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]

I meant to include these links in my Kitchen Confidential review, but I forgot. So here they are now:
Misogynist or Feminist?
Reality TV Host and Un-trustworthy Narrarator?

The Project Gutenberg Project, where people review public domain books! I really, really like this idea. It makes me want to read more PD books.

Eight Things You Should Know about “John Carter” @ Genevieve Valentine’s blog

Sarah Rees Brennan summarizes Woman in White in a hilarious way. I’d forgotten how much I loved her blog! (She’s got two books coming out this year, btw, that look ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Unspoken, which has a female sleuth and a dude who does something and there’s romance! And other stuff! The other book is Team Human, which SRB wrote with Justine Larbalestier and it’s sort of a spoof on teen paranormal romances I think? idk, I just know I want to read them RIGHT NOW.

Life-Changing Reading @ Stella Matutina, aka Memory makes me want to read Anne Rice again which I haven’t done sine I was 13 or something.

All the King’s Men: As the first female ruler of Otuam, Ghana, Peggielene Bartels has had to deal with a legacy of corruption — and no shortage of sexism @ The Washington Post. King Peggy’s got a memoir out now, too! King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village.


  1. Thanks for linking to PGP! Maybe you can guest post for us if you come across a great PD book. 🙂

    People talking about “strong female characters” and how “weak female characters” are a negative influence on young girls is actually one of my major pet peeves. That person explained what’s annoying about it much more better than I ever could have, though.

    • Anastasia

      I’ll keep it in mind! 😀 I DO have some interesting-looking non-classic PD books I want to read. It’d be a good excuse to start reading them, haha!

      And YES, that is an awesome post. It definitely made me think more about how I use “strong female character” in my reviews.

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