Miscellaneous Memoranda

Otherwise known as, A List Of Things I Bookmarked Months Ago But Didn’t Ever Get Around To Posting On My Blog.

In January, the American Library Association announced the 2013 Rainbow List of LGBTQ1 books for children & teenagers. At the end of last year, YALSA also blogged about LGBTQ books appearing on lists of the year’s best Young Adult literature and mentioned “several books with secondary or tertiary characters who are LGBTQ and aren’t necessarily struggling with their sexuality . . . It’s wonderful to have books about teens dealing with issues of sexuality and gender, but to me, it says more about the status of LGBTQ characters in YA fiction that there are so many books where the sexuality of gay, bisexual, transgendered, or otherwise queer characters isn’t an issue.” Hear, hear!2

Remember the kerfuffle a couple of years ago when the Booker Prize judges decided to shortlist books based on ‘readability’ rather than ‘literary quality’? Even though I don’t agree with all of Jeanette Winterson’s criteria for determining whether a novel is Literature, I laughed out loud at this: “The most unreadable books I have read recently were Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.”

I was also interested in this article by Lionel Shriver about how women authors behave when shortlisted for literary awards, compared to men: “Any victory that translates into beating someone else makes women feel guilty.” Ms Shriver is impatient with such ‘girly’ attitudes. When asked whether she was surprised that her novel We Need To Talk About Kevin had won the Orange Prize, this was her response:

“No,” I said. And then I made a wrong answer worse by adding, “It’s a good book.”

I wonder if her overt self-confidence, and the reactions of others to this, have more to do with her being a self-confident American living in self-deprecating Britain than her being an ‘ungirly’ woman novelist. I’m also surprised that she believes that literary awards inevitably go to a ‘good book’.3

There’s been a lot of discussion about New Adult books lately, although I’m still trying to figure out what constitutes Young Adult.

Courtesy of The Hairpin via Bookshelves of Doom, here are some text messages written by the characters of Little Women. For example, Jo and Meg:

Jo, Father still isn’t dead
really?
I saw him not four hours ago
could have sworn he died at sea

See also, Texts from Jane Eyre:

DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFE
IS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT
yes
absolutely
BECAUSE MY HOUSE IN FRANCE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE AN ATTIC
IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WERE WORRIED ABOUT

Australian bloggers may be interested in the 2013 Best Australian Blogs Competition, while writers for children and teenagers might like to check out the Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program (which I’ve previously written about here, for New South Wales writers only) and the Text Prize (for Australian and New Zealand writers only).

Finally, because you can never have too much Kate Beaton, here’s her take on various Nancy Drew book covers.4

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  1. That’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning, in case anyone was wondering.
  2. Especially as one of those “several books” was The FitzOsbornes at War.
  3. Whether We Need To Talk About Kevin is actually a ‘good book’ is another issue, and probably not an issue that Lionel Shriver and I would agree on.
  4. If I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be Mystery of Crocodile Island (“This was not a mystery that needed to be solved.”)

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