Links + Things: It's Finally Ironic, Women in Television, Good Deals on Print Books + More

Links + Things: It's Finally Ironic, Women in Television, Good Deals on Print Books + More

Welcome to an unexpectedly lengthy edition of Links + Things! I hope you enjoy this roundup of interestingness on the web, and the special print-only edition of my book deal roundup. 

And! Happy early birthday to CEFS blogger Sandra, who's birthday is Sunday and a belated happy birthday to on-hiatus CEFS blogger Rebeca. Two to are 100% AWESOMESAUCE!

Video of Awesome!

My good friend Mookie sent me this phenomenal video made my two sisters who fixed Alanis Morissette's un-ironic "Ironic" song. This makes me unbelievably happy. 

Required Reading

The question often goes misinterpreted and instead we get these two-dimensional superwomen who maybe have one quality that’s played up a lot like a Catwoman-type or she plays her sexuality up a lot and it’s seen as power,” she says. “They’re not strong characters who happen to be female—they’re completely flat and they’re basically cardboard characters.
— Tavi Gevinson

Brenda Chapman (who's a very interesting person herself) highlighted an old (well, a year old) TED talk from Tavi Gevinson, teen blogger, and media sensation. She critiques the way "strong" female characters are developed as actually quite flat and uncomplicated and the real-life ramifications of these depictions. 

I’ve seen several people/sources expressing shock and horror that only 1500 copies were shipped from the warehouse and of those 1500 hardbacks, only 400odd had sold (and maybe 1000 ebooks, though I don’t think any of these numbers are substantiated, either–the 400odd number probably came from Nielsen bookscan, and those numbers can be pretty off). But this was in the UK only. In 3 months. On an unknown debut. In a saturated market. In a recession. That’s not tanking. It’s healthy.

Author Laura Lam wrote an insightful blog post addressing the hysteria around J.K. Rowling's supposed sales as Robert Galbraith. This is definitely worth reading.

[Orange is the New Black], which follows a Smith graduate as she serves time for transporting drug money a decade ago, may showcase the greatest number of substantial parts for women of all ages and races ever assembled. By rough count there are 20-some women with distinct characterizations, motivations, and personalities, almost all of whom are as—if not more—interesting than the lead character, the blond Piper Chapman. That’s not a knock on Chapman or Taylor Schilling, the actress who plays her: There’s just no shortage of affluent, self-aware, educated narcissists who enjoy the creature comforts of a Brooklyn lifestyle on TV. There has been a shortage, though, of sweet but racist Italians who sound like lost members of the Pink Ladies; transgendered hairdressers who used to be firemen; street kids who keep lists of everything they steal; good-girl sprinters consumed by bitterness and anger after one mistake; child-killers trying to work it through with yoga and self-administered electroshock; and Latinas who loves the Smiths.

Most of the time I disagree with this particular columnist, but she is spot on her observations about how television is starting to become a rich place for female characters. (Except on NBC, of course, where none of the their new shows feature female leads.) I wish this were true of movies as well. *sigh*

Perhaps because it is a melodrama, and is not without its moments of proverbial bodice ripping, Scandal has not really figured into the resurgent discussion of feminism in the United States—the one furthered by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Dunham’s Girls, and the success of Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling as network-sitcom auteurs. But it deserves to. Washington and Rhimes readily identify themselves as feminists, and the latter acknowledges that, without calling too much attention to the fact, she and her writers ‘have created a world in which the women have the power.’

I thought this profile of Kerry Washington in Vanity Fair was interesting all-around, but the above observation about her television show, Scandal, really stuck with me.  

Further Reading

  • Big news! One of my favorite reads, Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker, has been re-released by the author, with a new description (which is so much better than the original) and cover (check it out below)! Right now, it's only available for Kindle, but I'm hoping it gets a new audience, since it's definitely got "new adult" appeal. It's priced at a very appealing $3.99 and is currently part of the Kindle Owners' Library, too. 
  • Fans of C.K. Kelly Martin's Yesterday series will be happy to hear that even though the publisher decided not to continue with the series, the author will be self-publishing the sequel, Tomorrow, due out this fall. I read and loved Martin's self-published Come See About Me, and would have never guessed it was self-published, so I'm betting Tomorrow will be of the same quality. Read more about this decision on her blog.
  • Jennifer Armentrout's Lux series may be hitting the big screen--this is pretty impressive news for upstart Entangled Publishing.  Read the details on The Hollywood Reporter.
  • The AV Club discussed post-mortem series continuation, and all the sticky issues around who owns the characters and how they change when a new author takes over. 
  • This is a fun, meandering interview with Maureen Johnson
  • Mary-Louise Parker thinks the internet is full of jerks and doesn't really want to act anymore as a result.  I bet there are a lot of people in the public eye who feel this way.
  • If you were in high school in the 90s, you'll be excited to know that Mazzy Star has a new album coming out. 
  • Wired demonstrates just how easy it is to make web content go viral.  (And this is a bad thing.)
  • The New York Times science section recently had a fascinating feature on pre-Columbian dogs
  • Laura and I are both obsessed with #bearcam. Check it out and join us in this addiction. 
  • This is a Vine of a single frame from every episode of Lost. Mind. Blown. 

Cover Art News

The first two covers are from the books I mentioned above, Lovestruck Summer and Tomorrow. Lovestruck Summer is particularly cool, because it was designed by a fan of the book. I was interested in the fact that Jennifer Lynn Barnes' upcoming YA FBI has a new cover, which is thematically similar to the first one that was revealed, but definitely seems to be aiming for a gender-neutral look.  

Cheap Books

Since my last few roundups of book deals have been focused on ebooks, I thought I'd highlight some print books that are good deals right now. (I've noted if the ebook is discounted too.) 

  • I'm not a fantasy reader (sorry, y'all!), but my friend Jen loves Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone series, and so I feel confident recommending it at $7.20 for a hardback (the Kindle edition is on sale for a smidgen less right now). 
  • I quite enjoyed Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride--it's quite hilarious and creative. Snag this one at $4 for the paperback (the Kindle edition is bizarrely priced at $5.41).
  • In our verse novel podcast, Laura recommended the Toby Barlow's paranormal verse novel for adults, Sharp Teeth. The paperback is in Amazon's bargain bin for $6.
The Beginning of After
By Jennifer Castle
Fixing Delilah
By Sarah Ockler
Valkyrie Rising
By Ingrid Paulson
  • I recently read and loved You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle and was excited to find her debut novel discounted to $7.20 for the hardback. I usually don't like hardbacks, but it's cheaper than both the paperback and ebook, so that's hard to resist.
  • Sarah Ockler's books simply work for me, and her underrated Fixing Delilah is no exception. You can snag the hardcover for $6.80 right now. This one is a really wonderful exploration of family and all its complexity. 
  • Ingrid Paulson's Valkyrie Rising isn't the best YA urban fantasies I've read, but it's one of the most fun. Basically, come for the Norse mythology, stay for the non-stop action. It's $7.20 for the hardback.
I'll Be There
By Holly Goldberg Sloan
Such a Rush
By Jennifer Echols
The Down Home Zombie Blues
By Linnea Sinclair

Have a lovely weekend, y'all!

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