Category Archives: Ramble On

Hopefully the only thing I will say related to this ruckus

Because my internet time has been limited recently, I’ve only been vaguely aware of the latest blogging ruckus. I consider myself so much on the fringes of book blogging that I felt like adding any words to the discussion was unnecessary. Plagiarism is bad – end of story.

But then on Twitter, Michelle at Galleysmith linked to this post at Book Reviews and English News which was the first time I felt compelled to say anything, and it is not even about the plagiarism controversy. I don’t care for the bloggers the author is referring to (and frankly agree with a lot of her thoughts in her other post), but I don’t think the bloggers have that much power. I also took issue with her reference to YA history. I know that it was far from the main point of her post, but I think it makes her argument weak. I posted a comment on the post, but also decided to post it on my own blog, too. Not because I think anyone cares what I have to say about it, just because I want to own my words here.

I think you attribute more power than these bloggers actually have. They are a small percentage of book buyers and I don’t think the publishers listen only to them. Publishers also listen to the teen readers and the adults in their lives. When I talk to publishers at conferences, they are much more interested in hearing what my students want to read than in how many hits my blog gets. YALSA sponsors teen book groups that get ARCs for the teens to read, the teens give feedback, and the publishers really listen to what they say. I think that small percentage of bloggers you refer to really just read each other. Publishers have started to be selective with their freebies and I have been told by people in the industry that it is partially in reaction to these greedy types.

I do think that when it comes to marketing and cover design, it’s easy for the publishers to fall back on the “pretty girl in a pretty dress” cop-out that certain bloggers fawn over. “Where She Went” is a book that I can get lots of guys interested in reading because it is from the guy POV, but once they see the cover they shut down. I wish publishers would save the girl covers for the books they are fit for like Anna Godberson’s books, and get creative for the rest. I think a lot of that, though, isn’t blogger influence; it’s laziness.

I think some of your argument also ignores history. As far as adult women going gaga for teen boys, I remember lots of older screaming women at my 1st New Kids on the Block concert in 1989. Not all of those boys were adults yet, but that didn’t stop the lust. These certain bloggers lusting after fictional boys are nothing new.

You also ignore a certain amount of publishing history when it comes to YA. I really think “Catcher in the Rye” is classic YA, and S.E. Hinton is still loved by teens. Walter Dean Myers continues to publish and be loved. In my teens, I never read RL Stein, but I loved Blume’s “Forever” and gobbled up every Norma Klein I could get my hands on. Klein’s YA was published in the 70s and 80s and addressed some racy topics for teen readers. Rowling didn’t invent YA, and I think the argument can be made that the first couple Harry Potters are NOT YA.

It’s possible that because you were “expected” to read the classics that you never discovered the YA that was out there. I know some of the English teachers I work with now also turn their noses up at YA today and are horrified that teens would rather read about Katniss than Catherine and Heathcliff.

I also don’t think it’s fair for you to claim that YA is lacking in variety. Yes, when you browse the book store shelves, it does seem like it’s all girly stuff. Yes, I always wish I could see more options (along with more people of color). But I keep a lot of my male readers happy with John Green, Paul Volponi, Cory Doctorow, Scott Westerfeld, Patrick Ness, Jack Heath, James Dashner, Michael Grant, Ned Vizzini – just to name a few. I cannot keep Alexander Smith Gordon’s Lockdown series on the shelves. The male/female Hungers Games readers in my library are equal.

Yes, I am a female blogger who tends to write about books, but I don’t identify with the bloggers you refer to. I have experienced a certain amount of schadenfreude watching this whole dust-up. (My theory is that some of the members of this “blogger clique” you refer to are the same people who attend conferences like ALA and behave like monkeys: grabbing multiple copies of ARCs, knocking over publisher displays and sometimes even the publishers themselves in their haste to be greedy.) I know the main point of your post is to wish for variety in YA publishing, but I think you use several weak arguments to make that point, so I couldn’t help but voice my opinion. 

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Pop Culture Break-Ups

While I love my television shows, sometimes I have to say enough is enough. Here are three shows I have broken up with:

1. Glee – They slowly ruined every character I loved. The music was becoming less enjoyable; the first season seemed to try to have a variety of genres in each episode. Recently, they became too focused on current songs and themed/tribute episodes. After Mr. Shu said Finn taught him how to be a man, I washed my hands of it.

2. Ringer – I wanted to like it, and I tried. But I found myself just not caring about any of the characters or the plot direction. Considering how hooked I have been on Revenge since episode 1, I decided not to waste my time.

3. Alcatraz Lost connections had me so excited, but I fell asleep during episode 1 – and i wasn’t even tired! I let several episode pile up on my DVR and then just deleted them. I could not get motivated to make the time to watch.

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Hello There, Dear Blog

Oh 2011, I feel like you just got here. Must you go so soon?

Seriously, this year has been a blur. I really can’t believe 2012 begins in 36 hours. Last year, I over-extended myself with commitments and scaled back this year. Somehow, the world kept life just as busy this year.

I traveled a lot (for me)! I attended ALA Midwinter, and was able to go to Disneyland with my husband for a few days. Spring flew by, and I attended ALA Annual right after school ended. (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) During the summer, I was lucky enough to go to NYC for 24 hours and then spend a weekend at Rensselaerville. I got some beach time in at Ocean City (Maryland) and Wildwood Crest (New Jersey). I didn’t see as much of my family as I would like, but I was lucky to spend a good amount of time with dear friends.

Work has been busier than ever. We have a new library assistant this year, so getting her up to speed has been a focus. In addition to sponsoring the student book club, I am continuing on as the chair of Faculty Senate, and a member of the Climate Committee and two different literacy committees. I was a co-coordinator for our school Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical competition. I’ve been just as busy with book talks this year as I was last year, which is excellent.

I challenged myself, via GoodReads, to read 50 books this year. I thought that would be easy. I just made it, and it involved some last-minute reads of picture books and graphic novels. I have come to accept that reading challenges are not fun for me. Reading (and blogging) is something I do for pleasure. Once I commit to a challenge, it feels like a job. It becomes a finish line and is no longer about enjoying the experience. I won’t be doing that again this year.

Life itself has been a roller coaster, speeding through the highs and lows and dips and flips of love, loss, struggles, and blessings. The health of everyone I know ebbs and flows. I continue to be lucky to come home to a house filled with the love of my husband and two dogs. We continue the never-ending project that is living in a house built in 1951.

2012 is largely a mystery for me right now. I applied for the YALSA Board Fellow position. If I am fortunate to be selected, I envision a chunk of my year focused on that. If not, I intend to apply for another process committee position as my term on Teens’ Top Ten ends after Annual. My work commitments will continue, of course. I am not attending ALA Midwinter this year. I have no requirement to attend, and financially it is not a priority right now. I have not made a decision on attending ALA Annual, but I suspect the Board Fellow decision will have some affect on that. I would love to attend the YALSA YA Lit Symposium again, but I have some time to make that decision.

For now, I hope 2012 will pass a little more slowly than 2011 did. If any of my readers have stuck around since my last post in September, I thank you and hope you continue to stop by in 2012.

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Mental Download 4/22/11

I had grand plans to blog over spring break, but now it is Friday, and I’ve only published one post. I thought I would do a little stream-of-consciousness ramblings.

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ALA, AASL, and YALSA members: voting for this election ends tonight! Be a responsible member and vote, please! As you vote, the ballot has links to profiles and statements for each candidate so you can make thoughtful decisions. Want more school librarians or teen librarians to have a strong voice in ALA? There are many running and your vote could help put them in a place of advocacy!

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As someone who enjoys live tweeting a conference, this cracks me up!

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I’m ready for Gwyneth to leave Glee now. Go back to GOOP.

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Happy Earth Day! My new compost tumbler should arrive today. I admit that I will be a lazy composter and that the best way to get started is to just get a bin that I can close up and spin. No digging or stirring required. I’m excited! (And 30 minutes later, it is here!)

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My husband’s grandmother passed away yesterday. She was 93. She was an amazing person. She bought her house as a single woman back then women didn’t do that sort of thing. She had 4 children, and outlived her husband by over a decade. Not only was she blessed with grandchildren, but she was also blessed with great-grandchildren, and has been able to watch them grow. (Her oldest great-grandchild is now an amazing elementary school teacher.) She will be missed.

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ALA Annual is two months away! So exciting, especially since I cannot attend BEA like many other bloggers. (Testing season at school = all hands on deck.) I’m starting to consider what I can and want to see in New Orleans while I am there. Cemetery tours are on my radar.

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Awesome read about homosexuality and the church.

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Have you watched the new Beastie Boys short film? It’s pretty funny. I live-Tweeted my reactions while I watched it. NPR did a short piece on it, and I love the end quote from MCA. It is a humorous video with lots of cameos. I have to admit, seeing MCA with grey hair AND a gray beard makes me feel like I’m on the speed train to old age.

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I spent part of yesterday catching up on HBO’s Mildred Pierce. There’s a lot of naked Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce. Also, Mildred’s daughter Veda is possibly the worst daughter ever.

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