Category Archives: links

On libraries, and women in SF

I have two posts up on Tumblr today that I wanted to mention here.

First, there is one I’ve been working on for the past few days, called “On Libraries.” It was born out of my frustration with some quotes about libraries that don’t reflect the reality I see. Here’s the opening:

Here’s the thing about public libraries: they are so much messier and weirder and funnier than you think.

They are kids throwing up on the brand-new carpet; kids missing the toilet entirely; mysterious substances smeared on the covers of books, on the pages, on the inside of DVD cases. They are a full bag of poop tied shut and shoved into the book drop. They are left behind trash and bedbugs crawling out of books and used condoms in the bathroom trash.

Second, go read Alexandra Duncan’s post on Stacked today, called “Staking Our Claim in the Science Fiction Universe.” It’s a great post, but I also had some thoughts about history and context. You can read those here.


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Links from around the web: 3-26-15

– The ongoing messy discussions of sexism & associated issues in YA makes me tired & sad & angry. Several friends have written good responses, including Jenny’s “Why I’m Not ‘Good People’” and Brandy’s “Twitter Turf Wars and Blocking of Criticism”. I also recommend Sarah McCarry’s post here and Ellen Oh’s Storify. There’s lots more to it, and I hope that it leads to productive discussions but at this point I don’t have much hope for that. (It’s probably clear that I’m not supporting Andrew Smith, and I’m still mulling over whether to try to talk about that here.) I’m not even engaging with the horrifically misguided Telegraph article that claims that people voluntarily choosing to not read books by white men for a year “has the beginnings of something altogether more sinister” but yes, that happened too. This has been a wild couple of weeks. Anne Ursu also rounded up several examples from ONE WEEK that highlight why women are angry about these issues.

– However, Preeti Chhibber started a great hashtag called #womeninfiction, which really took off Saturday night. You can read about it and see some of the tweets here.

– Kelly Jensen at Stacked Books is also running a 2 week series called “About the Girls.” The posts so far have been excellent and thought-provoking.

– This is a nice allegory for consent. Of course, this being the internet, there are a number of commenters attempting to go, “But in THIS circumstance, forcing tea on someone is totally justified!!” which I think proves the original point more than anything else.

– I loved this review of Bone Gap over at The Book Smugglers. (I also loved Bone Gap. You should read it.)

– If you need to practice some self-care and are looking for ideas, this is a great place to start.


Awesome fanart portraits of some favorite characters

Cuckoo’s Song is a Carnegie medal finalist!

– Terry Pratchett tributes: How to tell if you’re in a Pratchett novel, which made me cryyy; Tiffany Aching fanart; Tiffany Aching quote

This poem is beautiful and breathtaking and breaks my heart.

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Links from around the web 3-11-15

Rep. John Lewis’s recollections of the Selma march. It’s so amazing to me that we can have this living witness to the events of 50 years ago.

– And on the subject of tweeting, I found this pretty powerful: livetweeting the apocalypse.

– On the subject of Ferguson: key points from the DOJ report and on a happier note, the Ferguson Public Library hired a new children’s librarian!

– Nice to see this getting some traction outside the kitlitosphere: “The world of children’s books is still very white”

– Ursula K LeGuin is as awesome as ever: Are they going to say this is fantasy?

LA Times Book Prize finalists, including LeVar Burton and E.K. Johnston for Story of Owen!!

– The Nebula and Norton shortlists were announced and I LOVE THEM.

– Kate Elliott wrote a magnificent post about writing women as human beings. The whole thing is definitely worth reading, but the ending is especially great: “In a narrative that you write and which you encompass the whole of, there can be no “them.” If there is you have already lost the battle because you are relegating characters you feel uncomfortable writing to a lesser, inferior, not-fully-human state, as if they are people who vaguely resemble you in having arms and legs and heads but are otherwise aliens. People are not aliens. They are people. Treat all your characters as people. It’s that simple. It’s that hard.”

– Shannon Hale has a really important post about school author visits and gender. This right here, this is the problem: “I talk about books and writing, reading, rejections and moving through them, how to come up with story ideas. But because I’m a woman, because some of my books have pictures of girls on the cover, because some of my books have “princess” in the title, I’m stamped as “for girls only.” However, the male writers who have boys on their covers speak to the entire school.”

– THIS THIS THIS: girls liking pink is not the problem.

– I know this weasel is trying to kill the woodpecker but I still want them to become the stars of a children’s book where they solve crime.

A real life SOE heroine

– And finally, this is my new life goal


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Links from around the web: 2-20-15

There are so many rich, thoughtful posts that I’m going to link to in this edition. It’s felt to me like the last two weeks have had a sudden blossoming of great discussion in several different venues.

– Leila Roy wrote a fantastic post about book reviews and criticism (which I am not just saying because I’m quoted it in it) (!!). “As a reader, I love to read reviews in which it’s clear that the reviewer has thought deeply about the book. Not just in terms of the book on its own, but the book in terms of its place in its genre, the history of the genre, how it uses tropes and/or archetype characters, how it builds on what has come before.”

Kameron Hurley on Trigger Warnings and Neil Gaiman: “The problem with mainstreaming this kind of use of the term is that instead of saying, “Yes, trigger warnings are useful so let’s not continue to water it down” what you do when you title a rather typical short story collection “Trigger Warning” is that your work becomes part of the problem of breaking it down into meaninglessness and slapping it on any old thing as a marketing gimmick.” (via The Book Smugglers)

– Amy Koester’s post “Selection is Privilege” is fantastic and should be required reading for librarians everywhere. “The position that “because we don’t have X readers in my library, we don’t need X books” also denotes a fundamental lack of respect for the children we are supposed to be serving. It suggests that we think our young readers cannot handle, relate to, or be expected to understand an experience that does not mirror their own.” And then follow it up with Ellen Oh’s “A Message to the Gatekeepers“: “But this discussion is neither new nor surprising to any of us who have been in this fight for so long…We have long known that it is the adult biases and prejudices that trickle down into the children and become part of their learned behavior.”

– Kelly Jensen has a really powerful post at Book Riot about reading and depression: “Depression took me out of my reading life. Recognizing that — and getting help for it — has put me back in in ways I could never have imagined. Reading isn’t about powering through. It isn’t about disconnecting. Reading is about being a part of something.”

– Jonathan Franzen is being a jerk, and especially focusing on Jennifer Weiner. I have trouble taking Franzen seriously AT ALL, but Weiner’s response is pretty awesome: “Women writers – even the ones whose work Franzen disdains – have a platform, and a place at the table. Our voices are being heard, and the world — at least the tiny corner of it that cares about books, and book reviews — is changing.”

– We’re doing some weeding at work right now and this post is truth.

Raven Boys fanart. Oh, I love this Blue. And RONAN. (via RJ Anderson)

– Speaking of RJ Anderson, the cover for her upcoming mg book was revealed recently. It’s amazing and beautiful, and the snippet makes me EVEN MORE EXCITED for this book. (I was already pretty excited.) And then The Book Smugglers also featured the cover and excerpt for Frances Hardinge’s upcoming The Lie Tree, and I died of happiness.

Gorgeous Attolia fanart. Also, this is a wonderful post which really captures so much of how I feel about the Attolia fandom and the friends I’ve made from it.


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Links from around the web: 2-6-15

Gorgeous limited edition cover for Ancillary Justice!

There’s a WNDB short story contest!

ALA YMA things: Betsy Bird & Lori Prince share their reactions; these kids’ reactions made me cry!

Ana’s review of The Crossover is great, and in retrospect even more on point.

Kelly Jensen’s list of 2015 feminist YA books over at Book Riot is a helpful one.

Gorgeous cover for Jenny Han’s new book!

I really appreciated Renay’s thoughtful, critical review of Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs.

Queen’s Thief stuff: a guide to flirting; GENNY.; a favorite quote; MWT is trolling us

Tolkien stuff: evoking landscapes; “I am no man” doesn’t cut it, which is a complex, fantastic look at Tolkien’s female characters

Claire Foy! I can’t! *splutters*

I have SO MANY QUESTIONS about this new Harper Lee book after reading an interview with her editor. SO MANY.

Awww. *melts*

People can be terrible but sometimes other people restore my faith in humanity.

1930s shoes are amazing


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Links from around the web: 1-19-15

– “Depression doesn’t make you sad all the time“: this is a really excellent article and one I highly recommend for everyone, whether you are/have been depressed or not. “When I’m having a depressive episode, I’m not walking around in tattered black clothes, weeping and wailing. I go out with friends. I crack jokes (especially sardonic ones). I keep working, and have friendly chats with the people I work with. I often manage to feed and clothe myself, I read books. Above all, I experience moments of happiness…Yet I feel a strange conflicting pressure. On the one hand, I feel like I need to engage in a sort of relentless performative sadness to be taken seriously, for people to understand that I really am depressed and that each day – each moment of each day – is a struggle for me, that even when I am happy, I am still fighting the monster.” (via Kelly Jensen)

– Quite a bit of Laurie Penny’s essay “On Nerd Entitlement” resonated with me, but this part especially: “And you ask me, where were those girls when you were growing up? And I answer: we were terrified, just like you, and ashamed, just like you, and waiting for someone to take pity on our lonely abject pubescence, hungry to be touched. But you did not see us there. We were told repeatedly, we ugly, shy nerdy girls, that we were not even worthy of the category “woman”.” The whole thing is worth a read. (via Ebony Elizabeth Thomas)

– I’m chewing on this essay by Nisi Shawl, “Reviewing the Other.” Lots of interesting points to think about, as people are focusing on diversity in their reading and reviewing. (via The Other Side of the Rain)

– Informative tweets from Justina Ireland about the diversity problem in publishing.

– Interesting post from Kameron Hurley about the intersection of work and luck. This is specifically about writing, but I suspect it has a wider application too. (via Rachel Neumeier)

JJ Abrams mistakes Mo Williams for Mo Willems and hilarity ensues. I am so happy that this is a thing that actually happened. (via Leila)

Felt dragons! They’re so cute! (via Miriam Forster)

– Elizabeth Wein fangirl moment: Morven Christie (who voiced Verity on the Code Name Verity audiobook) is going to be on Doctor Who!

– Betsy Bird read Cuckoo Song and has a nice review up. I subsequently discovered that Frances Hardinge has a link to my review on her website and literally got slightly light-headed.

– I retweeted something about this (Ship your enemies glitter) and my timeline erupted into controversy. So many people pro-glitter! So many people anti-glitter! I am anti, but apparently there’s now glitter duct tape which sounds intriguing, since my main objection is the mess.

– Find out which All-of-a-Kind Family sibling you are!

Everything about this post is a mess.

New Ultron trailer aghhhhaghhhhhaghhhhh

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Links from around the web: 1-5-15

New year, new links!

The Cybils shortlists are out! I had a wonderful time as a MG/Elementary SFF judge this year (try saying that five times fast) and am so proud of the list we created. Thanks to all my fellow panelists, and if you’re interested in becoming a judge next year, I highly recommend it.

– Brandy had a couple of nice posts recently. One about the love stories she trained on and another about her favorite books of the past five years (many of them are also mine which is why we’re friends).

– If you’ve read Rose Under Fire, you’ll appreciate this one: a Christmas card one of the Ravensbruck Rabbits drew for another in 1942. If you haven’t read Rose Under Fire, why not? (via, appropriately enough, Elizabeth Wein)

– The still-present physical remnants of WWI in the Argonne region of France. This is haunting. (via someone on Twitter, I think Matt Pearce)

– Relatedly, this was the 100th anniversary of the 1914 Christmas Truce. My first association with the Truce is the fictionalized account in Kate Seredy’s The Singing Tree which you can read here. It still makes me cry every time. World War I makes me cry every time.

– An interesting critique of steampunk here, which I largely agree with.

– Long, hard read about the problems with the Interview movie.

– Bill Moyers listed We Need Diverse Books as #1 on his list of groups to consider supporting! It always makes me happy when people outside the kidlit world actually get it.


– North and South stuff: best caption; train scene gifs (prepare to melt); EEEEEEEE

– Related: there’s a new vlog-style adaptation of North & South that just started! I’ve watched the first two videos and liked them a lot. (Thanks to Valerie for mentioning it)

– Queen’s Thief stuff: fancast of my heart; an old post but this line still gives me chills; this photoset gives me feels; have a Sophos!


– Fanarts: cover for Pride & Prejudice


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