The Bitch Media Community Lending Library brings you our very first book list, made up of 100 young adult novels that every feminist should add to the stack of books on their bedside table. Here at the library we've been re-reading some of our old standbys and finding new feminist favorites. If you're looking to buy a book for your favorite teenage girl or just looking to cuddle up with a powerful story featuring teenage characters, look no further. Click on the pdf below to see our picks, and be sure to let us know which of these books have resonated with you and which books you would add to the list.
I am wary when I walk into bookstores these days, because I don't need to dip into the horror section to find books that scare me. I take a look around at the white faces on the covers and think about how I'm not encountering books about people like me. Except, given how popular the whitewashing of covers is just at present, maybe I am and just don't know it.
Whitewashing book covers, representing non-white characters as white* on covers, is a publishing practice which has become disturbingly common.
This week was a big one for those of us interested in recently published young adult literature (especially the feminist and queer kind). Since it's the beginning of yet another year, lots of task forces and round tables have been meeting to decide which of the books published in 2010 deserve to be must-reads. Let's take a look at two of the awards and book lists that we were super excited to see released this week. It's time to start our impossibly long lists of books to read in 2011.
A piece of advice for those who are interested in reading Am I Blue?, an anthology of YA short stories about gay, lesbian, and questioning characters: don't read it on the bus. I tried several times, and always missed my stop by many blocks without fail. The collection is engrossing to a plan-canceling degree; editor Marion Dane Bauer has put together funny, poignant, compassionate, impassioned stories about teenagers supporting each other, by authors dedicated to both advocacy and entertainment.
I didn't realize that in my quest to be up on YA literature and be able to have thoughtful discussions with my Kid about her reading adventures that I would encounter something so wrought with this many problematic themes. Or that I would find it all wrapped up in the charming red ribbon of the most Epic Love Story Evah! With Fangs.
Welcome to "YA Lit Bitch," a new Page Turner series about my ever-so-slight (or ever-so-obvious) obsession with young adult literature that's not only good, but represents a wide-open range of teenagers' lives with a feminist heroine (or 2, 3) thrown into the mix. (Can you say Weetzie Bat?) The series will feature interviews with many YA authors about their work as well as feminism, gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and other issues.
We kick off the series with Sara Zarr, who's part of a new generation of YA novelists considered the so-called heirs to grand dame Judy Blume. She is the author of Story of a Girl, (that is, a girl labeled the high school "slut"), which was a 2007 National Book Award finalist; Sweethearts, about the divergent paths taken by two social-outcast friends; and the forthcoming Once Was Lost, which chronicles a pastor's daughter's struggle with faith.
Page Turner talked with Zarr about teen sexuality, feminism, double standards in the YA world, and her own YA lit loves back in the day as a "smart-girl" teen. Read on for more (and please take two seconds to talk about a YA lit love that you want Bitch readers to know about or Page Turner to feature).
Here's the short version of Lizzie Skurnick and her sassy-and-smart new book Shelf Discovery: She's a popular book critic and lit blogger who started a column called
"Fine Lines" for Jezebel.com that made you feel like you and your girlfriends were huddled beneath a zip-up sleeping bag with a mini-flashlight reading between the lines of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and all the rest of your beloved, well-worn vintage young adult novels to unearth the subtext 30 years later.
The column became an instant hit and Skurnick's newly released Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading is the book that collects all of Skurnick's "book reports" with contributions from some YA novelists.
Page Turner chatted with Skurnick about how feminism bleeds through the pages of The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, why she's actually the anti-nostalgia woman, how the YA novels really did make her a teenage feminist, and her mission to create a literary teen canon. Read on for more!
Welcome to Page Turner, a new blog on feminism and books here at Bitch's online headquarters. Here's my goal with Page Turner: to make it a collaboration between you, Bitch's readers, and me, your biblio-obsessed blogger. Page Turner is all about our love of books and feminisms, and all the many ways we interact with authors and their work in our daily lives. Read on for more!