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Notable NYC: 2/13–2/19

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Saturday 2/13: Michael Spears, Joe Gannon, and SJ Rozan join Trumpet Fiction with host Charles Salzberg. KGB, 7 p.m., free.

Sandeep Parmar and Cody-Rose Clevidence join the Segue Series. Zinc Bar, 4:30 p.m., $5.

Sunday 2/14: Tony Tulathimutte, Alysia Nicole Harris, Shira Erliochman, Alexander Tanner, Kristina Bicher, Ilana Masad, and Trenton Pollard join the Dead Rabbits series for a special Valentine’s Day Reading.

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The Complicated “Riches” Of America

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In a nuanced essay at Vela Magazine, Anne P. Beatty discusses what her experiences teaching for the Peace Corps in Nepal and teaching at an impoverished school in LA taught her about privilege and about America:

Nepal seemed full of life and community and hope and culture, whereas America was lonely and sterile, devoid of sounds or smells.

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Sci-Fi =/= Unrealistic

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Tired of being met with condescension when she says she likes science fiction, Justina Ireland argues for science fiction’s importance in understanding very real contemporary issues faced by marginalized groups:

By refusing to absorb those ideas, by considering them unrealistic, readers are refusing to even contemplate the reality of others.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Valentine’s Day, the annual celebration of romance, named after a martyred saint who doesn’t have anything to do with love, is almost here. In recognition of the holiday, The Cut is providing a refreshing counterpoint to the flowers-and-chocolates narrative with “True Romance: five days of stories about love as it’s actually lived,” which includes a tale of loving a con artist, the story of a shotgun wedding, and a simultaneously depressing and uplifting account of romance after ten years of marriage (a highly recommended read).

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The Work That Remains to Be Done

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“I keep trying to imagine a universe in which too many public figures declaring themselves feminists would be a bad thing,” Roxane Gay, the novelist and the author of an essay collection entitled “Bad Feminist,” wrote, before concluding, “Of all the words that should be spoken more, ‘feminist’ should be at the top of the list.”

For the New Yorker, Rebecca Mead traces the history of Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics, pop culture feminism, and the work that still needs to be done.

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LGBTQ Lives and the Prison System

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At the New Yorker, Grace Dunham discusses the importance of Captive Genders, an anthology about the oft-forgotten impact of the prison industrial complex on trans and queer people, recently released in its second edition:

The book brings together the work of activists, artists, and academics, many of whom are current or former prisoners; it challenges hierarchies of expertise, presenting recollection, poetry, and theory as equally legitimate mediums for political critique.

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“Those Guys”

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At Seven Scribes, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib interviews Mychal Denzel Smith about his new book, Invisible Man, Got The Whole World Watching. Among other things, they discuss black intersectionality, sneakers, and the problems with representing oneself as an “ally” in a public space: 

When opportunities come my way because I’ve written about queer theory, homophobia, or transphobia, and someone wants to interview ME about that, that’s a function of privilege.

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The Bible and Birdie Jean

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At twelve, my grandfather climbed into his Prayer Tower and said he’d die if he didn’t get $8 million; I was a gay kid living on a Pentecostal compound with an autographed photo of Ronald Reagan on my desk. At eighteen I left most of that behind, rarely looking back.

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National Amnesia

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Race is an important and central issue in the United States, but what about abroad?

It appears that both the United States and the United Kingdom are witnessing one of those moments when we confront what Toni Morrison said in an early interview about Beloved (1987), ‘something that the characters don’t want to remember, I don’t want to remember, black people don’t want to remember, white people don’t want to remember.

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Paper, Please

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A study of 300 college students in the United States, Germany, Slovakia, and Japan found that 92 percent preferred to read paper books over e-books.

The students preferred paper because of the “lack of distractions that are available on computers as well as the headaches and eye strain that can result from staring at a screen.” Students also enjoyed the smell of books and being able to see and feel how much they had read and how much they had left to read.

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Google vs. Author’s Guild

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The fight against Google’s digital library continues, and this time the effort has support from big-name authors like Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malcolm Gladwell, Peter Carey, and J. M. Coetzee. The case against Google making millions of books—many of them still under copyright protection—searchable online without paying for any licenses to do so goes back to 2005. 

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