All in Links + Things
Blogger Reynje wrote the best review of Elizabeth Scott's brilliant Heartbeat and digs into who much some readers have hated the main character.
If Emma’s character is divisive then I’m stating right now that I’m firmly on her side. I want to see more of this: more honesty, more difficulty, more discomfort. Sometimes teenage girls are angry, or sad, or complicated. And that’s okay.
Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for that, but I'm hoping that by diversifying my linkage content, it'll be less-appealing to folks who don't understand attribution and plagiarism. *cross fingers*
Now I'm faced with the age-old book hoarder's dilemma: Do I maximize the gift card by strategically shopping sale items or do I splurge on some pricey picks?
So, I took one for the team and sifted through way too many pages of the bargain section on Amazon and think I'm going to go with quantity--there are just too many super-cheap options that I've had on my to-read list for ages. Plus! Apparently, we can use our refunds on both ebooks and print books, which is good news, since most of the deals I found are on the old fashioned variety.
Here are some of my finds. These are all either books I've enjoyed, a CEFS contributor recommends, or I've heard from trusted reviewers are worth checking out.
Please double-check the pricing and format before clicking that buy button, okay? My blog software should update the price if it changes, but you can't trust technology!
Click on the cover image to visit the book's Amazon page.
“Just as films labeled as romcoms become marginalized under the sexist label of “chick flicks,” primetime dramas labeled as “soaps” become “women’s shows.” And, unfortunately, once it’s limited to that label, the show loses its credibility.
Just look at “Scandal.” The Shonda Rhimes-helmed ABC series is one of — if not the — most intelligent series on network TV. With its emotional intensity and complex, always-twisting plot, “Scandal” embraces its identity as a full-out soap. Sure, its storylines are often implausible and sometimes straight-up unbelievable, but since when is plausibility essential to great television? While “Scandal” often isn’t taken seriously for its more outlandish moments, other shows like “Breaking Bad” are given free pass after free pass. We let “Breaking Bad” get away with improbable feats, because the things that truly matter — emotions, characters — are believable.
The same is true for “Scandal,” which may get wacky with its plot points, but is bitingly real when it comes to its characters’ emotions and the complex issues that inform the story: power, race, sex, morality. And yet, people pigeonhole “Scandal” into the category of “guilty pleasure” TV, while more male-centric series that stay clean of the gendered “soap” label are held up as beacons of today’s golden age of television.”
— Kayla Upadhyaya: The glass ceiling of TV’s golden age - The Michigan Daily
The Bridge from Me to You is a YA novel that is part verse, part prose. It is told alternately by a 17-year-old girl who is new to a small town with a family secret, and the star football player she meets who is having a tough year and has big dreams beyond the field. Publication is planned for summer 2014.
There's a special place in movie hell for Prometheus, quite possibly the worst "film" I've ever seen. Awhile back, Laura sent me this fabulous video about everything that's wrong with that movie. Enjoy.
“ She could have created an original character, but she chose the dead sister of one of history’s most famous murdered children as her subject, and there is something horrifically exploitative about that. Margot’s story in Cantor’s novel is unspecific enough that it could have been about any survivor, but the usage of the Frank name rings of gimmickry. ”
When I saw Jillian Cantor's Margot up on Netgalley, it certainly gave me pause. As a human being, there's something that just doesn't sit right with me about this premise (and apparently, there are other titles of this ilk). Jason Diamond of Flavorwire wrote a succinct discussion of why this needs to stop.
And! Happy early birthday to CEFS blogger Sandra, who's birthday is Sunday and a belated happy birthday to on-hiatus CEFS blogger Rebeca. Two to are 100% AWESOMESAUCE!
My good friend Mookie sent me this phenomenal video made my two sisters who fixed Alanis Morissette's un-ironic "Ironic" song. This makes me unbelievably happy.
“The question often goes misinterpreted and instead we get these two-dimensional superwomen who maybe have one quality that’s played up a lot like a Catwoman-type or she plays her sexuality up a lot and it’s seen as power,” she says. “They’re not strong characters who happen to be female—they’re completely flat and they’re basically cardboard characters.”
Brenda Chapman (who's a very interesting person herself) highlighted an old (well, a year old)TED talk from Tavi Gevinson, teen blogger, and media sensation. She critiques the way "strong" female characters are developed as actually quite flat and uncomplicated and the real-life ramifications of these depictions.
“We can start with the money. White people sell, on the surface. The truth is people of color sell too, when their stories are given the proper exposure. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is always a movie I like to point out. Amazing, award-winning film and not once have I heard anyone say, “That really could have used more white people.” It did well in the US market because it was a great film that got proper exposure. Marketing matters, people. When it’s really difficult to find positive and realistic stories about people of color, white and people of color alike think those stories don’t exist. ”
Romance Around the Corner hosted a fantastic week of posts celebrating and deconstructing heroines in romance-focused fiction. (I was thrilled to participate, with adiscussion and recommendations for brave YA girls.) While all of the posts were thought-provoking and compelling, author Rebekah Weatherspoon's post about representation was the one that I kept coming back to. It has over 50 comments at this point, and that discussion is definitely worth reading as well.
Like Malorie Blackman, I feel young adult literature has a responsibility here. It can and should play a role, reflecting realistic sexual experiences, both good and bad and thereby allowing teenagers to process aspects of the experiences before they are ready to engage in sex themselves. If you are writing young adult books that don't fade to black when it comes to sex scenes and if you're handling those scenes with honesty, without being exploitive, and neither glorifying sex nor demonizing it, you are already personally my favourite kind of YA writer. But more importantly, you're helping empower young people who are living in a highly sexually charged culture.
Author CK Kelly Martin wrote a spot-on, smart post in response to a piece in The Telegraph about where teens get their information about sex and the role of YA literature. The other items she links to are important as well, all shedding a light on the world today's young people navigate.
And JJ Abrams has approached xenobiology and xenoanthropology in a very Star Wars way in his reboot. Background puppets abound, used to illustrate the diversity of the universe, but this is still a universe where the actions of the humans are those that matter. Scotty has a non-verbal alien friend who plays an almost identical role to Chewbacca in Star Wars; he’s a silent cipher whose words must be surmised only through the pauses of the more plot relevant human. Kirk bags a space babe, but she’s mostly just a sight gag. And there are Romulans and Klingons, but they’re villains–obstacles to overcome, really. But still not people, not fully, not yet.
I meant to share this outstanding, thought-provoking post from author Phoebe North (Starglass) last week and somehow omitted it. She dissects diversity and otherness in the context of the new Star Trek movie, and points to J.J. Abrams' frequently problematic treatment of alien characters in his work. This is a companion to her earlier post about Star Trek: Into the Darkness, which (warning) contains spoilers, but is an important read.
We don’t want the behaviors of this septic culture to become or seem normalized. If we’re quiet about it, we contribute to the normalization of misogyny or any of the other cultural poisons.
Like I said the other day, this isn’t about playing the hero — we aren’t going to fix it with our magical man-hammers, and women are not our Death Star Princesses to rescue. But we can signal boost. We can support. We can be on the side of the angels instead of the side of the diseased dick-bags (they don’t rate being devils, honestly) who want to trumpet their hate and rampant shittiness. We can try to do better and ask that others do the same.
This week author Chuck Wendig (Blackbirds) wrote an unintentional three-part series about sexism as a result of the mess of misogyny from the SFWA (which I mentioned last week). I recommend reading each post, but the last one about why men should speak up about this type of behavior struck a chord with me.
I’m tired of the way the tension was ruined for me in Spiderman 2 by the sexualized shot of Mary Jane in chains with all its allusions to bondage and sexual victimization. I’m tired of Bruce Wayne taking women to bed but refusing to be straight with them about who he really is (and I’m also tired of him only sleeping with women who have no personality or canned personalities). I’m tired of the general consensus that Tony Stark’s womanizing behavior is “amusing.” (And if I were Pepper, I would dump his sorry ass faster than he could say, “I’ll be home late tonight!”) I’m tired of seeing the smart, competent Moira McTaggert, Charles Xavier’s worthy love interest, disguised as a stripper. In short, I’m tired of women appearing in these movies as though they are one more nifty accessory, like a Batman’s “batarangs” or Green Lantern’s Power Ring, just another perk of being a superhero.
Author C.K. Kelly Martin tweeted this outstanding piece about the problematic nature of recent superhero movies. I have so many mixed feelings--and honestly, a bit of guilt--about my affection for superhero flicks (and action movies in general) and this pretty much nails it.
Happy Friday, all! This week's Links + Things is a bit on the light side as I burned up a lot of my best stuff last week.
I asked my husband if he'd seen any fantastic YouTube videos lately and, naturally, he sent me this clip of the Incredible Hulk fighting a grizzly bear. It's quite excellent, no?
There’s room for all kind of heroes and heroines and some of our greatest stories happen to be love stories too. Love, friendship, sexual attraction— all essential parts of life. It’s only when girls or women become the audience that we start to turn our noses up at something that we all care about.
I loved author Leigh Bardugo's response to a reader who's frustrated that YA books aren't "geared towards guys," as she hits the nail on the head with regard to something that always bothers me: the dismissal of stories involving romance and love. Sarah Rees Brennan added some additional thoughts that are spot-on as well.
I had to choke back tears of laughter watching Levar Burton explain The Great Gatsby to Stephen Colbert and Carey Muligan.
Reading for pleasure leads to greater self-understanding, the fostering of social relations, greater well-being, improved cognitive and academic development, and a higher disposition to participate in civic society…
The Canadian government's National Reading Campaign commissioned a study about the benefits of reading in terms of, well, its impact on society. What is most interesting is that it reveals that reading for fun reaps many rewards--yet another reason to think twice before deriding anyone's choice in reading material.