s pull on nearby objects. It’s the way the relationship between Idgie and Ruth in Fannie Flagg’s beloved novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café is never named and only hinted at.”

Patrisse Cullors, cofounder of Black Lives Matter and author of When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, spoke to the Los Angeles Review of Books about how 1960s and 1970s queer activists and writers shape her political vision and practice.

The world’s on fire. Can we still talk about books?,” writes Rebecca Makkai at Electric Literature:

“The idea that art is born of leisure, during times of peace, is a simplistic romance, a non-artist’s daydream. (Wouldn’t it be nice to just be creative all day? In a cabin? With the tea and whatnot?) Someone recently asked if I need to be in a meditative state in order to write. Jesus, no. I write best angry. Don’t you? I write best desperate, I write best heartbroken, I write best with my pulse throbbing in my neck. Even in the best times, many of us read and write to confront the world and its failings, not to escape the same.”

“[C]ertainly, Instagram may at first seem like a boon to many artists — a form of social media centered on images. But artists are starting to feel that it’s just become an addiction, devouring their creativity,” writes Drew Zeiba at Vulture on how artists interact with Instagram. Being an influencer can be such a drain.

On the But That’s Another Story podcast, Jodie Foster talked about finding a group of people who shared her language and love of reading and words.

In the Paris Review, Frankie Thomas writes about finding the queer characters in Harry Potter:

“Sirius and Lupin are minor characters, and everything we learn about them is filtered through the point of view of Harry, who is, like most kids, too self-involved to notice anything that doesn’t directly affect him. Queer kids, however, were directly affected by the suggestion of a gay love story happening in the background of Harry’s life — and so we noticed it. Oh, did we ever.”

Sylvia Plath is more than the way she died.

“Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere helped me process my conflicted feelings about my adoption,” writes Taylor Moore at Electric Literature.

Best of 2018 Book List time! Here are the best illustrated books. Here are Katy Waldman’s picks in the New Yorker. Here are LitHub’s favorites. Here are the Guardian’s best books in fiction, politics, food and more. Here are Casey’s best LGBT books for Autostraddle and her best queer books for Book Riot.

Here are the best books to buy for every (several) type(s) of friend. There’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, so remember that you can also “finally find that book of theirs you thought you lost and return it with another book for them to borrow” or “pay off their library fines” or how about my own free book-related ideas: go get library cards together, take them to that really pretty branch of the library that’s annoying to get to on the bus, or snag free-but-requires-advance-reservation tickets to see their favorite author. You could also donate to a literary non-profit.

Read these books on the joy of doing nothing. Read these books about time travel. Read these books not by men. Read these Jewish books. Read these biographies. Listen to these story podcasts. Read these 2019 YA books starring queer girls. Read these books this December. Read these books about women’s friendships. Read these books about women over age 80.

Carolyn Yates was formerly the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com. Her writing has appeared in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles by way of Montreal and Toronto. Find her on twitter or instagram.

Carolyn has written 953 articles for us.

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