Links from around the web 3-19-2014

– My friend B linked me to Sheldon, the tiny dinosaur who thinks he’s a turtle. And is pretty much the best thing ever.

– A new companion was announced for Doctor Who!. And Keeley Hawes is going to be a villain. Cheers all round! (via R.J. Anderson)

– Someone told me about Two Nerdy History Girls recently and, for the life of me, I can’t remember who. I wish I could, because I’ve been enjoying the thoughtful and in depth look at various aspects of times past.

– I found “Why Aren’t Stories Like ’12 Years a Slave’ Told at Southern Plantation Museums?” to be a really thought-provoking article, which brought up a whole aspect of living history museums that I had never considered.

– Here’s a nice profile of Nancy Wake, journalist and French resistance fighter. “Ms Wake…had mixed feelings about previous cinematic efforts to portray her wartime exploits…’It was well-acted but in parts it was extremely stupid,” she said. “At one stage they had me cooking eggs and bacon to feed the men. For goodness’ sake, did the Allies parachute me into France to fry eggs and bacon for the men? There wasn’t an egg to be had for love nor money. Even if there had been why would I be frying it? I had men to do that sort of thing.'” I love how outspoken she was!

– R.J. Anderson has a great post about romance in middle grade books, over at the GreenBeanTeenQueen. I especially liked footnote 4.

– Meanwhile, the SLJ Battle of the Books is continuing! I’ve really been appreciating the judging this year, which has been smart, critical, and thoughtful. Even when I don’t agree with it (*sob* Rose Under Fire!), I haven’t been frustrated by it.

And that’s it from me! What cool things have you seen lately?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Links from around the web 3-19-2014

  1. I haven’t quite got the chutzpah to comment on BoB, but I would love to know what is a “more straightforward first person narrative” than a journal?

    The complaint that Rose lacks tension because the reader knows from the outset that she survives always really narks me. It is an imitation of a SURVIVOR ACCOUNT. I have not read a single survivor account (and I have read many survivor accounts) where I went, “Gee, I feel distanced from this character and don’t find suspense in her situation because I know she survives to write this book.” Maybe the reader approaches fiction differently, knowing it is fiction? We expect cliffhangers and open-ended stories in fiction, perhaps, and are disappointed if it reads like fact? But that suggests that fiction writers need to follow some kind of rule and accept the limits of reader expectation. What’s in it for me as a writer if I can’t test those limits?

    I guess I must accept that if I try to test the limits, I may find myself wanting – that readers may feel I have not risen to the challenge of pulling it off.

    • Maureen Eichner

      Well, as I said over there, I’m not all sure I could have finished RUF if I hadn’t know that Rose survived. She was already so real to me that, even knowing somewhat what was coming, Maddie’s letters were like a blow to the heart. (Admittedly, part of that was for Maddie, and Julie, but most of it was Rose.) As it was, I found the tension of the story in finding out HOW it all happened, and also in the interpersonal relationships–how do Roza and Irina become “more than sisters”? (Especially Roza, who initially grated on me a bit.) Plus the fact that the logistics of keeping a journal in the middle of Ravensbruck doesn’t come across as particularly probable to me.

      I don’t know–I feel like with Rose more than Verity, it’s just a book that fundamentally worked for me, and fundamentally doesn’t work for other people, and I don’t quite know how to explain why it works. So yeah, that criticism as a fault rather than personal reaction does tend to bother me a bit as well.

    • Maureen Eichner

      I do also wonder if there’s something in the survivor account part–I devoured a number in middle school (The Hiding Place and Anita Lobel’s No Pretty Pictures stand out in memory) and found them entirely gripping.

      • I was a devoted Hiding Place fangirl when I was twelve. DEVOTED. So yes, that makes sense – a familiarity with Type.

        I did actually appreciate your defense of Rose’s poetry on Someday My Printz will come. Very much. πŸ˜€

        • Maureen Eichner

          Oh, good grief, don’t even get me started on that discussion! It was intensely frustrating, and more so because I wanted to offer a different reading and just so happened to be in a headspace where I couldn’t manage the emotional stamina. Sigh. And again–Rose’s poetry reminded me very much of Irina Ratushinskaya’s Soviet camp poetry, especially “Love Song & Self Portrait” (don’t worry, I had to Google to find the title). So my reaction was to place it as authentic and real.

          Oh well! At the end of the day, you love what you love, I suppose.

          • I remember you saying that about the poetry before. “Love Song & Self Portrait” was heavily influenced by a poem and imagery (separate from the poem) by Micheline Maurel, who was at one of the Ravensbrueck satellite camps. I am so glad it resonated with you and felt true.

            • Maureen Eichner

              That makes a lot of sense–a bit of similar ethos despite different times and situations. At the risk of sounding hopelessly fangirly, thank you for writing the poems. They’ve really stuck with me.

            • aww, my pleasure! πŸ˜€

  2. PS – don’t get me wrong – I have no issue with the BoB judges’ decisions – I just get grumpy about that particular criticism!

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