Lez Liberty Lit #97: Build Original Worlds

Feature image via shutterstock.

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Good morning! I sliced my dominant thumb open the day I wrote this and it’s hard to type with stitches in; please forgive the high headline/link to commentary/content ratio.

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

I just liked this:

“It is in ‘lesbian’ love letters that I’ve looked for evidence of the notion of sexuality as writer. Scholars have spent way too much time worrying about whether or not Emily Dickinson and Susan Huntington ever fucked, were lesbians. Really, who cares? Whether or not they did, the over-the-top poem-letters make clear that Susan was not simply Emily’s muse. Susan and Emily engaged in an intimate exchange through letters of love that illustrate a love for lettering. And, in my estimation, what Emily loved more than anything was the act of engaging with language, and syntax, to and for and with and through Susan.”

It’s cute to read about girls falling in love over Shakespeare.

More women scientists in fiction please: “If female characters are restricted to the roles of artist, dancer, waitress, or barista, their potential to generate fiction that explores existentially rich and original worlds also seems restricted.” There are so many novels featuring novelists, anyway.

It’s rough out there for adjunct professors.

by viktor hanacek via picjumbo

by viktor hanacek via picjumbo

What queer characters do you want to date?

RIP Bookslut. (The last issue is this month’s.)

Explaining without mansplaining: it is possible.

Are writers psychopaths?

In the second installment of its women writers of color series, the Rumpus profiled Tania James.

Everyone is into the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Books in Uganda are way too expensive.

A very tiny history of queer comics.

At Autostraddle, Gabrielle Bellot wrote about Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, the book that became Carol. And Carmen made you a rebel girls reading list.

Some asshole says that books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings cause brain damage in young children.

The Guardian‘s list of the 100 best non-fiction books of all time include work by Germaine Greer, Joan Didion, and mostly so far some other white people.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian reviewed Sigal Samuel’s The Mystics of Mile End, calling it “an amazing book, such a sure-footed, beautifully written novel that it’s hard to believe it’s her first.” Casey also reviewed Leigh Matthews’s Go Deep, “a modern-day take on the lesbian pulp genre investigating the lives and loves of a diverse group of queer folks, mostly in East Vancouver.”

Eileen Myles discussed growing intentions, poetry exploding, geography and more at Lambda Literary:

“There’s a kind of leaping I’ve become bolder with. I worry less about whether things are clear, or whether this pile of things articulate anything to you. I worry less about the reader in a way. Maybe there’s a way in which it’s more contemplative too. My writing is much more of a tragic pastiche than it was.

When I was a younger writer, a newer writer, I think I wanted to make sure you understood what I was saying. Now I think I have a whole lot less regard for clarity. I feel like I discovered that when you veer away from feeling, you can come back to it with a heavier whack. That really interests me, for work to be really emotional, for that to be the materiality of it.”

Book Things To Do In Person

13 May, Chicago: Women and Children First is hosting a book launch party for the Ladydrawer’s new work, Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking (5233 N Clark St.), 7:30pm.

15 May, Chicago: Women and Children First’s next QueerReaders book club meeting will discuss The Flame Throwers (5233 N Clark St.), 2 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.

12 Comments

  1. Omg it totally made my day that someone acknowledged my beautiful butch princess, The Brand from Saga, as a lady in comics people are crushing on. She is my actual favorite.

  2. I’m oddly glad to hear the story of Eileen Pollack’s struggle with writing a book with a female scientist protaganist after having complicated (mostly not positive) feelings about “The Only Woman in the Room” (I felt like the Bitch review was spot on). Her novel sounds leagues better.

    Not queer but the perfect antidote to The Only Woman in the Room was Hope Jahren’s “Lab Girl” which was both beautifully written and intensely validating. Really so good.

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