Lez Liberty Lit #19: Strong Coffee, Stronger Bourbon

by carolyn & riese

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. Welcome to Lez Liberty Lit, our column about 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.

Header by Rory Midhani


Lit Links

In an interview with the WIP, Christy C. Road, author of the graphic novel Spit and Passion, discusses art and writing, feminism, Latinas in arts and literature and more:

“All the art and music I’ve done has stemmed from my punk identity and connection to the subculture, so it’s safe to call it all punk. There is more to my identity – queer, Latina, jaded, angry, etc. – although the language and topics I focus on are heavily influenced by the music and writing that circulated in my punk rock community. A lot of the writing I’m most influenced by has always been by musicians like Crimpshrine, Blatz, Allergic to Bullshit, Bikini Kill, Rancid, and of course, Green Day, as well as zines like Cometbus, Doris, and Fag School.”

Discussions between public libraries and major publishers about e-books are ongoing. Yesterday, Hatchett announced it will make e-books available to public libraries — a groundbreaking step forward.

Wikipedia recently moved female authors from the “American novelists” category to the “American women novelists” subcategory, as the Times discovered. Wikipedia editors are slowly fixing the problem.

The winners of the Pink Triangle Awards have been announced, and include Alison Bechdel, Lysley Tenorio, Rachel Rose and Richard Blanco among others.

Alexandria, Va., is the most well-read state in terms of book-related Amazon purchases.

The Millions has a new index to artistic and literary tumblrs.

A new travelling exhibit, Queer Covers: Lesbian Survival Literature, explores novels between 1939 and 1965 with lesbian story lines.

125 authors listed the works they consider the best. (Elsewhere, some of those works are judged by their covers, by a two year old.)

Malinda Lo wrote about diversity in general and bisexual and trans* characters in particular in YA literature, why “LGBT” is problematic because it erases distinctions, and more.

At the Rumpus, Cynthia Cruz writes about the experience of reading.

At the LA Review of Books, Lisa L. Moore wrote about learning to be a lesbian writer in a feminist bookstore:

“Feminist bookstores have made a distinctive contribution to American poetry because of this elevation. Feminist bookstores created an audience and market for poetry, a meeting place for poets and readers, and a public sphere in which poetry had an important bardic function. Feminist bookstores brought a new public to poetry both as readers and writers, a life-giving function that, little-understood and therefore little-noticed, continues to shape both mainstream and feminist poetry worlds today.”

Queer Party has a list of queer theory books to check out, including works by Mimi Marinucci, Judith Butler, Roderick A. Ferguson, Lori Horvitz, Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman and more.

The Teatro Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is probably the most beautiful bookstore ever.

the Teatro Grand Splendid via Slate

the Teatro Grand Splendid via Slate

This gallery of handwritten manuscripts of classic books contains work by Lewis Carroll, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf and more.

Sistahs on the Shelf reviewed It’s Complicated: Maxi’s Place #2, a romance e-short by “Literary Stud”; Hush Now, a historical romance by L.A.Green; and the other by amir.

At the Lesbrary, Danika reviewed The Inscrutable Mr. Elizabeth by Marlene Leach. Kristi reviewed Mountain Rescue by Sky Croft.

At Lambda Literary, Antonio Gonzalez Cerna reviewed Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kristin Cronn-Mills. Sassafras Lowrey reviewed The End of San Francisco, a long-awaited memoir from Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. Arielle Yarwood reviewed A Wild Surmise by Eloise Klein Healy. Anna Furtado reviewed The Princess Affair by Nell Stark. Paul Florez listed David Sedaris’ greatest hits. Plus, a discussion with Tom Léger, Julie Blair, Red Durkin and Riley MacLeod from Topside Press on trying to be a publisher with broad appeal while speaking to the queer community.

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome book-related things we published recently: Ali interviewed Amber Dawn about her memoir, How Poetry Saved My Life, and went to Brooklyn Zine Fest. Cheryl Morgan wrote about trans* characters in sci-fi novels.

Events To Watch Out For:

May 2, San Francisco: Lambda finalists Judy Grahn, Ryka Aoki, Kevin Killian, Janet Hardy, Malinda Lo, Kathryn L. Pringle, Cyd Nova, Elliott DeLine, Mattilda B. Sycamore and Brenna Munro will be reading at the San Francisco Public Library’s Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room A&B (100 Larkin St.), 5:30 p.m.

May 10, Denver: Lambda finalists Jerry Wheeler, Matt Kailey, Dan Stone, Sean Eads and Dylan Edwards will be reading at the Belmar Public Library (555 S. Allison Parkway), 6:30 p.m.

May 13, New York: Sarah Schulman and Barbara Browning discuss “What is the Queer Novel?” at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby St), 7 p.m.

May 14, New York: Lambda finalists Christopher Bram, Keith Boykin, Michael G. Long, Patrick Donnelly, Stephen S. Mills, Tom Cardamone, A. Rey Pamatmat, Eileen Myles, Ellis Avery, Barry Brennessel, Kelli Dunham, Donna Ostrowsky, Red Durkin and Cynthia Carr will be reading at Bluestockings Books (172 Allen St.), 7 p.m.

May 18, Scranton, Pennsylvania: Poet Andrea Gibson will be at the Vintage Center (326 Spruce Street), 7:00 p.m. Call 570.589.0271 for details.

May 22, Chicago: Lambda finalists Tracy Baim, Anne Laughlin, Marty McConnell, Lania Knight, E.M. Kokie, Ramon Rivera-Servera and Chris Paynter will be reading at the Gerber/Hart Library Archives (6500 North Clark St.), 7 p.m.

September 1: Natural Selection, a companion novel to Malinda Lo’s Adaptation, will be released.

Know of a queer event with literary merit? Send it to us!

What We’ve Been Reading:

Riese: I have not finished any books these past two weeks but I started Zami: A New Spelling Of My Name by Audre Lorde. I’m only like 30 pages in though, so STAY TUNED. I’m also halfway through Transgender History, by Susan Stryker, which is really really really interesting.

Carolyn: This week I’m reading The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer, a bildungsroman about a group of friends that moves back and forth through time and place and which I started out dipping in and out of and which I’m now really enjoying, possibly not least because there’s so much of it. I’m also reading The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson, which is narrative non-fiction about a serial killer at the Chicago World’s Fair that is brilliantly executed and deeply creepy and which I highly recommend.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

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. GAH damnit, I can’t make it to the Lambda finalists reading at the SFPL cos I have a meeting with my advisor. MALINDA LO! Also Riese, it sets my heart a-flutter to hear that you’re reading Zami. I won’t shut up about that book and I’m writing my thesis on it, so I can’t wait to hear what you think!

    Also there’s a book release party in San Francisco for Michelle Tea’s new book A Mermaid in Chelsea Creek next Wednesday! Can’t wait!

    • I found it at a used bookstore so many months ago and it kept being the book i brought with me but never started reading, and now that I have started reading it i like it so much so far!

    • i have sister outsider here but haven’t started yet,
      (how) does it compare?

      • If you’re expecting more like Zami from Sister, Outsider, I’m afraid that it doesn’t really compare. SO is really more of a compilation of Lorde’s essays and speeches, rather than a narrative. There are some personal pieces in there reminiscent of Zami, but it reads more disjointed. It’s more critical rather than literary.

  2. For any Brit straddlers- the upcoming London Literary Festival at the Southbank Centre looks incredible. There’s talks on zines and graphic novels, Sylvia Plath’s ‘ariel’ read by 40 female poets and performers, loads of authors like Lionel Shriver, stuff on Jane Austen, the artist Cornelia Parker etc etc Basically I’m super excited and everyone should come.

  3. WHAT I want to live in the Teatro Grand Splendid. The books! and the gorgeous! and the books!

  4. HOORAY! I usually use LLL to console myself about the fact that I am working on Thursday night, but this week I have the night off and can use it to celebrate instead!

  5. zami is so good!! i read it in february and it may be my favourite queer book.

    i’m reading mary gaitskill’s ‘veronica’ now, because riese.
    it’s very good, i didn’t want my train ride to end so i could keep reading. it’s sort of dark and she has this amazing voice, her words pull you into the story from page one.

      the first time i had a hard time with the present-tense story but loved all the past stuff, and now i just love all the things!

  6. Hey, I wrote that review of Eloise Klein Healy’s A WILD SURMISE, and you all should really check out the book! I enjoyed it a lot, and it’s got QR codes in it that lead straight to her reading the specific poem, so it’s like she’s reading her book to you!

    (Also, I love Autostraddle).

Comments are closed.