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....read more
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....read more
[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....read more
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....read more
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....read more
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:...read more
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:...read more
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 is always self-referential. I enjoy science fiction, political art, and arguing amicably about things I […]...read more
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 women writers. These days, when even lesbian authors such as the Poet Laureate Carol Ann […]...read more
Come on, Peter Jackson. You’re the guy who condensed a thousand-plus-page epic into three briskly-paced films, and now you’re stretching The freakin’ HOBBIT into three movies? Blahblah Erebor blahblah Dol Guldur blahblah Necromancer. Dude. The Hobbit is a simple story, a kids’ story, really. Three hundred pages. If you want complex, make a film of […]...read more
This thread is open for discussion of Part III of Catching FIre and for the entirety of Mockingjay. Why? Because I hated Mockingjay but am sure there are some of you who didn’t and would like to discuss it. Ready, go.
Next up: We’re done with the Hunger Games trilogy. Any suggestions for future reads? Preferences for wait times before launching into the next book (if at all)? It’s summertime, which means a) plenty of opportunities to crack a book, unless b) you have grownup responsibilities, which so frequently multiply during the summer, which isn’t fair. Your suggestions in comments....read more