Sunday, February 6, 2011

Amy's List of Awesome (2)

So today's list comes a bit late since I've been sick. Very sick. So sick I couldn't even stand to be on the computer. Or read. Pretty much I could only tweet from my phone and watch TV and most importantly sleep. I'm starting to feel better though, and there has been so much going on that I didn't want to miss a week.

Have you heard about the Bitch Media fiasco? Long story very short, they published a list of YA books for the feminist reader that was not fully vetted. A few people raised complaints in comments and they retracted a few choices. Things got loud and shouty and messy and people normally quite civil came out looking ridiculous as flash one sighted emotions often make a person look. There were tons of responses to this, TONS but one of the finest things to come of it, in my opinion, was this beautifully stated paragraph from Margo Lanagan (whose book was removed from the list):

There is a lot of pressure from anxious adult carers of children and young adults to fill children’s and YA literature with explicit moral messages that can only be read one way, the ‘right’ way. This is not, I believe, the purpose of books and reading. Fiction is a means to make parts of the world visible in all its complexity and ambiguity, not cover up its nasty bits and hope they’ll go away. Fiction (particularly fantasy fiction) provides a safe place where uncertainties can be considered and explored.

I have long been concerned about the push for "right messages" in YA fiction and that covers all possible messages.

My own thoughts on the list and resulting drama/trauma? I feel that it's all quite tricky. The nature of lists is that people are bound to disagree. There is no list that can cover every great book, just as there is no one way to read a book. I'd only read one of the pulled books, Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, and it had a profound effect on me. From my original review:
On the surface, this may seem like a book about child abuse or abduction, but underneath that, I found this to be about how the choices we make define us and that ultimately no one can take away from us the power of choice in how we react to situations. She also deals lightly with how we all try to exert our power over others even when we don’t realize that’s exactly what we are doing. In many ways, this book is profound.

I can see, though, how it would be a very difficult book for someone who had survived a similar trauma. At the same time, it also puts into fiction this very experience which must be worth something as well.

Then there was another big drama about how book bloggers aren't worth the time of day. These arguments led to the creation of Book Blogger Appreciation Week three years ago, so you probably know how I feel about them. It's exhausting to still be having this conversation, but I loved Adele of Persnickety Snark's response. I would be thrilled to have the career luck she's had, but at the very least, it must be known that blogging about books is an outlet for people to talk about what matters to them. There is no cookie cutter approach to book bloggers. You can't make blanket statements really, because every blogger has a different reason for doing what they do. Generally people who stand opposed to book blogging are against the idea of the masses--regular folks being able to express their opinion and build a platform. Unfortunately for them, we're not going anywhere. Welcome to 2011.

Last year I grew to love the time period of the American Civil War and the many many many story possibilities around it. Imagine how thrilled I was to learn that Carlton Cuse (of LOST fame) is developing a period drama about the Civil War. And it's not the only one. There's another one that has been ordered to pilot at NBC. I have to say that the pilots being ordered this season have me positively giddy so far.

Lenore has kicked off Dystopian February a very fun month when we get to celebrate one of my favorite genres of books. Be sure to stop by everyday...she has some interesting reviews and interviews and giveaways going on.

That's all for this week! What's hit your list of awesome this week?


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