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Posts Tagged ‘queer’

11. “Butch is a Noun,” S. Bear Bergman

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Memoirs of butchness.

This took me a very long time to read, especially for such a slim book. It really resonated with me and the complex gender I live. Bergman performs a chivalristic butchness that is aware of how problematic it can be for a masculine-gendered person to want care for feminine-gendered people.  Ze talks about hir love of femmes, on having hir butchness nurtured by femmes, on getting to nurture young butches. It’s all touching and left me with a lot to think about. I’d recommend it, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it took you a few months to plod though, too (or if you read it in an hour).

Page count: 192

Page total: 3,001

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6. “Dumbfounded,” Matt Rothschild

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

A series of memoirs of a fat, rich, red-headed, cross-dressing gay Jew. I didn’t expect to like it, but his grandmother is badass, and half-way through it started to become pretty poignant.

Page count: 203
Page total: 1,544

42. “I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight,” Margaret Cho

July 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Apparently Margaret Cho is the shit. I don’t really go in for her comedy, as she does a lot of shouting and I do not like shouting, but this book shows a righteous, very cool, very smart person.

I was sort of confused by the format, which is almost like a blog. Even though it’s divided into sections, there’s not much tying the entries together. Not everything in the feminism section is explicitly feminist, not everything in the war on terror section is about how Former VP Chenney is a dangerous, dangerous human being.

“My attitude toward peace does not depend on which war we are discussing. I think that words should do the work of bombs.” (25)

On the ease with which women hate Courtney Love:

“Courtney Love is an incredible artist who has endured public derision and scorn for well over a decade. What man could survive that? Yet in any real way, the feminist majority has yet to come to her defense. No one has come forward with the simple question ‘Why is it that I am hating another woman with such ease?'” (112)

“Strange that there is so much religion in the world, but only enough to make us fight over who is right, not enough to make us love one another.” (182)

“A government that would deny a gay man the right to a bridal registry is a fascist state.” (145)

Page count: 240
Page total: 10,608
LOC Call number: PN 6165.C56 2005

30. “The Book of Salt,” Monique Truong

May 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Really beautiful, but incredibly dense. It took me forever to get through.

This is the first-person account of Binh, GertrudeStein and Alice B. Toklas’ Paris cook.

Page count: 261
Page total: 7,534

61. “The History of Sexuality: Volume One,” Michel Foucault

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

You know what? I am counting this one read even though, technically, I didn’t read all of it. You know why? Because fuck that, fuck Michel Foucault, and fuck you. One hundred and seventy-six pages of incredibly dense, oddly-punctuated, Frankfurt school1-informed shit and then you get to the end and Foucault doesn’t even give you this own theory of sexuality. He gives you an analytic. So that none of the criticism he levied against theory could be directed at him.

And the grand solution to the “imagined” problem of sexuality, the repressive hypothesis that he spends at least half the book documenting?

DON’T TALK ABOUT SEX, JUST HAVE GOOD SEX.

I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

I want to understand. Is “to the left” talking about sex? “Harder?” “I don’t want to dress up like a ballerina?” “Uh cuh stih tahk ahound iss ahll gahg”? Is “yes” talking about sex? “I’m not ready to get pregnant?” “I have a latex allergy?” I get the speaker’s benefit2 thing and I get that talking and theorizing are not doing but are you kidding me with this shit?

My professor seriously asked us if we thought that maybe this book was a joke, which is totally plausible. WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY EDUCATION ON A BOOK THAT MIGHT BE A JOKE? Why was this book so earth-shattering? Because of a version of history that Foucault admits could be termed “careless”? Because he manages to totally disregard intersecting identities? Because of the sort-of-interesting premise, if you are maybe a little high and interested in blowing your mind? Why would you make someone who wants to blow hir mind want to blow out hir brains? Is this real life?

If you will excuse me, I am going to click “publish,” then I am going to throw my computer out the window.

PS: I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts, Googlers of “Michel Foucault” + “History of Sexuality” + summary. I don’t usually make ball gag jokes and yell at my readers here, but I want to die.

Page count: 176
Page total: 24,109
(I’m giving myself partial credit. Not even in my bone-crushing anger would I cheat these numbers.)

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1. Do you know about this shit? Apparently some people were sort of just ripping off Marx, spouting his ideas as their own without really doing enough research and taking his hard-won, clearly-stated ideas as their own. Not after the Frankfurt School, which says that you should write things as obtusely as possible so that it is harder for people to 1) understand what you are saying, unless they are smart enough to really, really try and 2) lift your words out of context. Doesn’t Foucault make bucketloads more sense now?
2. The power people derive from talking about something “taboo,” which comes from the apparent breach of/disregard for society’s conventions

Charis Books

December 31, 2008 Leave a comment

Feministing.org has a great review up for Charis Books in Atlanta, Georgia, US. They accept online orders at 10% off the in-store price– which takes a bite out of shipping costs.

Like the author of the review, I love young adult books, so I headed over there first. There are great prices and many (if not most) of their books are by people of color and staring people of color as characters. The bookstore also focuses on lesbian and feminist books, so many of these books also include queer themes. A huge plus in my book.

They also have great booklists and monthly best-sellers and new book lists, including the best sellers from independent booksellers across the US. That Tim Wise is on there clinches it for me. They’ll be my next stop for books.

Categories: Book stores Tags: ,

6. “Stone Butch Blues”, Les Feinberg

December 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Sighh. I just finished this one tonight. This book always feels like coming home. It is so beautifully written and comfortable. It’s just gorgeous and painful, and always hits home, though my own path has been very different. I’ve read and given away many copies of this book, and mine are all marked up. My underlinings all feel so intimate; I find myself constantly identifying with Jess and Feinberg. Ze gets it. This book always makes me want to talk about gender, both my own and gender in general, but like Jess, I hardly know where to start.

This passage is one of my very favourites, because I feel it so acutely:

My neighbor, Ruth, asked me recently if I had to live my life all over again, would I make the same decisions? “Yes,” I answered unequivocally, “yes”.
I’m so sorry that my life has had to be this hard. But if I hadn’t walked this path, who would I be?

Page count: 301 Total: 1993