Lez Liberty Lit #27: Hamlet Dies

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.

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


Lit Links

Bookshelf pics are the new vanity selfies.

The definition of the word “literally” is really to mean something in the exact sense, but now, according to Google, is also a way of acknowledging “that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling.” RIP English.

In response to Jason Diamond’s recent “A List of Things to Ask Yourself When You’re Making a List of Poets.” Number one: “Am I including poets who do not live in Brooklyn?”

New York is slowly growing less important and represented in literature, as graphic artist Edgard Barbose illustrates using Ngram data.

Academia is screwed.

Out‘s slideshow of queer superhero power couples includes Runaways‘ Karolina Dean and Xavin, Batwoman and The Question, Legion of Super-Heroes‘ Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, Mystique and Destiny and more.

Michelle Dean has created a pop-culture feminist syllabus. (Also check out Autostraddle’s Feminism 101 reading list.)

Author Delilah S. Sawson recommends 25 steps to being a traditionally published author: lazy bastard edition.

Ron Swanson reviews classic novels in one sentence. (“Hamlet: Hamlet dies.”)

The best fictional libraries include Sunnydale, Hogwarts, the library from Doctor Who and more.

John Gall has been responsible for designing two Lolita covers, not to mention countless other books. At the Millions, he talks about Nabokov and cover design.

Good Lesbian Books has a list of recommended fiction and non-fiction books that feature lesbians in sports.

Zadie Smith has a new short story, “Meet the President!,” in the New Yorker.

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, yet another defence of the English major.

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kaya Genc contemplates his ebooks and latte habits.

Sometimes international travel makes ebooks disappear.

Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, by Shiri Eisner, was released last month and has written about around the internet (and extensively at Bisexual Books). As Eisner writes in the introduction:

“What a radical viewpoint might offer for bisexual politics is an opportunity to examine and oppose bi people’s oppression, as it pertains to the roots rather than the surface. So far, the main goal of mainstream bisexual movements in North America and Western Europe has been to become “accepted” by society and to “gain rights.” But instead of looking at things from a bird’s-eye view, as liberal politics does, this book attempts to shed light on how things look “down below” in people’s lives. It also trues to uncover the reasons these things happen, and show how, rather than being isolated, they relate to other forms of oppression. Rather than trying to normalize bisexuality, this book tries to extract its enormous subversive potential, and utilize it to break down social order and create a revolution.”

"Stuart Little" by Thomas Allen, 2011, via Brain Pickings

“Stuart Little” by Thomas Allen, 2011, via Brain Pickings

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian reviewed Walking the Labyrinth, a rural Canadian romance about women in their 60s by Lois Cloarec Hart. She also reviewed Surge Narrows, a poetry collection by Emilia Nielsen.

At the Lesbrary, Danika reviewed Finding Bluefield, a novel by Elan Barnehama that was really terrible. She also reviewed Word Hot, a poetry collection by Mary Meriam. Katie Raynes reviewed The Ghost of a Chance, a novel by Natalie Vivien.

At Lambda Literary, Caitlin Mackenzie reviewed Chord Box, a debut collection of poems by Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers. Mark Thompson reviewed My Life, a Four Letter Word: Confessions of a Counter Culture Diva, a memoir from Dolores De Luce. Sara Rauch reviewed Paint the Bird, a novel by Georgeann Packard. David-Matthew Barnes reviewed Monarch Season, a debut novel from Mario López-Cordero. Amy Gall interviewed Lucy Corin, author of the new One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses.

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome book-related things we published recently: Kennedy interviewed Mira Bellwether about the Fucking Trans Women zine. Laura Mandanas wrote about Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy book club’s discussion of Tipping the Velvet. Kristen wrote about the first gay kiss in Archie Comics. Gabby wrote about the film adaptation of Valencia. Vanessa wrote about the literary magazine qu.ee/r, which Ali and Hansen founded recently. Carolyn found some lesbian romance ebooks under $5. Kemi recommended 10 queer spoken word artists. Ashley Catherine wrote about the NPS2013 Poetry Slam.

Events To Watch Out For:

August 22, New York: Lit! A Queer Reading will feature Ellis Avery, Melissa Febos, Shelly Oria and Rachel M. Simon at Dixon Place (161A Chyrstie St.).

August 24, Peterborough, Ontario: Queer author and performer Rae Spoon will be at the Peterborough Folk Festival, 7 p.m.

August 24, Seattle: Anything That Loves, an anthology of art exploring the world between gay and straight, will be released at Phoenix Comics and Games (113 Broadway East), 7 p.m.

August 27, New York: The Women’s/Trans’ Poetry Jam and Open Mike is tonight at Bluestockings (172 Allen St.), 7 p.m.

August 30, Seattle: Queer author and performer Rae Spoon will be at Bumbershoot, 4 p.m.

August 30, New York: Red Wasburn, Wazina Zondon, Christina Olivares, Anwar Uhuru and Amy Karp will read at In Our Tongues: An Inclusive Radical Queer Feminist Reading at Bluestockings (172 Allen St.), 7 p.m.

September 1: Natural Selection, a companion novel to Malinda Lo’s Adaptation, will be released.

September 8, New York: Bluestockings’ feminist book club will discuss Assata: A Biography (172 Allen St.), 2:30 p.m.

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

entertaining the children at a literary wedding via rock and roll brides

entertaining the children at a literary wedding via rock and roll brides

What We’ve Been Reading:

Carolyn: Recently I finished Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman, which I obviously read because of the show. I found memoir Piper to be a little more self-aware and a lot less grating than show Piper, but was also disappointed first at the lack of lesbian prison affairs and later a little at her tone – the memoir seemed to strike only one note, and while that note was engaging, I thought it could have been more so. I also feel conflicted about the lack of information about her fellow prisoners (which might also be the show’s fault) – I wanted to hear more about other people, but am simultaneously glad she didn’t try to tell anyone’s story for them. (for more on how the show stacks up to the book, read: How Real is Orange Is The New Black? Comparing The Memoir To The Show To The Numbers)

I also read Revenge, a book of intertwined short stories by Yoko Ogawa, newly released in an English translation. It has been a long time since I’ve been so thoroughly creeped out by a literary collection, and it’s basically impossible to recommend it enough.

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. I agree. RIP English.

    I miss Renee Montoya but they should have included Maggie Sawyer in that list of couples with Kate. Maggie is wonderful too and she’s actually engaged to Kate right now.

  2. We are reading Huck Finn for my bookclub this month. Now that I know what it is about, I can spend the rest of my summer smoking weed and YOLOing. Which was pretty much my plan anyway. Thanks, Nick!

  3. Hey, sorry to be nitpicky, but our music and arts festival here in Seattle is actually called Bumbershoot, not Bumpershoot.

  4. When I read the description for Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, I got that nerdy I-could-pee excitement that I used to get in elementary school when the book fair mags came out. Buying it ASAP!

  5. So many interesting things to read–the article on academia was particularly excellent! Also, I have been meaning to get my hands on Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution for a while now. Glad to see it mentioned here.

Comments are closed.