Links + Things: Viola Davis on 'Beautiful Creatures,' Sex and YA, Perfectionism, Connie Britton + More
I’m going to be confident and bold and say I like it because, listen, I understand and I respect the book and I think the book is wonderful but this is 2013 and I think that when black people are woven into the lives of characters in 2013, then I think they play other roles than maids. I think that that needs to be explored and I hope that the audience is willing to suspend their disbelief and embrace what Richard LaGravenese has given them.
I enjoyed the first two Beautiful Creatures books (I put the series on hold until the last book came out and just haven't gotten caught up yet), but one of the big things that made them 3-star reads for me as opposed to 4-stars was the stereotypical role the authors chose to place Alma, who's an important character to the story. I love that the move creators recognized that this character has so much more potential than the book gave her and this news makes me more excited to see the movie adaptation.
I learned a lot about sex through YA, as a matter of fact. At least, I learned a lot about dudes and sex. Dudes and sexual attraction. Dudes and masturbation. Dudes bemoaning their virginity. Dudes losing their virginity. Dudes who had, apparently, never been virgins at all and jumped straight to being playboys.
However, girls in YA don't get nearly this much action. Sure, they'll gush about the hot guys, or wonder about these sudden, tingly feelings their nether regions. But it seems to me that the sexuality of young women in books are limited to certain tropes.
When Kristin's excellent post popped up in my feed reader on Tuesday, I found myself nodding, nodding, nodding in agree so much that I realized I may have looked a smidgen wacky--but fortunately my officemates (my dogs) aren't too judgmental. The comments are realyl worth scrolling through as folks have added to their list of sex-positive YA novels featuring female characters. (FYI: we have a list on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves we update whenever we find a new title.)
Well, I'm guessing here, but my guess is this: because for some of us, our brains are double agents. They are our allies and our enemies in one. On the one hand, they're Little Red Riding Hood toting this sweet basket of goodies, and on the other, they're the Wolf, ropes of saliva strung between hungry teeth, ready to rip us to shreds.
Or, wait. How about this? It's like your brain is holding out cake to you, and every time you reach out your fork, it bashes you with a hammer. OoOoOoh that cake looks so goOoOoOoOod ... OUCH! No, really. It's like it gives you a clear view of the thing you want, but actively prevents you from getting it.
Laini Taylor talked about her problems with perfectionism at the event I went to in Portland and her thoughts really resonated with me, because I suffer from the same affliction. The pursuit of perfection can be almost debilitating at times. The number of things I haven't done in my life (I'm 35) because of my fears related to not being the absolute best right out of the gates are too numerous to tally. Laini's post is a must-read for anyone who's grappled with those issues.
For Britton, almost any career move felt like a potential step down from “Friday Night Lights.” Through her character on that show, Britton had developed the kind of devoted following that only a talented but slightly underexposed star can. “When I grow up, I want to be Tami Taylor” is the title of one post on a site about pop culture. A writer for The Hairpin spied Britton in a coffee shop and promptly posted a list of things she could have said to her. Among them: “Please lend me the key to being a woman and I’ll run across the street and make a few copies because I know I’ll lose it over the weekend.”
“Connie leads with her brains, not her beauty,” says Jeff Reiner, who directed her in “Friday Night Lights.” “I think that’s one reason women find her so appealing.”
It is a known fact that Connie Britton is phenomenal, and it seems that the rest of the world is finally waking up to what her loyal followers have known for a long, long time: that she's smart and savvy and hard-working. The most recent story is a lengthy profile of Her Royal Hairness in the New York Times Magazine.
One of the reasons I like Connie Britton so much is that she's so confident in herself and who she is--and that seems to ruffle a lot of feathers. Like, there are folks who seem to think she should be ashamed of being 45 (the NYT piece is all about how she's OLD), or find her so intimidating, they think she's unattractive.
It's strange to me that people don't get in an uproar about that sort talk in the same way they do they bizarre discourse around Lena Dunham. But maybe it's because I'm closer the Connie's age than I am Lena's that makes me thing this is just as big of deal.
And more linky interestingness...
- Why some novels say "a novel" on the cover. [Spoiler alert: mostly it's to sound fancypants.]
- Everything you ever wanted to know about the "anti-flirt" movement.
- Marvel and Hyperion are planning "women's fiction" involving She-Hulk and Rogue. I don't even know what to say...
- Barnes & Noble is not doing well at all. Perhaps it's because half the store is full of knick-knacks, craft supplies and other non-book things?
Book Cover Coverage
Three YA novels I've had my eye on had cover reveals this week.
- Obviously, everyone probably already saw the cover and title to the much-anticipated sequel to The Raven Boys, but I do have to stop for a moment to appreciate that not only did it get a kickass title--The Dream Thieves--and fierce cover, the cover boy is my favorite character Ronan, complete with mother effing Chainsaw!
- Sandra is a big fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes and she also loves mysteries, so I know she's looking forward to The Naturals, a paranormal teen FBI story. The cover isn't too bad, either, the girl looks pretty tough and the backdrop is a bit ominous, right?
- For Darkness Shows the Stars was one of my surprise favorites last year and I'm eagerly awaiting its companion novel, Across a Star-Swept Sea, which is a Scarlet Pimpernel retelling. I really like the movement-y look of this cover, but I also think the model bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Aimee Teegarden aka Julie Taylor.
Books That Are Cheap
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi is a $2.99 ebook for Kindle and Nook. I liked, didn't love, this unusual science fiction/dystopian YA novel (guh! the formatting on my review is all wonky for some reason), but I liked it enough to pick up the sequel last month and other reviewers adored it.
- Jennifer Echols' Going Too Far is one of my favorites contemporary romance-focused young adult novels and one that lovers of the maybe-trend New Adult thing will probably adore. Ignore the weirdo cover, and snag the paperback from Amazon at $4.40--you won't regret it, trust me.
- All These Things I've Done was a real surprise for me--this unique futuristic, memoir-style mob novel is so different from anything else I've read and I think folks who don't read YA will probably find it appealing. It's twisty and unusual and the paperback is a steal at $4 on Amazon.