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.


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.

So, Readers…

July 24, 2010

…short story reviews here on Bibliophibia, yea or nay? I’ve never liked them much, but lately I’ve started attending cons and workshops, and I’ve ended up both reading and writing short stories. And I love them.
So, do you guys want short story reviews, and if so should I review by the story or by the anthology/mag? Comment and let me know.

EDIT: Also, guys, huuuuge stack of books to review on my desk right now. Here’s a quick list of the titles, and they’ll all be along when I find the time to read them and put my thoughts in coherent words.

  • The Thieves of Darkness by Richard Doetsch
  • The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
  • A Small Death in the Great Glen by A.D. Scott
  • Hailey’s War by Jodi Compton
  • Android Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters
  • The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
  • You’ll Be Sor-ree! by Sid Phillips
  • Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
  • Permanent Obscurity by Richard Perez


May 28, 2010

It’s just come to my attention that reviewers are supposed to disclose when they have received a free copy of a book/payment for a review, to avoid conflicts of interest and such. I have not and do not intend to ever get paid for reviewing books, since that would indebt me to the author or publishing company. No one is exempt from bias.

I do, however, receive ARCs all the time. As soon as I’ve hit publish on this post I’m going to go back and edit all prior posts to note when my copy of a book was free, and will keep up this practice in the future. I do not believe that I am influenced to give a book a better review just because it was free, but I do think that my readers have a right to know.

Top Five Picks

March 7, 2010

I figure this would be a good thing to do every so often, maybe once a year, maybe every six months, whatever. Basically I intend to list the five books which in my opinion need to be read. Because you can’t possibly expect me to limit a list of five books to just five books, I retain the right to list several volumes of one series as one.

So, here goes. (Of these, I have already reviewed Fire and will do the rest when I get around to it.)

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its even better sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, both by the late Steig Larsson

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

3.  Graceling and its companion, Fire, both by Kristin Cashore

4. The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex (which is, quite seriously, the most consistently hilarious book I have ever read. His illustrations are great, too)

5. anything by Robin McKinley, but especially Sunshine, Deerskin, and Spindle’s End