Lez Liberty Lit: One Hundred And One Books To Read

Feature image via deathtothestockphoto.


Hi and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit! Here are some links!

Things About Queer Books (And Other Books Relevant To Your Interests)

In the Sunday essay at the Rumpus,

“The scarlet letter of my teenage motherhood seared into my skin like a brand, reminding me to feel dirty and afraid even when I’d woken up content, my breasts swelling with sustenance.

“At least she isn’t a lesbian,” my mother’s best friend, Lynn, had reassured her amid the horror of my fertility, and she’d drawn out the lezzz so it sounded sharp and strange. Lezzzbian.

I ran my shower water scorching hot and scrubbed myself with coarse salt until my skin turned pink.

The Millions’ great second-half of 2016 book preview is here! Also, here’s a flowchart to help you figure out what literary new release to read.

A reminder: queer books are hard, but not impossible, to find.

The Shade Journal, “an online poetry journal focused on the empowerment of queer people of color (QPOC); publishing poems that inspires, devastates, and howls – work that challenges form and upsets the cannon, but understands its rigorous and traditional roots,” launches this September.

Some kids aren’t allowed to read books with anything important in them, because why talk about things when you can pretend they don’t exist. At Amnezty International, Robin Talley argues: “Teenagers are passionate about this world and their role in it. They know its future is in their hands. And the more they read, the wider they’ll understand that world to be.”

What queer book podcasts should you listen to?

This Scottish bookstore has found a way to get guests to pay not only to stay the night but also for the pleasure of working a 40-hour week.

At Book Riot, Jamie Moore writes about two elegies on black girlhood.

Try to read this history of zines without getting Hamilton stuck in your head in the first paragraph. Also:

“Feminists more or less run the zine world right now. Almost every one of the zine fests I’ve been to in the last two years—including Seattle’s Short Run, Olympia Zine Fest, Portland Zine Fest, New Orleans Zine Fest, Chicago Zine Fest, and Denver Zine Fest—has been run entirely run by women and put on by women, with women tending to make up the vast majority of the tablers as well. To my mind, zines have always been there for people who are typically shut out of standard publishing venues, people who have to rely on their own wits to get their words out.”

Elena Ferrante’s book have bad covers.

English is not dead yet.

A new literary award will honor debut books by women and nonbinary writers of color.

Lucy Maud Montgomery: lair.

We need celebratory queer books too.

Keep Norwegian weird.

The New York Times discussed Virginie Despentes, noting:

“Despentes has become a kind of cult hero, a patron saint to invisible women: the monstrous and marginalized, the sodden, weary and wildly unemployable, the kind of woman who can scarcely be propped up let alone persuaded to lean in.”

The oldest library in the world is 1,157 years old and once again open for business.

You have to make up what being a writer looks like to you.

Book Things To Do In Person

23 July, Brisbane, Australia: #EnbyLife, a zine about non-binary experiences and stories with submissions from Australian and international writers, artists and creatives, will launch at Junky Comics (93 Vulture St., West End), 5 pm, with an after party at The End.

8 August, New York: Contributors to Sinister Wisdom 101: Variations, a “special volume of the 40-year old lesbian art and literary journal Sinister Wisdom, explores the varied meanings of lesbian feminism in today’s world,” will read at the Dixon Place Lounge (161 Chrystie Place), 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Know of a queer event with literary merit? Send it to us! The Liberty Lit is bi-weekly.

Books! They are really great. You just won’t believe how great they are. You may think that the Internet’s great, but that’s just peanuts compared to books. In Lez Liberty Lit, we talk about queer books and literary shit that’s happening that you should probably care about.

The name “Liberty Lit” was inspired by the short-lived literary journal produced by Angela Chase at Liberty High School in 1994.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. I love that the flowchart has an option for people (like myself) who are obsessed with Hamilton, but really do not want to 700+ pages of early American history.

  2. I liked the finding queer books article, although I think I’ve had most of the non-internet advice there internalised since I was about 14.

    However, I fervently believe the following statement I made to my wife a couple of days ago: I would save so much time in my life if amazon just stated up front whether a book had lesbians in it

  3. Thanks for this, that Rumpus essay was dark and lovely and now I have so many tabs open…

  4. Does anyone else think it might be easier to find queer books now (like it says more often in the jacket description), or am I just being optimistic?

    • Depends on the book still, I think. For example, Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (coming out later this year) doesn’t mention the female love interest at all on the back cover blurb (at least on the ones I’ve seen online), even though she plays just as prominent a role as the male love interest that gets a mention.

      I think it depends on whether they think its worth marketing to queer people, or whether they think they can get more readers by skimming over that.

  5. As a Finnish person who is often immersed in English, I really felt that Norwegian piece.

  6. Oh wow! A book event in Australia! I’m no longer in Brisbane but that’s really cool that you found and included that!

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