Greetings, Rioters! Happy Spring! It’s time for another round of “Stuff I’ve Enjoyed Reading and Have Had Saved in a Bookmarks Folder For Far Too Long” — but that title isn’t very Twitter–compatible, so we call it Notes From Elsewhere.
The 2015 VIDA Count is out! This year’s count includes race, ethnicity, sexuality, and disability, in addition to genders represented in literary publications large and small.
Also from VIDA: Here’s a list of presses run by women. Though not listed, it’s worth noting that Jackie Corley runs Word Riot, and I’ve edited/published/designed a variety of things through Nouveau Nostalgia (though we are very small. A micro-micro press, you might say.)
Another good database: LGBTQ Cartoonists, compiled by Mari Naomi.
Also, a few months ago, Lee & Low Books posted a report on diversity in publishing: “We felt that having hard numbers released publicly would help publishers take ownership of the problem and increase accountability.”
Everyone wants—or says they want—change. Many expressed exhaustion, either from working within the system or advocating for changes without it; just as many spoke of their continued commitment to change. Many expressed frustrated with the term “diversity” itself, as if it referred to a concept decorative rather than fundamental. “Equity,” instead, offered a more exacting definition. Many also hoped that the hearts of people would change, that the people currently working in publishing would suddenly or gradually make different decisions. (Of this I am skeptical: the solution to the patriarchy isn’t finding a better patriarch.) Many repeated what Claire Vaye Watkins wrote in the blazing conclusion to her essay, “On Pandering”: “Let us burn this motherfucking system to the ground and build something better.”
What do you do, I wonder, if the house is already on fire?
Seriously, read the whole thing. It’s outstanding.
Regarding gender and the novel: Here’s Casey Plett at The Walrus on gender identity and how it’s difficult to accurately write about it.
At Autostraddle, some thoughts on how the ‘Who Pays Writers’ conversation needs a little nuance.
Amy McLay Paterson, at Vox, describes her spreadsheet method of keeping track of her reading, and what she’s learned about her habits as a result.
On a related note, Sigal Samuel talks about what women can learn from reading sexist male writers. (Personally, I’m in the camp of “Read What You Want/Like: Don’t waste your time on things that are merely “good for you” or just because you’re concerned about the thoughts of others.” How boring and exhausting to be wrapped up in other’s reactions to your reading life.)
U.S. Tax Time is upon us, and if you’ve been procrastinating under a sea of 1099 forms and receipts, then here’s some advice from Adrienne Celt.
How about some lit news that intersects with other entertainment?
- Linguists! Here’s the linguistic fun contained within Hamilton, courtesy of Todd Snider.
- Johnny Marr will have a memoir out this fall, and I am excited for it.
- Actor Stephen McGann has written Doctor Turner’s Casebook, “a nostalgic diary and social history narrative of what life was like for his character Doctor Turner from the smash-hit BBC series Call The Midwife.” (AKA ONE OF THE MOST FEMINIST SHOW ON TELEVISION.)
- McGann also has a post-grad degree in Science Communication at Imperial College, London, and has a great science-minded blog, The Theatre of Reason.
And finally, Becky Stone at Book Riot talks about the importance of donating books to prisons, and how one might go about it.
Until next time, friends.
Notes From Elsewhere is brought to you by Sara Habein, who doesn’t pretend to be the first to know everything.
Slade House by David Mitchell