What evidently isn't over is the practice of writing absolutely inane articles about YA, articles with sweeping conclusions and generalizations not backed up by actual reading of any YA literature, except Twilight, of course. In her article almost menacingly titled YA Fiction and the End of Boys Sarah Mesle (who, by the way, teaches YA literature), speculates that while YA opens the doors for the discussion of what it means to be a good woman (your usual Bella/Katniss dilemma), it doesn't talk at all about what it means to be a good man (only Edward and Jacob models are at hand to go by). She also seems to regret that her preferred type of masculinity (the one found in 19th century lit aimed at young adults) is not represented enough in contemporary teen novels.
We are not going to argue that there are many unhealthy male role models that exist in girl-oriented YA fiction, but to say that there are no teen books that explore how to be an honorable, brave man is just an indicator of Mesle's poor familiarity with contemporary YA. You should check out Phoebe North's post YA and Boys and the Problem of Limited Historical Context, where she disagrees with Mesle's arguments quite nicely. We, The Readventurers, on our side should probably start working on our next Wall of Books, this time dedicated to YA books with boy appeal. Because no matter how often people like Mesle talk about the lack of books for teen boys, all they prove is that they don't make any effort whatsoever to actually seek them out and instead build their arguments around a couple of the most visible bestsellers.
If you are interested in ever-living Amazon-is-a-killer-of-all-good debate, there is a couple of articles you might find entertaining. The New York Times' Booksellers Resisting Amazon’s Disruption talks about how booksellers have been standing in the way (and it appears rather successfully) of Amazon's efforts to break into serious book publishing. And The Guardian's Book publishers have long been playing into Amazon's hands explores the history of publishing, noting that if anything is disrupting the publishing industry, it's the publishers themselves who over the years have made themselves more vulnerable to Amazon's takeover:
"The funny thing about the publishing industry is that long before it was really threatened by the internet it was busily rearranging itself so as to make it more vulnerable to it. The process was vividly described by sociologist John Thompson in his book Merchants of Culture, the best account we have of what happened to publishing. As Professor Thompson tells it, the transformation of the industry occurred in three phases. In the first, the retail environment changed as large chains (Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Borders et al) supplanted independent bookstores. This created a new phenomenon – the mass-market hardback. Second, a new breed of aggressive literary agent appeared, poaching authors and leaning on publishers for unsustainable advances for the aforementioned hardbacks. And finally, large public corporations (think Bertelsmann, Pearson, News Corp) started acquiring the smallish publishing houses that once constituted the bulk of the industry, in the process transforming something that was once based on private ownership, long-term thinking, the nurturing of authors and backlists into an industry driven predominately by the obsession of stock markets with short-term (ie quarterly) results."
Have you ever wondered if our beloved The Hunger Games trilogy would succeed if published today? io9 asked various publishing people for an opinion. If there is any lesson to be learned from this article , it is that publishing seems to have a sheep-like mentality with the majority working in it preoccupied with chasing trends and over-saturating the market with poor imitations of bestsellers and not at all with searching for originality and quality. Special eye roll goes to:
"Says Laurie McLean with Larsen Pomada Literary Agents, "I believe The Hunger Games might well be lost in a sea of YA dystopian thrillers today, especially if it followed a book like Divergent by Veronica Roth, which is better written with a more intricate and interesting story." She adds, "There's a lot to be said about being first in a new trend.""
Some small book news:
If you are a fan of Maria Snyder's Study books, rejoice, there will be another Study trilogy.
Britney Spears might become a YA writer too. Another masterpiece a la Tyra Bank's Modelland (current average Goodreads rating of 2.86)? We shall see.
Helen Fielding is writing the 3rd Bridget Jones novel. 1) It is unclear yet how Fielding's previous attempt at writing this 3rd book, that was published in a series of columns in The Independent in 2005, will factor into this novel and 2) Hasn't this ship sailed already?
Good news for Outlander fans. Looks like the TV show will be made indeed. Considering that it will air on Starz, we can be sure all smut will remain intact, right?
If you have already read Days of Blood and Starlight, or are planning to, you should check out Laini Taylor's short but meaty blog tour. All stops are full of awesome insight and teasers.
Do you remember those horrid, book-destroying DIY decorative projects we love to talk about? Well, Flannery found one that we can totally get behind.