Tour de Blogosphere

All right: I’ve got my excuses for why I’ve been blog mum lined right up. First up, Cybils – the great “drop everything and read” days have begun in earnest! Second, just today I’ve been on a train for two hours, walking through the gorgeous town of St. Andrews for another hour, window-shopping (It’s the best way to shop right now; one avoids the caroling, which one DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR UNTIL DECEMBER), and I’ve been reading blogs for the past two hours, just trying to catch up. What is with you people that you all have something to say the minute I turn my back?! (BTW: this is a picture of Glasgow Uni; don’t have my photo-sucking-off-the-cellphone-camera gear here in St. A’s. Oh well.)

Had a good laugh over Meg Cabot er, revitalizing Little Women. She tells the story as it’s never been told, probably for good reason… I am having to admit a grudging affection for ol’ Meg. Drat.

More bizarre-ness comes in the form of the newest Gilda Joyce — I am SUCH a fan of this wacky sleuthing chick, with her bizarre couture choices, though they worry Gail at Original Content just a bit.

Have you ever heard of The YoungMinds Award? It is sponsored by the ever-amazing Phillip Pullman. YoungMinds is the UK’s leading mental health charity, providing information and help for various populations. The book that won the award this year is Still Here With Me, by Suzanne Sjöqvist, which deals with young adults expressing themselves after the loss of a parent. I love that Pullman sponsors this; the premise of the whole award is to recognize “the role that writers can provide in allowing adults to see the world through children’s eyes.” Fitting.

Poor Mitali bemoans her inability to remove her critical thinking cap when viewing Disney movies. Heck, I can’t either — I tend to get tetchy when I see sexism, racism, and other little bits of intolerance disguised as the status quo. As I’ve said in the Brown Bookshelf discussion, I think aggressive idealism is needed in this world. If we can point out that things aren’t right, using humor and charm, we can support things being different. After watching Aquafortis’ suggested film, The Miniature Earth Project, I can only appreciate that point of view even more.

Another interesting thought on ethnicity in the United States comes from Salon, who recently published a piece on the idea that race is dying. This really tied in to some of the discussions in which a group of intrepid thinkers has engaged on the topic. We’ve talked about what are the markers of “white,” and why it seems that authors who portray African American or brown or minority characters in books always seem to portray them as issue stories where their race is a factor. We’ve talked about the fact that this is often forced upon the writers, but no one has broached the subject of what it might mean to have novels filled with characters who don’t make race an issue. No one has discussed what I call “the snack schizophrenia” — Oreos, Bananas, Crackers… I will always appreciate Justina Chen Headley’s Nothing But the Truth (& A Few White Lies), because she fearlessly took on the subject of “acting white,” which is such a wearisomely common accusation.

And what does that mean? Isn’t that a good question…

Every year I snicker over this “only in the UK” news item — the Bad Sex Award. YA author Meg Rosoff on why she really doesn’t want to ever write a sex scene…

While everybody and Roger Sutton have been fussing about that Kindle thing from Amazon, the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association have adopted a resolution to reduce their carbon imprint by 10% by 2015. There are some pretty big publishing houses in those two groups, including Penguin and HarperCollins, so it is hoped that this can actually make a difference. The question I have is how it will make a difference to writers. Will publishers and agents finally begin te discussion about electronic rights that has been so long in coming?

Finally, Cloudscome posts a great review on The Daring Book for Girls, and the authors take over at the Powell’s Blog for a few more thoughts on girlhood. I now want to learn how to make a willow whistle and read up on their section on dangerous things — which encompasses high heeled shoes, which I still haven’t really learned to navigate, and roller coasters, which I (kind of) have. Here’s to girlhood — if you’re not careful, it can fly by too fast. Kind of like childhood, which, as Kim & Jason say, is up to us, this time around.

If I can’t make a willow whistle, I’m at least going to try out the high-heels…

8 Replies to “Tour de Blogosphere”

  1. I try to play down the whole Santa thing because it is mostly a commercial nowadays anyway. We see quite a few Black Santas, which tends to get my five year old Black son asking questions about what’s real.

    I am more interested in the religious holiday in any case. Nativity books with brown depictions of the Holy Family include Room For a Little One by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Jason Crockcroft, and A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

    Thanks for the shout out on the Daring Book! My niece is going to love it.

  2. I’ve a sneaking suspicion, though, that those alternate-colored Virgin Mary depictions (along with the brown Santa, brown Jesus, etc.) are somewhat like the brown dolls which are routinely ignored by children.

  3. TadMack: I’m sure you know this, but it takes a little digging, but there are depictions of the Virgin Mary in shades other than blonde and caucasian. I don’t get why they’re not more prevalent, but then, I don’t get a lot of things.

    Thanks for this tour de Blogosphere! It certainly makes my catch-up on reading a bit easier.

  4. What a cool idea to do still life self portraits! It would almost be worth living in your town to take one of his classes… Almost.

    Paula, what gets me is that then makes the business world, the world of education and any of the shadings of “higher” society solely the provenance of Caucasian people… are people so ready to just GIVE that away?

    Mitali, it’s the golden-haired Madonnas that get me… Along with the snowflake sweaters, we were always taught that St. Nicholas or Santa in any form was a Eurocentric thing — but the religious bit was supposed to be for everyone…

  5. Thanks for the shout-out. Amen to girlhood, boyhood, and childhood! (Adulthood has its advantages — albeit seemingly few — such as the ability to actually eat dessert first if you want to.)

  6. As the Christmas decor hits the shops, I find myself wondering if African Americans feel as disenfranchised about a Scandinavian, rosy-cheeked dispenser of gifts as we immigrants do. How do you explain a white Santa to black kids?

  7. Ahh yes, “acting white.” Lord, have I heard that a few million times growing up. The worst part about that antiquated and frustrating phrase is that it’s most often only in reference to someone using proper english (at least it was when people said it about me).

    As proof, whenever someone is parodying “acting black” they almost always use slang and bad english. ::Sigh::

  8. Gilda Joyce: Saw the new one in the library today and very sadly had to pass it by in favor of Cybils nominees…my booklist for post-awards is definitely growing.

    Roller Coasters: Eyes Firmly Shut. That’s how I manage all but the wimpiest of coasters. Not a thrill-seeker, me.

    Oreos, etc.: My husband regularly brings bananas, Oreos, and coconuts into his advanced drawing class because one of his assignments is to draw a still-life “self-portrait” in which the objects represent you in some way, and he’s trying to get people to think more deeply about themes and symbolism. Hee!!

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