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Field Trip Friday: September 30, 2011

This week is Banned Books Week and the blogosphere has been full of great posts about freedom to read. A few of my favorites:

- The American Library Association's official Banned Books 2011 site, and their breakdown of the most challenged books by year, author, and decade. There's also this great interactive infographic on the most banned books of 2010 from the Huffington Post, and the most challenged classic children's books. Welcome to the 21st century, where Harry Potter is the most banned book so far.

- What books should REALLY be banned? The ladies of ForeverYA have some interesting suggestions (how one man's love of his shovel might lead to Arctic drilling! Supernatural nonsense! Also, a drinking game), and Salon says please consider the geeks when putting THE LORD OF THE FLIES on the required reading list "for the love of sweet suffering Jesus."

- A Google Map of places in the U.S. where books were challenged between 2009 and 2011, indicating titles, reasons for the challenge and ultimate results (BRAVE NEW WORLD is equally offensive on both coasts).

- Real teens discuss what kinds of books should be banned (anti-feminist books are OUT) if a rating system might help, and what controversial topics they want to see more of on YA Confidential (also, Canadian birthing methods).

- Flavorwire points out 10 amazing books that were banned for including, or referring to, sex.

- The ladies of Paper Hangover have a step by step list of how to write a banned book (hint: ALIENS).

- How well do you know your banned books? The Half Price Book Blog has a quiz!

Another BIG NEWS THING was Amazon's announcement that several new versions of the Kindle will debut in November, including one tablet whose name brings up disturbing mental images of book burning.

- I literally would never refute the enormity of this list of the top 10 most misused words in the English language.

- Chuck Wendig, author and purveyor of hilarious blog posts, warns of the thing writers should fear more than laziness, more than internet porn, more than DORITOS (!): self-doubt. And he explains how to crush it. (Also, he pinpoints the reason I LOVE revising: "It’s like the writer gets one giant infinite roll of duct tape.")

- Debut author Jessica Spotswood says "we have a responsibility to think about" writing diversity in our books---and not to let a lack of experience keep us from exploring it.

- Author Malinda Lo provides a guide for not giving up, from the "idea" stage all the way to the "revisions" phase.

- Author Nova Ren Suma says for great ideas and reflection, you should get a treadmill desk. Or, you know, maybe you could just actually take a walk outside.

- Don't let those buns go from steel to cornmeal! If you're not motivated by a normal writer workout, or a Lion King/Bouncing Bunny one, try this: an app that will get you sprinting away from a zombie horde!

- Editor Molly O'Neill says that, sometimes, bringing together the disparate threads of a story can be kind of like playing unicycle basketball... (there are videos. for explanation purposes, obviously.)

- Author Rebecca Behrens says when it comes to slang in your manuscript, don't try to make FETCH happen.

- Author Melodie Wright has a few crazy-helpful suggestions for places to begin researching your novel online.

- While writing a book may be a marathon, Julie Musil reflects on why that makes it even more important not to run in circles.


- Book blogger and new college student Meg at In Which a Girl Reads speaks for every early 20-something and says it's about damned time for those 'New Adult' novels already. "YA has books that are like friends you can lean shoulders on or maybe older siblings that tell you what to expect. ...There's nothing of that sort for college. Or more precisely, that aching feeling you get of not being home anymore and of being a semi-adult and figuring out how to take care of yourself."

- The Atlantic has a Virtual History of Literary References Made in the Simpsons---which turns 23 this week (that's a lot of fourth grade required reading lists). Of course you shouldn't forget to follow The Lisa Simpson Book Club, either.

- The School Library Journal has a glimpse into what diverse teen communities are reading.

- The Calgary Herald has some incredible photos of the 12 Coolest Libraries in the World, including one dedicated to Dr. Seuss in San Diego, and the Seattle Public Library.

- Jeopardy mega-champion and all-star Alex Trebek flusterer Ken Jennings has five books that are guaranteed to make you smarter... or at least more equipped with random knowledge. And here's a handy post from Flavorwire that will guide you through ten classic books in less than a minute.

- The Huffington Post asks: Is high school ruining young readers?

- The Digital Reader has a great infographic on how ebook readers are finding their books (Most ebook readers do NOT find recommendations through traditional print media. Color me surprised.)

- Agent Sara Crowe demystifies the preparation process an agent goes through when selling foreign rights at book fairs. (Yes, she's ALREADY looking ahead to Bologna!)

Writer Beware has started a blog series examining Bad Publishing Contract Clauses (sometimes reading the fine print is hard, even for writers).

- Check out this open call for submissions on humorous short stories dealing with ethnicity and race.

Marian Lizzi, Editor in Chief for Perigee books, says while writers have rejection, editors have the heartache of "the one that got away."

- Agent Rachel Kent shares what the hiccups in the Netflix/Qwikster roll-out can teach authors about branding.


- "We betray our own stories when we rewrite them with all the hard parts left out, when we make them over so that everyone is young and beautiful and no one ever cried. Nostalgia doesn't just make for bad history; it makes for bad art." Author Le R has an incredible post that's kind of about Pearl Jam, but also about the indulgence of revisionist history and how choosing what to write (or remember) rids a story (or a history), of all its true meaning.

- Evangeline Lilly tells Tolkien purists to trust that Peter Jackson knows what he's doing in adding new characters to The Hobbit. Mainly because, um, there are NO GIRLS in the book? At all?
- Facebook is reinventing itself (again), and Mashable warns that most people are NOT going to like it. "Rather than just displaying your most recent activities, your profile will become a scrapbook documenting your entire life, all the way back to your birth. Facebook will become a record of your existence: All your memories, your victories and your defeats, your loves, your losses and everything in between." If you want to to systematically reverse its intrusions into your privacy/internet browser/high school diaries/cranial synapses, here's a handy guide to kill the newsfeed (via Agent Sarah LaPolla).
- Authors Laini Taylor and Colin Meloy might need to make room: has rated Portland, Oregon as theTop City for Book Lovers, with no less than 139 independent book shops in the metro area. (It was also named the fifth-best city for public transportation in the country, and the absolute best in bike culture, AND it has more breweries than any other city on the planet. Watch me pack my bags right. now.)

- Office star and writer (and personal hero) Mindy Kaling equates the women of romantic comedies with Sci-Fi creatures like Mothra.

- All I have to say is: SEXY MALE LIBRARIAN CALENDAR. This is like the thinking girl (or guy)'s hot firemen calendar. ALSO all the proceeds benefit the It Gets Better Project.

- The movie for ENDER'S GAME has put out a casting call for 10 characters!


- YATopia is hosting a pitch contest with D4EO Agent Mandy Hubbard.

- Author Alison Miller is giving away copies of frequently-banned books THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky and PERFECT by Ellen Hopkins.

- YA book blogger Crystal is giving away a pack of book swag for her blogoversary!

- Teen reader and blogger Julie is having a fun giveaway with books, a personalized T-shirt, and a copy of A Hard Day's Night (how can you go wrong with The Beatles??)!

- Teen reader, writer, and editor Taryn has a whole bunch of books she's giving away, AND a pretty incredible stack of SIGNED CDs of some YA authors' most inspiring writing music.

- And Claire Dawn is hosting a giveaway of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin!

- Book bloggers Sash & Em are giving away a copy of CROSSED by Allie Condie!


This Sesame Street skit has more character consistency than GLEE, and it's generally pretty hilarious.

Who needs Edward Cullen when these undead hotties are out there for real?

somewhat related...

And Stephen King confirms that the sequel to THE SHINING is really happening by READING FROM IT:

Have a great weekend, everyone! (And Kate will be back next week, don't worry!)
~ Sarah
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  1. Holy Mackerel, a lot happened this week.

    We should all strive to write a banned book. Look at all the attention they get! :)

    Thanks so much for the YA Confidential shout out. We appreciate it immensely.

    Happy Friday!

  2. Great roundup, as always! Thanks for linking to my post. :)

  3. Awesome linkage! SO many things for me to check out. Although, I do have to ask... Is it alright that I try to make "FETCH" happen in real life still?

    Thanks for the YA Confidential love <3

  4. What an awesome list of links! Thanks so much for the linkage AND for the kind mention. I appreciate it. Have a great weekend!

  5. Wait wait wait... A SEQUEL TO THE SHINING!??!?! lkjhlkjkjfjdlg';lo

  6. Thanks for the link, guys!
    And that Sesame Street clip is hilarious.

  7. This is a very comprehensive roundup. Excellent job putting all this together.

    The ladies (and one gentleman) of Paper Hangover thanks you for linking to our post on How to Write a Banned Book.

  8. Awesome round up, Sarah! And thanks for the YA Confidential love!!! And for linking to my giveaway!

  9. Excellent roundup.
    Thank you so much for sharing that Sesame Street bit. It absolutely made my night.


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