Are we still celebrating the new year? Either way, this is the first links of note post for 2013, and rather than stick solely to book-related stuff (there is plenty of that, don't worry), I'm going to expand these posts to include other things I've read over the last couple weeks I found interesting or thought-provoking. Without further ado.
- I've been thinking a lot about how we reward reading lately, and these two blog posts have resonated with me. First, a culture of reading without pizza or prizes. This school has been working toward removing prizes associated with reading, and I love the idea. Reading should be reading for the sake of enjoyment, not some trinket at the end. Why is this important? Well, the second article on this made me pause: the kid who wants a book buck for his achievement. We should celebrate reading, sure, but the physical prizes associated with it bother me.
- I love this honest and brave post by Courtney Summers about being unapologetic in regards to writing unlikable female protagonists. A lot of what she talks about ties back to what I was thinking about in the post I wrote last month about being a woman and speaking your mind and it gave me a lot of pause for thought about the sorts of girls being portrayed in fiction and thus given to our readers. It should be a huge range of voices, a huge range of likability, and it shouldn't be cookie-cutter.
- Speaking of being unapologetic, this post on xojane about Lena Dunham and her body confidence is out of this world good. Feel what you want to about Dunham, but her confidence in herself and in her body is absolutely admirable.
- Jennifer Laughran has a great post about boy books and girl books and the gendering of things that don't have genders.
- Earlier this month in my AudioSynced post, I asked people to share with me how they get their audiobooks in. Abby passed along this post from Allison at Reading Everywhere about how she gets in eaudiobooks. I never thought to combine something like Tetris (a mindless game) with listening to audiobooks but I can see something like this working for me.
- Are we tired of the "new adult" discussion yet? Whatever the case is, I like Amy's take on it over at YA Subscription. It's the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of fiction, if you will. Angela over at Adult Books for Teens on the SLJ Blogs has a great reading list of titles -- genre ones, too -- that would fit this interest.
- Where is the romance in the first kiss? That's what Adele over at Persnickety Snark wants to know.
- Flavorwire offers up 20 books every woman in her 20s should read. These are a little bit meatier than the books on a lot of other 20 books for 20-something lists. I've only read a couple of these, and I just returned the Portable Dorothy Parker to my workplace (unread). Intentions are good things though.
- This is lengthy but interesting: an ethnography of readers and reading.
- We've all read the books that were noted as the "best of" last year. But what were the best selling titles? PW has that for you.
- This set of stories got me going this week. Douglas County Libraries in Colorado signed an agreement with Smashwords, which allows writers to self-publish and sell their work. This agreement would allow for DCL to lend 10,000 of Smashwords's titles to readers and the contract was in very good terms for both sides. Cheap for a ton of material for DCL and good money and distribution for Smashwords. Here's the story about the agreement. While it sounds good in theory, I couldn't help but wonder what the collection policy would be -- how would the library know what it was getting? "Best selling" in the self-publishing world is not as reliable a measure as it is in the traditional print world, due to a number of factors. So then this article about how they were selecting titles popped up, explaining it. And it kind of made me dislike the whole thing even more. They're judging by covers? By some math equation developed through Smashwords. This is problematic because the responsibility of collection management has shifted from the librarians to instead, a mathematical equation developed by Smashwords. So then I want to know how the librarians even know what they're getting? How do they do reader's advisory on these things? What if they get crummy products? I guess they will know when the ball drops.
- I love what Abby's library is doing for reader's advisory. Yes, I purposefully put this link right after the DCL/Smashwords piece.
- I've started getting angsty about all of the 2013 books you NEED to read lists already popping up, but this one over at The Millions was a worthwhile read. Related to this is that I am definitely going to be ordering the newly covered edition of Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's because it is gorgeous.
- My friend Sarah is part of this year's Printz committee (and no, she has not said a single word about what she's reading nor what she's thought about the reading, no matter how much I've pleaded with her). She wrote a great blog post this week about what it feels like to serve on the Printz and about how she's going to celebrate it being finished. Knowing how I felt after three months of doing Cybils stuff, I applaud her so much for getting through a year of insane reading for this committee.
- This is an excellent piece about slut shaming, sex, and the way that technology has made both of these of huge concern for teens. As I was reading this, I kept thinking about Going Underground by Susan Vaught, Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman, and the upcoming Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown and how they're all tapping into a huge and scary part of being a teen in today's world.
- So, this library got rid of all their books and it is apparently "thriving." Note that the story discusses how these students now have to depend on their local libraries for books, that they still prefer print to digital reading and oh yes, they're looking for a new librarian for a recent vacancy now. I think it's important to incorporate digital initiatives into libraries but NOT NOT NOT at the expense of books. Why does it have to be one or the other? There is room for both. The parallels between this story and the one about Douglas County Libraries/Smashwords rub me as devaluing the human elements of librarianship.
- I don't usually share library programming blog posts in these posts, but I thought this might prove some really great fodder for bloggers or librarians looking to "think differently" about their collections. Anne over at so tomorrow shares some library programming ideas based on the Dewey Decimal ranges. How useful is thinking in broad categories like this in terms of thinking about, oh, anything we're stuck on? Or when we're looking for some sort of new inspiration? Yep. It's so simple and yet utterly brilliant. Whenever I'm thinking of book lists I'd like to write, I think in broad categories (see: Island settings, road trip books, and so forth). Look at the way the Dewey categories work and see how well that'd work for blog inspiration -- books featuring bloggers or zine creators! Books featuring the zodiac! War stories! And so forth.
- Ever watched Twin Peaks? Yeah, me either. But I am going to, and I'm doing it live with Leila. Join us starting this Sunday at 8 pm Eastern Time. She has all of the details here.
Another update: we're bringing back So You Want to Read YA? in March. Last week, I got in touch with a wealth of people, ranging from bloggers to librarians to teachers to authors to editors and more, and the response was amazing. We'll have 20 guest posts starting the first Monday in March. I know I am beyond excited to see what it is everyone thinks are the essentials for a new (or seasoned!) YA reader.