THIS WEEK IN REFLECTION
As we roll into the gift-giving season, I’m noticing advertisements for craft shows, which are often holiday themed and a bit tacky. But still, I go. This week, I attended an LGBTQ craft show and discovered a variety of goodness instead of Velcro bow ties for dogs! Here’s my swag:
That greenish rock key chain in the lower right and the cookie mix are from a place called Ten Thousand Villages (you may have one near you) that purchases goods from people in impoverished communities around the world trying to support themselves through economic development. Most artisans are women, disabled, and from developing countries. This weekend, the store had a sale, so we went and got more goods, including something that looks like deodorant but is made from bee wax and is doing wonders for my anxiety knee rash. AMAZING.
Something that I’ve been thinking about all week is why I started Grab the Lapels and what my mission was. What began as a place for me to review books by women became books by people who identify as women. I am not trans exclusive, nor have I ever been — transwomen are women — but I hadn’t thought about my language when I simply wrote “women.” Now that we’re all fully accustomed to Zoom life, I’m see folks add their pronouns to their Zoom name, e.g. Melanie (she/her). Even at the University of Notre Dame, people are including pronouns in their email signatures, which surprised me given Catholic attitudes toward the LGBTQ community.
I started Googling for stats on nonbinary writers. How often are they published? Are their stories being heard? I found a large study from the Williams Institute of ULCA of nonbinary adults in the U.S., published June of 2021. Here’s what I found: 1.2 million Americans identify as nonbinary. 68% of nonbinary people don’t have enough money to make ends meet. 51% describe serious mental health issues, and 39% have attempted suicide.
What do I take from this? Nonbinary people exist all around us, and they’re struggling to get the support they deserve. We often see people as human once we’ve heard their stories, and if I’m saying Grab the Lapels is binary (men vs. women), then I am excluding nonbinary writers from my platform. And that’s not okay, and I apologize that I did not take the time to think about this before. I’m going to have to do some rebranding, but that’s no big deal. It’s worth it. Tell me your thoughts on this topic in the comments!
THIS WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
Several of you noted that you plan to read Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman after seeing my review. I’m so glad! It’s a novella, so short and sweet, and it’s in the public domain. You can get a free copy on Project Gutenberg. My library had many copies to choose from and it also comes in e-book form.
There is only one thing I can say about my review of Beth Gilstrap’s collection, Deadheading: My baloney has a first name. It’s O-S-C-A-R.
NEXT WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
Right away, I got a copy of With Her in Ourland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, which is a direct sequel to Herland. Again, it was easy to procure a copy. At first, I wondered why these novellas weren’t one novel, but you’ll find out in my review on Tuesday.
Dear Valdemar readers, you thought we were on our last book of the year. But it turns out Mercedes Lackey keeps on writing them. You’ll be happy to know that my review of Spy, Spy Again on Thursday won’t be the last of the year!
BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR PILE
Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 203