Lez Liberty Lit Is Checking Out These Hot Literary Rivalries


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

Subculture is a creative force.

We need to talk more about the financial realities of writing. And of being a librarian.

What does it mean to be an immigrant in America today?”

“Brooklyn’s growth runs along the same timeline as the evolution of our modern ideas about sexuality. You could chart the two against each other,” says an author who does just that.

We use a different vocabulary at work.

“Like a romantic relationship, a close friendship provides the tools needed to enact actual, lasting damage, but is made somehow worse by the simple fact that friends are supposed to accept you in spite of your faults,” writes Megan Reynolds at Jezebel on Ferrante fever and the end of women’s friendship.

The self is far too large to be contained by the body.

Check out these literary rivalries.

“Anolik argues that Eve was far from ‘passive and pliable’; she was ‘artist and instigator, wicked and subversive.’ More than an alluring girl with a heroic interest in most inebriants, she was a thinker who could ‘convert that energy into something beautiful,’” writes Antonia Hitchens at the New Republic on a new biography that is as much a look at Hollywood writer Eve Babitz as it is at Los Angeles in the 1970s. Pair with these books about Hollywood.

At Lit Hub, Maggie Levantovskaya writes about shedding books to survive academia:

“To academics, book collections are many things. They are “the work.” But they are also identity and status. There are the books signed by advisors and other “rock stars” in the field. You sometimes lend these out to students. There are the first editions, with their original dust jackets. You take them down from the shelf but never let them leave your sight. Then there are the books that not-so-subtly gesture toward a well-rounded self. You can curate your intellectual identity by placing Mandelstam alongside Baldwin or Morrison next to Ulitskaya. Or you can order your book spines by color, to show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. The important thing is to occupy, to turn the space of your office into place.”

Sometimes it’s just nice to not keep books.

Do we still need the Nobel Prize in literature?”

K-pop has poetic consequences.

Can an artist’s ephemera tell you about their work, or is it just a distraction? At the New Republic, Rachel Syme writes of the branding of Frida Kahlo:

“Frida Kahlo loved hot pink lipstick, the color of crushed hibiscus blossoms, of flor de Jamaica, of bougainvillea vines crawling over stucco walls. Her chosen shade, at least later in her life, was Revlon’s “Everything’s Rosy,” which she purchased in golden bullet tubes in the 1940s, after Revlon opened a manufacturing plant in Mexico. Kahlo regularly matched her lips to her nails to the blooms in her hair: crimson, magenta, bubble gum. These kinds of details — the color of nail polish Kahlo liked to wear (Frosted Snow Pink) or her perfume (Guerlain’s Shalimar, Schiaparelli’s Shocking) or how she stayed moisturized (Pond’s lanolin Dry Skin Cream) — might distract from her work. But might they also offer a glimpse of an artist’s private rituals, a way of connecting to her daily practice?”

Read these queer books this year. Read these books this March. Read these 18 Dominicanx women. Read these novels about being broke. Read these books about the dangers of (mis)communication. Read these books about women and the sea. Read these books about building cities. Read these books not by men. Read these novels about parties gone wrong. Give these kids’ books about gender identity to someone who needs them.

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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. Thanks for the kids’ gender identity books, Carolyn. I’ve got a little kiddo in mind who might find one of these slipped into a pile of birthday books.

  2. interesting post on librarians and money. i was lucky enough to have a mentor that encouraged me to keep strict hours and not be someone who self-sacrificed just because it was a profession for tender-hearts. if you do this in a unionized environment you become a scab in your own workplace–but i work in a canadian urban centre that is well-funded enough that it’s not going to shut down if i don’t put in the extra time.

    what’s the norm for other autostraddle librarians?

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