It’s Friday Five time again. Time to review my five favorite bookish articles or stories floating around in the last week or so. (“Or so” since I haven’t done a Friday Five post in a while!) In this recurring blog series, I briefly summarize the five articles I found most interesting and you can decide if you’d like to read more (click the link) or just enjoy a sampling of stories both serious and fun, ranging from racism in books to book festival mania. Happy Friday!
Children’s author Grace Lin ruminates on how many of the classic children’s books you love probably are racist. (They are classics for a reason, in that they were written in another era.) Some people will throw up their hands at this or get offended at attacking the classics. However, Lin isn’t saying to toss all those books in the garbage. Instead, she uses a very personal example of her experience with the Little House on the Prairie books and proposes we should treat the children’s classics like we treat our “out of touch relatives” – keep them in your life, but monitor what they say around your kids. I think it’s pretty good advice.
Read them, share them, even love them, but make sure you talk to your kids about them, too.
Speaking of classic children’s books, an all-female film reboot of Lord of the Flies in a contemporary setting apparently sparked some outrage. Sexism, you wonder? Well, in a way. Part of the criticism lies in the fact that two men proposed tackling the writing of this remake. (Just like only a group of white men are in charge of determining the healthcare fate of all women in the US. So that sounds about right with the way our society is going these days.)
However, the issue goes deeper in that many women (and men) claim the entire moral of the source material is that a male-dominated society devolves into violence. Even the Lord of the Flies author himself, William Golding, said the following regarding why he chose to fill the island with only boys, “they are more like a scaled-down version of society than a group of little girls would be.”
An all women remake of Lord of the Flies makes no sense because… the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women.
The article goes on to argue that teenage girls Lord of the Flies movie in a contemporary setting has already been done, more than once, (see Mean Girls), further demonstrating the degree to which the men proposing this script are out of touch.
This is less article and more slide show, but if you love bookstores (how can you not?), it’s fun to click through! You can also see how many you’ve been to! I counted 3.5 for me. Can’t wait to add more!
Word bookstore in Jersey City I wrote about on my blog once! And I passed by Longfellow Books in Maine. (This is my .5. I would have gone in but I was on a bus tour and I don’t think they would have looked kindly on me jumping off a moving bus to go to a bookstore.) And of course, One More Page Books, a favorite of mine in Northern Virginia, is on the list as is Politics and Prose in DC (both of which I’ve written about numerous times on my blog). Although I hate to rank the bookstores in my area, they all have something wonderful to offer!
When I see stories like this one, part of me still thinks that they have to be a spoof, from The Onion, a joke. But, they’re not. People want to friggin’ burn books. Are you kidding me? Apparently, we need to start handing out copies of Fahrenheit 451. (Note for book fairies everywhere.) Of course, they’d probably try to burn that too and wouldn’t even get the irony. As the article (or more aptly categorized as a rant, but a totally appropriate one) goes on to observe, just take a second to think about the kinds of societies and regimes that burn books. Just one second and you’ll realize they aren’t the good ones.
According to the now deleted Facebook page, “Burning Degeneracy,” they wanted to burn “…literature with liberal, democratic tendencies/attitudes…Books on sexuality and sexual education which serves to indoctrinate the life of degeneracy, such as Cosmo and Teen Vogue.”
I have no words except, get it together America. This is the opposite of great.
I laughed when saw the title of this article. Since a wonderful friend of mine reminded me that this weekend is the National Book Festival in Washington, DC and we made plans to go, this article took on a new level of interest for me.
Of course, the article’s title is misleading. The author doesn’t think the book is dead. She’s poking fun at how the book industry frets over the potential decline of the literary market while people flock in increasing numbers to book festivals. These festivals lure readers out of their homes and propel authors into the celebrity spotlight (which they don’t usually want). They allow book lovers of all types to essentially geek out. It’s Fangirl and boy heaven.
What a wonder, then, that these book lovers should rise from their comfy chairs, abandon their nooks and swarm together in celebration — like cicadas emerging from the ground to meet their literary mates.
While some may think as long as there are books, there will be book festivals. This article implies as long as there are book festivals, you don’t need to worry so much about the loss of books.
And now, I must go plan my National Book Festival visit!