A slightly glum update (and a links round-up)

Hi everyone. Hi hello. I know I have not been answering your lovely comments or visiting your lovely blogs in the manner to which you have become accustomed. I’m sorry. I have been undergoing some life changes this summer, and although they are good ones, I have now been in flux for the greater part of four months, and I am reaching the end of my ability to cope with change. Or new information. Or new books. Or hobbies I enjoy, such as blogging. I am anxious like my head is full of bees. I am worried about the storm, and the Nazis, and whether the revised version of my life that I have taken some trouble to construct this summer will shortly come crashing down around my stupid, change-courting ears.

Anyway, not that anyone was sitting at home like “huh where is Jenny,” but that is where I have been. Undergoing changes and fretting about them. Not reading very much. I am not at my best, but also (ofc) feeling extremely guilty for not being at my best. Like who am I that I deserve to have days — entire weeks actually! — when I am not at my best? NOBODY, THAT’S WHO.

Oh, you know what’s a book I did read? I read a picture book about a girl who never makes mistakes. I loved it at once and it was #lifegoals but then, can you believe, as the book goes on, the girl makes an enormous, a genuinely mortifying mistake that would scar a real child for life; or if not that, then it would surely create in her a renewed desire to, from there on out, achieve perfection in all things. But in this NONSENSE PICTURE BOOK, do you know what happens? She resigns herself to making mistakes sometimes. HAH. The little girl in the picture book is WEAK and took the COMPLETELY WRONG LESSON away from her awful, humiliating error. What a terrible book.

Whatever. Here are some links.

On the whiteness of craft culture.

Extremist hate groups understood online platforms in a fundamental way long before the New York Times cottoned on, reports New York Times writer who doesn’t listen to black women on Twitter. (I’m being snarky, but this article makes some interesting points about how online platforms function, which is why I’m sharing it.)

Why judging the poor isn’t helping anybody.

Michael Twitty, author of a new book about black heritage and black food in the South, speaks to Hannah Giorgis of The Ringer about his family and his research.

Daniel Heath Justice on the students he teaches and the question of whether they are special snowflakes who don’t live in the real world. And a pairing: Kiese Laymon on people he knew at Vassar and their power and privilege.

MUMSY DO NOT CLICK THIS NEXT LINK. I WANT TO TELL YOU THIS STORY MYSELF. Everyone else, definitely click this next link. Okay Mumsy it is all right, I have now told you this story. Click away.

Watching the YA community doggedly figure out why Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give got bumped down to number two on the NYT Bestseller List by a book nobody had ever heard of was frankly magical. Here’s a YA literary agent breaking down why this story was so bonkers.

Speaking of scams, here’s an author who has lied about pretty much everything, including I SWEAR TO GOD making up an agent, building that fictional agent a website, and using a picture of Ian Somerhalder for that agent’s face. What is this world.

Wesley Morris on white supremacy in the pop culture of this summer.

“Jenny when will you stop linking to everything Ijeoma Iluo writes?” IDK friends but today is not that day. Here she is making me cry on the subject of talking to your kids about race early and often.

Have an amazing weekend! I will be inside my apartment all weekend trying to reconstruct my fractured ego.

I Am an Aunt: A Links Round-Up

I’m an aunt, y’all! Wooooooooo! Truly it is the happiest of Fridays! Though I can’t transmit my joy directly into your brains, I will nevertheless do my best to give you some happiness in the form of excellent links. Enjoy!

In case you missed it, I wrote a fandom vocabulary primer for the Oxford Dictionaries blog.

The goddess Alexandra Petri (the woman who brought us Emo Kylo Ren) outlines the Great American Novel.

A history of Harry Potter fandom.

The Seattle Seahawks made a loud noise about the statement they were planning to make before their opening game, but what they said was a whole lot of nothing.

“Modern patriotism has become Kabuki citizenship”: Wesley Morris burns the house down, per usual, in this piece on Colin Kaepernick for the New York Times; as does Rembert Browne for NYMag. These Grantland alums, I’m telling you!

If you believe that a frown is a thing you do with your mouth, this article is going to mess you up.

GUESS WHAT KATE BISHOP COMIC

I know it’s sad when a marriage ends, but also, my first instinct was to be excited for whatever Sam Donsky and Anne Helen Peterson were going to have to say about it, and they did not disappoint. I am just so fascinated by celebrity narrative-crafting.

Kiese Laymon on what the American flag means to him.

It’s time to retire the Rom-Com Bitch, says Bim Adewunmi, with an admirably thorough analysis that includes MY BELOVED While You Were Sleeping.

JK Rowling Does What She Wants: A links round-up

Emily Asher Perrin (writer of the superb Harry Potter Reread series on Tor.com) has some thoughts on JK Rowling’s constant expanding of the Harry Potter universe, and most of them are also my thoughts, so go see what you think.

The controversial Professor Bhaer: An investigation in five parts at the Paris Review.

Bros writing about southern food (& why it should be more ladies), over at a website I newly love, The Bitter Southerner.

This piece by Kiese Laymon about Bill Cosby and minimum standards of human decency is so, so good.

The stories you have the right to write, and building a new canon.

“Yes We Need Diverse Books. But that doesn’t always mean that we want YOU to write them.” Ellen Oh on the hip new trend of diversity, and the important work of promoting books by diverse authors.

“I Met a Sex Monster”: The Toast recaps “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”

bell hooks chats to Emma Watson, and it’s as adorable as you are imagining. Maybe even adorabler.

Christy of A Good Stopping Point has converted her great-great-grandmother’s journals into a blog! Stop by and check it out!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Why can’t you shut up about Hamilton?: A links round-up

The marvelous Kiese Laymon on Confederate flags and SEC football.

On competing for the one single diversity spot in the writers’ room: Aisha Harris writes about the unbearable whiteness of TV writers’ rooms.

Nobody could be more excited about the new Star Wars trailer than stars John Boyega and Daisy Ridley.

Recovering the history of years in slavery, and the story of a forgotten forced deportation: An article that opens with an oddly upsetting anecdote.

New details emerge about that Harry Potter play! (It’s not a prequel, it’s a sequel! Joke’s on you, prequel-wanters! You’ll never ever learn more about the Marauders.)

“Jenny, shut up about Hamilton already, Gahd!” NEVER.

Kelly Sue DeConnick spoke with Alyssa Rosenberg about her comic Bitch Planet, and predictably, she has lots of interesting things to say. In particular, she notes that comics do a thing where “they will set up something to be deliberately salacious, and then pretend to have some ethical structure around it.” YEP. The interview is in two parts, here and here.

Are you excited for Jessica Jones? Or do you wish her backstory didn’t have to be so rapey? Or both?

South By canceled a panel about harassment in gaming because they’re afraid of getting harassed. Caroline Linders, one of the organizers of the panel, has a good rundown of what happened. BuzzFeed has withdrawn participation from the festival in protest. SXSW appears to be in damage control mode, but as of today, no final decisions appear to have been made.

Review: Long Division, Kiese Laymon

Now this would have been a good read for A More Diverse Universe, if I had but read it in time. I’m going to cunningly add a link to this post to the More Diverse Universe links page, and by the time Aarti notices it will be too late to do anything about my illicit post-linking. Mwahahahaha, I am the most cunning blogger in all the land.

Long Division is about a boy named City (short for Citoyen) in 2013 who checks out a book called Long Division about a boy named City in 1985 who time-travels forward to 2013 to meet a girl called Baize, who in City (our City)’s present has disappeared and is presumed murdered. The City in our book is staying with his grandmother, who may or may not be hiding Baize Shepherd’s murderer in her toolshed. The City in his book has promised assistance to a girl he’s half in love with, Shalaya Crump, who has discovered a means of time traveling — forward to 2013, or backward to 1965, when City’s grandfather was murdered.

Your concern — I can detect it from here — is that Long Division might seem at first glance like the sort of book that would quickly disappear up its own bottom. But Kiese Laymon writes with such a light hand — funny in places, but mainly, sincere in the way that teenage boys like City are sincere, i.e., absolutely achingly but also afraid that they are about to be laughed at, and they are still in the process of deciding whether they care enough to change how sincere they’re going to be — that the convolutions of the plot feel strangely natural. Meanwhile, Laymon depicts so many different ways of resisting the insidious effects of centuries of racism; it’s a beautifully textured look at what racism has looked like at different points in our country’s history, and how people have dealt with it.

Also cause: Metafiction! I am all about it. What about y’all? I know that you all love Jasper Fforde, and I wish I could be there with you. Apart from that, what’s some metafiction that you adore?