Let’s Hope August Is Better: A Links Round-Up

Alton Sterling was killed in Louisiana (which is where I live) on Tuesday, July 5th. Roxane Gay talks about his life and his death. Rembert Browne on people who don’t want anyone not like them to exist at all. Ijeoma Olua on the tragedy in Dallas and how we should (and shouldn’t) respond to it. Ta-Nehisi Coates on the unbreakable link between violence by police officers and violence against them.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter pulling out of the Pride parade in San Francisco due to increased police presence, some thoughts on the disconnect between the two major civil rights fights of our day.

A profile of our nation’s top ASL interpreter for hip-hop artists. My one complaint about this article is that it does not include sufficient videos of Amber Galloway Gallego being awesome.

Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer spent four months as a guard in a for-profit prison in Louisiana and wrote a massive report on it. It’s basically exactly what you’d expect from our broken-ass prison system.

Suki Kim, author of Without You There Is No Us, talks about categorizing her book (a work of investigative journalism) as a memoir, and the persistent devaluing of women’s work. It made me scrutinize my own reaction to the ethics of her book, and I hope I’ll be more cognizant of that when reviewing journalism by women in the future.

Why plots are so important (also, has anyone read Emily Barton’s book, The Book of Esther? I am tentatively interested but want more information from y’all).

Your summer comic book recommendations, from Kieron Gillen, Kate Leth, and Marjorie Liu. Bid adieu to your productivity.

Queerbaiting in Captain America

The Millions released their book preview for the second half of 2016, and it is EPIC. I also discovered just yesterday that there’s a nonfiction one too.

THE SCIENCE OF BOOKS: All books everywhere with no exceptions whatsoever1 follows one of six emotional arcs. Oh how I love a taxonomy, my precious.

Rumaan Alam inquires what makes a book diverse, and wonders if his own novel — about straight white women — can be considered diverse.2

On Twitter last week I told a story about a good dog from history that doesn’t die tragically. You can read that story here.

Finally, and completely frivolously, please enjoy this wonderful review of the Blake Lively shark movie by Wesley Morris (one of my favorite cultural critics ever), which is brilliant on the subject of interchangeable celebrities.

  1. This may be hyperbole
  2. Pet peeve: A BOOK cannot be diverse. Groups can be diverse, an individual cannot. Dictionary Curmudgeon Gin Jenny urges you to get off her lawn.

The Season for Franzen Mockery Has Begun: A links round-up

Franzen’s new book is out soon, and every joke the internet makes at its expense is music to my ears, yet also I sort of wonder if Franzen and his publisher and The Atlantic and The New Republic are pranking us. They must be, right? This can’t really be real? Anyway, for now let’s just enjoy making fun of Jonathan Franzen, as the founding fathers intended.

Fantasy author NK Jemisin on disrupting the status quo. Note that the author of the interview refers to “stereotypical fantasy series like Lord of the Rings,” which is sort of insane because Lord of the Rings didn’t partake of those stereotypes, it invented them, so settle down with that.

And also, a good thing to know about about tragic queerness in NK Jemisin’s latest book, The Fifth Season, before you start reading it (featuring spoilers).

Same-sex desire in African fiction.

A female author sent out manuscript queries under a male pseudonym, and you’ll never guess what happened next! (Except, yes you will. You’re not naive.)

It turns out that writing a romance novel in which a Jew in Nazi Germany falls in love with the commandant of her concentration camp is not the world’s greatest idea. But Anne Rice is fine with it because of course she is.

Mary Engelbreit is doing a thing to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and that’s going to have to mark the official end of the days in which it was fine for me to mix her up with Lisa Frank.

Roxane Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates in conversation.

Relatedly: A thoughtful response to that David Brooks review of Between the World and Me.

When we talk about trigger warnings, I feel like we do not often enough point out that people mostly want them as a heads-up, not an excuse note. But let’s do keep that in mind.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I will be reading the latest books from Amitav Ghosh and Meredith Duran, which I think sums me up as a reader pretty thoroughly.

An extremely on-brand links round-up

Oh, have I mentioned I’m excited about Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown? WELL I AM. Here’s Zen Cho on writing three novels and throwing two of them out.

Eliding the horrors of American slavery.

The development of American English and the new London dialect that’s replacing Cockney.

Literary blind spots from famous authors.

Writing letters to trees.

“I don’t see gender/color/difference” is bullshit, and let’s not ever forget it.

An appreciation of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, which recently (sob!) ended its run.

What women write about when we write about the apocalypse.

This article about Auroville is shocking because this lady apparently found a liquor store in Pondy. HOW DID YOU FIND A LIQUOR STORE IN SOUTHEAST INDIA MADAM. Whiskey Jenny and I yearned and yearned to find a liquor store while we were in India but we ALWAYS FAILED.

TERROR BIRDS.

The moral, for movie execs, of this Grantland story about the guy who breaks the superhero news stories is probably “Your coat check girl thinks you’re an asshole.”

Starlee Kine launches an investigation to discover Jake Gyllenhaal’s height, and the resulting podcast may actually be the teleological cause of the internet’s invention.

What cultural osmosis has taught non-Harry-Potter-readers about the Harry Potter books. Oh and since I’m in, the illustrated edition of Harry Potter is going to include this and you should get pumped.

I mentioned Sandra Bland in my last links round-up, and the whole story has been making me sad this whole past fortnight. Jamilah Lemieux and Roxane Gay both wrote about it. And since I drafted this post earlier in the week, Sandra Bland has become last week’s thing, and we’re doing Sam Dubose now, and it just never goddamn ends.

“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.

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!

Things in my week that were awesome

First of all: The absurdly delayed results of my Alias Hook giveaway! Random.org picked a winner, and it is Jeanne! Of Necromancy Never Pays! Congrats, Jeanne, and I will ask the publisher to send a copy of the book your way.

Secondly, I decided to do a links round-up post today, of bookish and nerdy and feminist stuff that interested me this week. I always love link round-ups, and this week I got jealous enough to make one of my own.

In honor of the release of Marvel’s weirdest movie yet, Guardians of the Galaxy, I give you two conflicting reads on sexism in that film, one from Alyssa Rosenberg (formerly of ThinkProgress, now writing for the Washington Post) and one from Clare, The Literary Omnivore.

The Los Angeles Times suggests some important things to keep in mind when you read Amazon’s statements about ebook pricing. The short version is that production costs are the smallest of the costs that go into making a book. The article doesn’t say this, but please also note that Amazon evidently thinks the work it puts into distributing the ebook is 85% as valuable as the work an author puts in to write it and an entire publishing house to make it. I have some feelings about that, Amazon.

This Roxane Gay post on Tumblr about shopping while black will infuriate but not surprise you.

The always wonderful Anne Helen Peterson makes the moral case for watching Outlander. Thanks, imaginary internet friend Anne Helen Peterson! I do not have Cinemax but I will totally watch it when it shows up on one of the streaming services I possess. Also, I bet five dollars that everyone will write off Outlander for being fluff, while Game of Thrones goes on to have as many seasons as it wants. Go ahead, bet me.

In case you’ve been on the fence about reading Mary Robinette Kowal, can I remind you that she puts the Doctor into her books? And then can I point you to her recent blog post about hiring an Antiguan and Barbudan writer, Joanne Hillhouse, to fix her Antiguan Creole English dialogue? Joanne Hillhouse writers about the experiences here. This just fills my heart with bunnies and rainbows.

Over at Tor.com, Ada Palmer inquires whether Thor (who as a Marvel property belongs to Disney) can now be considered a Disney princess.

Anne Thériault of The Toast sings the praises of Anne Boleyn and ranks Henry VIII’s wives in order from best to worst. I’m with her every step of the way, except that I’m giving last place to Catherine Parr, who evidently helped her second husband sexually assault a teenage Elizabeth I. Gross, Catherine Parr.

And last but not at all least, something stupendously cool for you to listen to: A sound map of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, by sound artist John Kannenberg.