Outside Reading — Unsaid edition

I Know What It’s Like to Be a Florida Teen Who Can’t Say Gay. I Was One by Kristen Arnett

This is an entirely appropriate response to the hideous, hateful Florida law that effectively bars the acknowledgement of anyone who doesn’t fit into the tight confines of cisgender, heterosexual existence. Kristen Arnett, a native Floridian, recounts the heartbreaking impediments in her own journey to understanding and embracing her fundamental worth as person because of virulent prejudice against those who feel emotional and physical attraction to people of the same sex. The piece is by turns angry, sad, exasperated, and determined. In every last sentence it is confident and meaningful. This article is published by Time.

Her Comics were Everything Jim Crow America Never Wanted Black Women to Be by Victoria Linchong

Victoria Linchong recounts the remarkable career of Jackie Ormes, a Black woman who created a series of comic strips beginning in the nineteen-thirties and lasting until the nineteen-fifties. In addition to the basic value of representation that Ormes brought as a trailblazer, many of her comics are stunning into their political potency, offering tough-minded appraisals of the deeply set bigotry and sexism in the broader culture. It’s a sad truth that many of her pieces still hold a sting of pertinence decades after they were made. This article is published by Messy Nessy Chic.

The New Yorker Stories (2010) by Anne Beattie

For several years, this has been my palate cleanser between novels. I read one story at a time during those transitions, and I think it might have been a little unfair to whatever new book I started right after reaching the end of one of Ann Beattie’s stories. No matter how good the novel I freshly cracked, for the first little bit its was sure to look a little drab when compared to Beattie’s crisp, immaculate prose. Collecting her fiction that ran in The New Yorker from 1974 to 2009, the book is a unobtrusive time capsule of sorts, capturing the evolution of cultural concerns and casual artifacts. Mostly, though, the stories feel timeless, poignant documents of shared human folly that remains stable across eras.

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