Friday, October 22, 2010

Feminist YA

You wouldn't believe how quiet it is here at my work right now.  Somewhere up front I assume people are laughing happily and sipping espressos, but I'm all alone in a cavernous back room with only the air purifier for company.  It's so quiet that I'm alternately super-focused on what I'm working on (merging several databases into one rad super-database) and finding my mind wandering in strange ways.  For instance, I suddenly looked up and realized that I had spent at least ten minutes reading online reviews of Bugaboo baby strollers.  I don't have a baby or any interest in baby-related things, so it was really quite an odd thing to find myself doing.  Fortunately, the internet is full of other, more interesting things to stumble across too.  Like this over on the Ms. Magazine blog:

How I Picked 10 Best Feminist Teen Books of All Time  Apparently there's an article that names the 10 in the current issue and this blog post is there to drum up interest.  And it totally worked on me.  But it's sort of an irritating little post, one of those ones written by someone who seems to have little familiarity with the YA world, yet is writing as some sort of authority.

She seems to think that YA is a label that happens by accident, usually to women writers, and is a derogatory comment on the literary value of the book.  Of course it's true that sometimes books get labeled YA for marketing purposes, (sometimes even books written by men), but there are also many many many wonderful YA books actually written with a teen audience in mind.  Also, apparently the only way to avoid being forcibly relegated to YA is to include some "particularly horrific sexual violence."  And then she writes, after inventing that little problem: "Should we be concerned that girls are taken seriously as subjects of “adult literature” only if they’re brutally raped?"  Oy.  (Guess what!  I know a kind of non-rape-y book that almost always gets published for adults: Books about characters who aren't teenagers, or that are written from the perspective of an adult looking back on their youth rather than through the eyes of the young person.  Duh.)

Anyway.  Being mildly annoyed by something on the internet has really killed a little time here! And as soon as I can escape from this endless afternoon, I'll be heading out to pick up a copy of Ms. so I can find out what the 10 Best Feminist Teen Books are.  Brace yourself for an upcoming rage-filled rant, if my beloved Frankie Landau-Banks isn't on it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2010 National Book Award Finalists!

Ok, guys: it's totally on!  The Finalists for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature are out, and I haven't read a single one of them...
Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi
Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine
Dark Water, Laura McNeal
Lockdown, Walter Dean Myers
One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams-Garcia

Interesting looking list though, right?  Some newcomers and some mainstays.  Back-to-back nominations for Rita Williams-Garcia (who was a finalist last year for Jumped).  A third nod for Walter Dean Myers (who was a finalist in 1999 for Monster and 2005 for Autobiography of My Dead Brother, and according to my calculations is the third most award-winning YA author ever.)

So it's time to hit the library and/or bookstore and get these read!  The winner will be announced on November 17th.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A couple things:

First, the internet problems that have been driving me mad all summer are finally fixed.  I'm typing this from my bed (I'm home sick today) instead of from two feet away from the modem because I have a wireless connection that works 100% of the time instead of about 12% of the time.  Turns out the cable company had connected me to the wrong box when I first moved in and it took about 800 different technicians to notice... 

Also, I now have a Kindle and an account over at, which means I can read free ARCs (a few of them at least).  For instance, right this second I'm reading Walter Dean Myers' new book Kick, which is due out in early 2011.  So that's cool.

And, most importantly, it's fall again--i.e. book awards season.  So get ready for timely updates of all the important news.  I'm pretty sure I'm back at work on this thing.  I might even update the upcoming events over on the right there.  Cause that's just embarrassing.