I’m sorry, what?

September 19, 2010

“…In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography. One such book is called ‘Speak’.”

Come again?

This is a quote from an article by one Wesley Scroggins, published recently in the opinion section of the Springfield, Missouri paper The News-Leader. Needless to say, a storm of internet outrage has been launched over his insensitive portrayal of Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK, which tells the story of a teen victim of rape. Now, I’m not sure how Mr. Scroggins feels, but I would certainly hope that most people don’t get off on this book.

I am not a person that believes in many completely objective truths, but one of them is this: rape is not the fault of the victim. Laurie Halse Anderson happens to be in agreement with me. So when I hear “…the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like. The boy then rapes her on the next page,” I think there’s some gross misrepresentation going on there. And furthermore, does that sound like porn to you?

Help get the word out about this– don’t let people like Scroggins keep such a beautiful and important book off the shelves and away from youth whom it can help. Declare your support for SPEAK by Tweeting #SpeakLoudly, and check out these other blog posts on this topic:

Laurie Halse Anderson answers the charges herself.

Cheryl Rainfield writes about how she feels about this affair, as a survivor of sexual and ritual abuse, as does C.J. Redwine.

Myra McEntire gives a laudable Christian perspective.

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Cybils ’10

September 18, 2010

Hey, all! I just wanted to give you guys a heads-up that I’ll be helping to judge the Cybils this year. I’ll be in the first round of graphic-novel judging, the panelists, which means that it’ll be my job to read at least the first fifty pages of each of “scores of nominated books” (from the Cybils judging FAQ). You guys can start nominating your favorite books on October 1st (only books released this year can be nominated).

Last year’s Cybil books include a few you might know– Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation and  Fire both won, and there are a ton more great books on the finalists’ and winners’ lists that I haven’t reviewed here for one reason or another. All of those are currently up on the Cybils site. Click around after the link I gave you above and see what there is to see.


Book Review: Behemoth (Westerfeld)

September 4, 2010

*ARC Alert*

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld will be released on October 5th, 2010 by Simon Pulse (Hardcover, illustrated, $18.99, 496 pages).

Let me explain the basic concept to you: World War I.  The Allies have Darwinian genetically-engineered monsters for war engines and the Central Powers have mechas. Do you really need to read the rest of the review?

Oh, yeah, wait. One last thing before you rush off. This is the second book, the first is called Leviathan. Alright, go for it. Spoilers after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »