Feb 5, 2015

Around the Internet: ALA Youth Media Awards, Harry Potter Book Night, &c

Around the Internet: ALA Youth Media Awards, Harry Potter Book Night, &c

  • Earlier this week, the American Library Association announced the winners of its Youth Media Awards. Some excellent books were picked, and I was particularly thrilled to see so many diverse titles among them. Also, for the first time ever I’ve read everything on the Newbery list — and they were all books I really liked, so hooray. I have some catching up to do when it comes to the Printz (the only one I’ve read is This One Summer, which I thought was excellent), and I very much look forward to doing that once the TBR dare is finished.

  • I was also happy to see that after five years since it last happened, the Printz went to a book by a woman and with a female protagonist. I have strong feelings about this, as many of you know, and found the trend in the opposite direction impossible to miss. Speaking of which, I don’t think I’ve linked to Justine Larbalestier’s On Sexism and Awards yet — it gives some possible reasons why this imbalance might be happening and it’s very much worth reading.

  • This comic by Barry Deutsch illustrates how the possibility of sexual violence has tangible material consequences for women, in addition to being awful for all the other reasons we know, and is a good example of structural inequality at work.

  • Katherine Angel is wonderful. Just recently I was saying (again) how much I enjoyed her book Unmastered, and then a few days later I came across this excellent piece she wrote for the LA Review of books:
    Isn’t it patronizing, though, for magazines to go in search of women writers? Well, no — not unless one casts the issue of gender parity (or any parity) in a distinctly noblesse oblige light. The issue is not about asking magazines to graciously bestow their favor on those they have thus far neglected. It’s about asking them to scrutinize their practices, to think about their shortcomings. It’s not, in other words, just about them acknowledging the inequalities they rely upon and perpetuate; it’s also about them entertaining the possibility that they are missing out. Moreover, instead of worrying that concerted efforts in the face of inequality are patronizing, we should ask why we are so willing to humor magazines in their plaintive deflection of responsibility. Urging change isn’t to patronize women — but being resigned to a lack of change is patronizing to us all.
    If one believes that gender imbalance matters, then reflection on one’s methods is the only way progress will be made. What’s more, the conversation will remain stymied unless all are willing to reflect on their own unconscious habits, as readers, writers, and editors. And no change will happen if critiques of one’s decision-making are responded to as if they are accusations of an overt, malignant sexism. Such a response enables affront and defensiveness, neither of which encourages self-scrutiny. It also enables an opportunistic dismissal of critiques. We all labor under unconscious bias — no one is special where that is concerned. And none of us are exempt from unintentionally reproducing the inequalities our environment presents to us.
    I could quote the whole thing it’s so good.
  • I watched Maleficent over the Christmas holidays and have been composing a post about it in my head ever since. I don’t know whether it will ever see the light of day, so let me link to this one for now.

  • The wonderful Sarah McCarry reviews the equally wonderful Kelly Link’s new collection, Get in Trouble.

  • Margo Lanagan is working on a fantasy trilogy with Scott Westerfeld and Deborah Biancotti, and the first book, Zeroes, is out in September! THIS IS SO EXCITING.

  • I saw this post go past my tumblr dashboard several times over the past few weeks. It’s about reconciling media criticism with an acknowledgement that imperfect stories can matter to people without this meaning they’re uncritically aligning themselves with whatever it is the stories in question don’t get right, and it was a reminder of something I’ve always tried to do in my writing. It’s okay to love imperfect things. It’s okay not to. It’s perfectly fine for people to have different deal breakers when it comes to stories. It’s okay to talk about the imperfect things we love without prefacing each conversations with a detailed disclaimer about why they’re imperfect. It’s okay to have other conversations where we only talk about the problems. We can do all of this, and we can do it while recognising one another’s humanity.

  • On what is, in my head at least, a somewhat related note, I really like these blogging goals: stop, collaborate and listen.

  • Also, I was eavesdropping on this Twitter conversation the other day and I found it helpful. I often go back to what Hank Green said in this post — it’s not fair nor reasonable to tell people when they should or shouldn’t extend compassion to others, but like Hank I find it necessary to try on most occasions in order to avoid hopelessness, exhaustion and burnout.

  • Another thing I’ve linked to before but keep going back to is Tim Kreider’s I Know What You Think of Me:
    We don’t give other people credit for the same interior complexity we take for granted in ourselves, the same capacity for holding contradictory feelings in balance, for complexly alloyed affections, for bottomless generosity of heart and petty, capricious malice. We can’t believe that anyone could be unkind to us and still be genuinely fond of us, although we do it all the time.
    This is both obvious and extremely hard to keep in mind, and I know I’ve been guilty of oversimplifying others in this way on too many occasions.

  • Lastly, it’s Harry Potter Book Night! I’ve been getting things ready for an event at my library and it’s kind of taken over my life. I’m really excited and I hope I’ll be able to share pictures with you!


  1. Wow, I will be reading for an hour off these links!

    1. I hope you found something worth reading :)

  2. That is a wonderful piece from Katherine Angel! Thanks for linking it. I didn't read the Sarah McCarry book yet, as I've just today snared a copy of the Kelly Link stories, and I want to go into them blind. (This is a thing I think I can do as long as it's short stories.)

    The Tim Kreider piece bummed me out! I have had that happen before -- an ex forwarded an email I'd written to him to one of his friends, and the friend replied (v. critically) to me by accident, instead of to my ex. He's right; civilization would unhinge if everyone's emails suddenly became public. I was thinking about this today as I was having an online chat conversation with one friend complaining about another friend -- how hurt her feelings would be if she read it, and also, how there are a ton of regulatory functions to this kind of gossip. (Gossip may not be exactly the word I want here, but I can't think of a better one.) It's a release valve for one thing, and for another thing it's a good way to check that your reactions to other people are reasonable within standard deviations. Yes, you're mad, because yes, they were unreasonable, and yes, you could have responded better. But that all would get lost, of course, if the friend I was talking about saw the chat conversations. She'd just see that I was complaining about her, and her feelings would be hurt.

    I have no conclusion to make about this. It's just interesting.

    1. :( The one similar thing I remember was a friend texting me instead of a mutual friend asking if she thought they should invite me along to an outing they were planning - needless to say, I didn't feel comfortable going after seeing that. AND YET I know there are a million reasons why someone could have asked that other than "we hate you and don't really want you around". Anyway: this stuff is hurtful and the people being discussed shouldn't see it, and yet I agree that carving out the space to vent out frustrating with those we care about, be unfair and ungenerous for a few minutes until we make our way back to generosity, etc does make for better relationships in the end.

  3. I just wanted to thank you for linking to my Maleficent review; I hope you enjoyed it. If you ever do manage to post yours, I'd love to read it, but I can definitely sympathise with having blog posts floating around your head, constantly percolating but never quite making it to the page. You've got a really fascinating blog here too, lots of wonderful goodies and interesting reads - I've got to read Lawrence Hill's book "Blood" as soon as possible.

    1. I really did - thank you for writing it! And thank you also for the kind words about my blog! I hope you enjoy Blood when you get around to it.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.