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Annual Holiday Party in NYC

Lambda Literary - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 9:45am

Lambda Literary is proud to co-host a holiday party with The Publishing Triangle.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
Ritz Bar & Lounge
369 West 46th Street, 2nd Floor
(between Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue)

Half-price happy hour drink specials and free assorted munchies.

RSVP to publishingtriangle@gmail.com

Free admission.

Categories: Book News, LGBTQ

Deadlines Approaching for Lammy Awards and Other Lambda Literary Author Prizes

Lambda Literary - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 9:44am

If you’ve already submitted your 2014 book(s) for Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) consideration, please don’t wait until the last minute to ship us your books. We are entering the winter holiday season and the post office is about to be overwhelmed with packages. If your books are lost or delayed in transit, they may not make it to the judges in time.

If you have not submitted your 2014 book(s) for Lammy consideration yet, please don’t sabotage your chances–or your author’s chances–of winning a Lammy by missing these important deadlines:

  • The Lammy submission deadline for books published in 2014 is midnight December 1st, 2014. The submission form is here.
  • If your book is being published between December 1st and December 31st, you still need to submit it online by December 1st at this link. You must also request an extension from awards@lambdaliterary.org, which will provide you with a grace period to send the books as soon as they are printed.
  • The deadline for Lambda Literary’s Mid-Career Novelist Prize is midnight, December 15th, 2014. The application is available here.
  • The deadline for Lambda Literary’s Emerging Author Prize is midnight December 15th, 2014. The application is available here.
Categories: Book News, LGBTQ

There's More To Asking Than Just Art

NPR Books - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 7:03am

Amanda Palmer's new The Art of Asking outlines a well-intentioned but hazy philosophy of asking for help. Critic Annalisa Quinn says Palmer glosses over societal realities of who has access to help.

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Categories: Book News

'Redeployment,' 'Age Of Ambition' Win National Book Awards

NPR Books - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 9:57pm

The veteran-penned short story collection and the nonfiction look at modern China and its citizens joined youth literature winner Brown Girl Dreaming and poetry winner Faithful and Virtuous Night.

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Categories: Book News

Book News: Artist, Falconer And Neurosurgeon Make Costa Award Shortlist

NPR Books - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:31am

With 20 nominees across five categories, it's little surprise that the Costa Book Award shortlists prove eclectic. Also: A remembrance of the late novelist and transgender activist Leslie Feinberg.

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Categories: Book News

A Fresh Perspective on the Genre Fiction Debate, ‘James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination,’ and More LGBT News

Lambda Literary - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 8:14am

This week in the LGBT-themed arts:

Jaswinder Bolina writes an essay for the Poetry Foundation on the vulnerability of MFA candidates to classist isolation, and the fallacies of believing that poetry is less relevant today.

Slate chronicles the brief but influential (and possibly romantic) relationship between the two most crucial English gay poets of World War I: Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

On December 2, the New York Public Library is hosting a talk with Ayana Mathis and Matt Brim about the latter’s forthcoming book James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination.

Joshua Rothman offers a fresh perspective on the current conflation of literary fiction and genre fiction, using Emily St. John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven as his jumping-off point.

The Cut interviews avant-garde fashion designer Jeremy Scott about coming of age, controversies, celebrities and his new book, which has a cover that uniquely employs the Droste effect.

Slate has posted an exclusive excerpt from Philip Gefter’s new biography on Sam Wagstaff, the foremost patron and boyfriend of groundbreaking late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

There is also an excerpt, on Vulture, from gay director Justin Simien’s companion book to his film Dear White People, about how reality television perpetrates stereotypes.

The Poetry Foundation also discusses this year’s Miami Book Fair International–which will also feature a commemoration of James Baldwin–with co-organizer Adam Fitzgerald.

The Hollywood Reporter covers the recent reunion–in Orange County, California–of Stephen Sondheim and the original cast of Into the Woods, which debuted in San Diego in 1987.

This past week saw this year’s annual Bent-Con, an LGBT-flavored science fiction and comic book convention in Los Angeles. Here’s a photo essay of the event.

Dan Schulman and Dana Goldstein reveal the process that their books went through from original conception, through development, to the bestseller list.

Joan Allen, William H. Macy, and Brie Larson are among the actors set to star in a Lenny Abrahamson-directed adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel Room.

Dave Holmes, TV personality and  columnist for Vulture, is at work on his first book, an autobiographical comedy tentatively titled Party of One.

Categories: Book News, LGBTQ

'Unspeakable' Gives Voice To Things We All Think, But Don't Say

NPR Books - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 7:03am

Meghan Daum's essay collection is intensely personal, but also universal. Critic Tomas Hachard says that on a deep level, it's about the process of growing up and deciding whether to conform or rebel.

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Categories: Book News

Norman Lear Looks Back On His Long Life In 'Even This I Get To Experience'

NPR Books - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 3:33pm

Lear, who co-created All In The Family, has written a new memoir at the age of 92. He tells Fresh Air about getting involved in politics and how his storylines addressed subjects like racism.

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Categories: Book News

How A Feud Between Two Russian Companies Fueled A 'Spam Nation'

NPR Books - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 3:33pm

Brian Krebs' new book tells the story of how two companies groomed spammers, and then destroyed each other. In the process, Krebs got access to documents that illuminated how cybercriminals operate.

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Categories: Book News

‘Blue,Too: More Writing By (For or About) Working-Class Queers’ Edited by Wendell Ricketts

Lambda Literary - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 2:44pm

The story of Wendell Ricketts’ one-of-a-kind anthology BlueToo: More Writing By (For or About) Working-Class Queers is that of so much literature that examines intersections of marginalized identities: An initial dead-end. His predecessor to this book, Everything I Have Is Blue: Short Fiction by Working-Class Men About More-Or-Less Gay Life, encountered a whopping 57 rejections before it found a publisher–and it was a press that eventually shuttered its doors.

So what’s the difference with Blue, Too? Why didn’t it get added to the heap of rejected concepts that are just too “much” or too complexifying or too honest to fit into marketing paradigms? Well, it’s mostly just the fact Ricketts kept pushing until he had the means to publish on his own terms — something he considers a distinctly working-class ethos. This year, he established FourCats Press, and finally he was able to create the book he’s always envisioned.

In so doing, Blue, Too represents much more than a sequel–it is a reinvention of what a “collection of creative writing by working-class queers” can be. In sharing the book’s genesis in the foreword, Ricketts reveals why he needed to start anew in a tale that’s deeply telling about of this collection’s necessity. While trying for years to find a publisher who thought readers would be interested in writing that explored the intersection of queerness and class, and even while finally finding a publisher in the now-defunct Suspect Thoughts Press, he discovered that readers–or, at least, the ones reviewing Everything I Have Is Blue–still didn’t get it. He explains:

More than a few reviewers missed the point entirely. Take one who wrote “Lend [thebook] to the cute guy who delivers bottled water to your office every month. Or your hunky garbage man. Basically anyone hot with a blue collar.” Because, of course, “hot and hunky” blue collar guys probably wouldn’t buy their own books, and it might help you–you big, bottled-water drinking corporate exec, you–get laid. The field of working-class studies politely ignored the book, as did queer and gay studies programs[.]

Armed with that knowledge and the clear vision that working-class queer voices still matter, Ricketts’ expanded upon Everything in every way: in size and scope, in accepting more gender and sexual minorities than solely gay men, and in commenting on the importance of closely reading working-class queer narratives by providing detailed “reading guides” for each of the twenty stories anthologized.

Further, one-third of the 486-page volume is taken up by an annotated bibliography about working-class queers in all cultural mediums and an extensive analytical essay titled “Class/Mates: Further Outings.” Blue, Too is, without a doubt, the authority on working-class queer writing in the English language. So let’s hope that a decade after Ricketts’ first attempt, this anthology isn’t still ahead-of-its time. At the very least, its long-overdue presence begs some consideration: What is so dangerous about this writing?

The answers, of course, could be endless, but one thing becomes apparent quickly: Blue, Too shakes up both mainstream, straight, cisgender expectations of queers and queers’ expectations of queers.In a similar vein to Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform, albeit in a more understated fashion, Blue, Too interrogates an aspect of queer communities that is often the source of invisibility and discomfort as LG(BT) people gain rights and social acceptance: Some queers are working-class, some are working-poor, and some are even downright impoverished.

Our shiny, happy visions of who “queer” people are, especially in mainstream media, often can’t acknowledge that, to quote the oft-used activist slogan, “We Are Everywhere.” Rather, “working-class” and “queer” have come to seem almost like a antonyms because of the other specters that “working-class” raises.

So what are the cultural associations with “working-class” complicating queer identity that find illumination in Blue, Too? Immediately, we see the theme of non-white racial identities emerge in C. Baird Cole’s “Flowers, Flames” and Rane Arroyo’s “My Blue Midnights.” In Marcel Devon’s “There Are No Pretty Girls at the Tabernacle,” we feel the threat of fundamentalist religion.Rick Laurent Feely’s “Skins” and Timothy Anderson’s “Hooters, Tooters, and the Big Dog” we get rough, coarse language, hints of violence and rougue-ish criminality–“class-less” behavior. And in Keith Banner’s “Lowest of the Low,” Robby Nadler’s “Austin,” Wendell Ricketts’ “Financial Aid,” and Rigoberto Gonzalez’s “Men Without Bliss” we feel the limitations of fore-shortened educations and dead-end jobs.

All of these things scare queers seeking assimilation–and a couple, like violence and poverty, seem to be rightfully frightening, as they portend our extinction. But all of these things also scare queers for the wrong reasons–they disrupt a clean, palatable vision of queerness that could slip seamlessly into an affluent, white-dominant mainstream. Blue, Too is an intervention into queer culture that demands we look at what homogenizing “LGBT” discourses–which are often, in truth, only really about the “G” and maybe the “L”–leave out.

Yet, it’s worth noting, Ricketts’ call of “We exist too!” is anything but self-pitying. The writing in Blue, Too is fierce, forthright, and often exquisitely brutal while being tender and deeply real. Highlights include Banner’s “Lowest of the Low,” Feely’s “Skins,” Carter Sickel’s “Saving,” Dean Durber’s “Bleeding Toy Boys,” and Judy Grahn’s “Boys at the Rodeo.” These stories bring up the kinds of questions without easy answers that multiply marginalized folks face daily. How do I feel whole when I must choose between being “out” and making enough money to survive? How do I find belonging when I enter contexts where class and sexual expectations shift? If my queerness and my class seem to be at odds, how can I find a sense of rootedness or “home”?

 

Blue, Too: Writing By (For or About) Working-Class Queers
Edited by Wendell Ricketts
FourCats Press
Paperback, 9780989980012, 486 pp.
August 2014

Categories: Book News, LGBTQ

‘Miracle Girls’ by MB Caschetta

Lambda Literary - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:46pm

Welcome to Romeville, NY, hometown to the Order of Christ’s Most Precious Wounds and Cee-Cee Bianco, protagonist of MB Caschetta’s compulsively readable first novel, Miracle Girls. It’s 1973, and teenage girls are going missing in record numbers, and ten-year-old Cee-Cee (named after Saint Cecilia) is having visions of the missing girls.

Centered around the Bianco family—Cee-Cee, her three older brothers, her wild-card mother and alcoholic father—Miracle Girls features an enormous cast: add to the Biancos two grandmothers, a handful of radical Sisters, family friends, Cee-Cee’s classmates at Our Lady Queen of Sorrows, a curious police officer, and a smattering of others, but Caschetta deftly handles the omniscient narration, moving from brain to brain in this small town, never allowing confusion to set in.

But Cee-Cee is the one to watch here, and indeed, all eyes in the town are on her. She has visions—whether truly religious or somehow related to epilepsy or migraines one never really knows—and those visions spark subtle conflict within her family. Cee-Cee’s Nonna—an old-world religious type who is tight with the Order of Christ’s Most Precious Wounds—and many of the Sisters are intrigued by Cee-Cee’s abilities; Cee-Cee’s parents would just as soon dose her with Benadryl and keep the whole thing hush-hush.

But one afternoon, in a moment that doesn’t come quite clear until later in the book, Cee-Cee and her brothers venture into the woods and Cee-Cee is violated. In the traumatic moments that follow her rape, her youngest brother Baby Pauly (they are very close in age, and consider each other “twins”) runs off looking for help, gets lost, and nearly drowns. Hours later, Cee-Cee leads the police and search crew to the place where Baby Pauly has become trapped in the ice—he is not dead, but he has fallen into a coma from which the doctors predict he will never wake up.

Following these events, Cee-Cee is relocated to her Nonna’s guardianship and enrolled in Catholic school, where she falls under the care of the Sisters of the Order of Christ’s Most Precious Wounds, where she is let in on the Sisters’ most secret activity—a secret both beautiful and radical, though not in the way that the watchful FBI and local police assume.

Caschetta’s boisterous scenes and adept handling of suspense pull you right in.  Some odd things happen in Miracle Girls—one isn’t always clear about what’s happened or why—but the unusual occurrences don’t hamper the flow of the plot. For the most part, the strange events seem all a piece of Caschetta’s unusual and welcome examination of religion and faith, both perfectly off kilter and yet still honest, still sacred, and never judgmental.

Miracle Girls is an intriguing blend—part exploration of family ties, part exploration of what faith can look like, part radical concept, part history—and Caschetta does a wonderful job of weaving it all together. Her snappy prose, diverse cast of characters, and imaginative plot make Miracle Girls a pleasure to read.

 

Miracle Girls
By MB Caschetta
Engine Books
Paperback, 9781938126161, 256 pp.
November 2014

Categories: Book News, LGBTQ

Losing our Hero, Rest in Power Leslie Feinberg

Lambda Literary - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:50am

Yesterday, while the NYC sky was dark and stormy and filled with tears, I learned that Leslie Feinberg had passed away. I was on the N train, dazed and crying, surrounded by tourists and commuters. I was unable to find the right words to describe Leslie’s influence and what hir passing means to me, personally, but also to our entire community. Yesterday, I emailed/texted/posted on social media with queer family, strangers and acquaintances, all of us united in this sudden and profound grief and loss. Facebook even tells me that news of Leslie Feinberg is “trending,” whatever that means. I think all of us are struggling with what it means to lose a hero. I don’t know anyone of my generation who doesn’t remember reading Stone Butch Blues for the first time, who doesn’t remember being saved by that book. 

I read Stone Butch Blues for the first time the month after I turned 18. I read it on an airplane from Portland, Oregon to Jacksonville, Florida and on a long layover in the Dallas airport. All my belongings fit into a duffle bag. I was in my first relationship and I was in love for the first time. Hy was a stone butch who told me I had to buy Stone Butch Blues and read it before I came to live with hym. Hy said it would tell me everything I needed to know about being butch, and about loving a butch. I steadied my ace bandage constricted breath and read, for the first time, about my people. I hadn’t known that books like that existed before opening those pages.

As a baby butch reading Stone Butch Blues for the first time, I found solidarity. Later, years later, long after the end of that first relationship and after having come into a femme identity, I fell in love with Leslie’s writing in a new way. A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of having a brief written exchange with hir about the work zie was doing on the 20th anniversary re-release of Stone Butch Blues, and its new dedication to CeCe McDonald. At the time, Leslie was too sick to do the interview I had approached hir about, but much to my surprise, zie responded about my work, calling me a warrior and praising my Kicked Out anthology. I told only my closest friends about the exchange, but printed out those private Facebook messages and have re-read them whenever I felt discouraged. I don’t feel worthy of hir praise, hir warrior shoes feel far too big to fill, but all of us must try. We must, in Leslie’s memory, continue the fight where zie left off. We must recommit ourselves to the work, to writing the books our community needs, to speaking out against injustice, and to standing in solidarity with other oppressed communities.

As queer folk, so many of us have been rejected and abandoned that we’ve had to build our own worlds. So many of us have found ourselves so alone when we come out. We grow ourselves up. We build our own families and in a way queer books become our parents, our grandparents, our best friends and families. We curl up with them on cold nights on borrowed couches uncertain of where we will sleep tomorrow, or in bathtubs, our ears ringing with the sound of a lovers footsteps walking out the door a final time. We turn to books to prove that we exist. Books keep us company, raise us up, and give us hope that survival is possible. In a way, through queer books we build a relationship to that book’s author as well. For so many of us, Leslie is more than a beloved author. Zie has been part of our family. Now, as we mourn hir loss, we’re left trying to understand a world that is much darker and colder without hir to fight for us and protect us.

In the coming days, there is so much that must be done about the lack of information that exists about Lyme disease, and the fight for appropriate and adequate medical care. In particular, we must talk about and the ways in which queer and trans people are routinely misdiagnosed and all too frequently failed by medical systems and professionals who supposedly have sworn to first do no harm.

Leslie’s long term partner the incredible femme author Minnie Bruce-Pratt wrote a beautiful obituary that ran on The Advocate yesterday, which was how most of us learned the unbelievably sad news of Leslie’s passing. Read it. She tells us that Leslie’s last words before passing away in their home in Syracuse were “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.” We owe hir that, and so much more. We must never let Leslie’s memory die. Leslie’s passing has broken hearts across the community, and I think especially among those of us who call the queer intersection of writing and activism home.

Generations of queers have grown up reading Leslie’s work and finding themselves in hir pages. Losing Leslie is losing one of our greatest hero’s, one of our most passionate and committed warriors. Our loss is so profound, I don’t’ think we can possibly yet understand the magnitude of it. We must remember Leslie, we must hand hir books to the next generations of queers. Most of all, we must continue writing and fighting in hir memory. Losing Leslie Feinberg is so much deeper than knowing there will never be another book. I’m not ready to have lost my hero. I don’t think any of us are. All I know for certain is, “I’ll never get these [tear] stains out.” (Feinberg 1993, 10)

Categories: Book News, LGBTQ

Book News: Jonathan Franzen's New Novel Poised For September Release

NPR Books - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:42am

The book, titled Purity, promises an expansive sprawl and familiar themes, but also a few stylistic experiments. Meanwhile, Texas gears up for a hearing and final vote on much-debated textbooks.

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Categories: Book News

The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Awards Lambda Literary Multi-Year Grant to Fund LGBTQ Playwriting Workshop

Lambda Literary - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 7:04am

 Lambda Literary is pleased to announce that The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation has awarded its Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices a $5000 grant per year for the next four years to establish a playwriting workshop at the popular summer residency. Legendary playwright, poet and essayist Cherríe Moraga will teach the new playwriting workshop.

The Retreat will be held June 22-29, 2015 at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.  Applications are now open online.

“The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation was established by one of the first out gay playwrights to portray gay life unapologetically,” said Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation President, James Waller. “For the past twenty years, we’ve supported LGBT performing and media arts through our production grant program and annual playwriting competition. Now, by helping Lambda Literary establish a playwriting workshop at its Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, we are making a commitment to the future of LGBT theater. Lambda Literary has long been our community’s greatest advocate for a robust, diverse LGBT literature, and we are very, very happy to be able to support and expand its work.”

Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat is a residency designed to offer intensive and sophisticated instruction to selected lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer emerging writers over a carefully designed one-week period. The Retreat provides open access to industry professionals and the opportunity for writing fellows to create an ongoing community of practice as they advance in their craft and careers. It is one of Lambda’s most important initiatives: it represents the future of LGBTQ literature and theater.

In additional to the new playwriting workshop led by Moraga, other Retreat faculty include Justin Torres (Fiction workshop), Linda Villarosa (Nonfiction workshop), Kazim Ali (Poetry workshop), and Sara Ryan (Genre Fiction workshop-emphasis on Young Adult Fiction and Graphic Novels). Applications to the summer residency are open online through January 5, 2015 (with an extension of 2 weeks for the playwriting workshop only because it was added late).

Entering its 9th year, the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices has gained an international reputation for nurturing our most talented writers and building a highly accomplished, diverse and engaged community of artists committed to advancing LGBTQ literary arts.

“We’re grateful to The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation for expanding our workshop offerings to include LGBTQ playwriting,” said Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela. “To have the incredible Cherríe Moraga teach the first year is an additional gift to the program. I encourage LGBTQ writers to apply for this one-of-a-kind opportunity.”

Cherríe Moraga

Cherríe Moraga:

Moraga is playwright, poet, and essayist whose plays and publications have received national recognition, including: a TCG Theatre Artist Residency Grant, the NEA’s Theatre Playwrights’ Fellowship, two Fund for New American Plays awards, the Pen West Award, a Drama-logue and Critic Circles Award, two Gerbode-Hewlett Playwrights Collaboration Awards, and several Creative Work Fund and MAP Fund Grants. In 2007, she was awarded the United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature (Drama) and is a recipient of The American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, she received the “Pioneer” Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation.

Moraga is the co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, which won the Before Columbus American Book Award in 1986. She is the author of several titles, including Waiting in the Wings–Portrait of a Queer Motherhood (Firebrand, 1997). In 2011, Duke University Press published her most recent essay collection, A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: Writings 2000-2010. Her three volumes of drama are published through West End Press of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They include: Heroes and Saints and Other Plays; Watsonville/Circle in the Dirt; and, The Hungry Woman.

A Bay Area playwright, Moraga plays have been developed and presented in San Francisco and throughout the Southwest, as well as in Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and New York. In 1995, Heart of the Earth, Moraga’s adaptation of the Maya Popol Vuh, premiered at the Public Theatre. Her most recent play, NEW FIRE-To Put Things Right Again (with visual artist, Celia Herrera Rodríguez), had its world premiere at Brava Theater Center in January 2012, where over 3,000 people witnessed the work in its 10-day run.

For over 15 years, Moraga has served as Artist in Residence in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University, with a joint appointment in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. She is a founding member of La Red Xicana Indígena, a network of Xicanas working in education, the arts, and international organizing.

Read other Retreat faculty bios here.

Apply to the Writers Retreat here

Categories: Book News, LGBTQ

A 'Garden' Full Of Dazzling, Whimsical Tales

NPR Books - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 7:03am

Young Woman in a Garden brings together 24 previously published short stories by the fantasy fabulist Delia Sherman. Reviewer Jason Heller says it's full of dazzle and heart, with a dark edge.

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Categories: Book News

Take It In: 'Vape' Is The Oxford Dictionaries Word Of The Year

NPR Books - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 7:12pm

The growing popularity of e-cigarettes sparked the notice of the Oxford Dictionaries, which chose "vape" as the word of the year for 2014. It beat out contenders such as "bae" and "normcore."

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Categories: Book News

It’s now or (almost) never for real NSA reform; contacting Congress today critical!

Crossposted courtesy of the ALA Washington Office’s District Dispatch blog:

It was mid-summer when Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the outgoing Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, answered the House of Representative’s passage of an unacceptably weak version of the USA FREEDOM Act by introducing S. 2685, a strong, bipartisan bill of his own. Well, it’s taken until beyond Veterans Day, strong lobbying by civil liberties groups and tech companies, and a tough stand by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but Leahy’s bill and real National Security Agency (NSA) reform may finally get an up or down vote in the just-opened “lame duck” session of the U.S. Senate. That result is very much up in the air, however, as this article goes to press.

Now is the time for librarians and others on the front lines of fighting for privacy and civil liberties to heed ALA President Courtney Young’s September call to “Advocate. Today.” And we do mean today. Here’s the situation:

Thanks to Majority Leader Reid, Senators will cast a key procedural vote late on Tuesday afternoon that is, in effect, “do or die” for proponents of meaningful NSA reform in the current Congress. If Senators Reid and Leahy, and all of us, can’t muster 60 votes on Tuesday night just to bring S. 2685 to the floor, then the overwhelming odds are–in light of the last election’s results–that another bill as good at reforming the USA PATRIOT Act as Senator Leahy’s won’t have a prayer of passage for many, many years.

Even if reform proponents prevail on Tuesday, however, our best intelligence is that some Senators will offer amendments intended to neuter or at least seriously weaken the civil liberties protections provided by Senator Leahy’s bill. Other Senators will try to strengthen the bill but face a steep uphill battle to succeed.

Soooooo….. now is the time for all good librarians (and everyone else) to come to the aid of Sens. Leahy and Reid, and their country. Acting now is critical . . . and it’s easy. Just click here to go to ALA’s Legislative Action Center. Once there, follow the user-friendly prompts to quickly find and send an e-mail to both of your U.S. Senators (well, okay, their staffs but they’ll get the message loud and clear) and to your Representative in the House. Literally a line or two is all you, and the USA FREEDOM Act, need. Tell ‘em:

  • The NSA’s telephone records “dragnet,” and “gag orders” imposed by the FBI without a judge’s approval, under the USA PATRIOT Act must end;
  • Bring Sen. Leahy’s USA FREEDOM Act to the floor of the Senate now; and
  • Pass it without any amendments that make it’s civil liberties protections weaker (but expanding them would be just fine) before this Congress ends!

Just as in the last election, in which so many races were decided by razor thin margins, your e-mail “vote” could be the difference between finally reforming the USA PATRIOT Act. . . or not. With the key vote on Tuesday night, there’s no time to lose. As President Young wrote: “Advocate. Today.”

Categories: Book News

Bill Cosby's Silence On Rape Allegations Makes Huge Media Noise

NPR Books - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 5:00pm

Bill Cosby's silence when asked by an NPR anchor about rape allegations made big media news. The ongoing controversy may also hint at a generational divide between his fans and his latest critics.

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Categories: Book News

Transgender Pioneer, Activist, and Author Leslie Feinberg, 65, Has Died

Lambda Literary - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 1:32pm

Leslie Feinberg, a pioneering transgender activist and writer of the seminal novel Stone Butch Blues, has died. Feinberg, 65, died of complications from “multiple tick-borne co-infections, including Lyme disease, babeisiosis, and protomyxzoa rheumatica, after decades of illness” on November 15, 2014, at hir home in Syracuse, NY.

From The Advocate:

She died at home in Syracuse, NY, with her partner and spouse of 22 years, Minnie Bruce Pratt, at her side. Her last words were: “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of “transgender liberation,” and her work impacted popular culture, academic research, and political organizing.

Her historical and theoretical writing has been widely anthologized and taught in the U.S. and international academic circles. Her impact on mass culture was primarily through her 1993 first novel, Stone Butch Blues, widely considered in and outside the U.S. as a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender. Sold by the hundreds of thousands of copies and also passed from hand-to-hand inside prisons, the novel has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Slovenian, Turkish, and Hebrew (with her earnings from that edition going to ASWAT Palestinian Gay Women).

[...] Feinberg is survived by Pratt and an extended family of choice, as well as many friends, activists, and comrades around the world in struggle against oppression and for liberation.

 

 

[Photo via The Advocate]
Categories: Book News, LGBTQ

An In-Depth Look At The U.S. Cyber War, The Military Alliance And Its Pitfalls

NPR Books - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 1:18pm

In the book @War, Shane Harris reports that U.S. intelligence agencies, sometimes aided by corporations, are trying to dominate cyberspace. It's "changing the Internet in fundamental ways," he says.

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Categories: Book News
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