“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” –Thoreau

08 March 2011

The YA Subscription.

My combined book review of Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure and Trickster's Choice is up on the blog The YA Subscription. I focused on whether or not these titles were appropriate selections for Bitch Magazine's "100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader." They originally selected 100 titles, opened them up to discussion, and then removed three books. Riot ensued. The list is a real hot button among young adult readers and writers right now, mostly because the magazine caved so easily to pressure from (I can only assume) really, really nasty librarians from Texas. Or readers of Bitch Magazine. Whichever.

The books removed (Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, and Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott) were all removed for the same reason: RAPE! Which is apparently "feminist" only if every single woman in the book is mopey and sad and sympathetic toward the victim(s). It was decided (by someone, I'm still not sure who) that listing these books on the Bitch Magazine reading list would "trigger" rape victims and cause them further trauma.

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I'll let you take a moment to soak that notion in.

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Look, including them on a list like this doesn't force anybody to read them. It's pretty presumptuous (read: conceited) of Bitch Magazine to assume that their list is so important it might trigger relapses of any kind, or that anyone will turn this into next year's must-read list. And by the way: these "rape books" are GREAT BOOKS. Unlike the staff of Bitch Magazine, I have read all three of the titles removed and most of the others as well. Several authors--Scott Westerfeld and Maureen Johnson, among others--have asked that their books be removed from the list after the scandal broke. Bitch Magazine has not-very-politely declined to do so. They've also replaced the removed titles (to hide their shame and avoid changing their fancy list title) with Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley and Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden... Perfectly acceptable titles, if a little on the tame side. So that's where we stand now.

Amy Stern has come up with a proactive way to vent our collective frustration... via blogging! Go to The YA Subscription and check out her excellent reviews of A Wrinkle in Time, Sold, and The Skin I'm In. Join the discussion. Write a review.

Wishing you all the blessings imaginable.