This is one of my favorite blogs to write. On Friday, I pick five book-related articles from the last week (or so) that I really loved and share them so everyone else can love them too! This week brings us Shady Jane, fierce fairies and lots more bookish fun!
I read a lot – books, articles, everything. So I am lucky to have exposure to all these great articles about books and this week in particular there were so many it was hard to choose.
But I also think this week had some of the most unique bookish articles I’ve seen in a long time.
Let’s start with…Jane Austen, Mean Girl.
Jane Austen wrote some of the most sharp-tongued female characters of any literary era and there was no shortage of biting comments in her novels.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ― Northanger Abbey
Therefore, I suppose it’s not surprising that her sharp pen cut down more than just fictional characters. In fact, in a letter to her niece Anna Lefroy, Austen critiques fellow author Rachel Hunter’s gothic novel Lady Maclairn, the Victim of Villainy, calling it “most tiresome and prosy.” This little bout of mean girl prose fetched $200,000+ at auction. I guess people like Jane Austen with a little bit of spunk.
Sci-Fi and fantasy used to be a man’s world. I mean think about it. When you think of the classic sci-fi and fantasy authors, who do you think of? Asimov, Tolkien, Dick, Herbert, Clarke, Bradbury, Verne. The lone woman among them would probably be Ursula K. Le Guin. But all of that is changing and women are breaking through that Sci-Fi/Fantasy glass ceiling (I’m looking at you J. K.) to bring us some amazing books.
The list starts things off with a surprising entry – Rainbow Rowell, who is not normally known for writing fantasy or Sci-fi. However, her technically non-fantasy book FanGirl, featured a fake fantasy book and has now spawned a real fantasy book called Carry On. And that’s just the beginning of the list…
I would be remiss this week if I didn’t include an article on Henry David Thoreau. After all, it was his 200th birthday on July 12th. He was notable for many great works, particularly his poetry. But if you look him up, he’s also described as an essayist, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist and resistor. In fact, I’d call him an original resistor. At age 32 he wrote the work “Civil Disobedience” after being jailed for refusing to pay taxes in protest of slavery and the war with Mexico.
“Thoreau was the first American to define and use civil disobedience as a means of protest.” – Brent Powell
This essay went on to influence great people who would change the world through their versions of civil disobedience, including Ghandi and Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. They weren’t the only ones though. Thoreau’s essay influenced protesters of WWI and anti-Nazis in WWII.
Now for something a little more lighthearted. I couldn’t resist including this one because it made me laugh and also as a recent reader of the book Fangirl, which I mentioned earlier, I have a whole new appreciation for the world of fan fiction.
I’m not sure how one doesn’t realize one is reading fanfic, but this story of a woman who discovers via Twitter her friend isn’t actually reading a Harry Potter book so perfectly encapsulates how the worlds of social medial and literature have become inextricably intertwined it really should be a short story of its own.
“Thankfully, Zhang seems to have caught her friend at just the right time, before he got into the habit of telling less understanding Potterheads about how he felt about the dark turn in Order of the Phoenix.”
The title of this article is a little bit misleading. But I still love it. The title doesn’t refer to tiny fairies like Tinkerbell, but rather book fairies, specifically book fairies fluttering across Mumbai, which is the latest country to embrace this altruistic, book-sharing endeavor.
The Book Fairies is a global platform dedicated to hiding books around the world for people to find, read, and then leave for the next person. It actually started with book-lover, actress, feminist and all-around wonderful person Emma Watson, whose online book club “Our Shared Shelves” I’ve written about on this blog previously.
Watson started dropping off books in the subways and other public spots in London and New York and turned this practice into a book fairy worldwide phenomenon. Now anyone can be a book fairy. There is even a website called “The Book Fairies”! (http://ibelieveinbookfairies.com)
How do you do it? It’s simple. Order some stickers. Buy a book and leave it somewhere! Want to get started right now, click here.
Writing about this just brought a little smile to my face. Now that’s a great story! Book fairy power! Emma Watson for President! (Yes I know she’s not a US citizen…Unearthed birth certificate reveals Watson born in US…It could happen. A girl can dream…)
There were so many other great articles this past week, I have to give honorable mention to the following, even though they didn’t make the top 5 cut!
- Stephen King Takes on Trump (Again): ‘The News Is Real, The President Is Fake’ – King might be my new hero.
- John Steinbeck Has a Crisis in Confidence While Writing The Grapes of Wrath: “I am Not a Writer. I’ve Been Fooling Myself and Other People” – Even the greats had doubts. Somehow that makes me feel a little better about my massive bouts of writing self-doubt (not that I’ll ever be like Steinbeck, but still…)
- Original, Hand-Drawn ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Manuscript Reveals Sweet Backstory – It’s always fun to discover something new about a story you think you know so well.
Happy Friday to all!