I always say this and then I'm always a liar, but this biweekly installment of links you should read will be shorter than most. I missed out on a lot of noteworthy posts this week because of ALA and, if you want to know the truth, because I am recovering from what may be known as being overwhelmed with response to my carefully constructed, worded, and conceived-of blog post on Thursday. I think it's really unfortunate how much my words have been twisted and made into something they're not, but that's the risk of writing, isn't it? And if you want the truth, I still stand by every word I used and every thought therein. I will go as far as to say I'm proud that this became an issue, and even though the sort of backlash I received has been less than fantastic, the fact it's being discussed at the rate it is makes it worth it.
But let's move on!
- Nova Ren Suma wrote what might be one of my favorite blog posts in a very long time, about what it means to be a woman and to chase ambitions and goals that aren't necessarily the same ones everyone else looks for. I related to so many of the things Nova talks about in this post -- about the way society looks at women who are married or don't keep a wide circle of friends or who don't necessarily have a "career" and who find their centers with things that don't necessarily come with a reward to them except self-satisfaction -- and because of that and the bravery with which she writes it, it's worth reading.
- I love a good book set in the Midwest. This is where I grew up and it's where I live now. Flavorwire offers up 10 of the best books set in the Midwest. I've only read two of them, but a couple of titles I'd add to the list include Jenna Blum's The Stormchasers and Ann Patchett's The Magician's Assistant (though technically, that's only half in the midwest). Oh, or The Horizontal World by Debra Marquart, though that's a memoir. Or what about Capote's In Cold Blood?
- Is there any correlation between the number of starred reviews a book receives and the likelihood it could be a Printz honoree or winner? Maybe. If you're not following the Printz blog like I do, this one is a post you should check out. Also, why aren't you reading it?
- Nathan Bransford asked his readers last week what they thought about him switching from full RSS feeds to partial RSS. His reasoning was he felt that discussions had gone down because people in RSS don't bother to click over and comment. If you know anything about me or have been reading this blog, you know I am very against partial RSS feeds because I read every blog through an RSS reader. It keeps me organized, allows for quick perusing, and it lets me hit everything when I want to in one place. I also have no shame of unsubscribing the second that a feed goes partial -- no matter how much I like the blog. Why? Well, I think partial feeds are self-serving and work to do nothing but bring hits to a blog. People who read your blog via RSS are your regular readers. Think about it this way: RSS readers are like those who subscribe to your magazine and get it in their mailbox. They get it every time there is a new issue and it's there for them when they are ready to read it. People who go to your blog without an RSS aren't better or worse; they're just choosing to go to the store to buy the magazine whenever it comes out. So when blogs choose to stop giving a full RSS feed, in favor of a partial feed, they're asking their readers to go to the store for the whole story. And for me? That's an extra step. When I'm reading hundreds of blogs, I am not going to go to the store specifically for yours, especially when I was already getting it regularly in my mail. If it's numbers and stats that concern you because of this, let me remind you that your RSS subscriber numbers are easy to find. Ultimately, Nathan chose not to pursue partial feed, but I am really resentful of his dig at his readers here: "I do have to chuckle a bit at the people who couldn't! possibly! be bothered to click through under any circumstances. I'm not judging because I make decisions like that all the time, but it's kind of hilarious how we can no longer spare those extra two seconds."
- As part of their YA for Grownups feature, The Atlantic Wire asked a number of people to contribute the books they read that stand up to rereads. Also, I'm going to link to their post of books that feature empowered females. Aside from thinking it's a good post, I'm going to give them some major kudos -- and you know how I feel about this publication and giving kudos. When the post went live, I noted they misattributed the source of their story. They were then informed that Jackie had brought the entire "How to Survive" issue to light, and they edited their post accordingly.
- I think this is a really interesting idea: what if prisoners could read their way to a reduced sentence? That's what they're doing in Brazil.
- Amazon's compiled their top ten YA books of the year so far. So one of them was actually published in 2011, but who is looking at that. Also, it seems like "best books" really means "best selling" and "biggest budget" titles. But there it is.
- It's been quite a few years since I've read The Great Gatsby and with the movie coming out (holding all comments on it or the production or the interpretation), it's a book I plan on revisiting. The Chicago Tribune wrote a really lengthy -- but interesting -- piece about the book and how it's been read and interpreted over the years.
- Here is probably one of my favorite discussions to come up lately: blog tours. Lit agent Kate Testerman probably has the best round up of the story on her blog, and the links she provides are each worth a stop. Leila chimed in on the topic, too. Here's my perspective: we participate when it's a book or an author we really support. This is why we do very few blog tours because rarely are the pitches we get for that. Often, they're for new authors who we don't know yet or haven't read their books. There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't like the pressure of reading something and potentially disliking it (I have bowed out of a tour because of this before) and I really dislike guest posts which aren't on topics I've proposed. I also HATE character interviews; they're so off-putting for anyone who hasn't read the book. The simple reason is I don't read them myself. The other thing I dislike about blog tours is this -- if I happen to post a review of a book during that blog tour and not as part of it, it gets lost in the noise. I really understand the point of tours and think they can do a lot for a book or author if done right, but rarely are they done right. Also, I don't really read them myself unless, well, it's an author I know or a book I like. I know. The truth is, I think blogger-initiated features and tours just do a better job.
- Here's a really fun post by the girls at Crunchings and Munchings: not just books on survival, but lessons to be learned from those tales of survival. And you can pick the kind of survival you need your lessons on!
- And let's look at the worst book covers ever. I'm laughing about this one because the final book on the list is one I've shared before because it is just so....classic.
- I got this link sort of late while making this post and only got the chance to skim it, but I liked it enough to share it. Over at Comics Alliance, to celebrate the end of Gay Pride month, there's a round up of the 50 most important LGBTQ comics and characters.
- Maybe these covers are inspired by the Twilight phenomenon or not, but there's a piece in the NYT about new covers for the classics. Okay, let's have a moment here. How long ago were the Twilight books published? And a huge sensation? They are definitely still popular, but the teens who had these books as their "big books" of teen hood? They aren't in high school anymore and aren't reading the classics in high school classics. So I think it's a bit misleading in the headline. I think the new covers are great and I think the commentary in the story is worthwhile -- that they actually show the somewhat right age of the book characters -- but the headline! Come on. I think YA lit gets a lot of flack over Twilight and of course it's because it's an easy reference point, even if it's not the right one.
- On the notion of readers and reading culture, Sarah Andersen talks about how she tackles summer reading as a teacher, and Sarah Moon talks about the notion of reading as a challenge.
- It's been a really long week, guys. REALLY long. So you know what that means? You get to enjoy the new Lana Del Rey video in this links of note roundup because I like it: