Lez Liberty Lit: Empathy Is A Clock


Hey there and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!

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

“In a very real sense, we are each a temporally open book and empathy a clock that only ticks in the consciousness of another,” writes Maria Popova at Brain Pickings, before quoting Alan Burdick: “Our slightest social exchanges — our glances, our smiles and frowns — gain potency from our ability to synchronize them among ourselves, Droit-Volet notes. We bend time to make time with one another, and the many temporal distortions we experience are indicators of empathy; the better able I am to envisage myself in your body and your state of mind, and you in mine, the better we can each recognize a threat, an ally, a friend, or someone in need.”

GERTIE is a new quarterly queer book club box from Gertrude Press.

What happens if you’re genderqueer but your native language is gendered?” asks Erin Couch at the Establishment.

The Last Bookstore via Katie Orphan in “The World’s Most Beautiful Bookstores, Gathered in One Place

Remember Sideways Stories from Wayside School?

Watch Jenny Zhang read her poem “Seppuku.”

Have Americans ever been nice?

“Authors under 40 get disproportionate support and their valorisation tends to push women and minorities to the margins,” writes Joanna Walsh at the Guardian on one of the many problems with book awards.

RIP Kate Millett. At the New Yorker, Rebecca Mead discusses Millett’s pioneering feminism and radical spirit.

At the Rumpus, Anne Helen Peterson discusses unruly women, transgression, protesting, ideological transition and more.

Literary sequels: are they any good?

Hillary’s memoir is out!

Book doulas: a thing.

To talk about Emily Dickinson is to talk about trauma.

“Reading old letters is a process of composing a narrative out of what is left,” writes Meghan Forbes at Lit Hub:

“The gaps inherent in this method, generated by lost letters and unrecorded conversations, are what make the epistolary so alluring to me. The narrative gaps created out of what is lost or falsely remembered provide space for imagination, for conjuring what was said in those blank spaces. To construct a narrative around letters that remain is to write a story that yawns wide with holes.”

Read these books with Muslim characters. Read these ten modern poets of color. Read books about revolutions and uprisings. Buy books from black-owned publishers. Read Medieval historical fiction. Read YA non-fiction. Read these linked story collections. Read these books on how women experience beauty.

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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. That American niceness article is so on point: “A sunny spirit of inclusion can obscure structural inequities.”

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