A unique, empowering addition to LGBTQ+ literature.

OUR WORK IS EVERYWHERE

AN ILLUSTRATED ORAL HISTORY OF QUEER AND TRANS RESISTANCE

Queer and trans activists describe their lives and work in this anthology of oral history and illustrated interviews.

Illustrator and comic artist Syan Rose calls her book "part graphic nonfiction, part thank-you note, part gay theory paper, [and] part activist gossip column." Each of the contributors grapples with universal questions of "power, desire, justice and accountability” as well as “structural & mental racism, transphobia, fatphobia, colonialism, ableism, xenophobia, antiblackness, [and] rape culture.” Selections include Caleb Luna and Nicole Arteaga’s "Reclaiming & Revolting Bodies: Fat: The Play,” Mirna Haidar’s "Queer Muslim Family,” and "Everything You Love About New Orleans Is Because of Black People,” a conversation with New Orleans visual artist Phlegm. We meet sex workers and their advocates, healing and health justice activists, trans women survivors, and queer martial artists. Herbal healer Geleni Fontaine describes "what it means to be in a transgressive body at a time when fat people are seen as diseased. There is a poignant section of reflections on the pandemic, including Ra Malika Imhotep's "A Praise Song for Sick Blk Wimmin," who "have been knowing something deep about this kind of embattled survival….When we talk about how Southern black folks face alarming ‘health disparities,’ we are saying that we are sick. And not because there is something inherently wrong with us, but because the world we’ve been given unto structurally & systematically disrupts our access to wellness.” The drawings throughout are exquisite, and while the swirling, hand-lettering is occasionally difficult to read, the book accomplishes its clear goal: visibility for the marginalized. As Stella, a member of the Trans Assistance Project, puts it, "It's not just for my own happiness, it's also because there are people who, just by seeing me, might be more kind to queer people in the future. Or if they are queer, they might feel less alone or come out sooner.”

A unique, empowering addition to LGBTQ+ literature.

Pub Date: May 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-55152-815-1

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

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BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY)

The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection.

Lawson is a wanderer. Whether on her award-winning blog or in the pages of her bestselling books, she reliably takes readers to places they weren’t even aware they wanted to go—e.g., shopping for dog condoms or witnessing what appears to be a satanic ritual. Longtime fans of the author’s prose know that the destinations really aren’t the point; it’s the laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-your-face journeys that make her writing so irresistible. This book is another solid collection of humorous musings on everyday life, or at least the life of a self-described “super introvert” who has a fantastic imagination and dozens of chosen spirit animals. While Furiously Happy centered on the idea of making good mental health days exceptionally good, her latest celebrates the notion that being broken is beautiful—or at least nothing to be ashamed of. “I have managed to fuck shit up in shockingly impressive ways and still be considered a fairly acceptable person,” writes Lawson, who has made something of an art form out of awkward confessionals. For example, she chronicles a mix-up at the post office that left her with a “big ol’ sack filled with a dozen small squishy penises [with] smiley faces painted on them.” It’s not all laughs, though, as the author addresses her ongoing battle with both physical and mental illness, including a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a relatively new therapy for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The author’s colloquial narrative style may not suit the linear-narrative crowd, but this isn’t for them. “What we really want,” she writes, “is to know we’re not alone in our terribleness….Human foibles are what make us us, and the art of mortification is what brings us all together.” The material is fresh, but the scaffolding is the same.

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-07703-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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