Read a Book, You Stupid F*ck: Lesbian Lit for Spring 2010


Hey are you stupid? Can you spell? Chances are your answer is “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second question, which means you’re a liar! You should turn off The Millionaire Matchmaker ’cause hell you can’t get married anyhow (unless you live in a Nice Country or Iowa), and start reading books. JK, we think you’re really smart, we were just being emotionally abusive to manipulate you into becoming the woman we always wanted you to be.

So yesterday, AfterEllen’s Heather Aimee O’Neill of “Across the Page” looks at new books of interest for all ye queer ladies. “Across the Page” is actually my favorite part of AfterEllen, so this is very exciting.

First up is a biography of legendary lesbian novelist Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar. You might remember Highsmith’s biography got a pretty bad review in The Globe & Mail a few weeks back (we linked to it in a daily fix) but Heather O’Neill really liked it. So you’ll just have to read it and decide for yourself! Heather says it was “so engaging that I was sad when I got to the end of the 600-plus-page book.”

Next up is Amy Bloom’s new collection of short stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out. Amy Bloom is an amazing writer (and, I think, bisexual — check out her awesome collection Come to Me). O’Neill enjoyed this new collection and you should too:

The stories in Where the God of Love Hangs Out capture how the mundane and the unexpected, the domestic and the bizarre, often co-exist in life. Brilliant storytelling.

The last book mentioned is a new collection by queer poet and 2007 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, Amy King, Slaves to Do These Things, described as “a fascinating and highly thought-provoking collection of poems.” Also, while you are picking up King’s new anthology, you should also check out Eileen Myles, because I think you would also like her. Just a hunch.

So, once you read those books, here’s some more:

Autostraddle recommends Elif Bautman’s new book The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. Bautman, a lady and a literature professor at Stanford, blogs at my life and thoughts. From the review of her book by my number one male person (tied with Adam Lambert) Sam Anderson in New York Magazine:

Elif Batuman… writes about the daily realities of academic entanglement with a[n]… addictive mix of humor, confession, and intellectual energy. Her new book chronicles her experiences as “a six-foot-tall first-generation Turkish woman” on the worldwide academic circuit. She’s obsessed, above all, with the strange angles at which classic literature intersects with the world.

Good, right? Also; if you’re super-academic and want to outsmart everyone in the comments, try From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law (Inalienable Rights). From

“A meticulous consideration of the legal issues surrounding same-sex relations grounded in a far-reaching investigation of how the notion of disgust has determined both civil legislation and public opinion…as the recent public discourse about empathy among Supreme Court judges indicates, Nussbaum’s passionate advocacy of the power of imagination is profound and timely.”

What does BUST Magazine want to read this month? Lots of things! Here’s some of the best:

Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women (Intersections: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Genders and Sexualities Series), which “explores the evidence of sexual and romantic relationships between women throughout history, concluding with a look at some of the many ways that same-sex desire among women is expressed and perceived in various cultures and communities around the world today.”

I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World: “Leave it to Eve Ensler to get it right. Her new book, I Am an Emotional Creature, made me want to vomit from its emotional power. Ensler does not coddle the reader; instead she forces us to realize that teenage girls possess the largest untapped energy source in the world.”

And what does number-one lesbian magazine Curve recommmend?:

Drenched: Stories of Love and Other Deliriums: “Picture Hunter S. Thompson as a hot, young woman on the path to sexual exploration and that is the essence of Matarazzo, who writes as if there is no destination, just the journey itself.”

The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You: “Bergman, whose transmasculine gender identity is best described as “post”… writes unabashedly about everything from gay men’s bathhouses to lesbian potlucks. This is gender theory at its most accessible.”

Okay that’s a lot of books! But as it has been and as it always will be there are also heaps o’lovely books written by ladies who do not sleep with other ladies, but are still our wimmin sisters and deserve your eyes, ears & other organs —

Laneia is going to be talking to Marissa Meltzer about her new book, Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music, for Autostraddle very soon so you should probably prepare for that!

Also it doesn’t come out ’til May, but you are now totally able to pre-order Emily Gould’s And the Heart Says Whatever, which Riese has already read twice, loved, and is going to talk about a lot in May, perhaps constantly, so you should probably prepare for that as well, lest you feel “left out.”

OH AND PS, I’m Here, I’m Queer, What Do I Read? is a great blog set up “for teens (queer or not), for librarians, for teachers, for booksellers, for people with teens in their lives and for anyone interested in YA books with GLBTQ characters and themes.”

Samantha Ronson will be deejaying a party at Girl Bar Dinah Shore Week, which we believe is the first gay thing she’s ever done besides, of course, girls. The celebrity music mixer will spin at the Pure White Party on April 2 at Hotel Zoso.

CAPRICA: Caprica star Alessandra Torresani on THE SOUP:

Guess what you can now pre-order Ghostwriter: Season One on DVD! (@amazon)

Does Drew Barrymore deserve the GLAAD Vanguard Award?I do not doubt that Drew Barrymore ever had feelings for women, or that she is now exclusively dating men. I am not criticizing bisexual women, nor am I calling into question Barrymore’s ability to identify however she’d like. I am concerned, however, with the effects her visibility (or lack thereof) might have when it comes to the perception of bisexual women in the media. I find that she’s been somewhat disarming in her advocacy and, possibly, her own identity.”

Although I hate to sound like one of the commenters on the Taylor Swift post yelling at me about how The Grammys don’t mean anything to anyone anymore, last year Tyra Banks got the Vanguard Award. I don’t know, I feel like they just throw that shit out in the air and see what pretty girl happens to catch it. (@bitchmag)

According to SheWired, the overall awesome Nicole Pacent, star of Anyone But Me will be featured in the cast of a new feature film/episodic series, Queens of the World. She’ll be starring alongside Nikki Caster (Cherry Bomb), Elizabeth Keener (The L Word), and Meghan Hall. (@shewired)

Everyone wants to be on GLEE, everyone wants to record with Lady Gaga, everybody wants to rule the world. Neil Patrick Harris — his guest spot on GLEE is defo happening, and he will maybe possibly be playing a character who is ‘really funny and really mean.’ (@e!)

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3223 articles for us.


  1. Ghostwriter! OMG, this reminds me of a childhood spent wearing felt-tipped pens around my neck hoping my words would start floating in the air.


    • YES. We should bring back the Ghostwriter pen necklace, I think.

      I mean everything else in my wardrobe from 2nd grade is pretty hip – flannel, vests, high tops, sweet hats (with the possible exceptions of the Rasta one and the Nepalese one).

      I gotta see if that old stuff is in my parents’ basement so I can thrift myself. Back then everything was pretty damn oversized, so I could probably still swing it today, and make it sexy – er everything is relative – to boot!

  2. I put in an order for fifty quid’s worth of books yesterday, and now you want me to order MORE?! So demanding. However, that eve ensler book looks right up my alley, and I’ve been meaning to get the girl power one for a while, so I will relent.

    Anyway, you mentioned at the top about what to read to look cute, and I guess you were referring to the recommendations as a whole, but now I’m wondering what would be the ultimate book to use for literary ensnarement?

    • So what do you think of these as potential literary lady snares?

      Yours for the Asking by Kenna White
      No Strings by Gerri Hill
      Come and Get Me by Julie Cannon
      Radical Encounters by Radclyffe
      I Can’t Think Straight by Shamim Sarif
      Girl Meets Girl by Susan X Meagher
      I Dare You by Larkin Rose

      …if you were walking along and saw a hottie reading one of these [OMG – and what if she were wearing GLASSES?!!]…would you do a double take? Would you start up a conversation about books?

      Or were you looking for more cerebral recommendations? I do love Gerri Hill and Radclyffe, though, and I’m pretty sure I’ve read one or two by Julie Cannon.

      I kinda just had fun scoping out Bold Stroke Books and Bella Books for the racy titles. :) Anyone have other suggestions?

  3. I love to read. My ex gf was just talking about how hard it is to find GOOD black lesbian books, so if anyone has any recommendations.

    • Same here! I mean if you’re into nonfiction “The Other Side of Paradise” by Stacey Ann Chin is pretty good.
      I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head…

    • Hi DemiArianna.

      You put emphasis on “good” when asking for recommendations, so I am going to guess that you are an extremely discerning reader. :)

      I think we’ve all slogged through badly written lesbian fiction, hoping to find a good book, and then pouncing on those books and authors when we do.

      I haven’t read many books with black lesbian characters, “Necessary Hunger” by Nina Revoyr is one of the few, and it’s good, but the ending is so disappointing.

      Still, I wanted to share a couple of links with you that might be worth looking into for more black lesbian fiction:
      Diversity in Lesbian Fiction – books written by authors of color or books that include people of color as main characters.

  4. The only reason I ever got up and ready in time to go to church on Sunday mornings was so that I didn’t miss a single minute of Ghostwriter. I’d be standing at the tv, coat and shoes on, half walking out the door as it ended. Drove my parents nuts.

  5. if you havent read miranda july’s books, I would also definitely recommend “No one belongs here more than you” great short stories, many of them are sapphically inclined

    • i love love love that book. i think i made intern laura and intern emily read it too, although that could’ve been an independent decision, i just like to feel like i made them read it, am a worthwhile person

      • you didn’t make me read it but for the sake of your happiness we can pretend you did. but we did discuss pip’s story, which is obvs the best of all of them.

    • OMG MY FUTURE WIFE. Seriously, as long as she doesn’t take out a restraining order on me, I will keep ending my fan letters with “MIRANDA, WILL YOU PLEASE TAKE MY HAND IN LEGAL CANADIAN GAY MARRIAGE?” and hope for the best.

      …kidding. Sort of.

  6. I just finished reading Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music last night and I kinda want to just start reading it all over again. But seeing as I have a stack of other books to read that probably won’t happen for a while

  7. ooo book lists are great! bookmarked all this for summer when i might have time to read something besides neuroanatomy. my gf got to go see eve ensler this week but some dude snagged the last copy of the book to get it signed right in front of her :(
    also OMG nicole pacent in a soccer movie!!!! when is this movie happening? i mean like “in five minutes” would not even be soon enough

  8. Hey! Thanks for the shout-out! Lots of great Queer stuff you shared (and I’m silly-happy about the NPH on Glee bit!)

  9. i just asked my best friend two days ago if she’d ever heard of ghostwriter (because she is ghost writing now and it seemed connected). but she reminded me that she grew up on a canadian island of hippie draft dodgers and lived in a tee-pee until she was a youth and so she didn’t have a tv and so had no idea what i was talking about. i am getting those DVDs and we’re watching them one day. because that show was so good.

    yay books! i love reading and talking about reading. i just sent my mother a list of books she has to send me from across the ocean, i am adding to that list right now with these. this is a good thing.

  10. Books are definitely the way to my heart. You know me so well, Autostraddle.

    And oh my goodness Ghostwriter. That was my shit.

    For anyone who likes teen books, I highly recommend “Gravity” by Leanne Lieberman and “Down to the Bone” by Mayra Lazara Doyle.

    As far as “grown-up” fiction goes, my current favorite is “X” by J.D. Glass. Really can’t wait for her to get the sequel out. :)

    Also, for those of you who might be interested, “Annie On My Mind” is now available on audiobook, read by actress Rebecca Lowman…and it’s gotten great reviews.

    …and thanks for putting Lee’s blog in the post, I’d mentioned it in the comments a while back and didn’t think anyone noticed. He does a wonderful job and it’s an awesome resource for keeping up with new teen LGBTQ fiction.

    I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?

  12. Hey! You should mention that Patricia Highsmith wrote the phenomenal “The Price of Salt” ! Its the first lesbian novel that didn’t end in someone getting killed or magically turning straight. It’s really fantastic, I just read it and am rereading it.

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