November 27, 2007
All right: I've got my excuses for why I've been blog mum lined right up. First up, Cybils - the great "drop everything and read" days have begun in earnest! Second, just today I've been on a train for two hours, walking through the gorgeous town of St. Andrews for another hour, window-shopping (It's the best way to shop right now; one avoids the caroling, which one DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR UNTIL DECEMBER), and I've been reading blogs for the past two hours, just trying to catch up. What is with you people that you all have something to say the minute I turn my back?! (BTW: this is a picture of Glasgow Uni; don't have my photo-sucking-off-the-cellphone-camera gear here in St. A's. Oh well.)
Had a good laugh over Meg Cabot er, revitalizing Little Women. She tells the story as it's never been told, probably for good reason... I am having to admit a grudging affection for ol' Meg. Drat.
More bizarre-ness comes in the form of the newest Gilda Joyce -- I am SUCH a fan of this wacky sleuthing chick, with her bizarre couture choices, though they worry Gail at Original Content just a bit.
Have you ever heard of The YoungMinds Award? It is sponsored by the ever-amazing Phillip Pullman. YoungMinds is the UK's leading mental health charity, providing information and help for various populations. The book that won the award this year is Still Here With Me, by Suzanne Sjöqvist, which deals with young adults expressing themselves after the loss of a parent. I love that Pullman sponsors this; the premise of the whole award is to recognize "the role that writers can provide in allowing adults to see the world through children's eyes." Fitting.
Poor Mitali bemoans her inability to remove her critical thinking cap when viewing Disney movies. Heck, I can't either -- I tend to get tetchy when I see sexism, racism, and other little bits of intolerance disguised as the status quo. As I've said in the Brown Bookshelf discussion, I think aggressive idealism is needed in this world. If we can point out that things aren't right, using humor and charm, we can support things being different. After watching Aquafortis' suggested film, The Miniature Earth Project, I can only appreciate that point of view even more.
Another interesting thought on ethnicity in the United States comes from Salon, who recently published a piece on the idea that race is dying. This really tied in to some of the discussions in which a group of intrepid thinkers has engaged on the topic. We've talked about what are the markers of "white," and why it seems that authors who portray African American or brown or minority characters in books always seem to portray them as issue stories where their race is a factor. We've talked about the fact that this is often forced upon the writers, but no one has broached the subject of what it might mean to have novels filled with characters who don't make race an issue. No one has discussed what I call "the snack schizophrenia" -- Oreos, Bananas, Crackers... I will always appreciate Justina Chen Headley's Nothing But the Truth (& A Few White Lies), because she fearlessly took on the subject of "acting white," which is such a wearisomely common accusation.
And what does that mean? Isn't that a good question...
Every year I snicker over this "only in the UK" news item -- the Bad Sex Award. YA author Meg Rosoff on why she really doesn't want to ever write a sex scene...
While everybody and Roger Sutton have been fussing about that Kindle thing from Amazon, the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association have adopted a resolution to reduce their carbon imprint by 10% by 2015. There are some pretty big publishing houses in those two groups, including Penguin and HarperCollins, so it is hoped that this can actually make a difference. The question I have is how it will make a difference to writers. Will publishers and agents finally begin te discussion about electronic rights that has been so long in coming?
Finally, Cloudscome posts a great review on The Daring Book for Girls, and the authors take over at the Powell's Blog for a few more thoughts on girlhood. I now want to learn how to make a willow whistle and read up on their section on dangerous things -- which encompasses high heeled shoes, which I still haven't really learned to navigate, and roller coasters, which I (kind of) have. Here's to girlhood -- if you're not careful, it can fly by too fast. Kind of like childhood, which, as Kim & Jason say, is up to us, this time around.
If I can't make a willow whistle, I'm at least going to try out the high-heels...