This Week Was Lit

This Week Was Lit! Weekly Roundup: November 30 – December 6

Coming ‘atcha with your Friday roundup of literary haps on the web!

Starting this week off awesome with an epic roundup of Queer Lit from Autostraddle: “50 of the Best LGBT Books of 2018.”

I love this list. It is comprehensive AF, with books representing all genres—from poetry, to memoir, to both literary and genre fiction, and everything in between—on a broad range of LBGTIQA topics. There are so many voices here that may be under your radar, and so many books that are now at the top of my TBR. Hopefully a bunch will end up on yours!

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Continuing on the subject of spotlighting under-represented communities of dynamic writers, there are two great articles I want to share with you. I hope these will encourage us all to further diversify the literature we spend time with as we head into a new year.

Here is an NPR article about Glory Edim’s awesome new anthology: “‘Well-Read Black Girl‘ Turns Books Into Community.”

“I think what is really important for the movements that we are building is to focus on the things that don’t separate us, but bring us together. And that is our love for blackness, books and authentic storytelling.”

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And on the coattails of my post last week about female authors over 40, here is an absolutely lovely, and damn refreshing, post on Electric Literature this week: “8 Old-Lady Novels That Prove Life Doesn’t End at 80.”

“Late works in literature and art are often more radical, mysterious and profound, given that the creator, finally free of conformity, is brushing up against their own mortality. Now more than ever, we need to engage with these women, evolution’s wild ones, who not only survived, but managed to make world-altering work while they were at it.”

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Some thoughts on the new ways literature is covered in the media, and what that means for how we consume and understand literature.

As someone reading this blog, you are probably in the realm of those, like myself, whose whole world, it seems, revolves around books. Yet, this world we live and read in, is not home to most. An interesting article in the Columbia Journalism Review,  “What’s Behind a Recent Rise in Books Coverage?,” takes a look at the discrepancy between the societal decline in leisure reading, and the increasing coverage of books, “whether through newsy recommendations, Instagram, podcast(s), or more essays that integrate books into the culture-at-large,” in the media. 

From large news outlets expanding or creating books sections and book-related Instagram accounts, to the rise of the online book club, the buzz around books is up, yet there seems to be a move away from what work is “worthy” of critical review in the traditional sense, to what merits coverage. The question is, what, exactly, is that?

“In some ways, mainstream book coverage is coming down from its historically lofty perch to join the rest of arts coverage… To break through the noise, editors must translate old-fashioned book coverage to the lingua francas of today’s impossibly paced media climate: shareable lists, essays, digestible Q&As, podcasts, scannable email newsletters, hashtags, Instagrams, even book trailers.”

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The article mentions Electric Lit’s Read More Women campaign, BuzzFeed’s new BuzzFeed Book Club, and NYT Book Review‘s new #bookstagram page @nytbooks, among a bunch of other interesting things.

I think there are positives and negatives to this new phenomenon. I would say that, for those who want to dig deeper, there is plenty out there to be found, but in terms of increasing literacy, and guiding reluctant readers to content that will spark their interest in reading, perhaps changing with the times is a good thing.


While we’re talking about digging deeper…

Lit Hub, published a great article this week on our legendary, experimental Modernist, and pioneer for female writers of her time, Virginia Woolf: “What Was Virgina Woolf Looking for in the Night Sky?”

“I have some restless searcher in me. Why is there not a discovery in life? Something one can lay hands on and say, ‘This is it.’ My depression is a harassed feeling. I’m looking: but that’s not it—that’s not it. What is it? And shall I die before I find it?”

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Last but not least, a super informative and well-researched article, referencing a book I didn’t love so much, but was deeply interested in the topic—the dead girl trope.

This one from Electric Literaturesaying sayonara to the objectification, disembodiment, and assigned helplessness of women at the hands of this popular cinematic tropecertainly seems an appropriate share, given my long October with Dead Girls by Alice Bolin. Check it out here at: “Goodbye, Dead Girl—Hello, Killer Woman.”

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There are a ton of books here that I am so stoked to pick up in the coming months, including one that I was gifted in a giveaway by an awesome bookstagram pal, Hanna from @bathing_in_booksRage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly.

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