We had a great turnout of over 30 members at January’s member meeting, featuring Annie Carl of The Neverending Bookshop. Annie, the owner and bookseller, shared her vision for greater representation in the indie-book industry. For her, this includes branding her business as a feminist, activist, and genre bookstore. Annie has personally curated the shop’s collection of science-fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, young adult and children’s books to represent characters and topics that are often underrepresented, or misrepresented, in literature.
One of the areas Annie feels passionately about representing is experiences of individuals with disabilities. Annie was born with a rare spinal birth-defect (lipomeningomyelocele) and is a Stage IV Non-Hodgkins survivor. She introduced us to the Fries Test to identify if a work is inclusive in its representation of disability. Developed by author Kenny Fries, this includes identifying:
Does a work have more than one disabled character? Do the disabled characters have their own narrative purpose other than the education and profit of a nondisabled character? Is the character’s disability not eradicated either by curing or killing?
The shop’s strong ethos of advocacy is complemented by Annie’s deep knowledge of the genres she carries. She provided excellent readers advisory during our session, and will happily make recommendations in her shop! A few titles that made their way into my hands after this meeting include The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong, and Annie Carl’s recently published zine, My Tropey Life: How Pop Culture Stereotypes Make Disabled Lives Harder.
Friends of the Edmonds Library is grateful to have such a strong champion of literacy and inclusion in our community, and for the many members who contributed to our dialogue with Annie.
Our next virtual member meeting is on Thursday, February 25th at 1PM, featuring a panel discussion with EPIC Group Writers. You can learn more and register at our events calendar, here.