Commonplace Post (31)

Hello, hello! It’s Saturday again and that means it’s time for links! But before that, let’s talk a bit about what we’re reading. I’m currently in the beginning of Abhorsen, the third Old Kingdom book by Garth Nix. I know there’s another book after this one (although I think it’s just short stories?) but I can’t help but feel sad that I’m at the end of the series. I’ve really come to love these books, and it makes me want to read everything else Garth Nix has written. Yay for finding new favorite authors, right?

So that’s what I’m currently reading. What are you reading?

And now for links:
A round-up of links about The Recent Unpleasantness. @ Bookshelves of Doom
Plus some other updates on the situation: Plagiarism Bingo: O – Hatemail | So Your Favourite Blogger’s A Plagiarist

Who are we and what do we do?:

But repeatedly — repeatedly — people talk about how the YA blogging community has a not-so-good reputation. That because of the drama surrounding any number of different things, this community is somehow poorly seen, poorly valued. That because issues come up and rather than talk about them, the community reacts, rather than reflects.

I don’t necessarily think that there’s a poor reputation about bloggers, specifically YA bloggers, but I do think some who do blog in this corner of the internet like to think there is. They enjoy being part of the drama and they enjoy driving it forward, rather than talking about it. There are certainly people in the blogging world who love talking about issues, who love pulling them apart and thinking about them critically before reacting. But for some, the thrill is in acting, rather than in digesting. That, in my mind, is where the problem lies.

And then…

Commonplace Post (30)

Hiya! This post is a bit late but since I was having a fantastic time at the LA Times Festival of Books when it was originally supposed to go up, well…I hope y’all will forgive me. ;)

25 reasons I hate your main character @ terribleminds

Zombies, tax and cold soup, a guest post by Michael Grant @ We Love This Book
Related (sort of): What I Did Before I Was a Writer, Writing Advice, or Maybe Just the Awesomeness of Michael Grant. @ The League of Extraordinary Writers

Rick Riordan is doing a live 60-minute webcast from the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium in San Jose, CA, which sounds REALLY COOL. Details at slj.com.

Kobo has got some really good coupons available, including 90% off one book! You don’t need to have a Kobo ereader to take advantage, either; there are apps for iPhones/Android(?) and if you download the files to your computer I think you can load them onto whatever can read epubs.

Plus this just happened: Plagiarism and The Story Siren. I’ve got some thoughts about this whole thing but since I think most of it won’t be helpful, I’ll just say this: I sincerely hope this’ll get people to think about how they treat other bloggers when those bloggers do something other people perceive as wrong. I saw bullying when people supposedly took “too many” books at ALA/BEA. I saw bullying when people posted negative reviews of popular books. I saw bullying when people just didn’t blog the way other people thought they should! And that’s wrong.

People aren’t going to bully the Story Siren into quitting blogging like they would if it were a smaller, less well-known/popular book blogger who had plagiarized; there won’t be any mobs forming, and probably everyone’s going to be reasonably polite about everything. The Story Siren is going to have to do a heck of a lot to make up for plagiarizing (and then hiding it for months) and I think she should be given that chance. Not because she’s a big name blogger, but because I think everyone (excepting especially violent/malicious criminals) should get second chances without having to run a gauntlet of angry people first. Just because someone does something wrong doesn’t mean that we should also do something wrong in return. It’s entirely possible to call out plagiarizers and talk about the issues surrounding it without becoming angry cavemen in the process.

I hope that made sense! Happy Monday, everyone. I’m going to spend the day resting, reading Lirael, and packing for my move tomorrow. We’re getting the keys to our house! Yay!

Update: The Story Siren responds. Not exactly what I wanted to read, but…at least it’s something. But is it something enough?

Commonplace Post (29)

Happy Saturday, everyone! At this point I’m about one week away from moving into my new house, if everything goes well. Yay! I’ll have pictures and things of my room once I’ve gotten it painted/unpacked/etc. Furnishing it may take a while, since I’ll be picking stuff out from flea markets and whatnot, but eventually it’ll be pretty.

Next weekend is, of course, the LA Times Festival of Books. I’m…not entirely sure I’ll make it. I have no idea what’s going to happen that weekend re:moving in, and so I may just have to skip the festival and go next year. :(

Only two months until ALA, though! And that’s right where I’ll be living, so for sure I can make it to THAT. Who else is going? Raise your hands!

Cover Trends & The Female Body:

Part of why many believe books are gendered — why some books are for boys and some are for girls — is because of the images and what they’re doing or saying. Even if the story itself doesn’t have a message about the female body within it, readers, especially teen girls who are already bombarded with a sickening number of messages about their bodies thanks to every other media they encounter, the cover is telling them something. It’s further offering up beliefs about the ideal image. It’s not just teen girls getting and internalizing the messages though; teen males are, too. They’re seeing books as gendered and they’re also internalizing those messages, which only continues the cycle. We sell the female body on book covers in a way we don’t on male book covers.

The Most Frequently Challenged Book Features Scandalous Texts and Dubious Emoticons @ Jezebel. Meaning, of course, Lauren Myracle’s ttyl. And then…

Commonplace Post (28)

Happy Saturday, y’all! I have good news! Barring any massive screw-ups, we’ve got a move-in date for our new house! Exciting!! It won’t be for a few more weeks, but it’s nice to see the end of the tunnel, finally.

I’m most looking forward to getting my books back, of course! I’ve got a whole plan for what I’m going to read when I do: Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series (including that fourth book I never managed to read); at least one Diana Wynne Jones book, if not more; Pure by Julia Baggott; that one review book I really should have NOT packed; Carter Beats the Devil, since I’ve been meaning to reread it anyway; various fun Doctor Who books, maybe?

Meanwhile, I’m inching my way through The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. I want to read it because I want to know what happens to Todd and Viola, and yet! I’m really scared. I feel kind of like I did when I read my first Stephen King book: terrified, fascinated, unable to read it at night in case I got nightmare.

Links! And then…

Commonplace Post (27)

Hello! Happy Saturday, everyone. Both of my parents are sick and so it’s only a matter of time before I get sick, too. Opposite-of-yay! I hate being sick, but maybe it’ll help me stay off the internet and/or read more.

Lots of nifty links this week! So here we go.

Ride out the apocalypse with tinned sammiches @ BoingBoing

I went to see The Hunger Games on Wednesday AND I’ve read the first two books and so here are a lot of Hunger Games-related things:

Yes, I love the books but they are not without problems that make me crabby:

PEETA: i love you
KATNISS: i am a teenage girl who has seen unimaginable hardships and i don’t really understand my feelings because i don’t have time to analyze them because we are in a huge fucking arena fighting for our lives so i am going to pretend to love you so people send us things so we don’t fucking die on national television
PEETA: y u so mean? :(

And then…

Commonplace Post (26)

So this week didn’t go exactly as I planned. I’m behind on my reading schedule and I haven’t posted any reviews, I got a massive tension headache on Thursday and spent most of yesterday reading The Hunger Games instead of Lord of the Changing Winds. I think next week will be better, though!

Lord of the Changing Winds is very different from what I thought it’d be like (though there ARE mages and griffins, so HA). It’s scarier! Not in a horror way, I mean, but in that way where a human character interacts with non-human characters and the non-human characters are VERY non-human and that’s scary. I never really thought about griffins before this book, but now I think they might haunt my dreams (nightmares?) a lot more than they did before.

Links and stuff! And then…

Commonplace Post (25)

Hello! How’s your Saturday going so far? It’s raining over here in SoCal, and apparently the mountain-y areas are getting snow! That’s kind of exciting.

I’ve decided to spend today reading Burn Mark by Laura Powell, which I got from the publishers via NetGalley (thanks!). It’s not coming out in the US until June, but it’ll be published a month earlier in the UK which is neat. Burn Mark is a YA alt. history/fantasy (possibly with romance?) book set in modern England starring two kids named Cleo and Lucas. Cleo and Lucas? Are witches. And witches? Are hunted by inquisitors and, if caught doing something bad, are burnt via pyre.

So far it’s really intense– there’s at least two fairly graphic descriptions of witches being burnt, for instance– and I’m thinking that later on there’ll be a lot of thriller-y chase scenes and stuff. What I like most about it so far, though, is the writing. Example: the guy who I assume will be the main baddie (or one of them, anyway) has only been in the book for, like, five pages total, and he’s already got a buttload of depth and interesting-ness to him. Yay!

Anyway: here are this week’s links.

Let’s call this a mission statement:

So the thing is, I hate the phrase strong female character. I made a brief post about it at one point, and that expressed a number of my issues with the phrasing, but did not discuss my crucial issue with the concept. Because the thing is, strong female character implies, by default, that there is such a thing as a weak female character, and while there are certainly weakly written female characters, that’s rarely what people are using the term to mean. The way the term is often used, there’s a certain amount of implication that the word character can be removed from the equation entirely, leaving the suggestion that there is such a thing as a strong female or a weak female.

And that shit? Is some bullshit. [snip]

And then…