Lez Liberty Lit #16: We Log Onto Facebook In Order To Live

by carolyn & riese

Books! They are really great. You just won’t believe how great they are. You may think that the Internet’s great, but that’s just peanuts compared to books. Welcome to Lez Liberty Lit, our column about literary shit that’s happening that you should probably care about. We’re aiming to put one of these together twice a month.

The name “Liberty Lit” was inspired by the short-lived literary journal produced by Angela Chase at Liberty High School in 1994.

Header by Rory Midhani


Lit Links

The finalists for the 2013 Lambda Literary Awards have been announced, and include Rae Spoon‘s First Spring Grass Fire, BK. Loren‘s Theft: A Novel, Alison Bechdel‘s Are You My Mother?, Marty McConnell‘s wine for a shotgun, Malinda Lo‘s Adaptation and tons of other excellent reads.

The finalists for the Triangle Awards have also been announced, and includes work by Kate Bornstein, Jeanette Winterson, Alison Bechdel, E.J. Levy, Ellen Ullman and more.

Author Nicola Griffith (The Blue Place and Ammonite) has recommendations for good lesbian science fiction novels.

via jackofgrey on flickr

via jackofgrey on flickr

In response to VIDA’s The Count, a review of the gender divide in literary-related fields, Vela plans to compile The Unlisted List, a list of women writers, and wants your suggestions.

Tracy Mayor parodies Joan Didion at the Rumpus.

Claire Barliant writes about the art of browsing, how the book you want is always besides the book you think you want, cover design and the Library of Unborrowed Books.

Malinda Lo posted a teaser for Inheritance, the sequel to Adaptation (spoiler alerts apply).

by artist Nina Katchadourian via Brain Pickings

by artist Nina Katchadourian via Brain Pickings

Sales of Marjane Satrapi‘s graphic novel Persepolis spiked last weekend following a ban on the book and its sequels in Chicago public schools.

Learn how to bind books with Design Sponge.

Independent bookstores are making a comeback, with growing sales and new stores opening. According to Yvonne Zipp, Borders closing and the buy local movement are part of the reason.

Recommended outsider lit for girls includes Michelle Tea‘s Rose of No Man’s Land, Miranda July‘s No One Belongs Here More Than You, Heidi JulavitsThe Vanishers and Natsuo Kirino‘s Out.

Bookish cures for any occasion include Tipping the Velvet for making post-betrayal life choices and The Handmaid’s Tale for relaxing over healthcare reform.

Anne Carson’s Red Doc>, a follow up to her acclaimed Autobiography of Red, was published earlier this month. In the New York Times, Sam Anderson profiles/interviews Carson on her work, her life, volcanoes, art, language and more.

Queer poet Naomi Replansky won the 2013 William Carlos Williams Award.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian reviewed Annabel, a novel featuring an intersex protagonist by Kathleen Winter, and also wrote about The Night is a Mouth, a short story collection by Lisa Foad.

via etsy

At the Lesbrary, Laura reviews Wine for a Shotgun, a collection of poetry by Marty McConnell. Erica Gillingham reviews The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, a collection of comic strips by Alison Bechdel. Danika reviews Prairie Silence, a memoir by Melanie Hoffert about living in North Dakota.

At Lambda Literary, Lydia Harris reviews Prairie Silence. Jessica Mason McFadden reviews Proxy, a book of prose poetry by R. Erica Doyle. Anna Furtado reviews The First Robin of Spring, a love story by Natalie London. Vanesa Evers reviews Riot Lung, a book of poetry by Leah Horlick.

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome book-related things we published recently: Laneia wrote about zines and Carolyn reviewed Gay Press, Gay Power.

Lambda’s new 25 for 25 ebook will celebrate the organization’s 25th year and feature work from authors including Alison Bechdel, Ivan E. Coyote, Jewelle Gomez and Eileen Myles (whose “Bath, Maine” is excerpted below):

“I really had no damn business there. I mean, why am I living with my ex-girlfriend and her new girlfriend, and her ex-girlfriend. How could that possibly be comfortable. I could be writing this from a jail cell. Funny, huh? Ted and Alice, before I left, said: “Out of the frying pan and into the fire, Eileen.” I didn’t know what else I could do. I flew, yes I did, up to Portland and Judy and Chris picked me up there. I was so ripped on the plane. Elinor had given me some of that crystal, one good line, and I had a handful of Tom’s pills. He had stayed at my place the night before. I was writing these poems up in the air, really stupid ones all over those cocktail napkins they give you. God, they were awful. About vitamins and stuff. I was off cigarettes which always made me particularly insane and I had those red beads on, when did they break, I remember them breaking in Maine—well, the two of them picked me up—I remember we went right into a bar—I think I remember having a shrimp salad sandwich and beers, and Chris was already drinking icy Margaritas. The place had all lobsters up and traps and all. Then we got back in Judy’s car. That night we all went to the gay bar in Augusta. Oh god, that night. We were all speeding, and drunk, and it was real hot. All the men were taking their shirts off and dancing. We got mad. We wanted to take our shirts off. So we did. Everyone thought it was great. Except the manager and a couple of fag bartenders. Put ’em on. The men don’t have to put their shirts on. Just get out. You can’t be in this bar with your shirts off. Put your shirts on and get out. We did. But first we took our pants off and walked out. Chris threw a beer bottle at them too. She always had a lot of style. This is just three years ago.”

Cafebreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico via pinterest

Cafebreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico via pinterest

Events To Watch Out For:

March 20–24, New Orleans: The five-day 2013 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival will honour Tennessee Williams and feature queer authors Ayana Mathis and Michael Cunningham and a ton of other awesome people.

March 23, Boston: Queer poet Andrea Gibson will appear with musician Shira E at the David Friend Recital Hall at 8 p.m. See the Facebook event for details.

March 24: If you submit a request by March 24, you can get a free copy of the April 2013 issue of POETRY magazine.

March 31, San Francisco: Sister Spit, starring Michelle Tea, Ali Liebegott, TextaQueen, Tamara Llosa-Sandor, Daniel LéVesque and DavEnd, is touring! Catch them at the San Francisco Public Library (Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St.), 2 p.m.

April 1: Today is the deadline to apply for Lambda Literary’s 2013 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Writers.

April 6, Seattle: Sister Spit, starring Michelle Tea, Ali Liebegott, TextaQueen, Tamara Llosa-Sandor, Daniel LéVesque and DavEnd, will be at Richard Hugo House (1634 11th Ave), 8:00 p.m.

April 16, Toronto: Sister Spit, starring Michelle Tea, Ali Liebegott, TextaQueen, Tamara Llosa-Sandor, Daniel LéVesque and DavEnd, will be
at the Gladstone (1214 Queen St. W), 7:00 p.m.

April 18, Chicago: Queer poet Andrea Gibson will be at Chicago University (5710 S. Woodlawn), 7:00 p.m. Call 773-702-1234 for details.

Know of a queer event with literary merit? Send it to us!

What We’ve Been Reading:

Riese: So, I read Lean In: Women, Work and the Way to Lead. Yup. Does that count as literature? I feel like it might not. Anyhow, Sheryl Sandberg wrote this book Lean In, and Tracie wrote about it on Jezebel and I was like, I should read this book, and so then I did. Mostly because Sheryl Sandberg had insight for Tracie about how to deal with constant negative comments and well, I could use some of that advice too. It was really good and I’m glad this book was written, but it applied to me and my life a lot less than I expected — some of the general leadership things were helpful, but later chapters focused primarily on balancing work/home with the assistance of a male partner/husband. Like, A LOT. A lot of stuff about husbands, a LOT of stuff about babies, and then more stuff about husbands. Earlier chapters also focused a lot on how to hold your own in a world and workplace of men, but since the business I own (this website!) is staffed only by women, that stuff wasn’t as helpful either. Also I’m already at the top of this company, because I’m the CEO, so climbing to the top isn’t on my to-do list. But I still really really really liked and was impacted by so much of it, like the importance of taking credit for our achievements instead of playing things down as women so often do and so forth.

Carolyn: I read St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, all by Karen Russell. I was enchanted by the first, disturbed in a good way by the second and more than a little disappointed by the third — after a really strong first two stories, Vampires slows down and stops feeling as remarkable.

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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. Firstly, OUCH at the title of this post. Secondly– Karen Russel!!! Although I’m glad to know to avoid Vampires. Which short story was your favorite in Girls Raised by Wolves? It’s impossible to choose but I’d pick the one with the dead sibling and the undersea cave.

    The literary cures for whatever ails you are hilarious.

    I disagree that browsing is dead– once you get off google and on to a specific page, you can tumble down link after reference in a down-the-rabbit-hole way that feels completely organic and engrossing, and has led me to all sorts of awesome things that negatively impacted my productivity, including this website, once upon a time.

    Time’s article on Sheryl Sandberg and Lean In irked me, but I haven’t read the book itself. Did you read Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in the Atlantic last year on work-life balance that seemed to be the other side to Sandberg’s argument?

  2. 1. i’ve been debating whether or not i should bother with “lean in” so now i think i will, thanks riese for the endorsement.

    2. anyone wanna field trip to mexico city and visit that gorgeous bookstore? ugh why don’t i live in a bookstore. or better yet that gorgeous bedroom nook? who will build me a house with that bedroom nook?

    3. i read “annabel” last year! my girlfriend bought it and then gifted it to me and it was compelling but very sad, and since i do not know very much about intersex humans (i hadn’t read claudia’s post yet so i knew even less than i know now) i wasn’t sure how accurate the storytelling was. i also got kind of bored about 3/4 of the way in and put it away and never finished it. maybe now i will read the review and actually finish the book.

    4. andrea gibson is performing in nyc the day after her boston show — sunday, march 24. a bunch of straddlers are going!

    carolyn & riese, have i mentioned how much i love this column? i really love this column. #booknerd

    • I want the bedroom nook too! My dream house will just have a reading room full of comfy, squishy nooks and crannies where I can snuggle up and enter bookland.

    • Yes, come to Mexico City!! I’ll show you around. This is a great city for bookstores…

    • @Vanessa: I hate to tell you that my review probably won’t pursude you to finish Annabel… I’m not sure how far you got into it, but the biggest problems I had were things that came up quite near the end. I had such high hopes that the book just didn’t live up to and I ended up feeling really frustrated at what I felt was an exploitation for the sake of ‘art’ that didn’t take into account any of the realities and complexities of actual intersex folks.

      • ugh yes i read your review and from the sounds of it i won’t be finishing the book…reading your review reminded me why i stopped in the first place! i have this awful habit of jumping ahead and i did like usual in annabel and found the awful “lazy plot” at the end (don’t wanna spoil it for those who might read but UGH) and yeah, turns out that’s why i abandoned it. i really liked the beginning so it’s a bummer that the author didn’t do the work all the way through. thank you for taking time to review it.

  3. @Carolyn– I just read St. Lucy’s and Vampires in the Lemon Grove and had similar reactions to both collections. Maybe I’ll give Swamplandia a go too.

  4. ah i thought that looked familiar, but i’ve been to that bookstore/cafe in méxico, it was neat!

    last week i read feinberg’s trans liberation, which was interesting, lot of history, i liked the personal accounts.
    and now i’m back in my joan didion loop, reading the white album, so far i like it

  5. Through this and various link-hopping I’ve successfully added 10+ books to my “To Read” list. Okay, off to the library.

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