Lez Liberty Lit: The Emergency Library


Hi and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!

The Internet Archive announced its 1.4 million-book National Emergency Library – “a collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation” – is now free.

The Chronicles of Now publishes short fiction based on headlines and Carmen Maria Machado is one of the authors.

Why is choose your own adventure so popular?

Here’s one approach to spending 42 days stuck in your room, including “a case for traveling around [your] room as the truest kind of travel — and also the most democratic type of travel that has or will ever exist.”

Chinese publishing, like most things, is on pause under coronavirus.

Check out these virtual museum tours.

At the Creative Independent, artist Shannon Finnegan discusses community, disability, the place of community in their creative practice and more.

Now is not the time for a coronavirus novel.

Here are a few meditation apps in case you need ’em.

Is now a good time to read The Plague? Who can say?

Read the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist. Read these seven poetry collections by women rewriting history. Here’s what to read when you’re transforming. Read these seven thrillers about female ambition. Read these six debut fantasy novels starring Black women.

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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. People who grew up with “CYOA” are between 35 – 49 years old. Whenever something is popular again, it’s usually most popular with those with whom it was most popular when they were 9 – 15.
    This is a nostalgia-based pandering cash-grab.

  2. I always really, truly love this column, but PLEASE don’t promote the National Emergency Library. It’s promoting pirated books, pure and simple. Authors are already exceptionally vulnerable during this time, and this is literally depriving them of the income they desperately need. Plus, reading a pirated book rather than purchasing it or getting it from the library means publishers don’t see how popular that book is. Without those numbers, that author, whose books you love so much that you’d pirate them just to get to read them, will be far less likely to get another book deal, and then none of us will be able to read their future writing. Authors are in a constantly precarious position, so please don’t make it worse than it already has to be during this time.

    • I’m going to be honest — the authors I saw complaining about this are already extremely successful. The publishing industry is the reason that authors are vulnerable. If you’re a leftist and into the open-source philosophy, a lot of leftist authors don’t mind because they just want their books to be read.

      • I’m sure you have seen lots of successful authors talking about this – the successful ones do tend to get a lot of exposure. But ask any of my midlist author friends, the ones who have never seen royalties, and are just squeaking by on a combination of their writing careers and low-paying day jobs, and any of them will tell you that if they don’t get paid, they won’t be able to keep writing. You’re right that, fundamentally, most authors just want people to have access to their books. That’s why most are huge proponents of libraries, many of which have extensive ebook lending services which are still accessible even when the libraries are closed. But nobody will be able to read their books if they aren’t paid to write them. Most authors don’t have the privilege of being able to write without an income. So given the choice between people having to pay for their books or simply not creating books at all, the only option currently viable foe authors who “just want their books to be read” is to insist that their work not be stolen.
        Finally, if you won’t listen to me, maybe consider checking out the comments made by patron saint of YA lesbian lit, Malinda Lo, on Twitter. I know for me, and for many of us on here, the world would be a lesser place if Malinda Lo couldn’t afford to create the work she does.

  3. Please don’t promote the National Emergency Library. I’ll go so far as to ask you to remove the link. It is plagiarism and theft.

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