Hi and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!
At Electric Literature, McKayla Cole interviewed Lee Lai on her new graphic novel Stone Fruit, the transformative power of queer breakups, and the upsides of being embodied:
“I’m discovering more and more that there’s no limit to how much sensation you can experience if you’re willing to pay attention. That’s something a lot of people feel nostalgia about in their childhood, their ability to experience so much sensation. To be enthralled with dust in the air, or tasting a watermelon, or sticking your feet in pebbles. All of those things become really big, and they come with a lot of excitement and stimulation and pleasure. As an adult, being very preoccupied and busy, you get out of touch with experiencing sensations as much as you can. There’s something very childish about trying to take the time and hone in on sensations just for the sake of it.”
When schools ban books by people of color, kids suffer.
In their series about writing about trans people at Electric Literature, Eli Cugini writes about how to write about trans people, including a frank discussion of what cis people gain from doing so:
“To break a certain taboo: cis authors gain something from writing about trans people. That isn’t meant to imply that cis people shouldn’t ever write about us, or that cis people’s relationship to transness can only be mercenary and cruel. (Some of my best friends are cis, you are valid, etc.) It just means that most cis people must reach substantially outside their comfort zone and lived experience to write about transness, so, when they choose to do so, it tends to be for a few common reasons. Transness has plot utility and immense cultural power; it’s connected to modernity and a liberal, cosmopolitan sensibility that values diversity; it’s a key source of fascination and existential anxiety; and it’s the source of an ongoing liberation struggle, so it can genuinely be impactful to include trans people non-pejoratively as book characters.”
Books should break us open.
Here are Electric Literature‘s favorite non-fiction books of 2021 and favorite poetry collections of 2021. And according to Lit Hub, these are the best-reviewed poetry collections of 2021, the best-reviewed short story collections of 2021, the best-reviewed memoirs and biographies of 2021, the best-reviewed mystery and crime books of 2021, the best-reviewed essay collections of 2021, and the best books of 2021 you may have missed.