This week, I look at Heartwood, a comic book collection of nonbinary fairy tales, a ritual on destroying your books to make art, a book that shows how feminism became a marketplace buzzword, the blogs of Wendy Liu and NK Jemisin, and more...

Every two Fridays, I publish a brief round-up of some of the interesting articles/blogs/YouTube videos/books/music/games that have come across my metaphorical and actual desk. So, here we go.

Let’s jump off this assortment from the 1st to the 15th of February 2019.

Comic page by Rii Abrego

"Heartwood, Non-Binary Tales of Sylvan Fantasy", edited by Joamette Gil (2019)

I backed this collection of 22 short comics on Kickstarter in fall of 2018, and finally received an electronic copy of the book a few weeks ago. At the heart of this collection: the forest and its place in our collective imagination. I also really love that it's a book about nonbinary fairy tales! I really, really regret not backing the tier that would have gotten me a physical copy of this book, but I didn't have enough cash. Anyways, keep an eye on this comic and on the team that made it! Ebook is for sale at powerandmagicpress.com.

Since the 11th of February until the 10th of March, Power and Magic Press is accepting submissions for their next collection: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology Volume 2.

"The Book Ritual", a game by Alistair Aitcheson

For those who are currently in the middle of a good #konmari cleaning frenzy, Alistair Aitcheson has a game for you! It will teach you how to destroy your books that no longer spark joy in an artistic manner. The ritual considers of defacing your books by following its instructions so that you can "continue to converse" with your book, and, eventually, learn to come face to face with loss and accept inevitable change.

Find the game on itch.io.

"But, but, but — WHY does magic have to make sense?" by NK Jemisin

An old blog post I only discovered recently, and might only interest other writers and storytellers. It consists of a good cathartic rant against "formal magic systems" that I often hear lauded on YouTube and in fantasy book reviews.

NK Jemisin is, in particular, the author of The Fifth Season from the Broken Earth trilogy, a series of books that completely bowled me over last October. I can't stop talking about those books with everyone I meet, I'm so obsessed. (Sorry, everyone!)

Read on her blog at http://nkjemisin.com/2012/06/but-but-but-why-does-magic-have-to-make-sense/

Food and Farm Reading List for Black History Month, by Rafter Ferguson

February is Black History Month, a month that brings front and center the oft-neglected cultural and scientific contributions of Black communities across North America. I found this reading list by Rafter Ferguson that I'd really like to dive into over the next couple of years, on the manner in which American (and Canadian) colonial and imperial agriculture systems were affected by the legacy of slavery, exploitation and oppression, but also by their resistance from the beginning.

  • In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World, by Judith Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff
  • Dispossession: Discrimination against African American Farmers in the Age of Civil Rights, by Peter Daniel
  • Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, by Monica White
  • Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land, by Leah Penniman

The original blogpost with notes about each book can be read here: https://blog.ucsusa.org/rafter-ferguson/food-farm-reading-list-black-history-month

Fragments by Wendy Liu

I met Wendy Liu at McGill, and for a little while we ran in the same circle (...that mostly hung out via IRC). I've been following her on Twitter since the beginning and she's always got something interesting to say. Okay, so you know how I've given myself the challenge in 2019 to blog at least once every two weeks? Wendy's 2019 Herculean blogging challenge is to blog every day! And the blog posts are pretty long and thoughtful! Some recent headlines: "When a tip is not a tip" from the 12th of February, or the post from the 8th of February on Erik Olin Wright's idea of a "socialist compass," or the post yesterday on false advertising and the bot economy of Runescape! I recommend you go take a look at these Fragments everyday, if just to stand in awe at Wendy's dedication.

Read at: https://dellsystem.me/fragments/

"We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to Covergirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement" by Andi Zeisler (2016)

A find from my last visit to L'Euguélionne, a feminist bilingual bookstore here in Montréal. It offers a historical view of anglo-American feminism with a particular focus on the boundary between subcultures and the mainstream since the 1950s, and shows especially how in the last decade feminism has become a market buzzword. The book isn't perfect, but I found it pretty solid. I often couldn't help wondering how the book would have been written differently if it had come out in 2019 instead of in 2016. A book I strongly recommend if you're curious about how marketing, advertisements, celebrity and startup culture has co-opted feminism to fuel and perpetuate neoliberal capitalism.

"Quand le pouvoir crie à la censure: Perspective sur le retrait de l’invitation à Nadia El-Mabrouk" by Florence Ashley

Cette semaine, les accusations de censure portent sur le retrait de l’invitation faite à Nadia El-Mabrouk par l’Alliance des professeures et professeurs de Montréal. Celle-ci avait notamment été invitée pour discuter les droits des enfants et le contenu d’apprentissage par rapport notamment au cours de sexualité. Elle fut désinvitée à la suite de commentaires de membres de l’Alliance critiquant ses positions anti-trans et erronées.

Check out the latest article by transfeminine and nonbinary activist and McGill law student Florence Ashley as she takes a look at one of the more recent anti-trans scandals, and how it fits into a larger anti-trans narrative in Québec media (and society).

Read on Medium: https://medium.com/@florence.ashley/quand-le-pouvoir-crie-à-la-censure-perspective-sur-le-retrait-de-linvitation-à-nadia-el-mabrouk-f7041cb03333

"Nous étions nés pour ne jamais mourir" by Lise Vaillancourt (2015)

I wrote last week a short reflection on this book by Québec author and playwright Lise Vaillancourt.

Entre ces pages, des réflexions mûres sur une vie de famille où règne le silence; sur les tensions entre le Québec de la campagne et Montréal; sur l’écriture et l’identité; sur le gouffre au fond de soi causé par ce silence, l’intimidation, le manque de confiance; l’importance de l’art pour briser le spleen et le mal-être, le besoin de s’inventer pour s’enfuir, de rêver, de se pousser, même au-delà de ce qui peut-être acceptable.

You can read the whole thing here in French!


Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or reach me on twitter @gersandelf if you wanna geek out about cool stuff. Thanks for reading!