Earlier this year, I realized that I don't read nearly as much in print as I used to. That, and some other things (like the fact that I typically spend more than 10 hours a day at my laptop, and the related fact that I tend to be a bit -aholic in my relationship to the machine and the work I do on it), inspired me to try something new: no-computer Sundays.
It's been about six months now, and I love it. I'm reading more in print, and I'm also spending more time doing stuff outside, taking care of my apartment, and cooking -- all of which, of course, improve overall quality of life enormously. So, I'm typing this post in advance on Saturday night to let you know about some of the rad things I've been reading on my computer-free secular sabbath. (This'll be the Queer-as-in-Something-Other-than-Gay-Lesbian-and/or-Straight-Lit edition.)
I just finished A Map of Home, the recently published first novel by Randa Jarrar (who writes a column for make/shift, the magazine I coedit). Its narrator is a smart, feisty, and charmingly foul-mouthed girl navigating multiple cultures, geographies, and desires. I love Randa's writing, so I knew I'd love the book -- and I was so pleasantly surprised to read, in the midst of the culture- and border-crossing narrative that's been the focus of most reviews, a portrayal of growing up bi/queer that is nuanced, authentic, and about individual, embodied desire as much as social identity.
I'm also excited by Animal Shelter, a new journal on "art/sex/literature" from Semiotext(e). It opens with a piece by Jennifer Doyle in which a woman who dates men enthusiastically champions Monique Wittig's directive "Flee from Heterosexuality! Flee! Flee!" (The essay begins with a delightful dressing-down of "pseudo-bohemian straight guys" who ask the author if she's read a certain macho-lit author as a come-on. It's a "doomed attempt," Doyle writes. "A true top would care less about what I've read.") There's also work by Masha Tupitsyn, whose brilliant Beauty Talk & Monsters -- which collapses and flits between memoir, film criticism, and fiction -- looks at gender construction and desire as filtered through the movies in a way that seems to me different from the way most feminist and queer theorists are reading heteronormativity in pop culture right now -- it's almost like, where lots of feminist and queer writers are focused on trying to undo binary gender, Tupitsyn is staring obsessively at it, trying to read how it works. Animal Shelter also contains interesting work by about a dozen other writers, much of it in translation, and I've been looking and looking again at a lot of the visual art.
This weekend, I'm excited to check out the print edition of Invert(e), a journal of "flagrantly queer culture, politics, sex, and dish," which recently landed in my mailbox. It features work by Mattilda, Cristy Road, Ali Liebegott, and many others.
What are you all reading?