Category: News

Our 9 Favorite Poetry Books From 2019!

We’ve been told that poetry is what you can get away with; it’s almost like magic but with words. With the new year approaching, let’s take a look at 9 poets who got away with something magical in 2019:

Soft Science – Choi, Franny

Tradition

Feed – Pico, Tommy

Crossfire: A Litany for Survival – Chin, Staceyann

Aphrodite Made Me Do It

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flow – Skeets, Jake

While They Sleep (Under the Bed Is Anoth – Rivera, Raquel Salas

Losing Miami – Ojeda-Sague, Gabriel

How Poetry Can Change Your Heart – Gibson, Andrea

 

5 Books to Read For Native American Heritage Month

Every November, we celebrate the rich culture of LGBTQ+ Indigenous people during Native American Heritage Month. We have an assortment of new titles and bestsellers from a diverse variety of Native American authors. Here’s what we’re reading this month!

 

Feed

Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age

Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts

Full-Metal Indigiqueer: The Pro(1,0)Zoa

Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder

9 Books for Ace Week 2019

Here at the store we often get asked if we carry any books for or by asexual people. Just in time for Ace Week 2019, here’s a list of nine books we like to recommend:

Ace & Proud: An Asexual Anthology

Asexual Perspectives: 47 Asexual Stories: Love, Life and Sex, Acelebration of Asexual Diversity

Asexuality: A Brief Introduction – Asexuality Archive

Asexual Equation

Asexual Fairy Tales

Understanding Asexuality

Asexual Erotics: Intimate Readings of Compulsory Sexuality

Let’s Talk about Love

A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze

7 LGBT Books for Back to School

Summer loving had me a blast… But it’s time to hit the books once again! Check out these 7 LGBT books that we’re reading for the back to school season. We have something for every student and educator. Whether you want to learn how to create safe spaces in the classroom or gain insight on how to teach LGBT history or if you want to be titillated by frat boys… we have you covered!

 

Trans* in College: Transgender Students’ Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion

School’s Out: Gay and Lesbian Teachers in the Classroom

Every Frat Boy Wants It

How to Transform Your School Into an Lgbt+ Friendly Place: A Practical Guide for Nursery, Primary and Secondary Teachers

People Like Us

Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth

“Becoming Dangerous:” A Mixed Bag of Witch Tricks

I discovered Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner on the bottom, dusty shelf of a local bookstore way back in 1997. I asked for tarot cards that Christmas, and it’s been a slippery slope since. There was no way I was going to pass up Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels.

Becoming Dangerous is a nonfiction anthology — a collection of twenty-one personal essays from a group of women of diverse ethnic, racial, and identity backgrounds. A good chunk of the writers are women of color, and there’s actually more than just one trans woman among them, which (as these collections usually go) is pretty fantastic. The theme of the anthology — although I use the term very loosely — is less actual witchery, more a focus on ritual behaviors, supernatural or otherwise, and how the writers use them to manifest their chosen identities.

If that sounds a bit vague, that’s because it is. It covers everything from lifting weights to self-care (a lot of self-care) to dumpster diving, and that doesn’t always work in the anthology’s favor. It feels as though the editors erred on the side of inclusivity, which is understandable in theory. In practice the book sandwiches passionate rebuttals of consumerism and other evils of late capitalism between stories of how a specific branded eyeshadow palette links the user with her patron goddess, or an essay on “skin alchemy” which is really ten solid pages of Korean product recommendations. At best the effect is one of whiplash, at worst you get cissexist language (equating loving men with “appreciation for penises”) in a collection which trades heavily in its marketing on the inclusion of trans writers.

The lack of editorial rigor is echoed in some of the essays as well. Becoming Dangerous frequently prioritizes empowerment over close examination, with broad sociopolitical statements that deserve much more unpacking, but don’t get it. Perhaps these writers assumed — correctly — that they’d be preaching to the proverbial choir, and didn’t feel the need to justify their condemnation of patriarchal structures or celebration of feminine power. But arguably because I agree, I wanted more: more analysis of what upholds these structures and why, more dissection of individual rebellion and its context, more about how each author’s journey brought them to their personal brand of magic. The better essays of the anthology do just that; the rest trend toward forgettable, buzzword-y sameness.

Those better essays are very good, however, with meditations on ritualizing strength training and sparring, a garden as an altar to the bounty and transience of life, the journey of a woman who shaved off all her hair and the subsequent exploration of identity, etc. Three essays in particular are phenomenal standouts of the collection. Sim Bajwa’s “Touching Pennies, Painting Nails,” is about the evolution of the writer’s appreciation for the rituals — both magical and of agency — that she once dismissed from her mother and her mother’s community of women. “Gayuma,” from Sara David, explores (in truly lyrical prose) family history and personal trauma, blowing the lid off the assumption that love magic is about better orgasms or a bed partner: “Love magic is justice.” And finally J.A. Micheline’s “Ritualizing my Humanity,” which arguably blows the lid off of Becoming Dangerous itself — arguing that not being perceived as dangerous, solely because of her blackness, is a process she has to purposefully enact, every day. That perhaps the “witch” identity is a privilege in itself, because in order to become a witch, you must be first assumed by others to be fully human.

Ultimately, Becoming Dangerous is recommended for anyone interested in the breadth of experience and discourse about how the political is deeply, intrinsically personal for women today.

Review by Katharine, a volunteer at Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room.

Get Your Copy Today:

Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels