Lez Liberty Lit: Queer Books as Hydra


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

At Book Riot, Danika Ellis writes about queer books as an unstoppable hydra:

“I’ve been writing about queer books for more than a decade. I’ve seen the golden age of queer YA dawn. You might have been able to list and try to ban every queer kids and YA book in the 80s and 90s, but you’re too late now. Queer readers and authors have finally wedged a toe into the publishing industry, and we’re just getting started. You can ban 500 books, but more are on their way every week. Queer books are a hydra now: you cut off one head and two more will appear. We can write faster than you can even bother to keyword search. Bring it on.”

“Ford executes her task with both unstinting honesty and rare tenderness toward the deeply flawed, but steadfast, circle of adults who raised her. The resulting portraits, of her mother and grandmother, in particular, are remarkably vivid and humane, haunting the reader long after one has closed the book’s pages,” writes Ellen Wayland-Smith in a review of Ashley C. Ford’s Somebody’s Daughter at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

At Electric Literature, Sadie Graham discusses the problem of queerness in Sally Rooney’s work, “namely, that while the novel flirts with certain queer questions, theories, and antecedents, and casts longing glances after what-might-have-beens, it largely carries forward in the most heterosexual manner possible, deciding against the turn toward more interesting narrative territory, investing and reinvesting in straightness—to its detriment—until the very last page.”

Here are some photos of women in trees from a book by the same name.

What’s the final word on color-coded bookshelves? “Perhaps those who care about how someone else organizes their books in their own home and judges them accordingly should consider taking up a pastime that doesn’t make them look like an absolute dickhead.”

Rax King, author of Tacky, talked to Electric Literature on wearing animal prints, unselfconscious sincerity, virtuous shoplifting and liking what you like:

“As I got a little older, it became obvious that these things I liked so much were not cool at all. Other people, who seemed smarter and more worldly than me, who I really wanted to impress, they did not like any of the same stuff as me. And it was a moment of forced reeducation, like I needed to get on board if I wanted to make friends with the cool smart people—which I did, because I was 16 and shallow.

And after long enough time passed and I was no longer in high school, I felt comfortable revisiting all this stuff I used to like, and it turns out all of it is still awesome. So I was right, everyone else was wrong. You can quote me on that.”

Read these short story collections about the uncanny. Read these books on defiant women. Read these books in November. Read these books when you want to celebrate the Harlem Renaissance. Read these books by intersex authors. Read these fiction books that grapple with illness. Read this genre-bending nonfiction. Read these seven books about immigrants encountering the American south. Read these books with Millennial narrators who are children of immigrants.

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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.


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