In my recent quest to find quality young adult literature, I ended up sitting down to read several YA books about trans teenagers. Trans teens were hard to find in books while I was growing up, so I was pleased to discover several YA novels written in recent years that present very nuanced and sympathetic portrayals of trans teens.
These books are important. Most trans teens grow up feeling isolated because of widespread transphobia, and their ability to access resources is often limited. But these books can act as makeshift resources, showing trans teens that there are others out there that share their struggles. A couple even include lists of websites and phone numbers for trans teens at the end, presenting options for readers looking to further explore transitioning.
And these books aren't just important for trans teens. These books should be required reading for cisgendered teens and adults, as they tune the cisgendered reader into everyday struggles that trans teens encounter, and they teach the reader just how important it is that we work to eliminate transphobia.
Mmm...books! Autumn and books just seem to go hand in hand. This week's BitchTapes is a mix of musicians celebrating books in their songs or group names. Best enjoyed while stepping on crunchy leaves on the way to your local independent bookstore. Track list after the jump!
Everyone's been talking about Jonathan Franzen's new book, Freedom. While book reviewers raved and readers waited with great anticipation for the August 31st release date, authors Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner both saw all the hype as a platform from which to start asking questions about why books written by women don't get this kind of attention.
Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a lecture given by Mary Roach. Many of you have probably read her books Bonk and Stiff, and thus you know she is a thorough researcher whose tastes run a bit on the weird side. As she put it, she likes to cover topics that combine "history, science, and some gross stuff." The lecture I attended was on her latest book, Packing for Mars, and the subject matter definitely fits the bill. Pooping in space, anyone?
You bookworms out there probably don't need us to tell you about Laura Lippman. You already know that she's an award-winning novelist, best known for her crime stories (which feature awesome female protagonists) and her time as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun. But did you know that she's also a member of the Bitch Media National Advisory Board? And that her latest book, I'd Know You Anywhere comes out today? We sent a few questions to Laura to get the scoop on her new novel and the inspiration behind the awesome women she writes.
Since the end of summer is rapidly approaching, I thought I'd suggest a selection of books on fat acceptance and fat bodies in general for you to finish the season with. Some of these I've read, others I'm in the process of reading. If I have any personal insights on the book I'll share them with you.
Now, let's get to reading. Or at least thinking about reading.
This past spring, Revolutionary Voices, a multicultural queer youth anthology published in 2000, was pulled from the shelves at a Mount Holly, New Jersey high school library. A formal complaint was filed by Beverly Marinelli, a resident of Lumberton, NJ who just happens to belong to a local chapter of Glenn Beck's 9.12 project. Marinelli stated that the book is "pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate". Following the request to remove the book, a review committee voted to take the book off the shelves at the school library.
Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie, has been described by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as "the first creative resource by and for queer and questioning youth of every color, class, religion, gender and ability". The anthology is comprised of prose, art, letters, diary entries, and performance pieces.
You know how every once in a while someone comes into your life–be it in person or in book, music, film, or some other form–and totally blows you away because they're saying everything you've been thinking, but in a way that is smarter and better than you've been thinking it? Like they took what was inside your brain and made it make sense? Jean Kilbourne is one of those people for me. As a young feminist beginning my academic career in media studies, no one hit more nails on more heads for me than she did. I am sure I'm not alone in feeling this way about Ms. Kilbourne and her work, which makes it all the more exciting that her book, Can't Buy My Love, is our first Mad World Book Club selection!
From the Bitch Library will be used to explore the relationship between libraries and feminism, to profile radical and alternative libraries across the globe, to highlight Bitch library happenings, and to review books and zines that are new to our collection.
You've likely encountered the work of writer and editor Ada Calhoun—whether it's her editorial work on Babble.com, of which she was founding editor, her pieces for Time and New York magazines, or her blog conversation 90s Woman—where, among many other admirable feminist pursuits, she and author Kara Jesella try to pinpoint the "most 90s woman" song of 2010.
Now Calhoun has published her first book, Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids, which chronicles her life as a new mother and outlines her parenting philosophy. Consider her the feminist lit voice for a back-to-basics approach to mamahood in the era of "helicopter parenting," the obsessive Gen X and Y response to the laissez-faire style of their parents. It may just be the only parenting book blurbed by Kathleen Hanna.
Page Turner recently interviewed Calhoun about her take on parenting culture, the gender spectrum in raising a boy, her "get out of hell" mantra for crisis moments, and how playground life circa 2010 really can evoke Heathers-era teen flicks.