A Pentecost Linkdump

Today is Pentecost or Whitsun weekend, which is a public holiday in Germany. Well, tomorrow, i.e. Monday is a public holiday and those of us working in school like yours truly get Tuesday off as well. So hurray for a long holiday weekend.

Unfortunately, I also had a spot of computer trouble, when the battery charger of my laptop decided to give up the ghost yesterday night. Even more unfortunately, I only realized that the battery charger was faulty when my laptop ran out of power in spite of being plugged in and just wouldn’t recharge. Luckily, I still have the desktop, so I’m not entirely computerless, but it’s still annoying. And of course this has to happen during the long holiday weekend.

And now for some neat links:

After publishing that handwringing article about the alleged moral depravity of contemporary YA fashion last week, the Wall Street Journal also publishes this great response by YA author Sherman Alexie.

Besides, it’s not as if the morally wholesome YA books can’t wreck any damage on young readers. Just take Justine Musk’s rant about the Sweet Valley High novels for example. Now I actually read those books – in German – as a teenager. I must have had more than twenty – my Mom bought them for me at a combination of newsstand/stationary/gift/book/tobacco shop in my hometown. Most of my reading material at the time came either from that shop or the library, so I was limited to their selection. Unfortunately, that selection didn’t include any SFF beyond Perry Rhodan and Geisterjäger John Sinclair – which I wasn’t supposed to read. So I stuck with Sweet Valley High for a while, then read only non-fiction for a year or two before finding fantasy and SF and never looking back. Oddly enough, I don’t remember the perfect size 6 thing at all, probably because it wasn’t in the German translation. Though I do remember the creepy perfection of the Wakefield twins, and that I always liked Jessica better than Elizabeth. Still, are fluffy books with questionable values like the Sweet Valley High series really better for teenagers than YA novels that take an unflinching look at the uglier sides of life? Somehow I doubt it.

At the Huffington Post, Ruth Fowler really, really disagrees with Téa Obreht winning the Orange Prize for The Tiger’s Wife. Of course, it’s her good right to dislike the novel, but was it really necessary to make cracks about Téa Obreht’s appearance or youth or project her dislike of one novel to every writer who ever graduated from a creative program?

Téa Obreht’s win of the Orange Prize has also made some waves in the SFF community by initiating another round of the good old genre versus literary debate. For anyone who hasn’t yet had enough of that, discussions can be found at the Guardian and at Damien Walter’s blog.

Mark Charan Newton has a very interesting post about gender and cover design in historical fiction. And he doesn’t even go into the pain that is historical romance covers.

Finally, Theodora Goss has a nice writing post on the half and half life. This is so very true.

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