Lez Liberty Lit #4: I Kept Always Two Books In My Pocket

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 new column about literary shit that’s happening that you should probably care about. We’re aiming to put one of these together twice a month.

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

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Literary Internet Place of the Week:

Casey The Canadian Lesbrarian posts reviews and news of queerlady Canadian writers. Casey recently reviewed Desert of the Heart and the new Canadian queer literary magazine Plenitude. You should read her for: non-Toronto-centric Canadian queer literary news and astute reviews.

via prettybooks.tumblr.com

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Lez Liberty Lit Links:

Neil Patrick Harris is writing a memoir planned for release in spring 2014. According to the publisher, the work will be imaginative non-fiction that challenges the form of memoir. According to Harris, “I read with great fondness Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants,’ so my plan is just to reprint those exact stories but change the names to people that I knew. What editor would take issue with that?”

In New York Magazine, prolific (and gay!) playwright Edward Albee talks about the latest revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Tereska Torrès, best known for her lesbian pulp classic Women’s Barracks, died in late September at age 92.

via prettybooks.tumblr.com

JK Rowling‘s The Casual Vacancy, released Sept. 27, has a lesbian storyline.

Marianne K. Martin (The Indelible Heart) and Joan Opyr (Shaken and Stirred) discuss alcoholism, abuse, and acceptance at the Advocate.

At Lambda Literary, Rachel Wexelbaum reviews Tom Léger and Riley MacLeod‘s The Transgender Vanguard. Steven Cordova interviewed the NYRB’s Edwin Frank about his list of LGBT-interest books. Anna Furtado reviews Tracey Richardson’s new lesbian romance, The Campaign.

A poem by Emily Dickinson, illustrated by David Clemesha

At i09, Esther Inglis-Arkell noticed that genre fiction is getting sexier. And Cyriaque Lamar discusses “How Barf-Inducing Vampire Sex Gave Me The Gift Of Literacy.”

The LA Times has a gallery of 100 years of bookmobiles. Mental Floss has a gallery of tattooed librarians. The Guardian has a discussion of what your bookshelf says about you and links to Share Your Shelf, where the Internet can judge you accordingly. Finally, the Mary Sue has a gallery of cover art for Hogwart’s textbooks.

In honour of Banned Books Week, Brain Pickings has a roundup of famous authors on censorship. It includes an excerpt from Susan Sontag: “I am against censorship. In all forms. Not just for the right of masterpieces — high art — to be scandalous. […] A just/ discriminating censorship is impossible.” Relatedly, a graphic of the ten most-challenged books of 2012 and Queerty has ten books that are too gay to read.

“Gay’s The Word” Bookshop in London, UK

The Rumpus has a new series, Sense of Place, in which Brad DeCecco photographs authors in places that are significant to their writing. Amy Lawless is first.

At The Millions, feminists gather for the Feminist Hate-Read Book Club to deconstruct Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: A New Biography — haters include Dodai Stewart and Kate Harding.

Lambda Award winner EJ Levy‘s recently released Love, in Theory, is a look at different types of love (gay, straight, parental, etc.) through the lens of academic frameworks:

“They discussed the subaltern and structuralism; they went to movies; they went to bed, but somehow nothing ever grew from this. No feeling blossomed in the thin soil of the mind; though they talked endlessly about sex as a performative category, the performance was only so-so. Love somehow got left behind, defied their reasoning. These relationships ended as they began, cordially, in corridors and seminar rooms, on e-mail. collegially. Without hard feelings, or soft.”

design by Joel Martin, via behance.net/joelmartin

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Books (And Events) To Watch Out For:

October 9, Toronto: Sinclair Sexsmith will be at Glad Day (598 Yonge St.) at 8 p.m. for the Dirty Queer Sex Tour, along with performers Titus Androgynous, Drew Deveaux, Dorianne, Carrie Gray, and Andrea Zanin.

October 23, Portland: Bitch’s Beyond Judy Blume book club will discuss Ellen Wittlinger’s Parrotfish at 7 p.m. (The Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center, 2406 NE Sandy Blvd Suite 100).

October 23, New York City: Housing Works Cafe will be hosting Sex and the Single Girl at 7 PM, a discussion on “the most influential women’s magazine editor of her generation,” Helen Gurley Brown. The discussers will be Cat Marnell (who you know from xojane), Moe Tkacik (who you know from Jezebel), Edith Zimmerman (who you know from the Hairpin) and MOAR.

via flickr.com/photos/poorlywrittenhistory

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What We’re Reading:

Carolyn: I recently read a lot of trashy fantasy of the type that focuses slightly on character, slightly on narrative, but mostly on the contents of the protagonist’s vagina. I’m currently finishing Frank Chimero’s The Shape of Design, which looks at the role of design in forming the world. I’ve wanted the next book I read to be Muriel Spark’s Loitering with Intent ever since Emily Books made it their July pick. After that, I want to read Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire, by Eric Berkowitz, but I might also go for another pop-academia book, The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time, because I like to keep things light.

Riese: I’ve been reading a lot of things that I love lately, article after article, but just now — AS IN A FEW HOURS AGO (because I’m on an airplane) — I started reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post and I fucking love it. All of you need to buy it right now so we can talk about it. It’s gay. It was on our list of the best gay YA books.

Carolyn Yates is the NSFW Consultant, and 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 recently moved to Los Angeles from Montreal. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 914 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. Awesome article! ^_^ I feel the need to go out and buys more books… you know I mean I feel it more than usual, it’s kind of a constant state for me…. anyway keep up the bookish greatness!

  2. Holy smoke!!! I’ve been a fan of this column since it started, but I’m going to have to love it even more now since my queer Canadian women writers blog was featured!!! Thanks so much for deciding to include it. Now that I’ve been mentioned on Autostraddle, I’m not sure what to aim for next? Queer lady world domination??

    On another note, I’m slightly tempted to read J.K. Rowling’s new book now since it has lesbians in it, but what I’m really waiting for is a book set in the Harry Potter universe with queers. Will it ever happen??

  3. I read The Miseducation of Cameron Post because of that list and holy shit it was awesome!! If I had only read this book when I was younger I would have probably figured my queerness out a lot sooner.

  4. n-thing the Cameron Post feelings and maybe going to check out the new JKR because LESBIANS. Also, I have too many tabs open to go and see if you did this in previous articles, but I really enjoy the “what we’re reading” section.

  5. I read The Miseducation of Cameron Post early this summer, before the AS list was posted, because a friend gave it to me just because it’s a lesbian book she heard was good, so she assumed I’d like it. I didn’t like it, I loved it! And now Riese is reading it! And other Autostraddlers are reading it! Suddenly all the feelings of that book came rushing back. Too many feelings to be described. I don’t even know what to think.

  6. I’ve just finished “The Casual Vacancy,” and I would say that a ‘lesbian storyline’ is a great exaggeration of the queer content of the book — there’s a lesbian character with an extremely minor role in the overall story. I did enjoy its examination of life in a small town; all the snobberies, the prejudices, the things that happen behind closed doors and inside peoples’ heads.

    I read “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” during the summer, too, and enjoyed it. I still can’t really believe that it’s legal to ship kids off to a camp to “straighten them out” when there is no evidence to suggest that such techniques will be successful.

  7. Thanks so much for all the info! One note, the Tom Leger and Riley MacLeod work is actually titled The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard. =)

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