A Blog You Trust

Once again, I was in Harvard Square with maybe 15 minutes before I had to be at my appointment. Once again, I went into Harvard Books. This time, I marched right up to one of the cashiers and asked if they had an LGBT section. She led me to a shelf – one shelf – where queer studies, women’s studies, and gender studies were cozily nestled together. Well, that’s one way of doing it. There was almost no fiction except for a paperback copy of Rubyfruit Jungle (?). It wasn’t a bad selection of theory and nonfiction, and I ended up getting a couple of books there that I had planned to buy online, so that was good. The lack of fiction was so frustrating, though. As I was checking out, I asked the cashier about it. The cashier next to her joined the conversation, saying that of the 3 buyers, none is queer, so it’s not on their radar (!). She suggested I find a blog I trust and get recommendations for queer literature from there. I said I would rather come browse at a bookstore. We talked about the ghettoization aspect of having a section for queer literature. She said that Allison Bechdel is thrilled that her graphic novel is being marketed as a graphic novel and not a queer graphic novel. I had more to say, but I needed to get to my appointment. I lodged my complaint and my request, thanked them kindly and went along.

I’m glad Allison Bechdel is getting more exposure – she’s been working hard and steadily for decades and deserves to be acknowledged as an American great, but I’m thinking more about readers instead of writers. We readers still need to know where to find queer literature. Sure, I can look at the Lambda Literary and see who’s on their list, and so can you:

http://www.lambdaliterary.org/

but nothing beats being able to hold the book in your hands and flip through it, reading snippets as you go. In fact, we could start with that: what if Harvard Books had a display of the Lambda nominees – how cool would that be? I don’t suppose it would take up all that much space, and it would say to queer bookstore patrons, “Hey! We know you’re here, you’re queer, and you might like to see some of the vast selection of queer books that we thought were worthy of note!” It would be a small but powerful gesture to queer patrons, some of whom, perhaps, don’t want to be ghettoized, but all of whom, surely, don’t want to be completely disregarded.

What about it, Harvard Books?

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Published in: on March 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM  Leave a Comment  
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