- PSA: Authors, Write Books, Not War – I don’t know what to make of this Heidi Cullinan post. On the one hand, she’s correct that nothing you do online is private and can and will be seen by readers, but I don’t know that never reviewing, never talking about other authors and never taking on controversial topics is the only way to keep from showing your ass. It’s basically a post cautioning authors to watch their tone.
Bloggers—book bloggers, readers, anyone not an author? They can have these public conversations far more safely. Scandal is lifeblood to bloggers more often than not. Controversy means hits. Negative reviews, even when authors foolishly firestorm, even when readers defy them as is their right (so long as they are not sent by the author), are good for blogs. Authors, you should not go here, and when you are compelled to do so anyway, you must be aware that every single word you say might lose you sales. You may disagree with me. You may burn and learn on your own. I certainly have done so, and many others have before me and many will in days to come. But this is my advice, and it comes from my heart, my soul, my being. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t be negative in public. Don’t snipe. Don’t disparage your fellows. Don’t diva. Don’t demand. Don’t assume. Don’t snarl, just don’t. Because while you think you’re digging yourself or someone else out, more often than not all you’re doing is carving out your grave.
- Gender-specific children’s books ‘are easier to sell’, insists children’s book publisher – A book publisher responds to a UK petition calling for an end to gendered book marketing with the fact that these books sell really well, which I don’t doubt for a second. If people want things to change on this front, they’re going to have to vote with their wallets.
But Mr O’Mara, a father of three, said these were “knee-jerk” reactions. “The proof is in the pudding. Our two best children books ever are The Boys’ Book and The Girls’ Book. The boys’ one included things like how to make a bow and arrow and how to play certain sports and you’d get things about style and how to look cool in the girls’ book. 2,000 people signed this petition [in the first day], but we sold 500,000 copies of The Girls’ Book. These statistics tell me I’m going in the right direction.”
- MMW Roundtable: Responding to Randa Jarrar’s “Why I Can’t Stand White Bellydancers” – Someone linked this on Twitter (can’t remember who, sorry!) and I thought it was an interesting conversation about appropriation, colonialism and stereotypes. It has lots of links to relevant articles as well.
Anyways — here’s my beef with her argument: what she calls appropriation isn’t appropriation as much as it is an orientalist nightmare based in colonial fantasies. I feel like I spent a lot of time growing up explaining that I *didn’t* have beaded, bellydancing costumes. I usually associate appropriation with things that are rooted in my culture, that I’d like to be appreciated/is worth respecting. In some ways, I feel that way about the dancing, but the whole world of “bellydancing” is so foreign to me. I just don’t want it to be tied to my heritage *at all*.
And this is the weird part of that whole “bellydancing community.” It’s not a cultural exchange or appreciation. It’s dangerous because people think that they now understand your culture via these classes. There’s also this disturbing sexualization of Arab women that’s furthered by it. Personally, I didn’t even see bellydancing as sexual until I heard white people suggest it.
- Rich Peverley and NHL insecurity: Asking to go back in after collapsing a brand of insanity not unique to hockey players – On Monday night, Dallas hockey player Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench early in the first period. After they shocked his heart and he regained consciousness, he asked to get back in the game. This spawned a bunch of “hockey players are the toughest” tweets and memes. This article gets into some of the reasoning behind the reactions, and I thought the issues of masculine posturing and unconscious racism were interesting.
Most of hockey dealt with the Peverley situation perfectly. The NHL postponed the game, as it should have; other teams expressed support, as did players; the medical staff and medical policies of the NHL were both lauded. Perfect. It could have been so much worse.
But there’s this strange strain of hockey fandom that demands something else. It happens every time; people will say, “basketball players, on the other hand …” and then we’re off, again. Lazy, soft, selfish, whatever. It raced all over Twitter again Tuesday; pictures of LeBron James and Peverley side by side, a variation on an old theme: LeBron is soft, unlike hockey players. Some hockey fans have this need to denigrate other sports — basketball, mostly — when it comes to loving their favourite sport.
- Chronicles of the Veil by Laila Lalami – Commenter Anu posted this in the comments of Tuesday’s news post on Dear Author, and I thought it was a great read. It’s sort of the flip side to that sheikh romance piece.
What happens once Western readers have had their “awareness raised” about the plight of Muslim women? Are they able to identify the legal, educational, economic, or religious mechanisms that create this oppression? Can they point to the role their own governments sometimes play in perpetuating these mechanisms? Do they become allies of the numerous local organizations that work on the ground to bring about change? Not really. Instead, they feel “concern” about these women, feel that these women need to be “saved” somehow, and probably also feel relief that they are not among them. In the end, the Chronicles of the Veil™ create a debate about Muslim women, not with them. This is a debate that serves to console, rather than inform. It provides even the most conservative of Americans the opportunity to present themselves as defenders of Muslim women’s rights.
- Native American authors of romance – Romance author Olivia Waite crowdsourced a list of romance authors with a Native American background and compiled it into a Storify.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.