This Week Was Lit

This Week Was Lit! Weekly Roundup: December 22-28

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

Well hello there, friends! We’re back and ready to rock after a one-week holiday-fueled social media & blog-making hiatus, with the latest installment of This Week Was Lit.

We’re moments away from 2019… really, though? For a pretty gnarly year, it sure has gone by fast, huh? This week I’ll be focussing quite a bit on representation and highlighting some awesome reading material from underheard voices in literature. Along with some other stuff as well. 🙂

To kick things off, here are a couple of awesome articles from Electric Literature:

8 Books About Women and Addiction That Are at Least as Good as Bukowski

Addiction narratives that center on women deserve a spot next to male gonzo antiheroes.

“Female-driven addiction narratives are much rarer, and different in tone; they eschew the lone wolf, the zany ’60s acid-test journey, the psyche’s abyss into self discovery and heroic downfall. Instead they prey on our deepest fears, our collective Mother Hunger, as it’s known in psychiatric circles.”

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Photo by rawpixel

While I am not a fan of the Bukowski lead-in here, I am a huge fan of this article.
Not to detract from the awesome content at hand, but I feel compelled to offer my unpopular opinion on Chuck: I really do not like the dude. Notwithstanding the fact that he is a garbage, misogynistic human being, I think his work is overrated at best. Digression complete.

Books on addiction, as a whole, are under the radar at best, but books on women suffering from addiction are hardly manifest in the public consciousness. This is a topic that is so important to face, and that means a lot to me personally, and these are voices that need to be heard. Addiction, and mental illness, are often misrepresented, if represented at all, in popular literature, and in order to de-stigmatize them, we need these narratives. We need to hear these stories. I, for one, am so thankful to have come across this list, and plan to make at least a few of these titles a priority for my reading list in the coming year.

Here are a few that I am particularly excited about:

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Black Wave by Michelle Tea

 

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Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday

 

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Zipper Mouth by Laurie Weeks

 

Next up: Electric Lit is really bringing it this week by introducing us to books that give voice to silenced narratives. These need to be heard more than ever.

7 Books that Illuminate the People and Places on the U.S.-Mexico Border

A reading list to understand the thorny complexities of both sides of the border wall…

Here is a reading list of novels, non-fiction, and an especially powerful collection of border verse to understand the thorny complexities of this demarcation. Each will leave you unsettled in their narratives and prose, and perhaps deepen empathy for those that inhabit these spaces — on all sides.

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Border Wall at Tijuana and San Diego Border (Photo by Electric Lit)

 

With the atrocities going on at the border right now, thanks to a deplorably inhuman administration, these narratives are more important than ever. Reading other people’s stories, in their own voices, is the most potent tool for change.

Some especially powerful titles from the group:

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The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea

Devil’s Highway is the only book here I’ve been fortunate enough to read. I also had the honor of hearing him speak about this book at the AWP conference in Los Angeles a few years back, and it was immensely powerful.

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Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
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Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
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The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border
by Francisco Cantú

 

Next up, for starters, Brain Pickings is a must-read webpage curated by Maria Popova, which I have referenced here before, and I am always blown away by the content.

The front page this week holds the best BP articles of 2018, which I implore you to check out.

Popova’s articles and essays are profound and philosophical and a breath of intellectual and existential fresh air in an interweb full of listicles and clickbait


That said, below is an absolutely beautiful article:

Two Hundred Years of Blue

I have found myself dwelling on the color blue and the way our planet’s elemental hue, the most symphonic of the colors, recurs throughout our literature as something larger than a mere chromatic phenomenon — a symbol, a state of being, a foothold to the most lyrical and transcendent heights of the imagination.

Cerulean splendor from Goethe, Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Nabokov, Rachel Carson, Toni Morrison, and other literary masters

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Photo by Lit Hub

Oh how I love this blue-tiful article. Particularly on the heels of coming down from my Bluets high.

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Photo by Lit Hub

 

A few of my most coveted works from the list:

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A Writer’s Diary
by Virginia Woolf
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Speak, Memory
by Vladimir Nabokov

Speak, Memory… omg. As a grapheme synesthete myself, this is one that has been on my list for a LONG time.

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A Field Guide to Getting Lost
by Rebecca Solnit

 


A great article from Lit Hub for my list-lovers out there. And I’m guessing there are a whole bunch you may not have heard of!

Lit Hub’s The Best Reviewed Books of December.

FEATURING ANNA BURNS, VAL MCDERMID, SCHOLASTIQUE MUKASONGA, AND MORE

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Refreshingly, I haven’t read most, scratch that, any, of these!

Milkman, however, is going to be the Two Girl Book Party January pick of the month, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

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Milkman
by Anna Burns

And, being a Los Angeles transplant, a city I’ve now called home for over a decade, I am very much looking forward to this super unique book…

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Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018
by David Kipen

 

An article from the The Atlantic this week that is IMPORTANT! And I can’t stress that enough.

‘6 Months Off Meds I Can Feel Me Again’

Kanye West has been tweeting again. And in those tweets, where he raves, as he does, about abandoning psychiatric medication for his art, Kanye West promotes a dangerous myth about creativity.

In apparently quitting his psychiatric medication for the sake of his creativity, West is promoting one of mental health’s most persistent and dangerous myths: that suffering is necessary for great art.

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Kanye West performs at the Meadows Music & Arts Festival in New York City. TAYLOR HILL / GETTY IMAGES

I never discuss my mental health here. For various reasons, but mainly that I am very private about it, yet regularly feel guilty for not giving the middle finger to the stigma surrounding bipolar disorder, and advocating for those like myself. The stereotypes are harmful. Med-shaming is downright dangerous. And Kanye West is putting us all in harm’s way with his latest crusade.


 

Last but not least, on a MUCH brighter note to lighten the somewhat heavy load above…

I love this article by Megan Crockett, creator of the awesome blog, The Spines.

How to Start, Find, and Maintain a Book Club

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As the creator of an online book club myself, which is still in the beginning-ish stages (we’re just four months newbs)—I just really love this article, and find it so fun and informative.

You can also find her on Instagram @the_spines.

Her account has been one of my favorites on there since before I had a book page of my own!

Below is her post that ties in to the article above:

View this post on Instagram

I’m delighted to report that book club meeting #1 was a great success last night! Being in a book club was something I’ve always wanted to be apart of, so a giant shoutout to the internet for introducing me to my very favorite bookish ladies. 😍 And, lets be real, any excuse to make a charcuterie board and a rosè spritzer. 🍷 🧀 • • Our first book was PRIESTDADDY by Patricia Lockwood and GUYS, I absolutely loved this memoir and you all should read it immediately. Lockwood has the most spectacular sense of humor and her writing is a shining star throughout. The book also made for some great discussion on religion, family relationships, and writing about real life people. I highly recommend! • 💭 What books do you think would be great for book club? 💭 👇🏼👇🏼 share here!

A post shared by The Spines [by Megan Prokott] (@the_spines) on

And, before signing off, here are a couple more photos that just show how rad her content is:


 

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and I wish you an even radder New Years Eve!! 

Catch ya next week!! ❤

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