THE BIG NEWS THIS WEEK
An article in the New York Times claims, among other things, that boys don't read because children's literature is
"fueled by talented young female novelists fresh from M.F.A. programs who in earlier times would have been writing midlist adult fiction. Their novels are bought by female editors, stocked by female librarians and taught by female teachers. It’s a cliché but mostly true that while teenage girls will read books about boys, teenage boys will rarely read books with predominately female characters."As you might imagine, the YA community had a few things to say in response. The Rejectionist asks, "Can we just pony up for once and admit, collectively, that the problem is a culture that raises boys to be sociopaths?" Aja Romano does an admirable job of taking the NYT article apart piece by piece using actual *gasp* statistics and citations! Saundra Mitchell points out that the problem is not the books, and goes on to explain why the problem is not the books; Novel Novice disagrees with her and thinks we should get boys reading no matter what. My own not-so-scientific look at the "girliness" of YA covers was actually posted a few days before all this discussion, but disagrees with the "no matter what" contention, and finds only a little over half of covers are conceivably off-putting in the first place.
Meanwhile the Boys Don't Read blog has a funny "view from the bleachers," followed by a great post about finding "a book that’s great, not because it was for girls or boys, but because it nailed what it means to struggle. To love. To fail. To win."
THIS WEEK IN WRITING
- Author Sara Zarr explains why writing is hard and how chocolate can help.
- Daily Writing Tips ponders whether "they" is acceptable as a singular pronoun.
- According to our girls Quita and Pam, MFA stands for "Mutha Bleepin' Awesome!"
- Our friend Cory Jackson is doing a series on lessons learned, including this great post on "moxie" from Kathleen Peacock.
- Author AJ Larrieu graphs her brain on revisions.
- Great posts from some YA Highway contributors: Stephanie Kuehn on the importance of playtime, to us and to our characters; Sumayyah Daud on "Shifting Expectations;" and Phoebe North on authors offering explanations after the book is out.
- Another immensely helpful Scrivener post: How Justine Larbalestier wrote Liar using the program.
- Author Gretchen McNeil says that diversity is in the eye of the beholder.
- Two signs of overwriting and why it's a problem, from agent Mary Kole.
- Write It Sideways is doing a series of 101 best writing tips.
- Author Beth Revis has a deep dark secret: She likes book reviews. Especially the bad ones.
- "It’s just… quiet. Which must be what it is like for the rest of the world, for the muggles who are better at parties and schedules and wardrobes than I am." Barbara O'Neal on taking care of "the girls in the basement."
THIS WEEK IN READING
- Lots of talk about stars on Goodreads this week, starting with a comment author Victoria Schwab made on Twitter about Goodreads allowing books to be rated before ARCs are out (or even before manuscripts exist, in some cases). The ladies at Adventures in Children's Publishing ran with it; Victoria posted about it and entertained debate in the comments, then posted her final thoughts on the issue. Bookalicious Pam has a funny open letter to Goodreads about it, and someone in her comments linked to a discussion last year on the site itself.
- Cool infographic of the books President Obama has read during his term, over at The Daily Beast.
- Foreign Policy looks at "the long process of reconciliation and reform" in a post-Potter conflict world.
- Nominations are open for YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults and Morris Awards.
- Haruki Murakami books pulled from New Jersey reading list because of gay sex scenes.
- Apparently you can mess with Texas: TDOT issues restraining order over romance title and loses.
- The science of how a book changes your life.
- Sci fi fans! Check out Intergalactic Academy, uniting readers of young adult science fiction across seven solar systems.
THIS WEEK IN PUBLISHING
- BookTrack will publish e-books with their own soundtracks.
- Agent Jennifer Laughran helps you avoid scammers and explains what happens when your agent can't sell your book.
- Jane Lebak at QueryTracker has a safer way to get yourself noticed by agents.
- Why you might not want that big advance, from agent Rachelle Gardner.
- Chuck Sambuchino gives the pros and cons of signing with a new agent.
- Six overlooked querying steps, courtesy of author Sarah Ockler.
- Agent Sarah LaPolla suggests you reconsider saying you've done these things in your query.
- Love this post: Author Betsy Cornwell on how signing with her agent didn't instantly make her cool.
- How much do book designers earn?
- Simon & Schuster signs deal to handle distribution of self-published author's books.
- Real life rejections: From editors, at Rachelle Gardner's blog, and from agents, at Kate Testerman's blog.
THIS WEEK IN MARKETING
- Author Steph Bowe has advice on dealing with people for the socially awkward.
- 12 essentials for an author's website, from Bryan Thomas Schmidt.
- Less is more: The Guardian wonders if Pottermore is overload for fans; The Wall has an infographic showing how many tweets and Facebook updates are too many; ProBlogger talks about the minimum effective dose of social media.
- Chuck Wendig has a great list of 25 things authors should know about social media.
THIS WEEK IN OTHER STUFF
- Seriously, what's up with all the Slave Leias? Geek girls and the problem of self-objectification, at Geek Feminism. Semi-related: Great post at Feministe on the importance of movie casting in breaking stereotypes.
- FIRST LOOK at the Hunger Games trailer, this Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards!
- The movie version of Stephenie Meyer's The Host has a release date!
- Universal pulls the plug on Wicked Lovely movie; producers searching for new home. (Fingers crossed!)
- How mobile technology is changing kids' brains, and how to harness that change for good, at Salon.
- Love this story of taking real action against bullies: "Photographer Refuses to Shoot People Who Are Too Ugly (On The Inside)."
- Emily St. John Mandel has five things never to ask at a bookstore reading.
- Need new music to write to? Check out authors' playlists on Spotify, look for them on Rhapsody's new social sharing, or check out lists like this one, sent to us by Some Screaming Fangirl.
- Tech stuff: Keep an eye out for big changes to Facebook's privacy settings, likely inspired by the features of Google+; Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple.
- What JRR Tolkien said to the Nazis when they asked if he was Jewish (via @smartbitches).
- The US Attorney General looks to break the "school-to-prison" pipeline, starting with Texas.
- Grammar fail on Old Navy's college t-shirts.
- The 2015 Mindset List is out, including facts about freshman starting college this month (like our member Emilia Plater!!) like, in their lifetimes, "The Communist Party has never been the official political party in Russia," "Music has always been available via free downloads," and "Life has always been like a box of chocolates."
THIS WEEK IN CONTESTS
- Flash Paranormal Fiction is looking for scary stories to post every day in October.
- Shannon Whitney Messenger is giving away ARCs of Crossed, Shatter Me, The Scorpio Races, and Perfect.
- Tayrn Albright is giving away an audio book of The Fox Inheritance!
- Ara Grigorian is giving away signed copies of Plot and Structure and Art of War for Writers!
- Happy blogaversary to Jessica Love! She's celebrating with signed copies of Speak and Beauty Queens, plus a pre-order of Lola and the Boy Next Door!
THIS WEEK IN THE RANDOM
Animals at the Smithsonian National Zoo reacted to this week's East Coast earthquake before the earthquake happened (except for the giant pandas, who, like the honey badger, appear to just not give a $hit).
Test your vocab!
The Triumph and Tragedy of Lisa Frank (teddy bears don't wear top hats!).
Seventeen's most memorable covers featuring stars before they were stars
Dr. Seuss vs Shakespeare: Epic Rap Battle [possibly NSFW]
Have a great weekend!
~ Kate Hart