Free Culture Book Club — Nevada, part 4

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This week, our Free Culture Book Club reads Nevada, part Two, chapters 7 to 21.

Pink flowers

To give this series some sense of organization, check out some basic facts without much in the way of context.

This should go without saying—even though I plan to repeat it with every Book Club installment—but Content Advisories do not suggest any sort of judgment on my part, only topics that come up in the work that I noticed and might benefit from a particular mood or head space for certain audiences. I provide it to help you make a decision, rather than a decision in and of itself.

Nevada 🔗

I can’t find any direct, Free-licensed information on this book but the Wikipedia article describes it as follows.

Nevada: A Novel is the debut novel from author Imogen Binnie, released by Topside Press in 2013. Nevada follows the story of Maria Griffiths, a trans woman living in Brooklyn, who embarks on a road trip headed towards the West Coast. In the years following its release, it has been credited by literary critic Stephanie Burt as having starting a transgender literary movement and inspiring authors such as Torrey Peters and Casey Plett.

It goes on to point out that it sold around ten thousand copies before Topside went out of business, leading fans to take on distribution duties until other companies have picked it up more recently.

I should note that we may or may not have a film adaptation coming, though the director recently left the project.

What Works Well? 🔗

We get significantly less adolescent whining—but still some—about the horrors of living an imperfect life. We also get another lecture on “transgender life,” but this one pushes back on some of the harmful nonsense that I mentioned worrying about in earlier posts. And Maria has even started to consider that maybe her attitude has caused most of her problems. This seems like a bad point in the book to fix those problems, but at least it feels like I might have endured those problems for a good cause, to (I 🤞 hope) reveal itself next week.

Also, if I liked anything about either of the main characters, I’d probably find their impromptu mentorship charming.

What Works…Less Well? 🔗

What do we mean by less well? Free Culture exists as a special kind of idea. By licensing a work appropriately, the creator gives each of us permission, authority, and power to make the work our own. This section tries to remind us all of that, by indicating areas of the project where you, dear reader, might consider it as an invitation to get involved with the project.
And yes, sometimes complains slip through, too…

This section started exactly where I imagined when reading the previous section, bad-mouthing Nicole and blaming her for everybody’s problems.

This section also has bizarre priorities, at east to me. The now-dual protagonists deliver page after page of exposition that nobody asked for or needed, but the characters rely on some paranormal transgender sense to determine that they have similar backgrounds, instead of literally anything that doesn’t imply that transgender people can magically recognize each other and anybody who can’t has problems. See also: Gaydar, which has allowed people to perpetuate inane stereotypes.

These chapters also try to pitch the idea that Maria getting stoned makes her an insufferable person to listen to, as if the book hasn’t spent more than half its pages showing us a sober Maria who sounds identical. That includes Maria spending a chapter explaining prior chapters of the book, as if we don’t know any more than James would.

Opportunities 🔗

Other than buying the book where available, I don’t see any means to contribute.

What’s Adaptable? 🔗

I didn’t see anything mentioned other than existing national brands.

Next 🔗

Coming up next week, we’ll finish Nevada, with part Two, chapters 22 to the end.

As mentioned previously, by the way, the list of potential works to discuss has run low, so I need to ask for help, again. If you know of any works that fit these posts—fictional, contains some narrative, Free Culture, available to the public, and not by creators who we’ve already discussed—please tell me about them. Every person who points me to at least one appropriate work with an explanation will receive a free membership on my Buy Me a Coffee page. (By all means, promote your own work if relevant, or create something under an appropriate license for the purpose of promoting your own work.)

Anyway, while we wait for that, what did everybody else think about the book so far?

Credits: The header image is FLOWER 03 - PAINTBRUSH, sp (6-16-11) northeast Nevada by Alan Schmierer, released into the public domain by the photographer. The artist released the actual cover under a non-commercial license.

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