October 10, 2006

The Tuesday Round-up: Interviews and More

Cheers! I've just discovered the Neil Gaiman interview at Bookslut! And it's just another click to the montly Booksluts in Training piece, which features some great YA titles " that fit perfectly into the October sensibility. Adventures, mysteries, even thrillers are here but all have one thing in common: something wicked lurks within their pages and makes the readers cautious about turning each and every page." Good reads for crisp autumn nights.

Book Buds is relaunching and having a drawing for two cool books to celebrate. Enter the drawing by answering this question: What would you say upon climbing down from the hatch of your space rover, and setting foot on Mars? (And no, you can't say that "One small step" thing, that's been done.) This 'out of this world' contest ends October 18th, so start thinking now...

Hey, have you dropped by Competizione? I love web contests, and these guys advertise them all. Check frequently!

The Guardian has a round-up of the Top 10 Characters from Children's Historical Fiction. I find myself a bit chagrined at how many of these books I've never even read! Meanwhile, if you also haven't read any of the novels up for the UK's Man Booker Award, never fear - there's the Guardian's Digested Version to boil them all down to a couple of paragraphs for you. That, of course, would never work with a YA book...

Sigh. Yet another celeb writes a kid's book -- this time Gloria Estefan is throwing her spangled spandex um... hat into the ring. AND her book comes with a CD. Of course it does.

Via Bookshelves of Doom, what's got to be the oddest book challenge, EVER... Truly. Pre-Christian, Sumerian texts, now newly translated into English aren't stories of stick figures and dirt. Who knew?

If you haven't read Pam Coughlan's piece inThe Edge of the Forest on booktalking middle school-aged kids, do. Her tips can carry over as good info for doing author visits, too.

I don't often get to read the School Library Journal, but an article by Caroline Lehman discussing depictions of sexual abuse in YA literature really caught my attention. Lehman's new nonfiction book, Strong at the Heart has given her some insights into these hurtful incidents in the lives of young men and women, and I appreciated her taking a look at the literature we write that speaks about these topics. As YA authors, some of who want to write about these things in a fictionalized way, it's important to, as Jane Yolen says "write the true..." Is YA literature on sexual abuse really helpful? Does it present a true reflection of the lives and the stories of the abused? Does it perpetuate stereotypes in its depictions of "victims" and "heroes"? There's a lot in Lehman's thoughtful piece to consider. Check it out.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting article. I agree that we're falling short in dealing with these experiences in YA literature (the issues involved are so varied and complex) but I also have to wonder just how many novels that publishers want to release on the subject.

I think the shortcomings are a reflection of our failure to adequately deal with rape and sexual abuse as a society. All the more reason for writers to endeavor to faithfully portray a wider range of experiences and characters.

One of the best YA books I've read about rape is Target by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson, about a six-foot-three 16 year old boy who is attacked by two men.

TadMack said...

I pitched a novel about a boy with cancer... and I was told that it was a "problem novel" and that those were "so 80's" and "over." The After School Special returns to bite us all in the bum! Seriously, I think that publishing is SO market-driven that people are leery of serious topics, because "serious" isn't the s-word that sells. And I strongly agree with you -- that we are failing as a society to admit to an ugly, ugly issue, and we sentence people to the margins of society with our silence.

Recent blogosphere discussions about teen's reading tastes seem indicate that they don't want realistic fiction - they prefer escapist. I don't think that's entirely true, but publishers are largely influenced by what's already out and popular. Reality TV that doesn't actually reflect "reality" is a big favorite right now, so...

I will definitely check out Target - thanks!

Musing said...

Thanks so much for linking to competizione. We really appreciate it!

And lots of good info on your site. I've bookmarked you. :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't think all the recent talk of a preference for escapist is entirely true either but the perception seems to be as important as the reality when it comes to the market.

I do hope you haven't given up on your novel. There have to be some editors out there who are willing to deal with serious (ooh, I said that unpopular "s" word again - if the hits on your blog suffer you know who to blame).

TadMack said...

HAH! The 's-word' takes on sinister new meanings...

Thanks for the kind words. I actually went back and tracked down the article about the teen escapism preference thing. It's called The Unreal Deal, which I found via Mitali's Fire Escape.

I keep hoping about that novel. I was also experimenting with writing from a boy's POV - which was a challenge on top of the cancer issue - but it's supposedly being read by an editor right now, so finger's crossed!

Musings, thanks for the bookmark! We'll check back with you, too!

TadMack said...

PS - Also speaking to the idea that editors/publishers DON'T WANT to read novels on s-subjects, unless some specifics are met, Roger Sutton from Horn Book gives his thoughts.