Sunday, March 30, 2008

Scattered Thoughts on the Harry Potter Lexicon Lawsuit

I've been musing about the WB/ JK Rowling vs RDR Books lawsuit based on Steve Vander Ark's Lexicon book.

I'm going to be the bad blogger and not link to the news articles; there are so many articles and blogposts etc. In terms of accurate sources of information (as opposed to opinion), I recommend Fandom Wank; look for the posts by Cleolinda, like this one and posts tagged "This is the wank that never ends". It goes without saying that the good coverage (meaning including facts as opposed to commentary, like what I'm about to do) comes from the HP news sites such as The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet. Fans care about details; the lawsuit is all about the details; hence the good coverage.

I'll be upfront with my bias: I'm Team Rowling on this one.

So, back to my musings:

Why does it matter how much money JKR has earned or is worth?
Seriously, anytime I read an article that includes a "doesn't she have enough money" type statement, it bothers me. What does that have to do with JKR enforcing her rights? On depressing days, it seems like she's being told to be a good little girl: you've earned enough money, so be quiet and sit in the corner and don't try to earn any more.

Do you really want a defense of "she said she liked it" to succeed?
Cause you don't have to be a former lawyer to realize, hm, why would an author ever say they liked a fansite again? A loss for JKR on this would result in creators (musicians, authors, screenwriters, etc.) being cautioned: don't say you like it, it could mean you lose your right to control your creation or to make money off of it.

Do you really want a defense of "she didn't say to stop" to succeed?
See above; this would add to a creator not just being silent about certain fansites; but now feeling like they have to actively shut them down to preserve their own future rights.

Have you read the Lexicon book?
The actual manuscript is key to whether or not the Lexicon Book is or is not permitted under applicable law. It may be; it may not be. Unfortunately, the publishers dragged their feet in providing a copy, believing, apparently, that their saying "we don't think it infringes" is enough to establish that it doesn't. At the same time, they told JKR's side that if they wanted to know what the book would look like, go to the Lexicon and hit the print key (you do know how to use the print key, don't you?)

Aside from the awesome snark in that reply, it isn't true; the book is not the website simply printed out and bound in a book. At one point, there was talk about the essays on the Lexicon site being included, until it turned out that the authors of the essays had never been contacted about giving permission for their work to be published in a book. So right there -- hitting the print key doesn't give you the book. I also believe the Lexicon had movie photos; and as WB property, their would be an issue of whether or not they could be in the book. So, again --"just look at the website" isn't the answer. Oh, and as to the authors of the content on the Lexicon; given fan input into entries, I'm not sure whether or not it's even possible to get the permissions of everyone who contributed, unless their input included something to cover their work being in the book.

A lot of this is dependent on facts, especially what is or is not in the actual Lexicon book. And without reading it, it is hard to say who is right. I'm leaning towards Rowling, just because the snark from RDR, the changing description of the book, and the failure to provide a copy to resolve it pre-litigation all looks suspicious to me.

You own the family tree? Really?
Part of the reason JKR/WB being threatened with suit over using a HP family tree amuses me is because I constantly doodle fake family trees while reading books. I also love finding them online, especially for sprawling trees such as Jude Devereaux's Montgomery family. I would love for someone to explain to me just how JKR can be sued over a family tree based entirely on her own creation. Perhaps using certain colors or fonts is the issue? But as for the time being put in compiling it... OK, JKR is bad at math, but do you really believe she doesn't have a family tree she's working with? And even if she didn't, back to the points above regarding what authors will or won't do about fansites. If JKR were to lose on the family tree issue, what author or publisher in their right mind will allow you to put up a family tree unchallenged?

I mean, imagine this. I create a chart from Sarah Dessen's books showing who appears in what page in which book (SD uses characters from previous books). Can I sue SD when I see a similar chart on her blog? In one of her books?

Part of the risk of playing in someone else's sandbox is you cannot argue, "I built the sandcastle so now I own this part of the sandbox."

How will fandom be affected, depending on who wins?
We're not just talking about the Potter fandom here. This could have implications for all fandoms. If there is a ruling in RDR's favor, the lawyers for authors and publishers (and, yes, lawyers in film and TV) will go thru line by line, word by word, looking to see what they as the original creators should do to prevent another RDR-type win.

If the ruling points to JKR's saying "how nice," original creators will be advised to never compliment a fan site.

If a ruling says JKR said nothing, original creators will be advised to speak up and shut down fan sites.

If a ruling points to movie DVDs speaking favorably of fansites, that ends. So if Stephenie Meyer wants to include fanart in a Twilight DVD? It won't happen.

So, spun out to worst case scenario, it might mean that no one can participate in fandoms anymore because then fans could continue to make money off the source material. If you're thinking to yourself, "Well, I don't write fanfiction or create fanart, so this doesn't affect me," think again. To stop the production of any questionable fan-created content, authors could shut down any sites related to their works that they themselves did not create. No more Star Wars fansites. No more Team Edward versus Team Jacob debates, and definitely no t-shirts. Perhaps even no more Television Without Pity, because the writers there have created phrases now used by show fandoms. It would all be considered too risky for an author or TV series creator to allow.

In putting this together, I found the following bit by SVA:
A victory for RDR Books will protect the rights of fans to create based on someone else’s work. If RDR Books loses, copyright holders will be given broad new control over fan activity, control which will allow them to shut down sites, stop authors from writing about their works, etc. So a win for RDR Books is definitely in the best interest of fans who create websites, write fanfiction, make wands, compose wizard rock, and so on. I am surprised how many fans have missed this point. Their freedom to create is on the line here.

I'm one of those who have "missed the point." The way I see it, the only way a ruling will protect fans (and let's ignore for now the legal implications of a trial, in terms of who it applies to, etc.) is if the ruling says regardless of anything JKR did or did not do, RDR has the right to publish the book; thereby leaving no loophole for a future JKR to say "this is what I can/cannot do to stop a lexicon type book from being published." It also ignores one of the points of the lawsuit: is the Lexicon so original (as, say, is wizard rock) that it falls under an existing exception? Or is it so derivative of JKR's work that it lacks originality and so does not fall under an existing exception?

My conclusion
Fandom is wonderful. It creates community; and I would really hate to see it negatively impacted as a result of this lawsuit. Part of me fears that even if JKR wins, original content owners will still come down hard on fansites (or cease to interact with fansites) just to be on the safe side.

I also wonder: why not, at the start of all of this, say, "hey, the owner of HP thinks this is a copyright violation. Let me prove it isn't by showing her the work itself." Since the only way to determine that is to examine the work, why push it and force the lawsuit?

Edited 9/08 to add: What is funnier? That I never corrected the family tree stuff, above (it was a timeline); or, that no one pointed out my error. Anyway. I could have sworn I corrected it. Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Some people are getting up in arms about the imaginary Sweet Valley High girls and their dress size.

Me, I find this story at Philly Magazine about real life moms taking their real life 9 year olds to get bikini waxes a lot more alarming.

(Thanks to Carlie W. who told me about the Philly Magazine story, she saw it in a beauty blog.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One Shot World Tour: Canada Day: It's a Mystery

Welcome to Canada Day. Chasing Ray will have the round-up of blog posts about authors and illustrators from Canada.

So many choices! I had way too much fun looking at Ontario Library Association's Canadian Materials Committee's "Best Bets" lists, here for the most recent list. And also browsing the Canadian Children's Book Awards links.

So what did I end up with?

It's a mystery.

No, seriously! I picked:

Quid Pro Quo by Vicki Grant

The Plot: Cyril is probably the youngest person to attend law school: "I started going to law school when I was ten years old."
But, wait for it --
"I love saying that. I love how people look at me like, this guy must be some kind of genius."

But, Cyril isn't a genius. He's the son of a teen mom; a girl who ran away from home, lived on the streets, and grew up as her son grew up. She's only 15 years older than her son. And when his mother couldn't afford a babysitter, Cyril came along to class with her. "You think math class is bad," Cyril says. "Law school is unbelievably boring."

But it's thanks to his quasi law school education that Cyril solves the mystery in Quid Pro Quo and saves his mother's life.

The Good:
Cyril's mother, Andrea MacIntyre, is not your typical book mother. Her son may be a teenager, but Andrea is not even thirty. While she is the adult and the mom, she is also angry, passionate, short-tempered, generous, kind, and unable to compromise her beliefs. Maybe because of her own runaway past, she keeps a close eye on Cyril. First, he is dragged along to her law classes; later, when she gets a job, he gets drafted into being a receptionist for the lawyer Cyril's mother works for. When she disappears, Cyril knows that something is up. She wouldn't just disappear.

This mystery is less than 180 pages; in a day when it seems too many books are bloated and in need of a good editing, Quid Pro Quo is tightly plotted, with no wasted words. Speaking of words -- each chapter is introduced by a legal term. For example, Chapter 14 is "'In Camera' (Latin) The hearing of a case in private."

Also good? As you can see from the excerpts above, Cyril brings the funny.

Finally: it's Canada! Seriously. As a former lawyer, I got a kick out of the differences between the American and Canadian legal system, including legal education. Maybe not many readers will notice; maybe they won't realize until they are older that those differences are there. Still, it gives the book a unique Canadian flavor.

I'm not surprised to see this is an Orca title; Orca has a great selection of hi-lo books, and even tho this isn't part of the x line, its fast pacing, short chapters, humor, edgy characters and mystery make this a good pick for reluctant readers.

My second mystery book is Acceleration by Graham McNamee.

The Plot:

Duncan's summer job seems boring; he's working at the lost and found for the Toronto Transit Authority. OK, it doesn't just seem boring; it actually is boring. There's only so many times you can check out the lost sunglasses, practice with the abandoned golf clubs, read the books.

Read the books.

Except this book is a journal. A bit hard to read. But then...

It's the journal of an almost serial killer. The almost killer recounts killing animals and stalking people, looking forward to his first murder.

Can Duncan stop a murderer before he kills?

The Good:

Before getting into the mystery part, let me say that this book is also funny. Duncan is now 17; but a few years before he and his friends had the bright idea to steal a toilet. Yes, a toilet; it makes sense to them. It's a fancy expensive house, an expensive toilet... and they underestimate how much it weighs. Or how difficult it will be to move without a car.

Most of the humor comes from Duncan and his friends; plus the whole toilet caper adds to the reason why Duncan is reluctant to go to the cops. McNamee does a very believable job of establishing why Duncan ends up going after the killer by himself; he doesn't quite trust the cops (see toilet); and he also doesn't have much to give the cops.

When Duncan decides to track down the killer, he searches the journal for clues, does research, trying to figure out which subway or bus line the killer used, trying to figure out who the maybe victim will be to warn them. Along the way, there are serious questions, especially about Duncan's role in this as he becomes a stalker. And what will he be willing to do, should he find the killer who hasn't killed?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Interview with Carlie Webber

Carlie Webber is running for the Printz; if you're a YALSA member, you either have (or soon will have) your ballot. Eight people are running for four slots on the committee; the YALSA blog has a Q and Q with all candidates.

Readers of Tea Cozy know that Carlie began contributing to Tea Cozy several months ago. Here's a chance to get to know her a little bit better, with a few questions about Printz type matters.

Liz B: How do you define "Young Adult" literature, as opposed to "children's" or "adult"?

Carlie: YA literature should capture the coming-of-age experience and the independence and identity that a teen character gains through it. To me, what separates a YA novel from an adult novel with a teen main character is the lack of perspective on the part of the main character. A YA novel describes coming-of-age events as they happen, with no sense of looking back and thinking about what could've been.

Regarding the separation of children's literature from YA, I have a few points. The age of the main character is the obvious one. The not-so-obvious one is looking at the coming-of-age events I mentioned before. In a YA novel, the main character has a definite separation from his or her parents, establishing independence. Events will happen that will make the main character reconsider the world he or she knows and s/he'll take the first steps towards establishing a place of his/her own within it. There are some novels that there's an argument for either way, children's versus YA, but the establishment of independence separate from parents is a big litmus test for me.

Liz B: This is cheating a bit, but I liked this question when YALSA Blog asked it last year. Give us one YA title, published in 1998 or before, that you think would have made an excellent Printz Award Winner if the award had been in existence then?

Carlie: I know the popular answers to this question are The Golden Compass and Weetzie Bat, but I'm going to be the maverick here and say Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas.

Half of what makes a book literary is how the author chooses to use language in the context of his or her setting. Thomas used language and first person perspective to emphasize how Steve York's view of himself changed as he wrote the essay. As a result of these language choices the reader saw Steve as raw, simultaneously bewildered and jaded by his relationships with his father and Dub, and Thomas created someone unforgettable. The sort of bitter humor Thomas used is something we've seen in a number of lauded books lately, like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.

Liz B: What is your pop-culture area of expertise?

Carlie: I have a few of those!

First, classic and hard rock. As I explain to fellow fans of Supernatural, I have Dean Winchester's taste in music. Some of my favorite bands include Led Zeppelin, Rush, Shinedown, AC/DC, Seether, Audioslave, Nirvana, and Velvet Revolver. I even filled out the 92.3 K-Rock March Bracket Brawl...but I lost because I picked Tom Petty to win over Pink Floyd in today's afternoon round.

Second, crime shows. Much of the father-daughter bonding in my parents' home was done over episodes of Law & Order and I've never lost my love of crimesolver shows, both fictional and documentary. My current favorites are Numb3rs and NCIS, and I thought Cynthia Nixon was completely brilliant on Law & Order: SVU earlier this season.

Third, bad reality television. As I've explained to people: I spend the majority of my time reading books, giving the best advice I can to my fellow professionals, looking critically at developments in literature and technology, and generally doing the best I can to make the YA library world a good place. When I come home and watch TV, I want to shut off my brain and I believe in doing things right. So yes, I love House and Numb3rs and all those shows that require cerebral involvement, but I am also completely addicted to America's Next Top Model. I'm hooked on Flavor of Love, Rock of Love (I actually listened to Poison when I was a kid! I know who Bret Michaels is!), Hell's Kitchen, Celebrity Fit Club, The Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious, and even the not-so-bad reality shows like Top Chef and Project Runway.

Liz B: Thanks, Carlie! And hmmm... I haven't been watching NCIS... I guess I better go to Netflix and add it to my queue!

Cross posted at Pop Goes the Library.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Printz: Confidentiality

And now, from the Printz Policies and Procedures (available at the YALSA website):

As all nominated titles must be kept confidential, there will be no announcements of nominated titles. All committee meetings and discussions, including electronic discussions, are closed to YALSA membership and the general public.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shut Up, Emma

Well, it worked for Degrassi: 90210 Spin Off. And considering one of the 90210/Original!Degrassi rumors is that Spelling created 90210 after watching/ being unable to buy Degrassi, it just makes sense that there may now be a 90210:TNG.

Of course, my knee jerk reaction is "Rob! You had to have gotten some good Hollywood mileage out of Veronica Mars. Why waste it on this?"

So I then started thinking about...spin offs that are superior to and/or vastly different from the original movie/TV show. So it is possible that Rob could create something awesome. (Me, I want it to star Brenda's lovechild, who was born in England, and the question is -- who is the Daddy? Dylan? Brandon?)

There is the Korean War trifecta: serious/funny movie MASH, to half hour comedy yet not quite so dark even when they killed the baby MASH, to Trapper John MD.

Mary Tyler Moore (half hour sitcom) begat Lou Grant (one hour drama).

What else?

Cross posted at Pop.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Audrey, don't wait! (to read this book)

I confess, I judge books by their covers. The minute I saw the cover of Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, I wanted to read it. I am happy to say that the pink-yellow-orange sunburst surrounding the girl in a black sweater and jeans (which is what I have on today, incidentally) did not disappoint. Thanks to Penguin Group for the ARC.

The plot: Think of a song with a person's name in the title. "Eleanor Rigby." "Amanda." "Angie." Did you ever wonder who Eleanor and Amanda and Angie were in real life? Maybe they were the lead singer's ex-girlfriend. That's who Audrey was.

Audrey Cuttler, normal high school student from California, loves loud music, indie rock, her overweight cat, and her awesome best friend Victoria. What doesn't she love? Her boyfriend, Evan. Lately it seems that Evan's been paying more attention to his band, the Do-Gooders, than to Audrey. She goes over to his house to break up with him, and as she's leaving Evan calls out, "Audrey, wait!"

It's the phrase that launched a thousand hits.

Evan writes a song about their breakup and calls it "Audrey, Wait!" And wouldn't you know it, the night the Do-Gooders first perform the song is the night they finally get the A&R guy from that record label to come and hear them. Suddenly, "Audrey, Wait!" is a hit and Audrey is an accidental star. Now everyone wants to dress like her, listen to the same music she does, and gossip about her. She's offered a reality show and free lip gloss. While Audrey wants to be normal and pursue a relationship with James, her coworker at the mall ice-cream shop, the papparazzi is recording everything from her trips to the record store to her makeout session with the lead singer of another band.

Why you'll love it: You know what I really hate about YA lit sometimes? The endless witticisms. Who really talks like that? Although Audrey is smart and sarcastic, just what you'd expect from a girl who lives for bands like Taking Back Sunday, the dialogue never sounds like it's trying to hard to be something Joss Whedon would write, and I love it. Audrey's self-aware struggle to maintain normalcy in the face of critical Hollywood is hilarious. I also love that she has two relatively normal parents who still expect her to do the laundry and feed her cat on her way to stardom. There's a wonderfully sweet (and not just because of the ice cream) romance. Everyone lives happily ever after thanks to Audrey's grounded personality, wit, and wisdom. When you close this book, you'll feel happy and maybe turn your music up in your car and really, who could ask for more?

Robin Benway's MySpace

Coming soon:

crossposted at carlie@bccls

Annie Hall

Part of the joy of Netflix is being able to watch movies that you've only seen parts of, and then only chopped up on TV.

Annie Hall 1977

The Plot: Romantic comedy, with comedian Alvy falling for Annie Hall. Set in NYC.

The Good:
A non-linear story, starting with the end of the romance and then showing scenes from Alvy and Annie's relationship. Other inventive bits of movie making: Alvy and Annie talk, with subtitles revealing what they really think and fear; Alvy talking directly to the audience; Marshall McLuhan.

Woody Allen was already in his 40s when he made this film; and he makes the character, Alvy, also 40. A bit refreshing, in today's culture obsessed with youth and beauty, to find a romantic lead that is his 40s and wears his years.

When watching "old" movies, the question arises -- how does it hold up? Wonderfully well. While Annie Hall's clothes were noteworthy and fashion forward at the moment, to today's viewer they are common place; which means, rather than having to "get over" the dated clothes, we watch a person who could walk down Manhattan's streets today and not look out of place. Of course, as viewer, that means that we don't "get" that Annie's look is as unique as she is.

The only other bit I saw as dated was Annie living in Manhattan. Her apartment costs $400 a month; and Alvy thinks that is too expensive. Alvy is successful; but Annie is... well, Annie is the classic MidWestern girl who leaves high school to move to the big city to find herself and live. She sings a little, I think she acts a little, she takes some classes. It's the type of story that happened for years and years in real life... but now, I wonder, with NYC real estate prices, where do today's Annie Halls live?

I also watch old movies wondering, "would the Internet or cell phones drastically alter the plot"? And while I think that a more recent movie would have more cell phone conversations instead of people walking down a street talking, perhaps an IM chat, nothing happens that modern inventions would change.

Alvy is succesful; Annie is an aspiring singer. Alvy is a New Yorker; Annie is Miss Midwest who has adopted New York. Alvy cannot help falling into the "older and wiser" role, as he steers her towards the books he thinks she should read and the classes she should take. Hhmmm.... I am pretty certain that while Alvy tries to change Annie, Annie does not attempt a make over on Alvy.

This is the Woody Allen I love; the pre-sleeping with stepdaughter and not knowing it's a bad thing Woody. He's funny and serious, observant, witty, sharp. The dialogue is great, the characterizations spot-on. The romance is heart-breakingly real; and of course, it ends. As it must. And we, the audience, know why, even tho Alvy never sees it himself until it is too late.

Mary Sue Memoirs

A Mary Sue, in fanfiction, is an author who inserts herself into the story as an original character. There are many ways to identify the Mary Sue; it usually includes a Tragic Backstory as well as feeling Terribly Sorry for the Mary Sue.

As I read about the recent fake memoirs, especially Margaret Jones/Seltzer, it struck me -- these are Mary Sue memoirs! Except instead of being fanfiction about fiction (TV, Movies, books) it's fanfiction about real events; with the writer needing to be a part of the story. Better yet -- as the New York Times puts it, they need to steal another's suffering.


There is a huge difference between having your own version of your childhood and your life, and, oh, changing the version so now you're a foster child instead of a child of privilege, or, better yet, rather than being raised by uncaring adults, you're being raised by caring wolves. Regarding the first, anyone who has siblings has seen this firsthand, as you compare childhood stories and realize that your memories don't always mesh. We, the readers, get it; why don't the publishers and those who defend the Mary Sue Memoirs?

Thanks to MediaBistro - Galleycat, I find some of the worst nonsense defending these Mary Sue Memoirs. It's not quite the "anytime a person writes it's fiction, get over it" argument I've read (good-bye, non-fiction!), but it's just as bad, as some Self Important Ivory Tower person says, it's ludicrous to expect memoir to be "documentary truth." Rather what is important is whether it is "meaningful" or has "higher truths". By using this definition, we get to sidestep the issue that Real Former Gang Members or Real Holocaust survivors are the ones with the "truths" and facts to be writing the memoirs, while the rest of us who want to write about these things can do so using fiction.

And, of course, it gets both better and sadder. Because both of the most recent memoirs were about people living the Mary Sueness well before any book deal. Seltzer/Jones went so far as to involve her child, who either (a) was raised believing this or (b) was taught to lie for the nice reporters from the New York Times.

I used to wonder why the Little House books were not published as non-fiction. Her name was Laura; she had a sister named Mary; she really lived in those places. But Laura Ingalls Wilder and the publishing world back then knew the difference between fiction and non-fiction. It makes perfect sense, now, just why those childhood stories are in the fiction.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Printz: Criteria

Moving right along, it's time for a Printz policies and procedures post.

Criteria, taken from the YALSA website:


What is quality? We know what it is not. We hope the award will have a wide AUDIENCE among readers from 12 to 18 but POPULARITY is not the criterion for this award. Nor is MESSAGE. In accordance with the Library Bill of Rights, CONTROVERSY is not something to avoid. In fact, we want a book that readers will talk about.

Librarianship focuses on individuals, in all their diversity, and that focus is a fundamental value of the Young Adult Library Services Association and its members. Diversity is, thus, honored in the Association and in the collections and services that libraries provide to young adults.

The book should be self-contained, not dependent on other media for its meaning or pleasure. The book should not be considered in terms of other works by the author but as complete in itself.

Having established what the award is not, it is far harder to formulate what it is. As every reader knows, a great book can redefine what we mean by quality. Criteria change with time. Therefore, flexibility and an avoidance of the too-rigid are essential components of these criteria (some examples of too-rigid criteria: A realistic hope - well, what about Robert Cormier's Chocolate War or Brock Coles' The Facts Speak for Themselves? Avoiding complicated plot - what about Louis Sachar's Holes? Originality - what about all the mythic themes that are continually re-worked? We can all think of other great books that don't fit those criteria.)

What we are looking for, in short, is literary excellence.

All forms of writing B fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and any combination of these, including anthologies B are eligible.

The following criteria are only suggested guidelines and should in no way be considered as absolutes. They will always be open to change and adaptation. Depending on the book, one or more of these criteria will apply:

Story Voice Style
Setting Accuracy Characters
Theme Illustration Design (including format, organization, etc.)

For each book the questions and answers will be different, the weight of the various criteria will be different.

The ALA press release announcing the winner should stipulate why the title has been chosen for its literary excellence.
And now, back to Liz. I'm not sure why the "B" is showing up above instead of a dash; maybe my browser? And I still am incapable of figuring out tabbing in html, hence the "criteria" being way too grouped together.

I find it rather interesting that they use the names of books here.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Oh, Grow Up

So, yesterday Roger famously (or infamously?) began a post about reviews and ended up with "Whatever whoever chooses to read is their business, of course, but adults whose taste in recreational reading ends with the YA novel need to grow up."

Last night when I went to bed there were about 20 comments; now there are 30.

As an adult whose recreational reading includes YA, I want to respond. Yet I found I wanted to say more than is right for a comment. So here goes.

I'm rubber
You're glue
Whatever you say bounces off of me
And sticks to you!

Ha ha ha. Cause I'm not a grown up!

Seriously, folks.

These type of one liners are great to get some comments on a slow day (I personally was going to post "Twilight sucks" just for the comments); or to stir the pot just to stir, if you know what I mean.

Or, they can be dead on serious.

I could take apart the sentence; oh, if my YA reading is not "recreational" but for another reason, I'm still a grown up as defined by RR. Or, if I read other than YA, I'm still a grown up (tho I suspect that if the "other" I read is children's and picture books, I may not be meeting the definition.)

Others have already chimed in with some of my points; that the majority of YA is better edited than adult stuff. I mentally red-pen much more of the adult stuff I read; tho, of course, that is not true of all adult; just as it's not true of all YA. Absolutes, you know -- one really should stay away from them.

Which led me to two conclusions:

Start counting or listing the reasons people read, even under the umbrella of "recreational," and you'd need a book. I think it's impossible to draw an "if x, then y" conclusion about any reading a person does, because the reasons people read and what they get out of it are so varied and complex and personal.

When I think of what makes a person a "grown up", what they read does not even make the top 100. Probably top of my list is the ability to see things in shades of gray, rather than black and white; and to still come to decisions instead of using gray to justify any action or inaction. Followed closely by the realization that my listening to you, and understanding you, does not mean I agree with you.

So I guess my disappointment with Roger's post is not so much whether or not he thinks I'm a grown up -- but, rather, that he makes that statement based on such a small part of who I am as a person; and he makes that statement believing it is always true of everyone. That he begins with reading being a choice, yet ends with slamming the choices people make.

I think, as a librarian and as a person, that I should respect the reader; and respect what they are reading. Sometimes it is helpful to know "why" in order to recommend other books. But for the most part -- read your mysteries, your adventure stories, your graphic novels, even your serious literary works. Read Mary Sue Memoirs if that's your thing.

Heck, if you want -- read Twilight. And I'll still think you're a grown up.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Any demon you can know and any weapon you can show

The concept of a fanvid is simple: Take clips from the TV show or movie of your choice and synchronize them to a song, any song. With the right song and the right clips, you can tell your own story about just about anything. Some vids are serious, some silly. Lately, my friend Heidi has been doing a series of fanvids using Schoolhouse Rock songs and the main characters of Supernatural, with hilarious results. For your viewing pleasure, A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing:

See, TV is good for you!

crossposted at carlie@bccls

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Edge of the Forest:: February, 2008:

Now, for your reading pleasure this lovely weekend: The Edge of the Forest:: February, 2008

So, why are you still here? Go, go! And tell me your favorite article.

I like A Backward Glance by Candice Ransom, even tho I was never a Trixie Belden girl myself (Nancy Drew and Happy Hollisters and Cherry Ames for me.)

But there's also Christine's interview with P.J. Hoover. Surprisingly, there is no T.J. Hooker reference. Uma.... Oprah... PJ.... TJ. OK, it's a pop culture reference that makes sense in my head.

But I think it's Little Willow's bit on YA Lit that makes me smile. If I had a million dollars, on my "to do" list would be to get LW a membership in YALSA and get that girl on the BBYA committee.