- When the HEA Takes a Village: Community, Connection & Romance Dude Groups (part 1) – Pamela wrote about guy groups in romance and how they create a sense of community. Good stuff as usual.
In the hands of a thoughtful and nuanced author, a series centered on a dude group explores a powerful and appealing kind of intimacy that is, yes, about entering the “unknown” world of male friendship (for female readers), but also about the bonds of community and clan that transcend both romance and bromance and offer a vision of collective and communal problem-solving, emotional support, and practical assistance. For me, this vision, utopian and unlikely as it may be, is often as appealing and satisfying as the HEA. In connected books series as different as Kit Rocha’s dystopian O’Kane chronicles (the Beyond series) and the aforementioned Rogues series, for example, it may take a village to raise a happy couple.
- Mental Health in YA: a reading list – YA Highway has put together a fairly exhaustive list of YA fiction dealing with mental illness.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As mental health advocacy is something near and dear to my heart, I thought I’d put together a list of YA books from the last ten years that address mental illness as a main focus and/or influence. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do since I wrote this post (and got some great suggestions in the comments). The result is certainly not an exhaustive list by any means, but it’s a start. I’ve read a good number of books on the list, but not all of them (a few are forthcoming), so there may be errors or things I’ve overlooked. Please feel free to correct me. I’ve also tried to organize them by category. While many of the books could belong in multiple categories, I’ve grouped each title into just one.
- On the Response to Junot Diaz’s “MFA vs. POC” – David Mura has a great response to the comments people left on Junot Diaz’s New Yorker piece.
>Some of the responses to Diaz’s piece in the comment section were reprehensible. The number of ad hominem attacks here certainly gives weight to Diaz’s arguments. When the person of color brings up a critique, the response is often to critique the so-called character or personality faults of that person or to critique the language in which the critique is expressed (too angry, uses too many swear words, the person doesn’t have the right to make this critique because he or she is in some other way privileged, etc.). These critiques are all ways that the dominant culture uses to dismiss concrete and systemic issues.
- 13 Things No Estranged Child Needs To Hear On Mother’s Day – A great post about the well-meaning but unhelpful things people say to an adult who has severed contact with her mother. So, so many of these show up in romance plots that push the “forgiveness” and “reconciliation” fantasy. (Lots of gifs in the post.)
Mother’s Day is a weird day for me. I’ve been estranged from my mother for over three years now, with no contact, something I don’t regret for 364 days out of the year. But every year on Mother’s Day?
It’s a weird mixture of sadness, anger and guilt. I am sad for the way our relationship disintegrated, angry at her for the reasons that it did, and guilty because I wonder how I would feel if I had no contact with my daughter a few decades from now. What takes the guilt from bad to worse is the number of people who have “helpful advice” on Mother’s Day, in the hopes that they can help me fix something that’s irreparable.
- The Unmothered – This New Yorker article touches on the grief of Mother’s Day after her mother died of lung cancer.
“CALL MOM” said a sign the other day, and something inside me clenched. In my inbox, at work, an email waited from the New York Times: a limited offer to “treat Mom” to a free gift. It’s nothing, I tell myself. A day for advertisers. So I shrug off the sales and the offers, the cards and the flowers. I press delete. Still, I now mark Mother’s Day on my private calendar of grief. Anyone who has experienced a loss must have one of those. There’s August 29th, my mother’s birthday—forever stopped at sixty-four. September 17th, my parents’ anniversary—a day on which I now make a point of calling my father, and we both make a point of talking about anything but. There’s June 6th, the day she was diagnosed—when a cough that she had told us was “annoying” her and a leg that she had been dragging, thinking she must have pulled a muscle, turned out to be symptoms of Stage IV lung cancer. And then there’s October 16th: the day she died, four months and ten days after the diagnosis. The year becomes a landscape filled with little mines.
- P.K. Subban and hockey’s problematic relationship with players of color – Puck Daddy blogger Harrison Mooney talks about the NHL and how it’s all thumbs when it comes to dealing with players outside the white, North American mold.
“First things first,” he began, wisely, knowing where the heart of the issue lay for many, “the Boston Bruins are an Original Six franchise. They’ve been around for a very long time. They’re respected. It’s completely unfair for anybody to point the finger at the organization or the fan base.”
He closed by saying the same thing two more times.
And with that, Boston’s long national nightmare was put to bed, absolved by the victim, as was his responsibility, apparently. Subban was praised for his powerful words, for his class, and a great sigh of relief poured into Boston harbor like tea from the patriots. Their ordeal was finished.
P.K. Subban’s ordeal, however — the one of a black player in a league that still, in 2014, has absolutely no idea what to do with him — continues unabated.
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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.