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?


Links from around the web 2-19-2014

– The Toast is rapidly becoming one of my favorite sites, and Mallory Ortberg’s guide, “When to Give a Kid a Book” is amazing. It features Tam Lin, Betsy-Tacy (“Betsy-Tacy because they are charming and Midwestern and about best friends and will eventually instill within said child the love for tolerance, the Edwardian era, emotional restraint and Episcopalianism that is necessary for a semester abroad at Oxford.”), and Jeeves (“Twelve is the perfect age for Jeeves. No older, no younger, no matter how precocious you believe this particular child to be. Twelve is just the right age to imprint on Wodehouse, and you always start Wodehouse with Jeeves. Psmith is for fourteen. Mr. Mulliner and Lord Emsworth can wait until college. Twelve is for Jeeves.”). I am not QUITE sure I agree about Psmith, who is my best beloved* favorite Wodehouse character, but never mind.

* No, seriously, I almost typed this.

– And then there’s this post about Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which I don’t think I’ve read but clearly need to. “To Kill A Mockingbird makes you think you understand the way things are, and the way things should be. Roll of Thunder makes you quiet down and listen.”

– If there’s one must-read on the Jordan Davis murder, it’s surely this one, from Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic: “When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, he obliterated a time-stream, devastated an open range of changes. And somewhere on that American jury, someone thought this was justice, someone believed in the voodoo of shotguns and teleportation. Michael Dunn killed a boy, and too robbed a man of his chance to be.”

“Impatience Has Its Reward: Books are Rolled Out Faster” I have no words for how much I hate this. I would rather wait for a book and have it be better written.

Kelly Jensen has some very thought-provoking points about the NYT YA Bestsellers list, gender, and John Green. There’s also this great response.

– On Feburary 14th, The Cybils Awards were announced. Yay! Congratulations to all the winners, especially Meg Medina for her wonderful Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.


Links from around the web: 1-15-14

– There’s been an ongoing conversation about SFF eligibility lists that I’ve been only halfway paying attention to, but then I read Amal El-Mohtar’s post on the subject and it is brilliant. “No hand-wringing or tut-tutting about reading widely or behaving with dignity or integrity or what have you is going to end the practice of brash, confident people telling other people, often and obnoxiously, to vote for them. But, crucially, the hand-wringing and tut-tutting does have an effect: it discourages the people who already feel silenced and uncomfortable from ever talking about or taking pride in their achievements.” Jenny, of Jenny’s Library, also has a thoughtful response.

– I will always love a good Richard III joke.

– You know what else I like? Hamlet jokes.

– I enjoyed this fanart of Gandalf with the Dwarves on those child-leashes.

– I wrote a guest post for the SLJ Printz Blog! And since no one disagreed with me, I’m clearly right. (Right?)

– The British Library released a huge number of images from 17th-19th century books. Zoe Toft has a nice post about children’s book illustrations.

Thought-provoking article about Google’s evilness. “In fact, the notion of what is meant by that phrase has always been a slippery one when used in discussion about Google, but to Google itself, what constitutes as “evil” has always been clear: Evil is what Google says it is.” (On a somewhat lighter note, I think Google’s apparent new motto, “One account. All of Google.”, is both eerie and mildly hilarious with its (unintentional?) echoes of “One Ring to rule them all.”)


Links from around the web 1-4-2014

I found this post about being a Jeiwsh fan of Nancy Drew to be a really great examination of what it means to love something that is is also racist/anti-Semitic/etc. (via someone on Twitter–Karyn Silverman, maybe?)

Here’s an amazing set of Swedish illustrations for The Hobbit (via Emera)

There are many examples of cool book art floating around these days, but this one is downright amazing. (also via Emera)

Kate DiCamillo has been announced as the new National Ambassador of Young Peoples’ Literature. Yay!

Interesting post on the distinction between gritty & grimdark (Book Smugglers):

Gritty fantasy is much less interesting, though, when all we get in its place is an equally unreflective slab of grim darkness. It’s far, far better to produce a powerful and moving slice of grit, like The Wire than a cheap, gratuitous and nauseating one, like The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover. That’s the bottom line for me: if grit is one tool in the writer’s arsenal, then I want to feel as if the writer is choosing the right tool for the job at hand, and knows how to use it as well.

(Although I tried The Wire and haaated it.)

The Cybils finalists have been announced! Including the list for my category, YA Fiction. I’m really proud of the list we have, and really grateful to everyone else on the round 1 team. It was a great experience.

My friend Marie did a really cool thing last year–I loved her post about her project.

I haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks, but I appreciated this critique of its portrayal of P.L. Travers. (via Melissa Wiley)


Links from around the web 12-18-13

Thoughts about reviewers tweeting their review at authors, plus a reaction from Leila, and my thoughts.

Nice little video on creativity. (via Rachel Neumeier)

I liked this post from Charlotte about raising kids to be decent sff fans. Nice addition to the ongoing conversations in SFF.

I Want My Hat Back…starring Thor and Loki. (But Volstagg might be my favorite.) (via Beth Saxton on Twitter)

I feel like I missed almost all new adult SFF books this year, so this list looks like a good place to start.

I’ve taken many “Which Tolkien/LotR/Middle-earth character are you?” quizzes over the years. This one had some unique questions. I got Ent one time and Wizard another. (via Chachic)

An interesting post about feisty heroines, although as a commenter noted, feisty may not be the best word.

If you are looking for a good guide to period drama these days, look no further.

And as always, feel free to pass on anything I might be interested in!


Links from around the web 12-4-2013

First, a neat interview with Stefan Bachmann, whose books I’ve liked quite a bit.

In less happy news, it appears there’s a blogging-related scam going around. I got an email from them myself, but it wasn’t anything I was interested in, so I ignored it.

Black Dog, Rachel Neumeier’s upcoming book, has a cover! And a synopsis!

Laura Florand took part in Indie First Day and passed on some recommendations from myself and Chachic and Brandy.

The Cybils featured a review which may look familiar.

In an example of interesting marketing which actually works (or did on me), see E.K. Johnston’s tumblr for The Story of Owen, especially this post.

Audio files of J.R.R. Tolkien reading parts of LotR.

I will always link to a fanart of little cute Alan and little grumpy Nick. Oh, Ryves brothers.

I love this post about Advent.

Chachic has an interesting post about books featuring food. I think the books that I associate most with food are Jill Barklem’s Brambly Hedge books, actually. I always wish I could be one of the Brambly Hedge mice, because their feasts look so delicious.


Links from around the web 11-20-13

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. merida (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).

bookish posts links

Blogger Appreciation: Twitter edition

Twitter is definitely the social media platform that I’m most active on, and most comfortable with. I use Facebook to keep in touch with people I know, I use Pinterest to find recipes and drool over gorgeous photography. But I use Twitter as a place to learn and grow, and also have a lot of fun. I follow about 100 people–it’s hovering around 95 at the moment–and they generally fall into three categories: library folks, author/publishing people, and friends/fellow bloggers. Here is your handy guide to Maureen’s Twitter Feed. I’m sure I will miss someone obvious and important, for which I apologize in advance.

Library people
@Sophiebiblio (Sophie Brookover)
@InfoWitch (Karyn Silverman)
@LizB (Liz Burns)
@catagator (Kelly Jensen)
@CarolGSLIS (Carol Tilley)

Smart, insightful commentary on libraryland and reading. I am constantly challenged, enlightened, and amused.

Authors/publishing people
@9inchsnails (Amanda McCrina)
@EWein2412 (Elizabeth Wein)
@JustineLavaworm (Justine Larbalestier)
@sarahreesbrenna (Sarah Rees BrennaN)
@realjohngreen (Errr…you know)

I have just realized that those are all authors. I do follow a couple of agents and editors as well, but I rarely interact with them, so they haven’t made it on the list. Regardless, these are all smart, lovely people, and you should follow them (and read their books!).

Friends/fellow bloggers
@brandymuses (Brandy)
@chachictweets (Chachic)
@Shelver506 (ShelversAnon)
@darcybear (Laura Beutler)
@eleneariel (Marie R.)

Laura and Marie are also library people, but I’m sticking them in the friends category BECAUSE. Again, all lovely, smart people.

Takeaway: I love Twitter, because it’s the corner of the internet where I get to be completely nerdy about books, and libraries, and Richard III, while assuming that someone else will get what I’m talking about. I haven’t really been proven wrong, which just shows that I’m following the right people.

P.S. If you see a SHOCKING OMISSION in my lists–either people I follow and didn’t remember, or people I don’t follow and should–let me know.


Blogger appreciation: Inspirational edition

So I tried and tried to think of a less cheesy title for this post and, reader, I could not do it. In fact, several of them were worse. But what do I actually mean by inspirational? I mean the blogs that I keep reading because I find them soul-nourishing in some way. They remind me of who I want to be and how I want to live. Sometimes it’s crafts, sometimes it’s cooking, sometimes it’s homeschooling, or some combination of these.

Smitten Kitchen is the queen of cooking blogs, in my opinion. A wide range of recipes, written about in a down-to-earth way that puts the focus squarely on the food. If you’re not following Deb, and you like cooking, change that.

Tara, at Seven Spoons, has a lot of great recipes which I’ve really enjoyed. While I sometimes find the prose a bit purple, I keep coming back for the combination of photography and ideas. I don’t think I’ve ever made a recipe from this site that I’ve been unhappy with.

I’ve been following Elizabeth’s blog for several years now. She’s also Orthodox and I love her pictures of her home and Cleo the cat.

While I don’t do a lot of sewing, I like looking at the projects at Elegant Musings. Casey hasn’t updated a lot recently (for completely understandable reasons!), but the older posts are still fun.

Posy Gets Cozy, Alicia Paulson’s blog, is the definition of this category. Lots of beautiful photographs, crafting inspiration, cooking ideas, and a lovely sense of the value of the everyday.

I also love Anna at Pleasant View Schoolhouse. Blogging about family life is so tricky, but she does it wonderfully well, and I am constantly refreshed by her site.

For homeschooling, Melissa Wiley is great. Also, funny stories and so much more. I really appreciate her series on tidal homeschooling, which helped me cement some of my ideas about my approach in the future.*

Also in that vein, two new-to-me Waldorfy blogs! Small Wonders and Rhythm of the Home.

(Other editions of this feature: authors and book bloggers)

* Note: I am unmarried and have no kids, but I am a planner