Today in my mailbox was a delightful email telling me about a book deal on a book that I’ve been wanting to read but have yet to buy yet. The Body Electric by Beth Revis was her follow up book to her brilliant series Across the Universe and today it’s only $0.99. I’ve been wanting to read it because I loved her first series but I also the story of sounded interesting. What can I say, I like to read people with special powers. If you are looking for great deals on ebooks, bookbub is the way to go. You can set up emails to be send you deals once a week or every day. You can also set up alerts for when deals come available from your favorite authors. It’s a economical way to keep your book habit growing and also gives you suggestions for books and authors that you might not have considered but maybe you’ll try for $0.99. Why not? So a little tip on where to find affordable ebooks, I recommend bookbub. One caveat. The deals only last for a day so if you see something that catches your eye you better act fast before the deal ends. Where do you find good book deals? Let us know in the comments below.
As of yesterday, I had finished my Goodreads.com reading challenge by finishing my 50th book this year. I decided to look at my own challenge to read more Diverse Narrators and see where I am in it and sadly, I’m not any further along then my last update. I have books picked out for some categories but I still haven’t read them and I still don’t know about the others. So dear friends of the internet, help me out with some book recommendations. What should I read to for the following.
A Book with a Trans Narrator I thought about using Alex Fierro from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead but the story is only from Magnus point of view so that’s out. I’ve read good reviews for If I was your Girl by Meredith Russo. So I’ll think I’ll try that one but do you know of any other good book with a Trans Narrator?
A Book with an African Narrator I’ve settled on Born a Crime by Trevor Noah because everyone I know who has read it has loved it and I do love him on the Daily Show. Of course, Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor I’m also interested in too.
A Book with an Asian Narrator I thought about using Warcross by Marie Lu but Emika Chen is Asian American and I already have two books for that one and Hideo Tanaka who is British Japanese is not the narrator of the story, only Emika. A friend recommended Pachinko by Mi Jin Lee but I’m not sure.
A Book with a Native American Narrator Sadly, I’m not sure. Sherman Alexie’s books? Has anyone read Alyson Noel’s Soul Seekers series?
A Book with an Indigenous Mexican Narrator I’m even more loss on this one. I thought for a second about All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater but by the beginning of the story, the Soria’s have lived in Colorado for over a century and the story is more about the family now then their pasts. So any suggestions?
I’m open to anything. Fiction, Non-fiction, fantasy, contemporary, romance. Whatever you got I’m up for it. Leave your suggestions in the comments below or hit me up on our Twitter @StacksXLiveX and Facebook
September 24-30 is Banned book week. The week that American Library Association releases their top 10 challenged books of the last year and we talk about censorship. A topic that has been getting a lot of talk recently. Anyway, so why do books get challenged? ALA has this helpful infograph to help us out.
No surprise that most of the content that people object to have to do with sex and LGBT lifestyles. Violence and offensive language is also a big one but nothing seems to get people uptight then their poor innocent children reading about having sex or Gay people. THE HORROR! So who are challenging. THe ALA has another infograph to help us out.
And what are the most challenged books of 2016?
Out of 323 challenges recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom
- This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
- Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
- George written by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
- I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
- Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
- Looking for Alaska written by John Green
Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
- Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
- Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
- Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
- Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
Reason: challenged for offensive language
Let’s not forget that books like Harry Potter, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and Where’s Waldo? have all been on this list before. So go read a banned book. Don’t let ideas go to waste.
April 2016 was our most successful month page views wise. We had 589 views, which beat our previous record of 552 in December 2015. It made me wonder what were we writing about a year ago to get so much traffic. Well, The Raven Cycle and Maggie Stiefvater. It’s hard to believe that the The Raven King came out a year ago. That it has been a year since we found out if Gansey, Blue, Ronan and Adam would find the sleeping Welsh King and If Blue and Gansey would kiss and if Gansey would die. Those mysteries have been solved. Thankfully, we know that we haven’t read the last of the Gang as Maggie is working on a trilogy about Ronan. Whee!!!
My editor is going to hate me, but I just outlined three books for a Ronan-centered trilogy.
— Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater) August 7, 2016
And we have another Maggie book coming in October. So we have a lot to look forward to but let’s take a moment, in honor of the 1 year anniversary of the release of The Raven King and the end of the The Raven Cycle, to look at everything we have ever written about the series.
I would like to discuss the format. What do you think about John Lewis presenting this story as a graphic novel instead of a straight narrative story? I personally, I loved it. I think it was kind of genius. It’s one thing to read about the sit-ins, marches and the violence that followed but it’s another thing to have it visualized. The illustrations are truly powerful and really make his story and the story of the Civil Rights movement come to life. The graphic novel format also makes it more accessible. How many kids or teens willing read history books? All three books were quick reads but still powerful. Giving the readers a full look of all the challenges that John Lewis and the movement faced. The sacrifices that they made, knowing that they could be arrested or killed. The visual aspect of the novel makes all of these more powerful because the illustrations are simple, yet specific.
Do you agree with me? What do you think of the presentation?
So question for you. As you know, here at Stacks are trying to broaden our horizons by seeking out stories, narratives and authors from diverse voices. Last year we created our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge and we had mixed results. I think we both only completed half of the challenge. This year we decided to split up our challenge and focus on different aspects of the our original Challenge. Kate is leading our Diverse Authors Challenge and I’m spearheading our Diverse Narrators Challenge. So far this year I have read 10 books and I have read some diverse narrators from Essun in The Fifth Season, Ms. Marvel and Frangie and Rainey from Silver Stars. I’m starting to read King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, who has described her main character, Mare as a mix race (white/Latinx). I’m looking at my challenge and wondering about characters like Mare and Essun. They are both described as olive or dark skinned respectively. They are not the traditional white heroines that we have come to identify in fantasy and well fiction in general but they do not reside in our world. They live in a fantasy worlds that the authors created on their own. In the case of Mare though, she lives in a world that came out of the ruins of the US after years of wars and natural disasters. Technically, Norta is the US but hundreds of the years in the future. So can we count them in our challenge? Is it cheating? Or is it okay since they represent people and cultures in our world. They may not be African American or Latina in the sense that we define them but they represent that narrative. Women of Color can look to these characters and others like them and see themselves in them and isn’t that in the spirit of our challenge? So dear readers out there, how do you define diversity in our reading? Are strict in definition or if a character is define as “dark skinned” or “olive skinned” or anything but “fair skinned” as a diverse characters?
Let’s discuss this, sound off in the comments below.
Beth and I have both finally gotten our copies of March in the mail, and I started reading it at breakfast this morning! This couldn’t be a more pertinent read. As I am sure you have seen, Senator Elizabeth Warren was officially silenced for the rest of the hearing on whether to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. She was silenced for reading out part of a letter written by Coretta Scott King to the chair of the judiciary committee in 1986 on Sessions’ possible appointment to a federal judgeship. Warren was officially silenced for, ‘breaking Rule 19, which forbids members from imputing to a colleague “any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”‘ (quote from NPR.)
In the letter, King writes about the march from Selma to Montgomery in the letter, setting the stage to discuss subsequent actions designed to deny people their right to vote. She writes, “I was privileged to join Martin and many others during the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965. Martin was particularly impressed by the determination to get the franchise of blacks in Selma and neighboring Perry County.” You can read the letter in its entirety here.
Volume one begins with Lewis’s early life; we won’t get to Selma until volume 3 (I believe). It is not often that we read historical pieces that are so immediately relevant as we read them.
For this post, I’m not going to ask discussion questions. So, please feel free to comment with your first impressions of the graphic novel. Are you reading along with us? Have you started? How do you feel about pet chickens? We look forward to hearing what you have to say in the comments.
Last year, completely by accident, I discovered that small presses sometimes offer subscriptions. What better way to support books, publishing and literacy? You buy a subscription and they send books as soon as they come out! Amazing!
So, I did some googling around and here are three small presses who offer subscriptions.
Sibling Rivalry Press is a publisher of poetry. They are a publisher devoted to “[promoting] underground artistic talent – those who don’t quite fit into the mainstream.” I’ve not read anywhere near enough of this year’s subscription, but everything I’ve read I’ve really enjoyed.
Above/ground press seems to have their fingers in a lot of different publishing pies. (That’s exciting if you, like me, like to read around.) Their subscription includes a number of different types of things (chapbooks and broadsheets and who knows what else?) It seems pretty cool.
Burrow Press‘s subscription includes their physical books, ebooks and a membership pin. There are four titles listed at the link that are slated to come out in 2017 and who knows what else will be added?
The only one that I have subscribed to before was Sibling Rivalry and that was delightful. The other two look pretty good as well. Have you done a subscription to a small press before? Did you like it? Do you have any subscription suggestions for us? Take to the comments and let us know!
Kate and I have given updates on our Challenges and well we are not doing as well as both of would like. We want to know, dear readers, how many of you attempted our Diverse Stack, Diverse Lives Reading Challenge? With only 31 days left how many books have you read and how many more do you need to complete yours? We are thinking of doing this again next year but changing the focus to only on sub-challenge instead of three. We are open to suggestions. What should we add to next years challenge? What should we leave off? Let us know how we can make next year’s challenge more accessible while still helping us all reach our goals of diversifying our reading lists.
A lot of terrible things have happened…well, all of human history might accurately categorized as action and reaction when terrible things happen. One of those actions that people can take is educating oneself and trying to be a better person and/or not be as much a part of the problem. I have been heartened to see what might be a new trend in book lists: the syllabus. (Can a tool for teaching in the classroom be thought of as a “new” trend out of the classroom?) I am always happy to see thematic lists and I’m always looking for new things to read, so I have been collecting them. Some of the following are actual syllabuses for college courses and some of them are just curated lists on a topic. I’ve got them and I’ve been looking back through them now that I’m aware of how far behind I am on my reading challenge. While I was looking at them, I thought I might share them with you.
This first link is an in-depth list but together following the mass shooting in Charleston in June of 2015. This list is amazing in its detail. It provides historical context starting with a general overview before readings on slavery in both the North and the South before going onto the civil war, reconstruction, and Jim Crow. There are readings on race and religion. There are readings on white identity construction and white supremacy in the US and abroad.
The next syllabus I have to offer is the Black Lives Matter 2016 Fall Syllabus. This syllabus was put together by Professor Frank Leon Roberts at NYU for a class. This is a nice syllabus because it includes not only papers and texts to read but it also includes videos and films to watch. The syllabus also includes writing prompts for reflection papers, so while you are reading and watching, you can also do some digesting.
The Standing Rock Syllabus, put together by the NYC stands with Standing Rock collective includes readings on topics like settler colonialism, the histories of indigenous peoples in North America, environmental racism, and readings on Indian sovereignty and treaty law.
The Lemonade syllabus grew out of a desire that many people had to understand and better get all of the references in Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade. It was put together by Candice Benbow and is beautiful. It is stunningly laid out, once you’ve followed the link from the site. It is 36 pages and includes space to make notes and to write down the date when you finished reading. The syllabus is divided into topics that include (but are not limited to) fiction, non-fiction, black feminism, womanist theology, photography, music, critical theory and poetry. It is so cool. People had questions, they took to twitter and using a hashtag gave each other answers. I cannot understate how in awe of this syllabus I am.
The Luke Cage Syllabus is a look at the literature in the netflix show Luke Cage but together by Tara Betts at Black Nerd Problems. These are books that are seen or referenced in the show. This syllabus is my convenient excuse for re-watching the show.
These last two I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to look over yet. One of them is a google doc and I’m not sure who it is edited by but it is a reading list for white people who want to educate themselves so that they can be more informed. It is divided up thematically and includes readings on systemic racism and racist ideology, the history of black lives matter and readings on steps you can take to combat racism. The last one is from Haymarket books and is called the Stop Trump Reading List. This list contains books that talk may help you understand how Trump was elected and it includes a link to a list of books especially for young people.
So, there you have it. Syllabi and reading lists to help you find your next book(s) and to learn a little about issues in the world and also about references in pop culture you may be missing!
If you have any suggestions or have seen any reading lists/syllabi out there that I missed, please take to the comments and let me know!