On the Decentralization of Truth and Memory in Achy Obejas’ [Memory Mambo]

Achy Obejas' Lambda Award-winning novel, Memory Mambo, is a text that simmers and lingers within the mind long after it is read. I initially decided to read this novel because it centers on the life of a Cuban-American lesbian who administrates a laundry service in the Midwest, however, it is a much more complex and rich read … Continue reading On the Decentralization of Truth and Memory in Achy Obejas’ [Memory Mambo]

Gender and Non-Normativity in Jeanette Winterson’s [Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit]

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (henceforth OANOF) is a 1985 Bildungsroman (novel of development) centered on the life of Jeanette, a girl who is adopted and raised by a woman who happens to be a fundamentalist Christian. Jeanette's mother believes in literal translations of the Bible, and she freely uses religious rhetoric to accommodate her black and … Continue reading Gender and Non-Normativity in Jeanette Winterson’s [Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit]

Tradition, Change, and Kinship in Sherman Alexie’s [The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian]

Few young adult novels manage to tackle deep and complex issues with as much heart and nuance as Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (henceforth PTI). Initially, PTI can be approached as an autobiographical coming-of-age (graphic) novel that centers on the growth and development of Arnold Spirit Jr., a fourteen-year-old cartoonist and student … Continue reading Tradition, Change, and Kinship in Sherman Alexie’s [The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian]

Logan Kain’s [The Dead Will Rise First]

Lately, I've been on a quest to read self-published young adult fiction, mostly because I've noticed that self-published authors tend to take more risks when crafting their stories. The reasons for this are obvious: there is no middle-man, no editor, and even more importantly, self-published authors do not face issues such as censorship and the … Continue reading Logan Kain’s [The Dead Will Rise First]

J.C. Lillis’ [How to Repair a Mechanical Heart]: A Gay YA Novel on Fandom, Religion, and Canonicity

If there is one thing that gay young adult fiction should be thankful for, that thing would be the internet. Because of the advent of the web, we have witnessed the increase of self-published e-novels distributed through online stores such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Self-publishing, in my opinion, greatly expands the possibilities of … Continue reading J.C. Lillis’ [How to Repair a Mechanical Heart]: A Gay YA Novel on Fandom, Religion, and Canonicity

On the Development and Evolution of Culture – Raymond Williams’ [The Sociology of Culture]

Raymond Williams' The Sociology of Culture, originally published in 1982, is a precise and methodological approach towards the field of cultural sociology. The book is centered on establishing the prominence, evolution, and reproduction of culture. Williams ultimately traces this evolution through a discussion of cultural sociology, and through a painstaking description of cultural forms and their nuances. … Continue reading On the Development and Evolution of Culture – Raymond Williams’ [The Sociology of Culture]

Towards a Livable Mode of Existence: Judith Butler’s [Undoing Gender]

Front cover of Judith Butler's Undoing Gender (2004)Reading Butler is truly a worthwhile exercise for the mind interested in gender, queer theory, and human life in general. Undoing Gender is essentially a revision of Butler's groundbreaking book entitled Gender Trouble, which was originally published in 1990. In Undoing Gender, Butler not only adds more nuance … Continue reading Towards a Livable Mode of Existence: Judith Butler’s [Undoing Gender]

Masculinity Without Men? Judith Halberstam’s [Female Masculinity]

When we invoke the iconic image of James Bond, masculinity is usually one of the first notions that comes to mind. My friend and colleague, Dan Murphy, insightfully points out that even when James Bond utters his casual introductory catchphrase, "Bond, James Bond," these simple words resonate within our thoughts because they express "an appealing version … Continue reading Masculinity Without Men? Judith Halberstam’s [Female Masculinity]