Barbie is one educated and versatile woman. She’s been, among dozens of other jobs, a dentist, a doctor, a sign language teacher, a special education teacher, a surgeon, a paratrooper, a jet pilot, an ambassador, a firefighter, an architect, an astronaut, a ballerina, a chef, an Olympic gymnast, an unspecified business executive, a news anchor, a cat burglar, a magazine editor, and the president of the United States. And now, per the book I Can Be a Computer Engineer, she’s a computer engineer (or at least can be one).
A little while ago, I mentioned that I was reading Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird, on an open thread, a really interesting retelling of the Snow White fairy tale by a Nigerian-British novelist that engages issues of race in a…
It’s Banned Books Week, celebrating books that are absolutely, objectively horrible and mustn’t be read by anyone. They’re books that need to be blocked from school libraries, ejected from public libraries, struck from publisher’s lists and set on damn fire every time they’re encountered. Which means that most of them (although by no means all of them) are worth reading, particularly when it comes to books for school-age kids who shan’t be exposed to naughty language or mentions of sex. Because if there’s one thing that abstinence-only education has taught us is that if you never, ever mention it, kids will never do it.
So here are six banned and/or challenged children’s and young adult books to read to a kid this week in honor of Banned Books Week.
Dr. Maya Angelou has passed away at age 86. As posts and tributes become available, I’ll link them here. Feel free to add your own links and comments below.
[Trigger warning for rape]
[Potential spoilers for Game of Thrones S04 E03, as well as for A Storm of Swords]
I mean, I got what was happening — most reasonable people watched that scene and were, like, “I get what’s happening here.” But I just don’t, like… get it. So if you have insight on what’s going on there, jump on in.
I am a serious fan of Jane Austen’s books and of her ironic observers’ take on women and Regency society. She did not describe her characters very much, and was far more interested in their personalities and interactions than their looks.
I recently tried once again to read George Orwell’s 1984.
As always, I got a few chapters in and had to stop because it was so depressing that I couldn’t live in Orwell’s evocation of mind-controlled totalitarian world for a minute longer. One thing I did get out of the experience was adding one more time reading the early chapters including the Two Minutes Hate scene. Early in the book the hero, Winston Smith takes part in his office’s mandatory daily group hate ritual, an exercise in bonding and mind control.
Journalist Eric Pape is raising funds to create the graphic novel The Beauty Curse, about gendered attacks in Cambodia. Details of the project are here. The inspiration for the book:
This interview with Maurice Sendak is just wonderful, and you should read it.
Oy Naomi Wolf. Why are we all still referring to you as some sort of feminist thought leader? I am very happy for you that you are having wonderful earth-shattering shivering mystical sex. You are correct that the vagina and the brain are, in fact, part of “one whole system” — the same way that the left hand and the brain or the nose and the brain are also part of one whole system (the human body, for the slower to catch on). I even think you’re probably correct that many women (most women?) could be having better sex, and that our own cultural constructions of sex (begins with a boner, ends with ejaculation) are not only centered almost entirely on male sexual experience and desire but also thwart female sexual pleasure and understand a woman’s experience with and desire for heterosexual sex only in relation to a man’s (assumed to be neutral, standard and true) definition and understanding of sex. All of that is bad for women, in and out of the bedroom. But here, as explained by a lovely reviewer in the New York Review of Books, is where you lose me:
Hey folks, I’m Brigid. You may remember me from last year. I’m a queer femme writer, sometime environmental researcher, and anthropologist at heart. I recently relocated from Washington, DC to Western Massachusetts, where the beer is crafty and the humor…
Well, this is a lovely and moving tribute to a much-loved writer who’s passed away. Among the obituaries for the much-loved Irish novelist Maeve Binchy, few omitted to mention that she was childless. Once, that was the norm for successful…