{diversity in lit} friday #12 (re)sources

Woman reader / Lectora (ilustración de Natalie Foss)
Woman reader by Natalie Foss

A few Links to reviews, articles, sites, etc. of the Diversity in Literature concern from around the blogosphere, accumulated over the weeks since “#11,” and maybe even earlier.


–what we have here is a failure to communicate writes about two reads, the second in the post is about Secrets In the Sand: The Young Women of Juárez a collection of poems written by Marjorie Agosín (White Pine Press, 2006; trans. Celeste Kostopulos-Cooperman) about the epidemic of feminicide in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. “Her poems were quiet, full of grief and lonely, desert imagery. They were sad, but not as provocative as I had expected. I read through them quickly, feeling distanced from them, and therefore from the events they spoke of. Maybe the day was wrong for them, or my mood –”

17307699–Jackie at Farm Lane Books reviews Saira Shah’s The Mouseproof Kitchen (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2013), “a searingly honest book about the mixed emotions experienced by parents when they have a disabled child,” giving it 4 1/2 stars.

“The characters and emotions in this book were so vividly described that most of the time I felt as though I was reading an autobiography. Saira Shah has a child with cerebral palsy and it is clear she has put much of her personal experience into this novel. The honesty and complexity of the emotions were insightful and never became sentimental. I’m sure they’ll give comfort to anyone who has experienced something similar. The writing was thought provoking throughout and it raised interesting questions about modern parenting and the role of the disabled in society.”

–The Little Red Reviewer has been reviewing Hugo-nominees (check it out), this review features “The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang (Subterranean Magazine, Fall 2013): “A journalist in the future explores the advantages and disadvantages of living with the wetware known as Remem. Remem monitors your conversation for references to past events, and then displays video of that event in the lower left corner of your field of vision. If you say “remember dancing the conga at that wedding?”, Remem will bring up the video. If the person you’re talking to says “the last time we were at the beach,” Remem will bring up the video. The journalist explores his own life through Remem, while looking at how language impacted a tribe in Tivland.” (publisher’s comments) “I enjoyed this story immensely and was immediately drawn in by Chiang’s prose and style.”

9780374175627Kirkus Reviews gives a starred review of In the Light of What We Know by Zia Hader Rahman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2014). “Rahman’s is a quiet, philosophical novel of ideas, a meditation on memory, friendship and trust: ‘Such regrets as I have are few,’ says his narrator; ‘I am not an old man, but even if there had been time enough to accumulate regrets, I do not think my constitution works that way.’ Beautifully written evidence that some of the most interesting writing in English is coming from the edges of old empires.”

–Hector Tobar at the LA Times reviews Kyung-sook Shin’s I’ll Be Right There (Other Press 2014; trans. Sora Kim-Russell), “Newly arrived at the college campus and mourning her mother, Jung Yoon had sought consolation in literature and in new friendships with those who were also misfits and outsiders on campus. […] Shin writes wonderfully about intimacy and the longing of lonely people. At its best, “I’ll Be Right There” is a hopeful work about the power of art, friendship and empathy to provide meaning to people’s lives. […] In Shin’s wonderfully stirring novel, they learn that it’s OK to laugh, and to seek the healing pleasures of art, even in the wake of death.”


–The Harriet Blog celebrates the release of Aufgabe #13: “Hurray for the arrival of Aufgabe #13 which features poetry in translation from India, from 7 Indian languages guest edited by the excellent Biswamit Dwibedy—AND—a special selection of poetry originally published in the Moroccan journal, Souffles.” They excerpt an explanation by Biswamit Dwibedy you will not want to miss.

22544926–POC-Creators announced last month the release of  Malaysian SFF writer Zen Cho’s new collection of short stories coming out from Fixi Novo, Buku Fixi’s imprint. Spirit’s Abroad “Straddling the worlds of the mundane and the magical, Spirit’s Abroad collects 10 science fiction and fantasy stories with a distinctively Malaysian sensibility” (publisher’s comments). The announcement provides some links to a few of the stories published in the collection.

–Tynan Kogane posts “Bolaño’s Author List” over at New Directions. “Roberto Bolaño’s reputation has become that of a writer’s writer, but he might also be called a writer’s reader—for his wide, absorbent, Borgesian literary erudition—or maybe even areader’s writer, whatever that might be. Bolaño’s love of reading informed much of his own writing, and in a short autobiographical piece, he claimed to be ‘much happier reading than writing.'”

–Cat at BookPage shares a few thoughts on and books of “Diversity in 2014 Children’s and Teen’s Books;” I hope they look and sound familiar.

–Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool talks “A Native American Comic Book Industry” sharing INC Comics as well as some comics and creators they are excited about. Kristina Bad Hand’s comic looks cool.

Ladies Making Comics is a must for comic book nerds who are interested in well, ladies making comics, but also the other groups marginalized in industry.

Mommy Maestra may be a good resource for some of you (I’ve found some of her posts relevant for book-finding and cultural perspective): “My name is Monica Olivera and I’m a homeschooling mother of two, as well as a freelance education writer. This blog began as a way to share the many resources for Latino homeschoolers that I was slowly discovering through my own journey as a Latina homeschooling mami.”

Young India Books: “creates excitement about books on India for kids and parents. Kids in India and across the world will enjoy reading stories about India’s diversity, geography, culture, and history. Stories that create wonder, stories of heroes and heroines, nature stories, stories on science, and religion. The best books with an Indian flavour are reviewed and promoted at various literary festivals and book fairs. Founded by Shamim Padamsee, the review team comprises of dedicated and qualified members, teachers, librarians, authors, and parents.”


–LOVE this article by José Vilson on Edutopia, “Yuri Kochiyama and How Everyone Plays their Part.” “When people use the word ‘diversity,’ we often mean ‘of color.’ Yet, more broadly, diversity can mean ‘different from the usual.’ In education, if we take a look at everyone around us, does the entire staff look, think, and act similarly? Do they laugh at the same jokes and hang at the same after-school functions? Have they lived in similar conditions? If so, there’s nothing wrong with that per se. But our message and being can be strengthened when we’re around folks who won’t say ‘yes’ to everything or who have lived through different experiences than everyone else. The more ‘yes’ people you have around you, the harder it becomes when you reach an inevitable and realistic ‘no.'”

–Over at Tor.com: “What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese?” by Xia Jia (trans. Ken Liu): “In reading Western science fiction, Chinese readers discover the fears and hopes of Man, the modern Prometheus, for his destiny, which is also his own creation. Perhaps Western readers can also read Chinese science fiction and experience an alternative, Chinese modernity and be inspired to imagine an alternative future.”

–Tor.com also featured gorgeous “Chinese covers for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, from WenJing Publishing. Artist Jian Guo applies such incredible detail to these nearly-monochromatic, stained glass-inspired covers. We also love how he incorporates Mandarin characters themselves into the design.”

–BuzzFeed offers yet another list: This one brought to you by staffers Heben Nigatu & Tracy Clayton: “39 Pieces of Advice of Journalists and Writers of Color.” “For people of color, the writing industry can seem an especially challenging space, particularly for those just starting out. We spoke with 20 established writers of color – cultural writers, investigative reporters, broadcast journalists, and freelancers – and asked them three questions about the advice that they’d give beginning writers:

• What piece of advice would you, as a writer of color, give to burgeoning writers/journalists of color? • What do you know now about being a writer of color that you wish you’d known when you first started? • Is there anything you did as a writer starting out that you now regret?

 tumblr_static_4dst3r2wj0o44g0w0cwow8080–YA/MG author S.E. Sinkhorn posts “How Can I Help #WeNeedDiverseBooks” at Shelf Pleasure: “Ever since the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement began, the group has had overwhelming support and positive reception. Once we started our initial campaign in late April and early May, right away we had people asking how they could help and offering to volunteer time, resources, and more. It’s been incredibly heartening. WNDB is currently working hard on a volunteer program for all interested parties. In the meantime, here are a few ways that everyone can help promote diversity in children’s literature!”

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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