“That racist thing where I touch your hair”: A links round-up

I could not be more excited about the new Lifetime show UnREAL.

“Now I’m going to do that racist thing where I touch your hair.” Saeed Jones on being black in the book world.

A moderate voice on trigger warnings for the classics. And another piece on trigger warnings generally, which makes the point that it’s not about whether to teach this or that troubling text, but how.

Brit Bennett of the Paris Review on Addy Walker and black dolls in American culture. No joke, y’all, I reread the Addy books recently and they are fucking brutal.

Gender differences in how we write on the internet. (Women do it better, but don’t be jealous.)

In the wake of that all-white New York Times summer reading list, Roxane Gay talks about conversations around diversity and how tired she is of having to have them (the same ones) (over and over).

These fresco portraits of black queer artists as saints are so beautiful. I couldn’t stop staring at the one of Julissa Rodriguez.

A shortish links round-up for a rough fortnight (plus a birthday giveaway!)

The events in Baltimore and the elections in the UK have been occupying a lot of my internet-browsing time, so this is a shorter links round-up than usual. I tried to keep it positive, because the bad news on top of bad news on top of bad news can really get a girl down after a while.

To keep it extra positive, I’m doing a giveaway! My birthday was this week, and I’ve decided to celebrate it hobbit-style. One of my all-time favorite books, Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s Greensleeves, was recently put back into print by Nancy Pearl. It’s a dear of a book, as I raved here, and it taught me useful stuff when I was a dumb new adult, and I am offering it up to one lucky winner! The giveaway is open worldwide as I’ll be sending it via Book Depository. Just leave a note in the comments saying you want it, along with a way to contact you, and I will pick a winner on 15 May (next Friday).

This is a lovely article about the flaws and wonders of Anne of Green Gables, and about how we don’t have to choose between Anne and Emily. But I’m going to choose anyway and I choose Emily. Not because of feminism. I just love the Emily books more.

In praise of Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.

Viola Davis will play Harriet Tubman in an upcoming HBO movie. Yes, thank you, I will watch that.

“Don’t keep finishing your sentences,” he said. “I’m not a bloody fool.”

Feminist romance novel recommendations from Maya Rodale, featuring several of my very favorite romance writers, as well as a book whose title I cannot stop reading as Asses in the Wind, no matter how many times I look at it.

The marvelous Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on African literature, over at the Wall Street Journal.

Who-all’s being brilliant on the internet: A links round-up

On “trash food,” class, and the South.

The short history of spoiler warnings.

You should just assume that I’m going to link to everything Elizabeth Minkel ever writes. Here she is talking about the gendered reaction to responses to Zayn Malik’s departure from One Direction vs. responses to Jeremy Clarkson’s departure from Top Gear.

Foz Meadows, being typically fascinating about the way gifs are changing critical discourse. She does seem to think that academic journals are profit-making beasts. Are they? I do not know. I have only worked on the books and online side of academic publishing, where we are all broke and well-intentioned.

Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, and Courtney Summers, author of All the Rage, are in conversation at Book Riot about stories of sexual assault. It’s really good.

Pop culture genius Adam Sternbergh invents the term “purge-watching” for when you’re watching a show unlovingly just so you can have it off your docket. This is a term we needed. Well-played, sir.

There is an open-access journal called Neo-Victorian Studies, and that’s pretty much all I did on Tuesday.

Ta-Nehisi Coates fears that the movies have ruined X-Men (I know, dude), but he’s got a lot of other thoughts on the rise of superheroes.

What it’s like to be a first-generation scholarship student at an Ivy League.

Oh, you may have missed it, but there’s a new Star Wars teaser. It ends by trying to make every Star Wars fan in the whole world cry. But my heart is made of stone.

Links for a Thursday

Can I brag for a quick sec? This week I got renters insurance for the first time ever. BOOM. ADULTING. Though, I hope the hurricanes of the world won’t take this as permission to bring around a cloud to rain on my parade.

If the internet were a high school. I like the BuzzFeed one the best. Also keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by the Lizzie Bennet Diaries‘s own William Darcy.

Scott Tobias wrote an article called The Church of Scientology is Bad at Twitter, which is one of many reasons I cherish the internet.

Trevor Noah is going to be taking over for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He made some dumb jokes on Twitter, but I am hopeful that those jokes don’t represent anything fundamental to his humor. I am also hopeful that in the next iteration of the Daily Show, we learn ALL ABOUT AFRICA.

Writing about a networked world.

The wonderful Cass of Queerly Seen is running a project about Oscar Wilde from now until May 25th. Seems like this is as good a time as any to write a long, indignant post about the wrongs done to my beloved Robbie Ross.

The New York Times has a wonderful article on Orphan Black and how it plays with gender, if you don’t mind spoilers for the early parts of the second season.

This fortnight has been the time in which I have truly realized the delights of the Australian show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I don’t even like murder mystery shows. But this one is THE LEGIT BEST, and the third series is due in May (huzzah). Ana of Things Mean a Lot put me onto it, but see also NPR’s MonkeySee, Previously.TV, Tor.com, Smart Bitches Trashy Books, and The Toast.

On politics and the Hugo Awards.

On when “no” means “yes.” (Ahahahaha I tricked you, you thought the article was going to be about rape culture and then it was about contranyms. GRAMMAR HUMOR.)

As usual, I need more internet: A links round-up

I have an exceptionally great collection of links this week, y’all. The internet is the best, isn’t it?

Terry Crews on misogyny and toxic masculinity. Apparently this dude also works to prevent human trafficking. Yay for allies.

Some thoughts on Islamophobia in dystopian fiction.

Not sure of your language when you’re talking about race / sexuality / disability / whatever? The Conscious Style Guide is here to help, rounding up links that explain why you shouldn’t say that, what to say instead, and generally how not to be a dick accidentally.

A reminder that these exceptionally gorgeous coloring books for grown-ups exist. My sister has one, and I plan on stealing it from her at some point and coloring a page myself. I promise I will make my page pretty.

On lightening up women of color in comics (gross).

Emily Nussbaum being awesome about Kimmy Schmidt and the stories TV tells about rape survivors and PTSD. Also, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was originally called Tooken, and that is awesome, even though I get why they changed it.

An interview with the lady who writes Guy in Your MFA and Dystopian YA.

Emily Asher-Perrin on criticism and anger in fandom.

The Firefly theme song is not the best theme song there has ever been. Except when Jesse Martin and two other people from The Flash do a beautifully harmonized cover of it to thank Joss Whedon for contributing to their Kickstarter for a short musical film about a family hiding from slavery in the 1850s, which incidentally also sounds super great.

Some awesome bloggers created the Socratic Salon this month, which will be an all-spoilers space to discuss books in-depth. The five ladies who created it will have conversations among themselves, and other readers are encouraged to engage with them and each other in the comments. Yay!

Crows ARE that good: A links round-up

Yikes, guys. The State of Alabama is investigating claims of elder abuse against Harper Lee. Hopefully everything is fine…

There are many reasons to feel grateful that I live in the times I live in, but here’s another one. Tom Stoppard has a new play at the National, and although reviews of it have accused it of being all ideas and no feelings, I still want to see it. And because of technology, I can. And that is pretty great.

Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction, that widely-beloved power couple of the comics world, are coming for your televisions. I have just ceased to care about any of the Marvel TV shows, and I’ll be caring about this instead.

In other Matt Fraction-adjacent news, Jeff Lemire and Ramón Pérez are taking over Hawkeye after Fraction and Aja finish their run. Sniffle, sob, but — well okay! Their ideas about the series sound rather cool!

Do y’all know about how crazy I am about family corvidae? In case you are like “what, crows are not that good,” let me go ahead and prove you wrong.


You have most likely already forgotten about that dress that was maybe blue and black or maybe white and gold. But cast your mind back to those forgotten days, and then read this piece by Megan Garber about attention policing.

A version of the movie Foxcatcher that I would actually watch.

Y’alllllll, I love Eddie Redmayne, I truly do, but why is he playing a trans lady in The Danish Girl? It’s not that I don’t think he’ll be good. I know he’ll be good; he’s a good actor. But I am so tired of hearing “we cast who was best for the rule” as a defense. You know who else might be good for the role of a trans lady? AN ACTUAL TRANS LADY ACTOR I DUNNO JUST SPITBALLING HERE.

In which Kate Elliott reminds writers not to default to male.

A profession I did not know existed: Recording the dialogue used for crowd scenes in films.

Some of my favorite bloggers are launching the Book Blogger Buddy System, where you can go to acquire a blogging mentor or just ask questions about blogging.

Laura Miller is at Vulture to talk about fanfiction.

Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion are making a short-run show about two guys from a beloved canceled TV show, one of whom becomes Matt Damon famous, and the other of whom spends his life making the rounds at various conventions around the world. They got funded almost immediately because those dudes are the best.

An extremely touching article about finding a fat YA heroine in Eleanor and Park.

Happy Friday!!

Bad sex and brilliant titles: A links round-up

What time is it? It’s time for the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex Awards! Huzzah! The only sad thing is that apparently Patrick Ness (in an uncharacteristically curmudgeonly turn) opposes the Bad Sex Awards. He thinks they’ll have a chilling effect on people writing sex scenes. Maybe they will have a chilling effect on people writing bad sex scenes.

If you enjoyed the Sims Friends from my last links round-up, you’ll love this article about a woman determined to seduce the Sims Grim Reaper, a goal she pursued by repeatedly murdering her Sims in order to get the Grim Reaper to come over and be flirted with.

An interesting letter at Dear Author about criticisms of problematic behavior and the elision of specifics that results from slapping a label of racist/sexist/ableist on it really fast.

Tasha Robinson sparkles on the subject of The Incredibles (my favorite of the Pixar films) and the many good things about its portrayal of marriage and family.

Five writers talk about the process of coming up with titles, at The Millions. This seems as good a time as any to remind all of you that Tennessee Williams is the king of titles and everybody should be acknowledging that more.

In slightly weird news I don’t know what to do with, Netflix is creating a show version of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I’d love this to be awesome, but my heart doesn’t truly believe that it will be. Also, they should write a new ending for it. The real ending was dumb.

Perhaps we have discovered at last a mechanical reason why humans need sleep? Though take this with a grain of salt, as journalists are notoriously awful at interpreting scientific studies and explaining what they mean.

Gender imbalance in the New York Times crossword puzzle: Will Shortz does not care about it.

This review of Texts from Jane Eyre was exactly what I needed this week. My perpetual frustration with being a lady in a shitty misogynist system has been closer than usual to boiling point.

Slate has produced a useful chart of the cost-benefit ratio of various types of purebred dogs, compared to how popular they are. Short answer is that you’re right to spend money on poodles, but insane to get bulldogs. It also recommends that people buy more Bedlington terriers, a dog that looks like a sweet little lamb.

See? Awwwwww.

The below picture, taken at a 1992 Klan Rally, didn’t happen in the past two weeks. This week is just when I saw it. It causes me to feel more feelings than I’m capable of processing verbally, so I’ll just leave it here for you to look at.

Links round-up: The usual suspects

Lindy West recently departed Jezebel for GQ, a move about which I said, “Huh.” But it all seems to be gold so far; here she is on the “BASICALLY SEX CHRISTMAS” represented by the new standards for consent in California colleges.

JK Rowling, presumably missing the days when she got to fuck with us regularly, took some time out of her busy schedule to fuck with us last week with the following confusing tweet:

I let the internet get on with its regularly scheduled dithering, and waited for the result. The internet unscrambled it in the end: “Newt only meant to stay in New York for a few hours.” Thanks, internet. I knew I could depend on you.

Roxane Gay talks about the price of black ambition.

Everyone always wails and screams about children’s and YA fiction being too dark already, so I don’t know what would be so different about publishing more nonfiction for children and young adults. This NY Times article is kind of dismissive of nonfiction for younger readers, but I think it’s a huge gap and we need to fill it.

Speaking of YA, The New Statesman‘s Elizabeth Minkel argues that the anti-YA crowd often tends to lean in the direction of viewing reading as a solitary activity, whereas the YA fans tend to think of it as a group thing. Interesting theory!

Neil Gaiman talks about how to become a writer, and emphasizes the importance of having lady writers on Doctor Who. And he also thinks that “fake geek” trope is bullshit.

In other representation news, apparently Jill Soloway and Jenji Kohan had a fascinating discussion about diversity in writers’ rooms at the New Yorker Festival, and I am dying to see a video or read a transcript. If anyone has seen such a thing, please link me! So far it’s been cast in clickbaity clash terms, and it may have been very clashy. But I would like to see the full thing.

Let’s give some love to Cuba for their team of doctors helping with the Ebola outbreak. Way to go, Cuba!

I wanted this to be an article making fun of Anne Rice, because I am an uncharitable person and I find Anne Rice deeply annoying. Instead, it’s like really positive on her. Whatever.

Women in Clothes is an amazing website (and I’m sure the book is also super amazing!) where you can see what dozens and dozens of women have to say about clothes, what their clothes say about them, and what they see when they look at other women’s clothes. You can also take the survey yourself!

Dystopias, the Diversiverse, and Death (a links round-up)

It’s the Friday after podcast day, which means another links round-up!

Don’t forget that A More Diverse Universe is going on now! Head over to Aarti’s blog to see all the amazing POC authors people are discovering and rediscovering this month!

More awesome discoveries by science: Scientists have found the most complete dinosaur skeleton yet, and they have named it THE DREADNOUGHT. I hope it’s not too late to incorporate it into Jurassic World. The tail alone is thirty feet long. This is awesome. Science is the best.


The wonderful and brilliant Jenny Diski has inoperable cancer. Stupid universe. In other sad news, much-acclaimed fantasy writer Graham Joyce died last week of also cancer.

Here is a history of the “Can This Marriage Be Saved” column from the Ladies’ Home Journal. I love that column, but okay, yes, its history is not the greatest. Yikes, guys. It is like if Roger Goodell were masterminding a marriage advice column.

Speaking of which, the National Football League has been making me alternately furious and miserable this whole past fortnight! “Fuck you Roger Goodell” is far from a new sentiment for me, but man, he’s really pushing for Worst Human Person this year. Alyssa Rosenberg is typically cogent about how they should behave.

Emily Asher-Perrin’s Harry Potter reread continues to be pretty much the best thing ever. Yesterday’s recap produced this:

I really feel like Hogwarts has probably not changed any school rules (outside of not torturing students in detention) in a few hundred years. Like, what is the Board of Governors even for? Pretty sure that other than Lucius Malfoy strutting around and getting in people’s faces (back when he was a member), they probably just get together to drink sherry, talk shit on various Ministry policies, and reminisce about when they used to be students. In fact, I guarantee you that this is exactly what the Board does. . . . Can I be on the Board?

How not to respond to a bad review. Basically, just don’t respond to it. Keep your feelings to yourself, and everyone will like you better. I absolutely promise.

Ten lessons from real-life revolutions that fictional dystopias ignore, from the good people at io9.

My favorite thing The Toast has produced in this past fortnight: How to Tell if You’re in a MFA Workshop Story. I like “You saw something horrifying at the circus.”

Last but not least, the lovely Lory of Emerald City Review has come up with an idea that it’s weird to me nobody came up with before: Witch Week! From Halloween (31 October) to Guy Fawkes Day (5 November), we’ll be spotlighting a fantasy author — this year, it’ll be the wonderful and inimitable Diana Wynne Jones, who coined the term “Witch Week” in her book Witch Week. There will be guest posts (one by me!) and giveaways, and you should get excited.

The most important link here is the last one.

A new book by an art director at Alfred Knopf explores cover art and the work done by book jackets. He has another book out at the same time about visualizing while we read, and they both look brilliant. Here he is at Slate.com talking about the former. I have the latter checked out of the library, and it is gorgeous and strange.

I want to hug MTV for creating this resource “See This, Say That.” These aren’t necessarily the exact things I’d recommend saying in these situations, but I dig that MTV is making the effort here. One of my big rants is about the insufficiency of models in popular culture for confronting prejudiced speech and behavior. (Or, like, confronting things, period?)

Two excellent recent archaeological discoveries: 1) a tomb from the era of Alexander the Great; 2) half of the Vikings whose bones we have turned out to be ladies. THIS IS SO COOL. I love it when archaeologists find things, and I am feeling particularly fond of the profession right now after reading Marilyn Johnson’s forthcoming Lives in Ruins.

If geek girls acted like geek guys (from The Mary Sue)

I have heard a lot of good buzz for Kameron Hurley’s new book The Mirror Empire. If you’re looking for something to read for A More Diverse Universe (coming up later this month!), maybe give that one a try!

If you’re not watching Face Off on Syfy, I highly highly highly recommend it. Make-up artists compete against each other to create cool things, and unlike many reality competition shows, these guys don’t fight with each other constantly. They are nice and supportive — in the August 26th episode, one competitor cut off some of her own hair and gave it to another competitor to use on their creature. Real story. Plus, they create awesome creatures. Here’s the winner from the episode where you had to mash up Wizard of Oz and Wonderland, and I think you will agree it is objectively amazing.


Racist shitbags attack Malorie Blackman for wanting diversity in children’s literature. Because of course they do. Malorie Blackman is predictably cool about it. Patrick Ness is furious about the whole affair.

I read this whole wonderful Buzzfeed article about the creation of Empire Records in a frenzy of glee before realizing it was written by Anne Helen Petersen. OF COURSE IT WAS. THAT LADY.

The prologue and first chapter of Blue Lily, Lily Blue have been made available on Scribd. I don’t have to tell you how many times I have read it. Why is it not October yet?