Lez Liberty Lit Would Rather Have Friends Than Grammar

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit! For anyone following along at home, I moved this week so all my books are now in (eight bankers’) boxes that are functioning as my coffee table and sideboard as I have an aesthetic crisis over the role of visual evidence of public intellectual engagement in my home versus the fact that it feels “quiet” with them away versus the fact I keep needing to reference them for work and can’t find anything efficiently.

“There is no team of brilliant and vaguely sinister engineers, cooking up ways to get you binge reading. There is no auto-play technology frictionlessly delivering you from one chapter of the novel you’re reading to the next. There is only you, alone in the silence of your room with a chapter break before you and your phone cooing at you from the dresser,” writes Ben Dolnick on why binge reading > binge watching:

“[I]n book after book, if you do push on through one chapter break, and then on through the chapter break after that, something amazing happens. Subplots that would once have been murky to the point of incomprehensibility (what was the deal with that dead sea captain again?) step into the light. Little jokes and echoes, separated by dozens or even hundreds of pages, come rustling out of the text forest. A writer’s voice — Grace Paley at her slangy best, Nicholson Baker at his hypomanic craziest — starts to seep into and color the voice of your innermost thoughts.”

You don’t have to read every book you once thought you would read.

Let’s (listen to copyediting greats) talk about style. As Mary Norris notes, “You can have friends or you can correct people’s grammar.”

“In this collection, I looked outward, at the many threats we’re now facing—the threats to our democracy, of global terrorism, gun violence, climate change, and the shared vulnerabilities of all of us living in our soft bodies on this imperiled planet,” Deborah Landau tells Nylon.

All literature is climate change literature.

Libraries are community spaces, not memory palaces.

“When Edna St. Vincent Millay’s whole book burned up in a hotel fire, she rewrote it from memory.”

Read these books out in May and these. Read these books about climate change. Read these nonconformist women. Read these five books on resistance movements, colonialism and racist pseudoscience. Read this memoir by a 19-year-old who won the longest horse race. Read these novels featuring single moms. Read these books by Muslim authors. Read these books about hoaxes. Read these books by queer Asian American writers.


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Carolyn Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Carolyn has written 1100 articles for us.

3 Comments

  1. Binge reading is the BEST. A lot of books I am making note of on these lists…

  2. Being ill a couple of years back got me back into binge reading again because I had so much time on my hands and I’m glad now I was ill for so long. Binge reading is the only way to read some books and I love that slightly dazed feeling of coming back to the real world when I’ve finished.

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