- Why Isn’t Just Reading Enough Anymore? – This post reminds me of why I quit Goodreads and why I don’t miss it at all. Between the event invites, the recommendations and authors sending me friend invites, I felt like I was under siege. Even now I use NetGalley very sparingly. Nothing spoils the fun of reading and blogging like the scent of obligation.
According to The Publishing Industry, it’s not enough for readers to just read books anymore. The point of it all is to take readers, convert them to fans, then push them to become evangelists for a book or author. Real readers have to become evangelicals for books because evangelism is, apparently, the only way to drive sales. Like the prophet John Green, readers have been tasked with saving The Publishing Industry… And I call shenanigans on that.
- Diversity in Publishing: Next Steps in the Discussion – An important post about the action that needs to follow the awareness that publishing has a diversity problem.
There comes a point where we have to move beyond saying there is a problem and begin actively working towards the solutions. All the effort and thought of this past year (and the many years prior) are incredible. But it would be a shame to simply keep rehashing the same work instead of building upon it.
Consider the stakes. The lack of diversity and equity in the publishing industry is not a theoretical issue for us to intellectualize over coffee. It is an injustice. The destruction of libraries and burning of books has historically been used to strip peoples of their history and culture. Those in power continue to limit the ability of those they have subjugated to share their stories. They retain ultimate control of the narrative and their power.
- Desexualising Disability – Another great post on disability and sexuality, this time from the always-smart s.e. smith.
There’s a common social attitude that disabled people are not sexual — that something about disability strips people of their sex drive, and that, moreover, disability makes people inherently sexually unappealing, so it’s not like they could find partners even if they wanted them. This is accepted as common knowledge, despite the fact that it creates some extremely harmful social attitudes and social structures.
- German Rocket Cats: A Meditation – It may have a silly title, but it’s an insightful take on the absurdity of war.
There are people living now who remember when Russia repeatedly put dogs in rockets, basically just because they figured Americans would think that was scary and Americans did vice versa, but with monkeys. This was not only at considerable cost to the tax base but without any wider fighting going on–as if they’d refined war to down to only rocket animals.
So maybe rockets on cats are a terrible idea. But any war idea is a good war idea in inverse proportion to how terrible it is as a regular idea. If I was like “Hey should we, by cunning and shrewd treachery, explode all the guys that are over there?” you’d be like “No.” But if I was like “Hey but war” you’d be like “Oh yeah, right on.”
- The Freezing, Hungry Lives of NHL “Ice Girls” – I actively dislike that going to a Bruins game includes hearing fans sexually harass Ice Girls, so knowing that they’re probably not getting paid enough for that shit doesn’t help. What a ridiculous practice these teams are.
There’s no arguing that professional cheerleaders are hired, in part, as eye candy for fans. Yet the Kings’ ice girls said they were expected not only to do their own hair and makeup, but to pay for their supplies. They were also instructed to consult their manager before cutting or dying their hair. And while other beauty standards weren’t explicit, the women knew they were expected to look good. One woman recalled her boss saying, “The Ducks girls [Anaheim’s hockey team] get weighed in, and you don’t, so you should feel lucky.”
- Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Rethinking ‘Zero Tolerance’ – It’s become increasing evident to anyone paying attention that zero tolerance policies create more problems than they sold. This story of a Philadelphia high school opting for restorative justice gives me hope that other schools will follow suit.
Within months of coming on the job, Borges-Carrera replaced KCAPA’s existing policy with a set of practices collectively known as restorative justice. Rather than punishing students who are out of line, restorative justice aims to help them rebuild their standing in the school community and repair the harm they have caused. The practices vary—peer-mediation programs, empathy training for offenders—but the basic idea is that strong interpersonal and community ties work better than fear of retribution.
By the 2009–2010 school year, four years after the transformation began, KCAPA was a different place. The number of serious incidents of misbehavior had plummeted 60 percent, even with enrollment up by more than 150 students. The 200 out-of-school suspensions per year were down to between 30 and 40. Arrests had decreased by two-thirds.
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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.
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