1. penguinteen:

    Today we welcome Wendy Wunder to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight. Author of heartbreakingly wonderful (no pun intended) novel, The Museum of Intangible Things will make you laugh and cry, mostly at the same time, and we know that’s pretty much all any of us are looking for in a good book, right? Totes. (Plus, isn’t that cover one of the prettiest things you’ve ever seen?) Before you pick up your copy, take a second to hang out with Wendy Wunder!

    Name: Wendy Wunder  

    Novel: The Museum of Intangible Things

    Available: Now!

    Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Girls: Jennifer Eagan, Karen Russel, Lorrie Moore, Louise Erdrich, Rainbow Rowell, Laurie Halse Andersen, Judy Blume, Wendy Wasserstein

    Boys: Junot Diaz, George Saunders, Michael Chabon, Jeffrey Eugenides, Dr. Seuss

    What’s your favorite thing about your book? The ending.  Not the events of the ending but the writing on the last few pages, I like.

    If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, whom would you choose? Well the romantic answer would be Mr. Darcy or Rhett Butler, right? But I don’t think they’d have enough kick ass survival skills.

    The practical answer would be Katniss Everdeen because she’d know how to survive.  That’s what the girl does best. She avoids certain death.  She could build us a shelter and rustle us up some squirrel meat.

    The fancy, erudite answer would be Orlando.  Orlando by Virginia Woolf was one of my favorite books of all time.  I haven’t read it in a while but it chronicles the life of a soul who changes class and gender through time.  So it would be interesting to see which Orlando would show up or who Orlando would be today. 

    Where do you write? I write whenever and wherever I can.  I’m a little haphazard about it.  I used to have a space in Boston’s Writer’s Room, but I’ve given that up and sometimes use the Bates Room in the Boston Public Library instead. It’s a gorgeous, quiet space but the security guards are Very strict about carrying in beverages and one time one of them kicked me because I put my head down to rest my eyes. Sleeping there is strongly discouraged. 

    Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? I enjoy Pocahontas and Sacajawea because they are native women that made it into history books.  I would love to read more about them from a native perspective.  I also like finding out more about Cleopatra and Mary Magdelene.. Both powerful intellectuals who did not get their due respect until recently.  I also have a thing about the Founding Fathers.  All of them.  I just think it’s fascinating that they had the foresight to create this document (the Constitution) and a system for interpreting it, so that it can constantly and fluidly grow with time and hopefully become more and more just and inclusive. ? hopefully.   

    Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I think it was a picture of how my daughter secretly infiltrated my husband’s to do list.  He had written:

    “Get Tree Bag” (for disposal of Christmas Tree)

    And underneath it my ten-year-old wrote:

    “Get dog”

    “Get 1 pound candy”

    “Get 1 pound salami”

    Kids are funny.

    What is your favorite season? I love them all, which is one of the reasons I live in the northeast.

    If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I grew up on a large lake and we were allowed to get a motorboat license at age 13. My friend and I would just ride out to some quiet cove, anchor, read and sunbathe.  I would love to do that right this very minute.  It’s been a long winter and I must replenish the Vitamin D!

    Do you have any writing rituals? No, but I think I should get some.  My writing lately has been happening in fits and starts and I think I would benefit from a routine.  I think I’m going to start getting up at 4 a.m. to write before the rest of the day gets in the way. 

    What is your idea of earthly happiness? Having enough money to take a vacation without feeling guilty about it.

    What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? I’ve been to a lot of them, because my dad was in radio, growing up and always got us free tickets.  But it would have to be Bruce Springsteen. As a jersey girl, I’ve been to MANY of these and the man leaves it all on the stage.  His music, live, is always a deeply moving nostalgic trip for me.  It’s the poetry of my youth. Have you listened to his lyrics?  The old stuff?  Rivals Dylan.

    What are you currently working on? A family dramedy that is a combination of Arrested Development, Parenthood, the Royal Tenenbaums and Infinite Jest.

    ………….

    Thanks, Wendy! We can’t wait to read what you have coming next!

    You can find Wendy on her website and Twitter.

    Add The Museum of Intangible Things to your “to-read” list on Goodreads!

    Purchase The Museum of Intangible Things from your favorite retailer.

  2. Cognitive Dissonance

    mikejung:

    I don’t know if what I’m about to rattle on about actually does involve cognitive dissonance, because I think the “contradictions” I have in mind may not be contradictory in a true sense.

    I’ve been actively, genuinely participating in the ongoing diversity dialogue for the first time, and this morning my attention was captured by a Twitter exchange between Kelly Jensen, Elizabeth Burns, Justina Ireland, and a number of other people. That exchange appeared to be sparked by Kelly’s Book Riot post about the need for bigger megaphones in kidlit diversity, and both the post and the ensuing Twitter conversation touched on the idea of being able to hold two very different, conflicting feelings about a book in one’s heart and mind. 

    I love Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. It moved me tremendously, and there were moments when I was flabbergasted by the existence of a character whose inner life so closely resembled mine, in ways I’d never found in a book before. I’m not mixed-race (although both my children are), but I spent my middle school and high school years as one of the very few Asian kids in an overwhelmingly white community. I was, and in many ways remain, deeply alienated from my Korean ancestry, and I became as thoroughly assimilated into the privileged culture of white suburban America as I probably could have been.I was confused, and I grew more psychologically distanced from my extended family by the day.

    My feelings of self-loathing weren’t rooted solely in my disengagement from my racial and ethnic heritage, but they weren’t separate from it either. I think Park is a character with more than a little self-hatred, a deep sense of alienation from his own racial and ethnic roots, and a very compartmentalized, incomplete understanding of himself. And some part of me fell back and sang out in relief that a book had captured those old feelings of mine so truly and so well. 

    Then I started seeing the critical response to the book’s depiction of Korean characters, starting with Wendy Xu’s blazingly smart assertion that Eleanor & Park is a racist work (I won’t link to the other posts I’ve read since Kelly did a very thorough job of doing so in the Book Riot post). I read more, I opened a halting dialogue among my Facebook friends, and I realized with more than a little dismay that my perception of the book was becoming a much more complicated and difficult thing. 

    The aforementioned Twitter conversation really made me think about the issue of loving a book, really loving it, while also feeling genuinely troubled by it. It’s always deflating to realize that I’m simply not any more human than anyone else when it comes to such things, but there you have it - a very large part of me simply wanted to dismiss the objections to E&P so I could just go on loving it in the relatively uncomplicated way I did after first reading it. 

    I’ve expended some time and energy learning how to unpack my feelings about such things, so I made that effort, and was both unsurprised and unhappy to realize that once again, my difficulty in really absorbing the criticisms of this book I love were rooted in defending my self-defined identity. Acknowledging the troubling aspects of Rowell’s Korean characters couldn’t be done without acknowledging the fact that I simply hadn’t perceived those aspects on my own, which made me feel:

    1. Stupid
    2. Clueless
    3. Uninformed
    4. All of the above
    5. All of the above plus a bunch of stuff I don’t even really understand 

    It was (and remains) painful and exposing to realize that I completely whiffed on perceiving racially problematic aspects of a book that had become so important to me. It’d be easy to go spiraling down the emotional rabbit hole in a self-destructive way - believe me, I’ve done it before - but there’s no denying that seeing, hearing, and reading a viewpoint that so powerfully disrupted my psyche forced me to engage in a heavy round of self-examination. 

    I still love Eleanor & Park. I’m also increasingly troubled by it. Can those two feelings coexist inside of me? I think it’s possible, although the evidence thus far clearly shows that it’ll be an uneasy coexistence, at least for a while. And I’ve started thinking it’s not only possible for those two feelings to coexist - it might actually be vitally, desperately necessary. 

    I intend to keep engaging in the diversity dialogue, because I believe in its importance. We live in a world that’s bafflingly, messily, gloriously complex. The ongoing process of simply being alive in this world is endlessly multifaceted, and how can authors and publishers truly serve the needs and desires of all our readers without creating books that are equally complex? The fullness of that complexity can’t be addressed by each individual author or in each individual book, of course - that’s just not possible - but on a global scale, is there any other way?

    But if I’m going to keep my commitment to being a part of that effort (and I intend to), I’ll have to contain a seemingly endless supply of contradictory feelings inside my harried brain. That includes respecting the intent of authors who confront matters of diversity in their work, but honestly addressing their shortcomings, if only in the recesses of my mind; supporting dissent, critical analysis, and necessary confrontation by people who are my allies, but also safeguarding and expressing my own feelings and opinions that might differ from theirs; honoring and valuing my own life experiences, creative intentions, and finished work, but accepting the reality that I will learn things that force me to examine my own biases and blind spots; and on and on and on. 

    I’m worried about being attacked by racist trolls who’ll hammer at me with all the same vile garbage I’ve heard all my life. I’m actually even more worried about being attacked by people who might perceive me as oblivious, witless, or actively complicit in acts of disrespect and disenfranchisement. I don’t know if I can continue engaging in this dialogue without feeling terrible about myself on a regular basis. I don’t know if I can refrain from engaging in this dialogue without feeling terrible about myself on a regular basis. So I guess I’ll do the latter, because despite my lack of a really colossal megaphone to speak through, I feel a spicule of hope that I can contribute to shoving our industry further along a more inclusive, equitable, reality-embracing track. 

    (via catagator)

  3. annaverity:

    If I Stay — Trailer
    Release Date: August 22nd

    Please excuse me while I sob in the corner

    (Source: ifistayofficial)

  4. aneternalscoutandabrownie:

    bellecs:

    This is literally a Tumblr classroom.

    Bonus!

    And:

    (via moniquill)

  5. catagator:

    At Book Riot, I’m continuing my “Beyond the Bestsellers” list by talking about what to read when you’ve read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

    Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, all of the recommended reading has to do with sexual violence — each realistic YA title tackles this topic in some capacity. I’ve included male and female voices and the many ways sexual violence can happen in a young person’s life. 

    (via yareviewnetwork)

  6. iheartyabooks:

la-la-la-lines:

Karou and Brimstone by Calivel
From the wonderful Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.

Beautiful!
    High Res

    iheartyabooks:

    la-la-la-lines:

    Karou and Brimstone by Calivel

    From the wonderful Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.

    Beautiful!

  7. ransomriggs:

    Goinnnn to the bookstore 

    and we’re

    gonnnnna get maa-aa-aarired 

    *whistles*

    taherehmafi:

    ransom and i got married several months ago in an intimate ceremony, but recently had a larger reception for more family and friends, and it was a blast! as we’re both writers, it seemed fitting to have the event at one of our favorite bookstores: the last bookstore in downtown LA. we’ve had a lot of requests for photos, so i thought i’d drop a few here. hope you enjoy them as much as we do! 

    :::for the especially curious:::

    my bouquet: was made from the pages of ransom’s novel (miss peregrine’s home for peculiar children).

    our photographers: brandon + katrina of brandon wong photography.

    venue: the last bookstore in downtown los angeles.

    catering: the extremely fabulous heirloomla.

    flowers: from floral art!

    rentals: furniture from found rentals, dishes from dishwish!

    the band: one of our favorite local indie bands, the gallery.

    hugs and books!

    xx

    tahereh

  8. paperbackd:

    Book review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

    I was slightly hesitant to start reading She Is Not Invisible - as a huge fan of Sedgwick’s gothic historical fiction, I wasn’t sure if his style would translate well to realistic fiction.  But I needn’t have worried.  Sedgwick has proved himself one of the best and most versatile British authors of young adult fiction, and She Is Not Invisible is one of the most truthful and heartfelt contemporary realistic novels I’ve ever read.

    The entire story takes place over one weekend, as Sedgwick’s protagonist, sixteen-year-old Laureth Peak, abducts her younger brother on a quest to find their missing father, following the clues he left behind in his old notebook. Laureth finds herself alone in a strange city with only her kid brother for company, struggling to understand her father’s cryptic and increasingly disturbing notes. And another thing - she’s blind.

    It’s a testament to Sedgwick’s skill as a writer that he is able to write such a vivid story with absolutely no visual cues for the reader to follow.  It’s been so long since I’ve read a novel featuring a disabled protagonist - and one who isn’t solely defined by her disability.  In one particularly brilliant scene, Laureth muses over the lack of realistic blind characters in books, tv shows and movies.  There are only two kinds of blind people, she decides: the pathetic, helpless figures of woe, or the superheroes, whose other senses are somehow magically enhanced.  Laureth, thankfully, falls into neither category.  Yes, she is blind, but she is also sceptical, impulsive, and kind.  She is an ordinary teenage girl and a wonderfully well-rounded character.

    The mystery Sedgwick has created pays off; Sedgwick’s ending is satisfying and realistic, but more importantly, it’s engaging, and rewards the reader who pays close attention to every little word.  She Is Not Invisible is the kind of novel that demands a re-read as soon as you’ve turned the final page - the themes of coincidence, obsession and family are so expertly woven into the book that I keep finding new discoveries just by flicking through a few pages at random.

    Whatever Sedgwick writes next, it’s bound to be brilliant, and I already can’t wait to read it.

    Publisher: Indigo
    Rating: 5 stars | ★★

    Review cross-posted to Goodreads

    Buy on Amazon: US | UK

  9. hi! I just discovered your blog - what a great resource!! I'm wondering if you now of any sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian books in which the protagonist is a person of color?

    catagator:

    Great question and thank you! 

    Sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopia are not my strengths, so let me lead you to some great resources that could better answer your question.

    Lee and Low has an amazing pinterest account, complete with booklists featuring stories about characters of color. They have boards for YA sci fi and fantasy featuring poc. This is invaluable

    If you don’t follow Diversity in YA on tumblr, you should. They keep excellent diverse book lists as well.  I’d also recommend checking out their resource list for other blogs and websites that look specifically at diverse books over here (scroll down and it’s on the right-hand side bar).

    Hope that helps! 

  10. If you’re a member of a community and have the community’s needs and interests at heart, it’s not asking a lot to shine your spotlight on these issues. You lose nothing, and you have everything in the world to gain — both for yourself and for your community — when you use your voice to call for art that reflects a society in which diversity is simply reality. That is how you become an asset.

    from We Need Bigger Megaphones for Diversity in Kid Lit.

    I rounded up and talked about some of the pieces written recently on diversity and representation in the kid lit world and asked why those who have huge megaphones in the community aren’t helping to amplify those voices. 

    (via catagator)