To get all huffy posts out of the way and move on to more positive topics, please note this list of the 10 grumpiest living writers. We particularly like this statement by a children's writer Maurice Sendak (Where The Wild Things Are) - “I didn’t set out to make children happy, or make life better for them, or easier for them… I like them as few and far between as I do adults. Maybe a bit more more because I really don’t like adults, at all, practically.”
Another interesting post (brought to our attention by ever informative Galley Cat) is about something that we all love talking about - book covers. Tiana Smith offers a very neat comparison of various book covers of the same novels, coming to a conclusion that American readers seem to be OK with any cover, as long as there is a girl on it. We would like to add, a white and skinny girl.
Have you ever wondered what those authors, who read negative reviews of their books and then demand the reviewers to be "more professional" and "constructive," mean? Might it be, that they expect us to assess their works using the language similar to these publishing industry euphemisms? How does "book X is epic" (code words for: "too long") or "book Y is well -researched" ("reads like non-fiction") sound? No? We thought so, someone has to tell the truth, right?
Sarah Ockler had a very thoughtful (and funny) post about diversity in YA last week. This part of her post resonated the most with us:
"Actively diversifying our fiction does not mean any of the following:
- Giving a character almond-shaped eyes or coffee-mocha-latte-chocolate-hazelnut-caramel-cappuccino-colored skin. In fact, as a general rule, writers seeking inspiration solely from Starbucks menus probably need to dial down the caffeine.
- Slotting in a random person of color for no other reason than to break up the whiteness (especially if you’re writing about a place that is mostly white. Like, a Rod Stewart concert, or maybe a deer hunt).
- Sneaking in a few non-white celebrity guest appearances on a poster, an iPod, or a character’s favorite TV show. I mean, I love Fresh Prince as much as anyone, because Parents Just Don’t Understand, but no—that doesn’t count.
- Including a non-white character whose only real difference from the white characters is the color of his skin and/or his snappy catch phrases. Word!
- Conducting a find-and-replace in Word to change Breanna and Chad to Belicia and Chen. CTRL+F what?
- Putting a sushi or taco bar in the school cafeteria. Which is one of those things that sounds like a good idea at the time, but usually isn’t.
And speaking of tokeinism, constant pushing a token "gay best friend" in YA books HAS to stop as well.
And to end this edition of Odds & Ends on the Web on the brightest and most positive note, we love this adorable poster. It reflects the experiences of children who read most truthfully.