This utter lack of diversity is gross. It is inexcusable. And it is really, really embarrassing. Book Expo America is the industry’s flagship event, and the statement it is making on the industry’s behalf is that we believe that what readers–the kind of devoted, passionate readers who fork over thirty dollars to spend a summer Saturday in a convention center–want out of a book event is an all-white, heavily celebrity line-up.
These and other reviews attest to the literary and educational value of the book. In contrast, no legitimate pedagogical rationale has been advanced for its removal, and it is highly doubtful that any legitimate justification could be advanced, especially for removing the book from the library, the purpose of which is to give students the opportunity to explore books on their own, according to their own interests, views and values.
After a group of students noticed the cover of David Levithan’s 2013 novel, Two Boys Kissing, parent Jessica Wilson launched a book challenge to remove it from FHS’s library. The complaint was officially filed on the grounds that the picture on the book’s cover, which features two boys kissing, violated the school’s policy of no public displays of affection. Furthermore, Wilson was concerned that the book had overt sexual content.
In that article, there's a quote from the challenger:
“The good thing about appealing is that it opens the matter up to public debate,” Wilson said. “It’s not like this isn’t a book that I wouldn’t let my kids read, but it’s the fact that it’s in a school. Books like The Scarlet Letter and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest don’t embrace sexuality. They have consequences, and it’s integral to the story. When you’re a teenager, it’s normal to question your sexuality, your faith, but the school isn’t your nanny; it isn’t up to the school to provide this guidance.”
I'm fascinated by her logic here: she says that the school "isn't your nanny" and that it isn't up to the school to "provide [this] guidance", but it seems to me that in asking for the library to only include stories in which sexual contact has "consequences", that's EXACTLY what she's asking the school to be and to do.
Ten years ago, Corinthe made a huge mistake. Since then, she’s been exiled from her sister Fates, living on Earth among the humans. To earn her way back into the good graces of the Unseen Ones and be allowed to return home, she is tasked with helping humans achieve their destinies: whether that means facilitating meet cutes, making someone late for work, preventing an accident, saving a life...or ending one.
I hadn't read a straight-up chick-lit rom-com in ages, and I'd forgotten just how much fun they can be.
Despite the best efforts of her best friend to convince her to go to New York City with him while he interns at a teen fashion magazine, Libby Kelting is leaving Minnesota to spend the summer before her senior year in Camden Harbor, Maine, interning at the Museum of Maine and the Sea. She'll be wearing 1791-era garb, teaching young campers about the daily life of colonial Americans, and hopefully, in her off-time, spending time at the beach in one of the many (many, many, many) cute outfits that she's dragging halfway across the country with her.
Things she didn't count on: an enormously judgmental, slut-shaming roommate; a uniform for when she's not in costume; a super-hot sailor who spouts Shakespeare and looks VERY nice while chopping wood; getting roped into sharing EXTREMELY cramped quarters with a VERY irritating budding journalist who's on a ghost hunt.
Oh, where to start? I cackled all the way through this one. For instance:
"Listen, Garrett—" "Why do you keep saying my name like it's in air quotes?" he interrupted. "What are you talking about?" I snapped. "You keep saying 'Garrett' like it's allegedly my name." "Maybe because it's not a name, but a small Parisian attic where writers live?" "Oh, as opposed to a brand of canned pumpkin owned by the Nestle corporation?" he shot back. We glared at each other.
Ahahahahahaha. Anyway, she and Garrett are very obviously well-suited to each other, and their sparring is just as entertaining as their inevitable lurrrve-falling. Also, Libby's campers are HILARIOUS.
Libby is a genuine history nerd, and as her focus is on fashion and the domestic arts, there are LOADS of interesting factual tidbits. Also, she's a wonderful example of a character who is a 'girly-girl' AND whip-smart, so yay to Strohm for that. Bonus: When it comes down to it, Libby is perfectly capable of fighting her own battles. Literally. So yay to Strohm for that, too!
Along those lines, there are some great threads about being judgemental/making assumptions about people: because Libby is interested in fashion and in boys, her roommate immediately jumps to the conclusion that Libby is an airheaded moron with red bottomosity. At the same time, Libby judges Garrett for his love of science fiction, so no-one is entirely without fault in that department—which is good, because few people are!
Cam and most of the rest of the dudebros are totally two-dimensional stereotypes. And actually, Libby's bestie Dev is also pretty two-dimensional, but I gave him a pass because he was rad.
PINK-LOVING GIRLS CAN BE SMART, TOO!, or,
Behind the scenes of Austenland, starring YA characters.
The College of Charleston, a public university, provided copies of Ms. Bechdel’s memoir to incoming students for the 2013-14 academic year, as part of its annual College Reads! program that tries to encourage campus-wide discussion around a single book each year. The books are not required reading.
But one state representative, Garry Smith, told South Carolina newspapers this winter that he had received a complaint about “Fun Home” from a constituent whose daughter was a freshman at the college. Mr. Smith contacted the college to ask about other options for College Reads!, and said he was told there were none. Mr. Smith then proposed cutting $52,000 – roughly equivalent to the cost of the reading program, he said – from the college’s $20 million appropriation from the state. The budget cut is now moving through the legislature; South Carolina news media coverage indicates some sizable political support for the cut.
I'm really not into having the whole Which One Is Better debate, because I don't have a strong aversion to any genre: if it's a good book, it's a good book, yay books. YAY BOOKS.
Anyway! Despite the title, ultimately, the essay is more about the differences between the two genres, and more especially about the strengths of SF/F:
You absolutely cannot obscure underlying weakness with waffle. Otherwise the emails will arrive, picking up on discrepancies. Not just for the sake of point-scoring or nitpicking but because fans become so engaged with imaginary worlds and so passionate about their characters.
That passion, so easily mocked by laughing at Trekkies and Whovians, is another thing that distinguishes SF and fantasy from literary fiction. Mocking that passion is missing a key aspect of speculative fiction. By drawing readers in large numbers, contemporary fantasy becomes a platform to debate key, current social and political challenges, while science fiction continues to explore the impact of technological developments, for good and ill, before we have to tackle these things in reality.