Soft’s on pause because this month was still a rollercoaster, but things are settling down. I hope.
On that note, I’ve mostly read and written this month because they were the only things that could keep my focus. And because of that…I just finished a novel’s first draft! Not the novel I thought I’d write now, but a novel nonetheless. It was one of my goals for the year so some things are going well anyway.
Interviews will resume next month~
Stuff I read
Imogen, obviously by Becky Albertalli
I loved this novel so much it’s already a serious contender for my favourite of the year!
The story, obviously inspired by the author’s own experience, presented Imogen’s struggles with her identity in an exquisite way. But the cherry on the cake for me, though obviously not disconnected from the main plot, was how the book addressed the toxicity of discourse in the community; and how people (who frequently seriously need therapy) like to project their shit disguised as righteousness (and people like to pretend queers don’t do that). It was great to see all these things directly addressed in fiction and at lenght.
The romance is super sweet too and I’m sure I’d have a crush on Tessa back in college~
(This one was in audiobook form.) (BTW I’ve been using Scribd for a while and recommend!)
The Swashbuckler by Lee Lynch
Going ahead with “lesbian classics I hadn’t read yet”, this one was published in 1985.
No need to say it’s a completely different experience to read a book about the lesbians who frequented Greenwich Village in the 60s written by someone who actually lived it. The book also makes the case that the lesbians in most novels from that time are white educated women, which isn’t the case here. The main romance is between two butches, one of them of Puerto Rican origins. I don’t know if the story can be classified as a romance though, most of the book they stay apart, and it’s a lot more about their growth (through more than ten years), than just about their connection.
There are all these bits that feel almost contemporary, from "I wish there was a gay coffee shop" to racial discrimination. And, understandably, a lot of concepts and behaviours within the community that are no more. Also important to say that there are several mentions of sexual and domestic abuse.
I also read a few of Lynch’s short stories, but the more you go back in time in lesbian fiction, the more this underlayer of sadness and bitterness grows. I feel I need a break from these old books now. Goes to show how far we’ve come, I guess.
On another note, the book mentions lots of songs and artists, so I made this playlist adding all of them in order of appearance (and yes, the Exodus song is there and lesbians are dancing to it shrugs). Especially the 50s and 60s songs are linked to the bar visits, so guess you can go for it if you wish to experience the mood of a night of slow dancing in the Village.
Stuff I watched
I’m in a good period for fiction! I haven’t loved a lesbian movie this much in a looong time. Blue Jean is a heart wrenching movie, but the way it handles its emotions is so delicate that I didn’t feel overwhelmed, besides it’s still hopeful in the end.
The story is set in 1988’s Newcastle, when Section 28 is about to pass (so, it’s good to point that it might be specially triggering for people living in places where similar laws are being passed right now). The main character Jean is a lesbian PE teacher and therefore in the cross of it all. The gay bar friends and girlfriend, the bully students, the prejudiced colleagues, the family tension. It’s certainly a movie to be experienced.
Thank you for reading and see you next month~