Tag Archives: lesbian

Romance Novel Bibliotherapy

Romance Novels

Where can we turn when the world feels too painful to bear? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. For me, the answer is usually words: poetry, novels, interviews, quotations—all of language seems to have a healing power. Regarding Brexit, and its attendant xenophobia and racism, Joanna Walsh, fiction editor at 3:am Magazine, invited “publishers, writers, translators—people fighting, in their work, to keep our cultural borders open—to contribute a single sentence in reaction to what’s happening right now,” resulting in a powerful litany of “[a]nger, despair, protest, sorrow, love.” Bibliotherapy, the act of therapeutic reading, has a long history; Ceridwen Dovey’s New Yorker piece from 2015 titled “Can Reading Make You Happier?” finds that “Ancient Greeks […] inscribed above the entrance to a library in Thebes that this was a ‘healing place for the soul.’”

I’m traveling for the summer in South America. (Does travel make us feel better? Experiencing the world? Being in nature? I guess so, yes. But still: books.) I took one book with me—Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter—and it was stolen in LAX before my first flight. So I’ve switched to Kindle and Emily Books. As an experiment, I decided to open myself up to the highs and lows of the romance genre: If love heals, then I thought I’d try out, as they say, “trashy” romance novels, or “beach reads.” I suppose the only difference I’ve discovered between the “high art” of literary novels and the “lower art” of romance novels is twofold: 1) the self-publishing writers of the world need editors, badly, and 2) saccharine hope and happiness of “light” literature may be easy to generate and fluffy—but, as sentiments, they are still important, and even necessary.

I’m left wondering why we literary or intellectually-minded readers put down the whole genre of the romance novel when all it is, really, is another attempt to feel okay in the world.

I’ve read four romance-focused books in about as many days. It’s a way of hiding, of healing. Sometimes, I think it may be working. Here they are:

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books + Literature, Reviews

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup

“TV keeps killing off lesbian characters” and fans are revolting. “LGBT characters, characters of color and disabled characters are often ‘given secondary or tertiary storylines that can be thrown away.’ We’re getting to a point where we can’t accept that anymore.”

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Rah! Rah! Roundup

rahrahroundup-1024x372Happy 2016, Weird Sisters!

Finally, major media outlets are taking notice of the lack of diversity in film criticism.  “Because men make up the vast majority of critics — 78% of the top critics appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes website in spring 2013 were male — films with male directors and/or writers receive greater exposure from critics…Niche entertainment sites have the worst record for publishing women, who make up only 9 percent of their critics.” Chaz Ebert reminds us that “a wide spectrum of voices is critical in challenging the mainstream white male-dominated narrative that drives much of Hollywood and the popular media. Being introduced to diverse critical voices and opinions in the arts not only affects how we see the world but also has a profound influence on how we begin to heal it.” Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Rah! Rah! Roundup

Chloe Caldwell’s Women Isn’t About Anything and It’s About Everything

chloe caldwell

Despite the title, Women by Chloe Caldwell (Short Flight/Long Distance Books, 2014) is not just for women. It’s for anyone who likes reading fiction but also has a problem with reading fiction. It’s also for feminists who want to read a book with predominantly female characters. It’s also for anyone who’s bisexual and/or ever questioned their sexuality. It’s also for all the above and none of the above.

“You have to read this book. It’s stayed with me for months,” I say to a friend over dinner.

“What’s it about?” my friend asks.

“It’s about…” I begin to say, even though I don’t like answering what things are about, even though I often ask others what things are about, “the difficulty of writing about experience in the same way that holding onto love is seemingly impossible.”

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Books + Literature, Reviews

MATRIGAY PART II: Lesbian Feelings Post-Wedding

Illustration by Laura Cerón Melo

With arepa in one hand and cell phone in the other my prima whispers in my ear: Congratulations on ese matrimonio. I look around, maybe she’s confused? But everyone in this family reunion is busied with alcohol, selfies, and Andres’ new baby boy who is just ay qué cosita más lindaaa.

No, de verdad, she says, biting on the arepa, Congratulations on your wedding. Her right hand lands on my shoulder and I’m searching for the homophobic punchline that would come after that, I’m searching for the, You are banned from Jesús’ family hang-out crew forever. Por lesbiana. Tortillera. Marimacha. I wait for her eyes to lose their glimmer, for her to snap into the conservative Jesús-loving woman I know her to be, but the only thing she says is: Ay nena, you know Ellen Degeneres? I love Ellen Degeneres. I watch her show all the time. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Everything Else