Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Cat is Awesome

Pip (looking stylish) and William James
Both cats were being weird tonight—pacing and yowling in a very irritating way.  I thought it was because of the warmer weather and the fact that my door is still frozen half-shut so they haven't been able to go outside since Christmas.  Nothing I can do about that though, and they were really quite annoying so I kept telling them to shut up and go away.  Not that that ever works.  Then I heard Pip playing in the bathtub, scratching around and warbling, which is very odd behavior for her (Willie does it all the time, rolling around in there for fun).  It suddenly occurred to me that I had changed their litter earlier in the evening, and I realized that neither of them had used it yet, which was slightly surprising because, frankly, it was pretty rank.  They should have been happy with the clean box.  So I went and checked, and saw that I had accidentally put the box backwards, with the entrance against the wall.  And then I looked in the bathtub, and found that ol' Pip had peed in there! Instead of in the bed or somewhere else awful!  Poor thing...  But still, totally awesome of her.

**This has nothing to do with YA, obviously.  I've been busy reading other things, like Eating Animals, which has blown my mind all over again re: well, eating animals, and almost made me cry on the subway.  Still working on reading all the Printz honorees, because the library is taking forever to get me my holds. Good to know they're popular with readers, even if my stupid local Borders is too busy hosting events with the cast of Jersey Shore to bother stocking them...  (Not that I don't buy from indie stores usually, it's just that I had this 40% off coupon and was trying to get Please Ignore Vera Dietz for cheap..  Don't hate me.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More on Bitch's YA 100 list

Tender MorselsWhoa.  Ok, so when I just posted about Bitch's YA feminist list earlier, I was not even aware that it was controversial.  Apparently, they initially included Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels, and then removed it after some objections.  Yeah, it's a boldish choice, depending how you define bold.  It's one of those gazillions of books that non-YA readers can't believe even exist for younger readers. But a lot of the adult discomfort comes from a false memory and/or wishful thinking of a youthful innocence that has never existed.  Kid's know more than some people want to think they do.  Tender Morsel's is brilliant and important, because of (not in spite of) its uncomfortable moments.  Not cool, Bitch.

100 Feminist Books

Ok.  Bitch Magazine/Bitch Media, a longtime favorite of mine, has just put out a list of 100 YA Books for the Feminist Reader.  And when I saw it I remembered how several months ago I had enthusiastically posted a couple comments to one of their blog posts asking for recommendations of feminist YA.  Thus, I am claiming personal responsibility for Brock Cole's amazing Celine appearing on the list.  (The cover art, and especially the awful "tag line" are unfortunate, I realize, but it's not the book's fault since it came out in 1989—a full decade before the YA renaissance we all know today—and I think that's just how it was back then.)

I was rereading it for the dozenth time in the bathtub just a couple weeks ago, and wishing all over again that I had found it when I was an actual "YA." I only found it after Cole's 1996 book The Facts Speak for Themselves became a National Book Award finalist, but I was 13 when it came out and I really think it might have changed my life.
So.  Celine is a weirdish high school artist who befriends her seven-year-old neighbor whose parents are having problems.  And the boy's father is an artist himself, and an art professor at the local college.  Celine develops a bit of a crush (but don't worry--that's not what the book's about).  She destroys her own paintings for unrelated reasons and gets super excited about new art ideas.  And she snarks about stuff, and notices weird things and people, and has to get a doctor's note so she doesn't have to swim in PE.  The plot can't really be described properly and doesn't matter anyway so I'm not even going to try.  It's the excellent writing and the complexly real characters that are the point.  The part where the little kid is telling her what his therapist said about his parents' breakup and her response and the tears and the cookies and the matter-of-factness of it all?  Oh my god, my own parents are married to this day and I have still wept indignantly every time I've read it.  And the vomiting inside the sweater?  The bathtub and the miniature tarts and the hand on the knee?  You don't even know what you're missing.  All creative and/or disaffected youth, and also general people who appreciate good books, should read it ASAP.  Seriously.