Recently, while hanging out in Madison Square Park, I needed to pee. There was an APT (Automated Public Toilet) nearby. Unfortunately, it was out of order. No big deal – because of my privilege as a middle class, white person, I was able to use the toilet at a nearby bar instead.
I learned about APTs in In Lezlie Lowe’s new book, No Place to Go: How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs. She writes about how crucial public toilets are, especially for those who can’t just walk into a privately-owned business bathroom, such as the homeless. The area around the broken public toilet in Madison Square Park smelled like urine, presumably because others had, lacking a place to go, urinated on the street instead.
Lezlie Lowe, a freelance journalist of over 15 years, has been covering public toilets for a long time. “I described public bathrooms as the itch I could never scratch,” Lowe said. She first became interested when her small children’s bathroom needs changed her relationship to her city. “But over time I kept on it,” Lowe said. “[Toilets are] the one thing I keep coming back to in my journalism practice. … There’s always great stories.”
Toilets also appealed to Lowe because she likes to write about the unnoticed parts of everyday life. “Public bathrooms were a good fit because you can’t find someone who doesn’t have some relationship with public bathrooms,” yet they’re frequently ignored or underappreciated in building design and public spaces.
We talked to Lezlie Lowe about toilets, feminism, and the process of working with a small press.
One night in her twenties, Marina Shifrin penned a list of 30 goals to complete before she turned 30. Funny and full of heart, 30 Before 30 tells the story of what happened as she set out to achieve each one. (Read our review here.)
We asked Marina a few questions about her book, and what she’s doing now.
Q: How do you think approaching life with a 20-something mindset can help even people who have passed that part of their lives?
Your twenties are this magical time for debauchery and experimentation, a time when mistakes can be molded into lessons instead of life-altering set-backs. Wisdom comes with age, sure, but we begin to lose a little bit of our tolerance for risk-taking. I think everyone, regardless of age, should approach life with enthusiastic resilience—you don’t need to be in your twenties to continue to learn and evolve as a person (these important practices are simply easier when your younger, and you have fewer responsibilities).
As a translator, Tina Kover bridges gaps between cultures. For over ten years, she has been translating novels from French into English, so that they can be read and appreciated by a wider audience. This year alone, Kover has translated two wildly different books: Disoriental by Negar Djavadi (read our review here) and The Beauty of the Death Cap by Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze, forthcoming this fall from Snuggly Books.
This year, Kover even helped to bridge the gap between a married couple. “[Catherine’s husband] doesn’t speak French, so he actually couldn’t read her book until I translated it, which is quite funny.”
When asked if he liked the book, Kover laughed. “He loved it,” she said. “But [Catherine] said she was a little frustrated because as he was reading it, he kept saying more about how much he liked the translation than the book itself.” Continue reading
Left to right: Marie Lu, Nicola Yoon, Nic Stone, Kiersten White, M.J. Franklin
Sad you missed BookCon? Here are some more highlights! Check out more of our coverage here.
Fierce and Fabulous
“#1 asking for permission and #2 apologizing for taking up space. I’m not apologizing for taking up space anymore. My main fear for writing the two girls in this book is that I would make them too soft. I don’t want them to apologize for taking up space, I don’t want to subconsciously write female characters who are shy, who are soft, just because I’ve been taught that’s what women are supposed to be.” Nic Stone
Left to Right: Lorraine Cink, Charles Soule, Brandon T. Snider, Rainbow Rowell
On Sunday at Book Con Marvel Writers Rainbow Rowell (Runaways), Charles Soule (Daredevil, Hunt for Wolverine) and Brandon T. Snider (Grow Up, Ant-Man!) joined in conversation with moderator and author Lorraine Cink (Powers of a Girl) to discuss their work and creative processes.
Rainbow Rowell is author of notable YA books like Eleanor & Park and Fangirl. As a fangirl herself, she says making the switch from novels to comics was easy:
“It’s been a real delight for me. I’m a longtime comics reader, if you’ve read my books you know that comics often show up in my books because it’s been an important part of my reading life and Runways was my all time favorite Marvel comic.” Continue reading
On Saturday June 2, author Alexandra Bracken and actor Amandla Stenberg joined in conversation at Book Con 2018 to talk about the upcoming film adaptation of the Darkest Minds.
In a spate of sci-fi/fantasy blockbuster movies (online reviewers have commented on the seeming similarity between this film and X-Men), The Darkest Minds is unique in that it has a largely female-led creative team. Based on a book by Alexandra Bracken and starring a young girl named Ruby (played by Stenberg), the adaptation is also directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
“[Nelson is] one of three women directing a major motion picture this year which is very sobering,” Bracken noted. Continue reading
Sci fi/fantasy authors S.L. Huang, V.E. Schwab, Charlie Jane Anders and Seth Dickinson joined in conversation with Kaila Stern of the Mary Sue at Book Con 2018. They talked about strong female characters, odious sexist tropes, and what’s needed to change the power dynamic in the entertainment world. Read highlights from their conversation below:
Megan Mullally (currently starring in Will & Grace again) and Nick Offerman (former Parks and Recreation star) may joke about just being people with funny social media accounts but they’re actually that and also married actors who wrote a book together. Continue reading
Abbi Jacobson and Chris Gethard both have new books out this Fall and they came by BookExpo 2018 to talk about their work. The pair have known each other for a long time (Chris used to be Abbi’s improv teacher and was also on her show Broad City) and talked a lot about how much they get each other’s books.
“I’m kind of the target audience for your book” Chris joked.
Obviously they weren’t only writing for people with their own TV shows or their best friends. Here are the best takeaways from Abbi and Chris’s conversation.
So what is Chris Gethard’s new book Lose Well about? Continue reading
Four years ago, the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement was launched in response to an all-white lineup at Book Con. However, the industry still has a long way to come before true equality is reached. Four children’s authors gathered at Book Expo America on Thursday to talk about racism, politics, and books.