Oct 25, 2015

Sunday Links – The Autumn Edition

Autumn colours by the river
Good morning, all. Having just reached the end of week four of Not Reading, I’ve decided it’s time to become a bit more deliberate about it: I’m going to make sure I set some time aside every day, until the habit begins to come naturally again. This has been my longest stretch without reading in a very long time — certainly in the nearly nine years I’ve been blogging here — but it hasn’t made me feel particularly anxious. It was sad to have to return First Class Murder and The Heart Goes Last to the library unread and go all the way back to the end of the holds queue, but on the other hand I’ve been enjoying myself a lot. These past few weeks I’ve seen people, listened to music almost constantly, went for nice walks on my lunch break, and generally felt at peace with the world.

The reading will come back, I’m sure. And I do feel excited about the idea of it, especially now that my big order of highly anticipated new releases has arrived:

Book pile: Do What You Love, Zeroes, The Scorpion Rules, Carry On, Between the World and Me, Bitch Planet
In other news, the highlight of my week was reading “Instructions” to a little boy at the library. He came up to me with a copy of the Charles Vess illustrated edition, sat quietly as I read through the whole thing and shared the pictures with him, and took it home at the end. It was a lovely and joyous thing.

Some links of interest:
  • I have no words for how much I love this comic: “End Extreme Wealth”.

  • Alyssa Rosenberg talks to Kelly Sue DeConnick about Bitch Planet.

  • I’m ridiculously excited about this upcoming children’s mystery anthology, which includes stories by Frances Hardinge, Susie Day, Robin Stevens, Clementine Beauvais, and many more.

  • My Hero: Toni Morrison by Marlon James.

  • I’m almost sure anyone who cares about comics will know by now that Shannon Hale is writing a Captain Marvel YA novel, but I wanted to share it anyway because it makes me so happy.

  • Speaking of Shannon Hale, her post “Stories for All” is very much worth reading:
    And here’s what I’ve witnessed: “great books for boys” lists, books chosen for read alouds, and assigned reading in high schools and colleges, etc. are overwhelmingly about boys and written by men. Peers (and often adults) mock and shame boys who do read books about girls. Even informed adults tend to qualify recommendations that boys hear very clearly. “Even though this stars a girl, boys will like it too!”

    This leads to generations of boys denied the opportunity of learning a profound empathy for girls that can come from reading novels. Leads to a culture where boys feel perfectly fine mocking and booing things many girls like and adults don’t even correct them because “boys will be boys.” Leads to boys and girls believing “girlie” is the gravest insult, that girls are less significant, not worth your time. Leads to girls believing they must work/learn/live “like a man” in order to be successful. Leads to boys growing into men who believe women are there to support their story, expect them to satisfy men’s desires and have none of their own.
  • Leslie Jamison talks about “how personal experience and specificities can link to abstract inquiries”:
    When I talk about writing essays that resonate beyond the personal, I don’t mean that personal material isn’t sufficient. Of course it is. Or, it can be. If you honor the complexity of your own life—if you grant us entry into moments that hold shame or hurt or heat, and if you’re willing to follow that heat, to feel out where all the small fires burn, then your readers will trust you. They’ll find flashes of themselves.
    I’m interested in essays that follow the infinitude of a private life toward the infinitude of public experience. I’m wary of seeking this resonance by extracting some easy moral from the grit and complication of personal particularity: love hurts, time heals, always look on the bright side. Instead, I’m drawn to essays that allow the messy threads of grief or incomprehension to remain ragged, to direct our gazes outward.
  • Emma Jackson on indie music’s women problem and retrospective sexism. We’ve seen this in the book world, of course, but it’s heartening to see it discussed in other contexts too.

  • ALSO: Joanna Newsom has a new album and this is kind of a big deal in my life.

  • One final music link: Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry on Feminism, Journalism and Every Open Eye. She’s the best.

  • This piece about navigating photography’s inherited bias against dark skin was such an interesting and informative read.

  • Shahida Rahman on the vital role that Asian women played in the feminist movement in early 20th century England.

  • Public knowledge is power: In defense of information by, of, and for the people.

  • Lastly, I really enjoyed Elizabeth Minkel’s “Your fave is problematic”: why are we so bad at talking about diversity in pop culture? My favourite criticism has always been the kind that acknowledges that love and critical awareness can and often do coexist. We can see the problems in art we love and make space to discuss the ways in which it hurts other people, or even us, without having to forfeit our relationship with it or diminish the importance it has in our lives.


  1. I am screaming at that photo of new releases, because I desperately want to read Carry On and Bitch Planet.

    1. Me tooooooo! I'm still reading very slowly, but I hope to get to Bitch Planet this week at least.

  2. Feeling at peace with the world is a great feeling! You've got a wonderful stack of books there. I do love Fall and need to go out more to enjoy it,

    1. I always forget how much I love it. I grumble about the end of summer, but then the pretty colours start appearing and I'm like, "...oh" :P

  3. Aw, I am 100% heartwarmed by this story of reading a Neil Gaiman poem to a little boy. That sounds wonderful.

    Also, the Elizabeth Minkel link leads to the "public knowledge is power" page. It is okay for me because I love Elizabeth Minkel and read all her stuff and already read that link, but I figured you'd want to know.

    I cannot waaaaaaaaaaaaait for you to read The Scorpion Rules and Carry On. What a pair of marvelous books. You will love them. And you will naturally also love the Coates book. He's such a thoughtful writer.

    1. IT WAS THE BEST! He was like 4 and he sat quietly listening to the whole thing :D

      Thank you for telling me about the link! And I'll be tweeting at you in all caps as I finally get to those books, of course.

  4. I cannot quite articulate how happy I am that you shared that first link on "Ending extreme wealth". It was so cleverly done.

    Iris (cannot seem to log in today)

    1. Isn't it the best? It seriously made my day.

  5. Maybe find some nice audiobooks to listen to on your walks? Anyway, there is totally no harm in taking a break, even from reading. We need a variety of life experiences to keep our brains happy. The same thing all of the time will give anyone antsy feelings. I need to do more of the "doing something different" right about now!

    1. The walks were occupied by music, which suited my mood perfectly - but the good news is, I think the reading is back :D I finished three books last week (two were comics, but still) and I'm now enthralled by Jandy Nelson's first novel. Hooray!


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