Jan 20, 2013

Sunday Links: Nerdfighters, Criticism, Frances Hardinge on Wilkie Collins, Libraries & more

  • John and Hank Green and Falling in Love With the World is a lovely Atlantic Wire piece on the Nerdfighter community, what it stands for, and what it has achieved:
    It shouldn’t be hard for adults to understand kids, for publishers to market to them. After all, we’ve all been there. And yet so much of what one sees targeted to young readers (and some of the things grownups say and think about kids) seems to underestimate their intelligence or just, somehow, be a bit off. Contrary to that is the incredible, palpable affection I witnessed from fans of John and Hank, an affection that expands to include anyone or anything John and Hank like, love, or respect. If there is something to be learned in terms of book publishing from this event, it’s don’t talk down to your audience. Be honest and authentic. Be talented (of course). But also have fun. Why wouldn’t kids, as well as adults, respond to that?
    Have I mentioned that I’m seeing John and Hank in exactly two weeks? INTERNET, I AM SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN.

  • Clare being awesome is not exactly a rare occurrence, but here’s another example – That Harsh, Hissing Z: “There’s a reason the term “constructive criticism” has to have the word “constructive” in front of “criticism”; it means our society believes that most criticism isn’t constructive.” Yep.
  • I don’t think I’ve mentioned this here before, but a couple of months ago I translated a story by Olinda Beja, an author from São Tomé e Principe, for Ann Morgan’s “A Year of Reading the World” project. Last month she shared some thoughts on the process of reading a crowd-sourced translation, and the post is a really interesting read. I’m very much looking forward to her book next year.

  • As you might have noticed, I didn’t do link round-ups for most of December, which means I missed the opportunity to highlight several excellent Smugglivus 2012 posts. But I just have to link to Frances Hardinge’s contribution even if it’s old news by now, because what she says about Wilkie Collins perfectly sums up why I love him:
    Ever since I discovered The Woman in White in my early twenties, I have had a huge soft spot for Wilkie Collins. I was won over by his sly humour, his eye for grotesquerie and eccentricity, and his cunning sense of drama and pace. Most of all I loved the fact that, unlike some of his contemporaries, he seemed to have noticed that women were people. In The Woman in White there’s Marian Halcombe – strong-willed, smart, and formidable. With The Law and the Lady he gives us the first detective novel to feature a female detective. Even the villainess of Armadale, Lydia Gwilt, is a fascinating, conflicted and complex character, not a pure she-devil.
    Yes. ♥

  • A couple of librarian-y links that I think at least some of you will be interested in: Information Overload’s ‘What does a Senior Library Assistant do?’ gave me a better idea of what things are like for some of the people I work with, and it made me appreciate all the instances when they took the time to answer my myriad questions during my first month and a bit on the job all the more. And ego, thy name is librarianship is an absolutely must-read post about how the more traditional activities of librarianship are devalued, sometimes in alarmingly gendered term. Last year I read a book called Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy, and some of the essays it included discussed how care work is devalued for women because people look at it as what women are “naturally” apt for and what they’d be doing whether or not they were being paid. It worries me to see the same logic applied to, say, children’s librarianship, especially coming from people who really ought to know better.

  • Finally, I really like this post on The Brides of Rollrock Island (and no, not because it links to my own):
    How many times did she call the bull seal up from the sea for herself? At least three; but there was no sign that the sealwives were more fecund than other women, there seems no reason to believe that every seal mating leads to a birth. Certainly every human mating does not. Misskaella may have called that bull seal to her thirty times. And every single time she let him go.

    Any one of the men could have let their seal wives go, at any time. That's the answer. The seal spell was not overwhelming or will-destroying. They could have broken the spell, any of them. But they never did. Not a one of them.
That’s it for me today. Have a great Sunday, everyone. Hopefully next week I’ll get my act together and finally write some actual book posts.


  1. Wonderful link round-up as always, Ana! Should I be castigated for not knowing who Hank Green is?

  2. D'awww, thanks!

    And I'm not a Nerdfighter myself, but I'm so happy you get to see them soon!

  3. Jenny: He's John Green's younger brother and he's a musician, environmentalist and video blogger. He does awesome web series about science and he's also a producer of The Lizzie Bennett diaries, a web adaptation of Pride & Prejudice that would should totally watch because it's adorable and delightful and happy-making in 545354 different ways :D Iris, Jodie, Renay and hopefully soon Memory will totally back me up on this :P

    Clare: The excitement! It's too much! *explodes* :D

  4. I read Clare's post, too, and thought it was brilliant.

  5. I'm a new nerdfighter, and I loved that article: I thought it captured the spirit of the Green brother's work quite well. I can't believe you get to see them in person (and I'm also quite thankful that there are other adult nerdfighters. :) )

  6. I should think John and Hank are just as excited to meet you. You have certainly been a wonderful advocate on their work.

  7. Ana, so glad you're getting to see John and Hank. I discover Hank (through the SciShow)before I found vlogbrothers and saw the link to the Madison Garden show on a post from Neil Gaiman!

  8. Thanks for the nerdfighter's link!

  9. I love these posts :) And you're translating stories now?? Awesome! How did I not know this??

  10. Between you and Pat, I now want to start reading all of Wilkie Collins, not just reread the Woman in White! lol All of his books sound interesting, and I will have to go back and look at how he writes his female characters.

    I had a smackdown once when someone asked me what I did - I was a daycare worker then, and the person looked at me when I said that, and walked away without another word. I was dismissed. I've never forgotten that feeling, how it made me feel invisible, not important, and that I couldn't possibly have anything interesting to say. And this was 1993!!! I think that idea still exists about traditional 'women's work',that it is second-rate and not important. Unfortunately libraries fall under that, in that they are dependent on the goodwill of citizens and city councils to stay open, and don't contribute money or power etc on their own.

    Yikes see what your post made me do! lol As always, you have interesting thoughts and links, Ana. Thanks so much!

    And yes - are you translating stories now? I'm so impressed and thrilled for you!

  11. Becca: As she so often is <3

    Never That Easy: You're definitely not the only adult nerdfighter :D Fingers crossed that they do an event near you some day!

    Care: But they have thousands of committed fans, while there's only two of them :P

    Gavin: Did you get a chance to watch the webcast? I was ridiculously excited when Neil Gaiman was on stage with them and I wasn't even there :P

    Quirky BookandFilmBuff: You're most welcome :D

    Susan and Chris: I'm not really, it was just a one-off to help Morgan with her project (the link explains). And Susan, ugh, I'm so sorry you had to deal with that :\ That idea definitely still exists, and it's so infuriating in so many ways.

  12. I did watch it and was impressed by the strength and love in that room. I had no idea that Nerdfighters was such a huge community and I hadn't heard about the Project for Awesome..just awesome!

  13. Gavin, I agree completely. It's amazing how much they've achieved, and I can't wait to feel that energy in person.

  14. I'm so jealous and happy for you about the upcoming Green Brothers experience. Enjoy for all of us!! And DFTBA!

  15. Thank you, will do! There will be a long and probably gushy post about it afterwards, of course :D

  16. You get to see Hank and John Green?!?! That's awesome! I've gotten to see John speak a couple times and he's signed a few of my books because we're in the same town, but I would love to see them together. Have a wonderful time!


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