Links + Things: YA Books + Sex Ed, The Nastiness of Comparison, Cheapo Books + More
Wow, there sure has been a plethora of interesting discussion happening lately, in the book world and beyond. I had a very hard time selecting items from my giant Evernote file of interestingness (yes, that's what I call it) to share with you guys. I also found books by a couple of awesome authors on sale (and not just e-books!), so be sure to scroll down to check those out.
Like Malorie Blackman, I feel young adult literature has a responsibility here. It can and should play a role, reflecting realistic sexual experiences, both good and bad and thereby allowing teenagers to process aspects of the experiences before they are ready to engage in sex themselves. If you are writing young adult books that don't fade to black when it comes to sex scenes and if you're handling those scenes with honesty, without being exploitive, and neither glorifying sex nor demonizing it, you are already personally my favourite kind of YA writer. But more importantly, you're helping empower young people who are living in a highly sexually charged culture.Author CK Kelly Martin wrote a spot-on, smart post in response to a piece in The Telegraph about where teens get their information about sex and the role of YA literature. The other items she links to are important as well, all shedding a light on the world today's young people navigate.
Remember: You are comparing yourself to perception.
I had a really powerful talk with another entrepreneur at SXSW this year. I was lamenting how I felt that, as a late riser, I was missing out on precious hours of work. He said something that I still think about--that when we compare ourselves to others, whether it be a marriage, a career, or a specific achievement, that we are only comparing ourselves to our perception of this person. We are not said person, nor will we ever know their true selves.
Ever feel like you're inadequate compared to everyone else in your field, whether professional or with your hobby, such a blog? Maybe you're not the dedicated self-promoter that some folks are? This is a good reminder from Meredith Fineman about how comparison is toxic and that people only let us see what they want us to see, which is often starkly different from reality.
- Publisher Lee & Low has an excellent and important analysis of why the number of multicultural books for children hasn't increased in the last 18 years. (via author Sarah Rees Brennan)
- Heidi at Bunbury in the Stacks has some thoughts on the role of author-reviewers on Goodreads.
- Book. Blog. Bake.'s Stormy discusses science-phobia in mainstream (non-"heavy" sci-fi) fiction--it's something I'd not thought of before, but she seems to be really onto something.
- You've got to check out the winners of Maggie Stiefvater's art contest. Fabulous!
- Earlier this week, I reviewed and recommended Sarah Fine's Sanctum. This is an great post from YA Highway about how writing traumatized characters.
- Romance Novels for Feminists identifies trends in the portrayal of masculinity in RITA and YALSA-nominated fiction.
- GalleyCat details an interest project by an aspiring novelist in which she's also telling his story through Pinterest pins.
- I thought this story in Publishers Weekly about how Hachette grew Elin Hilderbrand into a best-selling author was quite illuminating--equally interesting are that they do not classify her as a romance writer and they focus on bricks and mortar presence.
- Forbes discusses the ramifications of Amazon Publishing having their first million-copy hit.
- According to Bowker, self-published ebooks account for 12 percent of ebook sales.
- Social Times has five tips for handling your social media accounts during a crisis. There certainly are a lot of authors who could use these tips--I'm sick of seeing self-promotional tie-ins to tragedies.
- Amen to this Slate piece about "The Tyranny of the Smile." I am a big smiler (and even more of a laugher) and I still bristle every time someone tells me I need to smile.
- The Atlantic has 21 examples of "serious journalism" from women's magazines and websites. Elle also has some thoughts on this discussion.
- I've been trying to stop biting my nails (it's so hard!) and so I've been reading nail polish-type blogs for inspiration. One that I quite like, Work Play Polish, did an incredible series inspired by books. This Where the Wild Things are manicure is unbelievable; I also loved her Dr. Seuss nails.
- I love this story from NPR about how Star Wars has been translated into the Navajo language.
- This is a wonderful tribute to James Gandolfini from HitFix.
This week I found three books each by two of my favorite authors on sale for pretty cheap. Also, all of the deals I posted last week appear to still be in effect, so you may want to check those out too, if you're looking for some weekend reading. Click on the cover image for more information about each title.
In advance of her (absolutely awesome) new novel, Dirty Little Secret, coming out in mid-July, Simon & Schuster discounted three highly recommended Jennifer Echols novels: Such a Rush (my review), Forget You and Going to Far, all for under $4 for the ebooks (the paperback of Forget You is $4.40 on Amazon, the others are regularly-priced in print). I highly recommend all of these, and Jennifer's books in general. It's interesting to me that she's never mentioned in discussions of sex-positive, girl-positive YA, because she's the first name that comes to my mind when I think about authors who consistently excel at portraying both. My only guess is that because she writes romance-focused novels, they're not considered serious or important enough for inclusion on these sorts of lists? (She's been on ours since the beginning.) She also doesn't get nearly enough credit for writing difficult, challenging and multi-dimensional teen girl characters. Again, I'm guessing this is because she focuses on romance, rather than "serious issues." (Don't even get me started on that rant--basically, see my post on "The Julie Taylor Test" for my feelings on the way we dismiss teen girls' interests.)
Excuse the unplanned semi-rant, y'all...
I just ordered paperbacks of three of Liza Palmer's novels (she wrote the outstanding Nowhere But Home, which I still can't quit raving about) for $5.60 each on Amazon (that's less than $17 for all three--whoohoo!). I know Seeing Me Naked comes highly recommended by Angie, who introduced me to Liza's novels, so I'd get on this deal while they're still in stock at the bargain price.
Have a lovely weekend, y'all! Happy summer solstice!