Lez Liberty Lit: Literary Manspreading, Now for Women Too


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

Montreal’s Queer Between the Covers book fair is August 18!

I, someone who lives in a small studio and has mmmmmm a rather fraught relationship with physical objects at the best of times and especially with ones laden with emotional significance and also is easily distracted by, essentially, pretty colors, am totally obsessed with R.O. Kwon writing about shelving books spine-in:

“In a little while, though, I realized the books facing me were too, well, in my face. Every time I glanced up from my own novel-in-progress, there they were, making colorful, even jostling bids for my attention—after all, hadn’t the publishers designed these books with the hope that they’d catch readers’ eyes? They were bright and hectic, clamoring. “Look at me,” they shouted. One day, sick of staring at the titles shelved in two rows directly in front of me, I flipped them around. I still knew where they were; I couldn’t forget, having gazed at them so long. But now, when I looked up, at least they weren’t yelling.”

Read this new poetry by Indigenous women.

Read this book about women erased from history.

Here are writers on the books that inspire them. And here are 10 YA authors on their favorite YA books.

Read this excerpt from Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen.

Read about animals that break into libraries.

Stop using so many exclamation marks.

At Electric Literature, Jessica Shattuck writes about literary manspreading:

“There is a particular magic to an immersive and sprawling novel, and a thrill in following a confident writer on a scenic route through his imagination’s wilderness. Of course they can be terrible too — overlong and self-indulgent, stuffed with showy displays of information and smug postmodern tricks a reader is likely to skim over. But either way, many of these novels are met with both critical and sales success. Apparently readers are willing to follow a good writer down a long and winding road.

So why are so few of these novels written by women?”

Read these 16 Puerto Rican women and non-binary writers. Read these 50 queer fantasy books. Read these 11 self-published books. Read these forthcoming queer YA fantasy books. Read these 50 pieces of erotic fiction. Read these books about mother-daughter relationships.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

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. “Stop using so many exclamation marks,” they said. “NEVER!!!!!!” I said.

    (Thank you, Carolyn, as always – I love Lez Liberty Lit so much.)

  2. Queer Fantasy lists! I need these because I’m brainstorming/worldbuilding for my own queer fantasy novel. Yay!

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