I enjoy the Texts From series at The Toast, but especially liked these two: Texts from William Carlos Williams (by way of Night Vale), and Texts from a Jack-o-Lantern, which, I warn you, is full of feels.
Two great posts about reading and gender. First, from Charlotte, “Consternated about gender and middle grade books”. She says: “I am tired of “dramatic action” equals “boy appeal.” How about this: “exciting fantasy draws in readers who enjoy exciting fantasy.” And I am tired of “exciting” being the only good thing. I am tired of the fact that there are lots of fantasy books in which girls subvert gender stereotypes of “girl-ness,” and participate in dramatic action like crazy, but very very few books in which boys are allowed to be “un-boyish”–to be quiet, contemplative learners and thinkers, valuing and nurturing relationships, having inner lives, and other non-dramatic-action sorts of things.”
Second, from Anne Ursu, “On Gender and Boys Read Panels”. She says: “When we give panels on boys and reading with only (or even predominantly) male authors, we tell boys they are only supposed to like books by men. (This will be surprising to JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins.) We tell them that only men have something to say to them. When we say boys won’t read books with girl heroes, we are constructing that reality for them. (It gets troubling in all kinds of ways—the act of reading as a child is about empathy for and connection with the protagonist, and it’s quite problematic to tell boys we don’t expect they can empathize with girls.) And in all of this, we’re telling boys that we don’t expect a lot from them. And in this conversation, the girls are rendered invisible.” Both of them are responding to a set of panels at American Association of School Librarians (AASL), which seem ill-advised, to say the least.
In writing news, I really liked this post from Rachel Neumeier about the psychology of writing and revision: “Feelings of insecurity about this are just another iteration of the unjustified insecurity that is (often) part of the writing process. Tolerating those feelings and moving forward is one key skill for a writer.”
Probably Seamus Heaney’s final poem: In a Field. (via Brain Picker)
If you’re a Whovian and haven’t seen “The Night of the Doctor” yet, click that link! It’s a prequel to the 50th Anniversary Special, plus Paul McGann! I may have screamed a little bit.
Matt de la Peña wrote a wonderful post for NPR: “Sometimes The ‘Tough Teen’ Is Quietly Writing Stories”. Read it, if you haven’t already. (via everyone on my Twitter timeline)
Garth Nix’s new book sounds awesome! Unfortunately, it looks like it’s just an Amazon ebook for now, with a print version down the line. (via Stephanie Burgis and The Book Smugglers)
A very cool archeological find in York helps “paint a picture of a Roman York that was hugely diverse and which included among its population, men, women and children of high status from Romanised North Africa and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.” (via Elizabeth Wein)
I really liked these oil paintings of Disney Princesses by Heather Theurer. (via Miriam Forster)
Also via Miriam Forster, birds in hats!. It’s just as cute as you think it’s going to be.
Ann Leckie wrote a great guest post about Bren Cameron, from C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, and agency. Great stuff there. Go read.
Beautiful post from Zoe Marriott on grief: “Right now the biggest struggle in my life is to try and find some sense of normality. The problem, of course, is that my normality is gone, and it’s gone forever. There’s a part of it – a part of my life – missing now. A huge, important part. Everything I do, every step I take, is tip-toeing around the edges of that hole, and trying not to fall in. That hole is where my father used to be.”
In ALL THE FEELS related news: UK/US covers for Diana Wynne Jones’ last ever book (finished by her sister Usula).