Boys Don’t Like Girls in Promotional Hats: A Links Round-Up

Okay, this is super late and I apologize to everyone. I was on vacation. Some of these links are old! Old but STILL SO GOOD. I love you all, and I hope you have an excellent weekend, though unless yours contains a crawfish boil it won’t be as good as mine.

I’m glad to see We Rate Dogs receiving the credit it deserves for linguistic innovation.

Here’s what happened when one person ate three eggs for breakfast every day of the week.

There are in fact several reasons I’m not watching The Handmaid’s Tale, some personal and some ideological, but I still absolutely loved this piece on whiteness in Gilead. Soraya McDonald is one of my favorite critics now working.

“Boys don’t like girls in promotional hats” is one of my favorite lines I have ever encountered. Scaachi Koul on hating shopping, but wanting nice clothes. I must warn you that this essay is an emotional rollercoaster, and I wish I had known in advance that she doesn’t, in the end, buy the skirt.

A surprisingly touching article about book-banning, in which I OH MY GOD sympathize about not wanting to discuss Brave New World with a bunch of middle-school boys.

Here’s a summer book preview from Buzzfeed, an outlet that reliably brings me exciting, diverse book previews. Thanks, Buzzfeed!

Some excellent advice from Ijeoma Iluo re: interrogating your own beliefs. I’m going to do my very best to bring this into my own life.

If you missed the Appropriation Prize debacle, I am happy for you. If you didn’t Jezebel can catch you up on this idiotic mess. Author Silvia Moreno-Garcia has begun collecting funds for an Emerging Indigenous Voices Award, about which more here.

Vox asked indie booksellers what books they’re excited to read this summer. I am painfully excited for Yuri Herrera’s new book, which I did not know was happening.

My favorite thing about this Atlantic article on the dangers of reading in bed is that an equivalent number of fires were started by cats in the mid-1800s as by people reading in bed. Just, like, this was not a time period well suited to Book Twitter’s favorite pursuits, is all I’m saying.

Such a good article about why Marvel is struggling (spoiler: it’s their own stupid fault).

Have a great weekend! Tip your servers! Nick Spencer is a poophead!

Whatever Else You Do, Read This Rachel Dolezal Piece: A Links Round-Up

We made it to another Friday, friends! I hope you all have restful and pleasant weekends scheduled, with lots of yummy foods and indulgent television. But before you get to that, I implore you to give yourselves the unparalleled gift of my first link, a piece about Rachel Dolezal that crashed The Stranger‘s website and hopefully introduced many new people to the superb work of Ijeoma Iluo. So far everyone I’ve sent it to has said “Damn, DAMN” to me — not once but several times — while quoting back to me relevant sections of the article. Feel free to have that response at me on Twitter; I enjoy it.

“I am beginning to wonder if it isn’t blackness that Dolezal doesn’t understand, but whiteness”: Ijeoma Iluo interviews Rachel Dolezal.

The Guardian carried a really fascinating article about separating the artist from the art (and finding ways to acknowledge both artistic brilliance and personal turpitude).

Hysteria, Hillary Clinton, and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a sobering read.

Okay I guess I am a credulous lambkin but this Tampa Bay Times article about farmers’ market produce not really being from local farms blew my mind.

Racebending vs. whitewashing (and another reminder why I love Geeks of Color).

Emily Asher-Perrin on being the uneasy girl in horror movies who nobody believes.

I grabbed Deepak Unnikrishnan’s book on a whim at the library last Saturday, and shortly thereafter I discovered this excellent New Yorker article about him and his book about foreign workers in the UAE.

Welp this remark about what fanfic is for is searingly accurate.

I’m furious at 13 Reasons Why, and this post and this post are two (YES I’M DOING THIS) reasons why. My brother-in-law, who teaches high schoolers, reports that all his students are watching and loving it, and I want to protect all those babies from this harmful nonsense. Ugh.

“Write the things that are weird about your culture, for an audience that isn’t like you”: Six authors of color discuss what they are told when submitting speculative fiction stories to agents and publishers.

I quietly enjoy David Foster Wallace’s essays while feeling very confident that I would loathe his fiction and probably end up wanting to beat him over the head with a tennis racket, so this article on men recommending David Foster Wallace until the heat death of the sun really resonated with me. This Sarah McCarry response includes an excellent anecdote.

Why are you still reading this! Go read that Rachel Dolezal piece!

BOYS SHOULD GET TO WEAR MAKEUP: A Links Round-Up

It’s Friday, friends, and I’m working all day tomorrow at a conference. Here’s hoping that you have a wonderful and restful weekend, and that if I don’t get enough sleep (I won’t) or find a reasonable place to park (I won’t), I at least manage to buy some terrific books at discount last-day-of-conference prices.

All the excuses people give for making shitty racist movies, and why none of them are that convincing. (Clap your hands if you are pleased to see Ghost in the Shell bombing.)

On feminist SF writers and the dystopian worlds they create. And it’s got a hell of a concluding paragraph.

Oliver Sacks’s partner, Bill Hayes, writes with such clear-eyed love and sweetness about Oliver Sacks. It’s not everyone who can write about the person they love as well as this.

Feminist hypocrisy is the new trend in start-up narratives.

I am perennially furious that guys are given such a narrow range of potential gender performance. Boys look great in makeup! Let boys wear makeup, society! Here is a deeply personal and lovely essay about sexuality, gender performance, and Snapchat makeup filters.

Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers (which I liked a lot), talks to The Millions about black stories and having her book adapted for film.

On the myth of the lone wolf terrorist.

This article and then this article on the accuracy of the therapist’s depiction on Big Little Lies has made me 150% more likely to actually watch this show.

Art world scandals are my favorite scandals.

Marvel’s being shitty again, but luckily Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is here to explain what’s going on. Swapna Krishna has some ideas for Marvel to bring in more female readers.

Stephanie Powell Watts on books you love that don’t love you back.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Interrupting Women: A Links Round-Up

A man named Ben Blatt analyzed — among other things — the gendering of certain terms and descriptions in fiction. My favorite finding is that male writers were 75% more likely to depict female characters interrupting male characters. TYPICAL.

On diversity in historical romance.

Given the history of Nazi appropriation of medieval studies and folklore, I was particularly interested in this February series at the Public Medievalist about people of color in the medieval world. The introduction to the series is here, and you can click through to the other pieces in it.

Well this story about a doctor who reads a lot but never any women makes me want to punch someone.

Why “we made it for the fans, not the critics” is nonsense.

The US is insisting that Cambodia pay off a huge debt incurred by a dictator the US installed via coup. It’s tremendously garbage.

How to counteract gaslighting.

Linda Holmes is predictably fantastic on the “Missing Richard Simmons” podcast.

I loved this Jezebel review of a book called How Not to Hate Your Husband after Kids, which both gets at a lot of intractable gender dynamics and made me want to read this book whose title initially really really put my back up.

Author Karan Mahajan on being brown in Austin.

Jia Tolentino is such a terrific writer. Here’s her piece on the gig economy and how it celebrates overwork.

Belle should have married Gaston: A historical perspective.

Why do dude journalists think lady celebrities want to sleep with them (spoilers: they don’t)?

Spoilsport Big Sisters: A Links Round-Up

Happy Friday, everyone! This week’s been a good one for me, not least because absolutely everybody seems to really hate the new Netflix Iron Fist. The internet tried to warn you, Netflix!

“We try not to get too hung up on the split infinitive”: Here’s some charming stories about copyediting and style guides.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw at the Daily Dot adored Logan and made me feel pretty sure that I will too.1 Likewise Emily Asher-Perrin at Tor, who does the excellent thing of saying a superhero movie is very good without trashing all other superhero movies.

Emily Yoshida wrote this thing about silent murder girls in Logan (and elsewhere).

Raise a glass to the spoilsport big sisters of literature.

YA author LJ Alonge on how to write black stories without catering to the white gaze.

Do not read this article if you have not yet finished season one of The Good Place and dislike spoilers (also, catch up on The Good Place!). But here is an interview with showrunner Mike Schur about how he crafted the season, and it’s aces.

I feel tingles of pleasure when I read negative reviews of Iron Fist, which sounds like a badly paced, badly directed, badly written mess. Yay. Maureen Ryan calls it “about as exciting as a slice of Velveeta cheese left out in the sun too long.” Kwame Opam describes it as a “boring, confused, and often offensive mess of a series.” Susana Polo says it was so bad she found herself “incredulously texting coworkers who also had screener access to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.”

This piece on The Learned Fangirl draws parallels between the WGN show Underground (which I haven’t seen yet) and Nisi Shawl’s superb work of what she calls AfroRetroFuturism, Everfair.

Buzzfeed ran a round-up of takes on the women’s strike and a round-up of reports from women on why and how they did or did not participate.

This profile of The Ripped Bodice, a romance novels bookstore in Los Angeles, made me happy in every possible way.2

Another links round-up, another Vulture piece by Angelica Jade Bastien making me happy. This one’s about Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends. Stay brave!

  1. Ugh except I’ve seen like four separate reviews that said Logan made them really realize what metal claws could do to a person’s flesh, which — eurgh.
  2. Except there’s a few spots where it’s condescending cause a non-romance-reader wrote it, like “they have enough perspective to recognize the inherent humor in their trade.” Shut up, sir.

My Name Is Roger Murdock: A Links Round-Up

Another Friday, another links round-up. This week I had some super good chili and spoke with a sternness to my elected senator at a town hall. What’s your week been like? Regardless I have brought you this links round-up for your enjoyment, and I hope that your weekend is full of sunshine and baby kisses.

There is an excellent kicker to this New York Times story about Neil Gaiman and his new book.

Why yes I WOULD care for a Frankenstein story by Victor Lavalle that also pulls in the Black Lives Matter movement. THANK YOU FOR ASKING.

Angelica Jade Bastien on Legion (mm, yes, this is the review I was waiting for).

Even when the world is garbage, I still enjoy a celebrity Twitter feud. Have you been following the one between Piers Morgan and JK Rowling? It’s gold, and Piers Morgan’s son weighing in is the best thing about it.

Bookstores fight hate.

Manjula Martin on never becoming famous for your writing.

You have to know about this territory called Neutral Moresnet that Belgium and Prussia owned jointly for a century. Zinc and Esperanto are involved.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has some feelings about La La Land and white dudes in jazz. Can I just say that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s encore career as a cultural critic is one of my favorite things in this life? Have I said that before? IT REMAINS TRUE.

The critical discourse around Jordan Peele’s new horror film Get Out has been ON POINT. Here’s Jordan Crucchiola at Vulture on how it makes “good” white ladies terrifying. Here’s Frederick McKindra, a Buzzfeed News Emerging Writer Fellow (yay for new critics!), on how the movie allows black men to be scared rather than scary. If you’ve seen this movie please get at me in the comments so I can ask you questions about how torturey it gets.

Stay brave!

Really a Lot of Handsome Men: A Links Round-Up

If you are an enjoyer of handsome men, this is the links round-up for you! To be quite honest, the world has been mighty daunting these past two weeks, and I haven’t wanted to include a lot of things in my links round-up that would bum you out more. I tried to mostly have fun stuff in here instead. Not sure if this is going to be the new path forward for these links round-ups? I don’t know. Do y’all have a preference? Incisive commentary, or fluffy cheering-up items? A blend?

Angelica Jade Bastién wrote that piece for Vulture a while back about James Marsden’s handsomeness, and here she’s got another one about Jude Law’s handsomeness. This type of piece can always happen, please and thank you.

Here’s Rawaha Haile on hiking the Appalachian trail with black authors for company.

Idris Elba gets dating advice from children. You’re welcome.

The complexity of being a New England Patriots fan and why it’s not fun anymore. This is actually super relatable to me, even though I hate the Patriots with the fire of a thousand suns.

Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in to the Oregonian to protest the comparison of “alternative facts” to the work of science fiction writers.

I have a lot, A LOT, of questions about what goes on at a miniaturist convention. A LOT, and also, I kind of want to go to a miniaturist convention and then write a murder mystery set at a miniaturist convention. Don’t you?

On revisiting James Baldwin, and struggling to find hope.

I honestly am so joyful when GQ releases longform celebrity profiles. Even when they’re positive, like this one, they are also SO BRUTAL. Here’s a brutal, funny, affectionate profile of Tom Hiddleston.

Here is a happy song for babies. It is also a happy song for adults like me. I bought it on Amazon and have listened to it on repeat, um, kind of a lot. You can listen for free here!

Enjoy your weekends!

Breathing into a Paper Bag: A Links Round-Up

Welp, this has been a flatly terrifying week. Everyone take good care of yourself this weekend. Eat some yummy foods. Hug some puppies. We’ll be here for you on Monday. My links are mostly unscary ones because I care about you and I’m guessing your Twitter feed has been scary enough lately.

Writers always wrote for money, so why do we suddenly have this idea that good writing springs purely from love?

Also, why writers are so reluctant to talk about their pay in specific terms. This article is a review of the edited collection Scratch, and the one above is an excerpt from it. Media saturation! (But also I just find this really interesting.)

That new DOJ report on patterns of abuse in the Chicago Police Department is pretty scary and upsetting. (So it’s okay to skip this link if you are scary-and-upsetting-ed out for the week.) They do bad things to children. Why again do people oppose increased transparency/accountability in police departments?

Daniel Handler on creating the new Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix show. I have some issues with the show but love how diverse the casting is! Even in crowd scenes! It is like the showrunners wanted to reflect the real world or something!

Here’s a super nifty and adorable animated representation of the Joseph Campbell model of the Hero’s Journey. It’s useful because we are all becoming heroes in this new administration! Being a hero sucks most of the time, but we can do it.

My sister sent me this v. interesting article on Afghan women’s poetry. It is fascinating but sad, so be aware before you click that sadness will ensue.

Why the band The Slants might depend on the same laws and court decisions that protect the Washington football team (or they may not) (it’s complicated).

Swapna Krishna on punching Nazis and Nick Spencer ferociously criticizing same.

My friend Alice made me cry by talking about keeping our voices lifted even when it seems like we’re not having any effect on those in power.

The myth of the peaceful women’s march (or, why it’s wrong to feel morally superior about no arrests this weekend).

That’s all for now! Have as good a weekend as you can, and I’ll see you back here on Monday to keep talking about books and protesting this presidency.

Shameless Self-Plugs: A Links Round-Up

I’ve been bouncing around the internets with my writing thoughts. Have some of my word-related New Year’s Resolutions over at the Oxford Dictionaries blog! Then enjoy my picks for 2016 Smugglivus, over at Book Smugglers!

Maddy Myers is great, y’all. Here she is on on-screen queer kisses over at The Mary Sue.

Y’all, you guys, hey everyone, guess what! England is about to get the FIRST EVER Kurdish novel to be translated into English. How cool! How good for the Kurds! I hope it publishes in the US also!

This Natalie Luhrs piece for Uncanny Magazine unpacks what’s so great about romance novels — among other things, it’s that romance takes emotional growth really seriously.

This Sarah Jeong article about the Star Wars prequels makes a pretty good case for its conclusion:

I guess what I’m saying is, maybe if the Galactic Senate hadn’t defunded Planned Parenthood, the Republic wouldn’t have succumbed to an evil fascist dictatorship.

Speaking of Star Wars, I never do this, but I loved this Bodhi Rook-centric fic so much that I’m sharing it here. Even if you don’t read a lot of fanfic, read this one. It’s superb. Hat tip to Rukmini Pande for the rec.

Some book adaptations coming to TV this year. GET PSYCHED.

The Millions has released their glorious, glorious 2017 book preview (through June). TBR lists beware!

Your reminder that writing white supremacy into disciplines of folklore and medievalism was a major strategy of the Nazi regime. (Or: on white nationalism in medieval studies.)

The world has been feeling more than ever like hot garbage this month, but I also read this Twitter thread about C.S. Lewis and Susan, and it meant the world to me. Cf: this excellent point.

I hope you all have an exceptionally fortunate Friday the 13th! If you need something to give you a little boost, maybe try the new Netflix Series of Unfortunate Events, which looks really fun.

NPR BOOK CONCIERGE TIIIIIIIIME: A Totally Chill Links Round-Up

Good morning! I have started a new thing that I wanted to tell you about, where I thank journalists when I read a story that I particularly like. There is every reason to do this (especially under the new administration, which we already know will be very hostile to journalists) and no reason not to. Try it!

The NPR Book Concierge has arrived once again! Every year I get zillions of recommendations from this thing, and you should too!

How fantasy movies portray the experience of oppression in near-totally white terms (by the fabulous Zeba Blay).

Vann R. Newkirk II is flames emoji as usual on calling out racism and the value of civility.

The Eritrean soccer league keeps defecting en masse when it goes to games overseas. The author of this article, Alexis Okeowo, allegedly has a book about resisting extremism in Africa, and I am going to read it twice because this article on Eritrean soccer is incredible.

2016 was the year America finally saw the (black) South: A super-great article by Jesmyn Ward. Oh! I forgot to tell you! Last night I dreamed I met Jesmyn Ward, and I wanted to tell her that I admired her work, but all I had read of hers was THIS ONE ARTICLE, and I felt terribly embarrassed that I hadn’t read any of her books yet. I was like “But — I mean, but, I have The Fire This Time at my apartment right now!” and Jesmyn Ward, in my dream, couldn’t have been more polite about it.

The rise of the romance novel (including the genuinely fucking awful The Flame and the Flower, dear God I want those hours of my life back). This article notably includes a picture of romance novelist Rosemary Rogers in a sari because of course.

Authors from around the world discuss colonialism and literature.

It’s been a while since we had a bonkers story in this round-up! Let’s have one: Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, is embroiled in a deeply weird financial scheme regarding Hatchimals (a prime Christmas gift for children).

Zadie Smith talks about the experimental (or otherwise) nature of multiculturalism and her hopes for the future.