The Dayton Metro Library created this flag of the 100 most-challenged books from 1990-2000. Photo via Flickr.
On Monday of this week, the American Library Association released the list of 2013’s top ten most frequently challenged books. You’d expect it to be packed with racy titles, yes? In fact, seven out of the ten top titles would be shelved in a bookstore’s young adult or children’s section.
Author Ariel Gore, the long-time publisher of Hip Mama, has a new memoir about the death of her mother.
Like many, people I discovered writer Ariel Gore when another mother handed me her beloved first edition of The Hip Mama Survival Guide. She said something like, “Here, you’ll need this.” And she was right.
This month, Jacobin launched a book series with Verso offering a socialist perspective on cultural, political, and economic issues, including Melissa Gira Grant’s new book on the sex work industry, Playing the Whore: the Work of Sex Work. Grant has written about sex and politics for such outlets as the Nation, the Guardian, $pread and as a contributing editor of Jacobin.
I read a lot of crime fiction. Like many avid readers, I look back at the end of the year to see which books made the greatest impression on me and share my top 10 online. This year, I was shocked to realize that this only three of my top ten reads were by women.
Recently, I talked with Indian-American romance novel author Suleikha Snyder about her work writing romance tales starring people of color. “Don't people like me deserve a happy ending, too?” she said. This same question should be asked for people across the spectrum of sexuality, especially in the romance where the plot is often built around relationships leading to either tragecy or happy endings.
There are lots of romance novels featuring LGBTQ characters, but readers likely have to seek them out. Last week, I interviewed two editors at specialty romance presses about the queer-centric titles they publish.
If you are standing in line at the grocery store, you may find yourself face to face with the covers of popular romance novels. Odds are, the characters on the covers of those grocery-store books and the authors who penned them are all white.
But if you take the time to look more deeply and more expansively in the romance genre, you will quickly discover a whole of literature from authors of color and novels starring characters of color.
“I wanted to put a book together that would be a timeless resource for survivors,” says Lisa Factora-Borchers, editor of new collection Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press). “It’s not a book about trauma, it’s not a book about all the moving pieces of rape. It’s letters about survival.”