Lez Liberty Lit #86: The Best of the Best of the Best of 2015

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

You should have read these ten poems by queer people of color this year, and if you haven’t done that, you should do it now.

Every 16-year-old in Sweden will receive a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.

At the Guardian, Jeanette Winterson and Marlon James discussed experiential literature, female literary space, queerness, homophobia, reading books you don’t like and more. Winterson notes: “I mean, can you read books you don’t like? Because, otherwise, how are you going to know that there is a different world out there? Maybe it’s not for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good, it’s not interesting. [People] don’t like living with a level of discomfort. And I think if you’re a writer, you have to.”

The longlist for the PEN Open Book Award for an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color has been announced, in three parts.

The Paris Review‘s archives are free.

Creator Marguerite Bennet (who Mey’s written about) describes this new comic series Insexts as “Victorian lesbians on a body horror killing spree” and I’m super into it.

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Periods are allegedly now a sign of anger. Reading this makes me want to over-punctuate: “In most written language, the period is a neutral way to mark a pause or complete a thought; but digital communications are turning it into something more aggressive.”

Margaret Atwood is writing graphic novels.

Sometimes I think the main use I get out of my English degree is dying of laughter at posts like “Texts From John Donne” at the Toast and I think I might be okay with that.

People were not good at writing about sex in fiction this year.

What if books were subway tickets?

Literary success often excludes working-class voices.

It would be great if everyone would stop dismissing books women are into.

Pippi Longstocking is depressing.

Books are arguably the backbone of modern gift giving. Here’s how it happened.

At Autostraddle, Mey wrote about things she wished for and things she got in comics this year. Also, subscribe to the Autostraddle Weekly.

It’s best of time, obviously. Here you go:

The 100 notable books of 2015, according to the New York Times

The best books of 2015, according to the CBC

The best books of 2015, according to NPR

The best books of 2015 according to the Goodreads Choice Awards voters

The best fiction books of 2015, according to Buzzfeed

The best books read this year, according to the Atlantic editors

The most overlooked books of 2015, according to Slate

The best non-fiction of 2015, according to Entropy

The best books from academic publishers of 2015, from Flavorwire

The best comics of 2015, according to Slate

The best comic books of 2015, according to Paste

The best fiction of 2015, according to the Guardian

The best in literary backlash, at the New Republic

The top queer and feminist books of 2015, at Autostraddle

The best books, new or old, that NYT columnists read this year, at the New York Times

30 must-read poetry debuts, at Lit Hub

The best art books of 2015, selected by Maria Popova

The Millions‘s Year in Reading is less a best of this year and more a record of what emerging and notable literary figures read and how they felt about it. It goes all month. It’s rad.

And the list that got sent to me just as I finished this one and that in hindsight would have been a good place to start, the best of the best of 2015 book lists.

Book Things To Do In Person

10 December, New York: Celebrate Emily Dickinson’s birthday at Bluestockings (172 Allen St.), 7 p.m.

15 December: Submissions to Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture, co-edited by Roxane Gay and Ashley C. Ford, are open until 15 December.

24 January, New York: The first meeting of the Gilmore Girls Book Club, discussing books important to the Gilmore Girls universe, will discuss The Year of Magical Thinking at the Word (126 Franklin St.), 5 p.m.

Ongoing: For Books’ Sake is looking for unpublished short stories from self-identifying women (especially women of color, queer women, women with disabilities and other marginalized voices) for its weekly Weekend Read. Submit any time.

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.

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 933 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. “Sometimes I think the main use I get out of my English degree is dying of laughter at posts like “Texts From John Donne” at the Toast and I think I might be okay with that.”

    Same with their art history. If I was a professor my lazy days would totally be my classes and I laughing at The Toast together.

    (It’s probably good I’m not a professor)

  2. This is like the best of the best of lez liberty lit!
    That convo between Jeannette Winterson and Marlon James was amazing!
    The Guardian article on dismissing books women are into was awesome!
    And I just added lots of books to my to-read list from the CBC best books list.
    Awesomeness and amazingness all around.

  3. The article on women readers’ opinions being dismissed was so true/so sad. This is why I love reading but I hate “literature”, because the books I read and enjoy are almost never classified as “literature” by the powers that be, no matter how innovative, well-written or thought-provoking they are.

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