liseusester and mck-scribe tagged me and I have been thinking a lot about books lately, so here goes.

Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag [ten] friends, including me, so I’ll see your list. Make sure you let your friends know you’ve tagged them.

1. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I wrote a good chunk of my BA English Honors thesis about this book but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what I said - what I can say is that this book resonated for me so very much, just the economy of it, the beautiful lyrical spareness of it. So many little stories told so perfectly.

2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Officially the book that made me fall in love with Steinbeck, although I love all Steinbeck, even the books I don’t especially like (looking at you, Grapes of Wrath). This book is so epic and meandering and soapy and absorbing, one of few super-long books I’ve read that I felt earned its length. Also it’s so essentially Californian, as is so much of Steinbeck’s work. And biblical! The rivalry of brothers! I love it so much.

3. Speak by Laure Halse Anderson. The book that made me want to write YA, before writing YA was cool! Speak is so raw and real, and years later when I went on to become a therapist for victims of sexual violence, I found I appreciated even more how real it is and how unflinching and brave.

4. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. My parents read this book to me when I was a little kid, this and all 25 of the other Oz books, and I’m sure to the adult me they wouldn’t all seem so magical but as a child they were endlessly entertaining. As an adult I can appreciate Baum as a satirist and a creator of elaborate allegories, but ultimately these are just incredible children’s books. They helped make me a reader.

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. When I was in 6th or 7th grade, I think, my mom and I took turns reading this book aloud before bedtime. It probably took us a year to get through the whole thing, but it was a wonderful way to experience it. Bronte’s language becomes less dense when read aloud, and with my mom’s guidance I was able to understand it better than I ever could have on my own at that age. (We also did this with The Secret Garden, which should be on here as well.)

6. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. I think the first Dashiell Hammett I read was Red Harvest for a film noir class I took my senior year of high school, but this book is his masterpiece, so tight and smart and brutal. My obsession with mysteries continues apace, but I am still most drawn in by the hardboiled originals like Hammett and Chandler. I can’t articulate it exactly, but I love the way they use metaphor the best. These are mysteries as poetry written in blood.

7. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I’ve been thinking about this book recently because of watching the silly BBC series The Musketeers, and it still sticks with me as one of the best “classic” books I’ve ever read. It’s great adventure storytelling, and it’s timeless. There’s a reason it’s been adapted a million times.

8. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. I know, I know. I don’t think this is necessarily the best Shakespeare play, but it stuck with me, maybe because I read it when I was about their ages, maybe because the language in it is so beautiful even if everything else about it is ridiculous. That story, too, of forbidden love, is so elemental. 

9. Alanna by Tamora Pierce. I love this whole series, or at least the four that are about Alanna directly (I know she wrote a million more about Tortall, etc). These books are just so feminist and exciting and great, and I wish there were more books like this out there now for young girls. This book made me believe I could be the star of my own magical adventure story.

10. Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Just - I was a 13-year-old Jewish girl when I read it, and it made the Holocaust real to me in a way that nothing had before or has since.

I tag overnighter, soemily, shananaomi, yayponies and anyone else who wants to do this (I love reading other people’s answers to stuff like this).


"A friend of a friend recently raised around $7,000 on another platform to pay for her tuition to coding school. It made sense for her to use crowdfunding. She’s a minority in a male-dominated field, and she has a lot of friends who want to help her out. But that’s exactly the kind of campaign Kickstarter doesn’t want. If I had to reduce the Kickstarter spirit to just one word, it’d be creativity. And potato salad’s got it."

Source: theverge.com

"The Miseducation of Cameron Post" Removed From Delaware Summer Reading List


By Malinda Lo

In 2012, I was invited by NPR to review an about-to-be-published young adult novel titled The Miseducation of Cameron Post by debut authoremily m. danforth. I was a little nervous about it because I don’t like to criticize about my colleagues’ novels in public. But I didn’t need to worry — Cameron Post blew me away. It was the coming-of-age, coming-out novel that spoke to me in in such a deeply personal way that it felt like it was written for me.

Maybe that’s why I was so ticked off to hear thatCameron Post was recently removed from a summer reading list in Delaware due to parental complaints about its explicit language. Cameron Post is a complex, multilayered, award-winning novel that cannot by any means be reduced down to the number of times the word fuck in used in its 470 pages. And yet that is what has happened.

[Continue reading the full story at Diversity in YA]

(via paperbackd)

Source: diversityinya
Photo Set


Femmes Noirs at Film Forum in New York CIty- "Hollywood’s Dangerous Dames" - July 18th - August 7th, 2014

Opening with “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1946) and “Mildred Pierce” (1945) as a double bill on Friday, July 18th and continuing through August 7th with such gems as “Leave Her To Heaven” (1945), “Out Of The Past” (1947), “The Killers” (1946), “Gilda” (1946), “The Lady From Shanghai” (1948), “Scarlet Street” (1945), “Pandora’s Box” (1929), “The Maltese Falcon” (1941) and many more - several of them are double bills.

Click here for full schedule and more info;  http://filmforum.org/series/femmes-noirs-series-page

Film Forum is located at 209 W. Huston Street, W. of 6th Avenue in New York City

Box office (212) 727-8110

Admission is $13.00 for each screening, and $7.50 for Film Forum members


Source: the-dark-city
Photo Set



Hey, guys.

It’s almost the weekend! And that means you’re probably wondering what you’re going to do. What friends to hang out with at brunch, what hikes to go on, which TV shows to watch on Sunday night. Game of Thrones is over for the season, Mad Men's over for the half-season, there's no more Breaking Bad, and you’re probably through season 2 of Orange is the New Black already. UGH SUNDAY TV WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO.

Well, there’s a show called Halt and Catch Fire on AMC at 10 pm that you’re probably not watching. I say this because if you were watching the ratings would probably be higher. The ratings are not very good.

I know this and can say this objectively because my husband is the co-creator, and we get the ratings every week, and every week we wish more people were tuning in. I think there are probably a handful of reasons for the low ratings, some of which are due to viewers choosing not to watch the show, and some of which are just a matter of timing and exposure. It’s summer, so people are out of town and in and out and DVRing stuff or just missing it. There have been good reviews, but since no one’s seen where the characters end up yet, it’s too easy to judge certain story lines before they’re given a chance to develop. It’s about computers, and there’s a guy who initially appears to be yet another boring alpha mystery dude, and honestly when Chris first told me the premise of the pilot I didn’t think it sounded like something I’d choose to watch if I didn’t know him.

But I’m asking you to give this show a chance. I’ve seen the whole season, and it’s blown me away. Friends of mine who were initially watching just because they knew it was Chris’s show and they thought they ought to watch out of friend duty have told me they were surprised by how invested they’ve become in the characters. The writers—who hail from Mad Men to The Sopranos to Southland—take Gordon and Donna and Joe and Cameron in directions you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the pilot. There are subversively intelligent people, and there are LGBT people, and there are women who wear pants, and there are men who cry, and there are people who try to be someone they’re not. (This scene, gorgeously gif-ed, is actually so very stunningly sad when you watch it in context.)

Rolling Stone (which, by the way, strongly disliked the majority of the first half of the season) called last week’s episode “42 minutes of solid, sometimes surprising, sometimes striking television, growing like that flower in Halt and Catch Fire’s heretofore sterile circuitry. Let it grow.” The Austin Chronicle lists five reasons you should be watching this season. The actors turn in fantastic performances—I have an especial soft spot for Toby Huss, who plays Joe’s boss with a fantastic combination of Texan charisma and subtlety. And, in this coming episode, Lee Pace delivers a particularly brave and lovely performance. 

Maybe you watched the pilot and thought it was okay but haven’t watched anything since. Maybe you’ve recorded the previous episodes on DVR and just haven’t gotten into them yet. Maybe you’re planning to binge it later. Maybe you didn’t DVR it at all—in which case, you can stream episodes for free on AMC’s website (all of them are still available for the next four days!) or purchase episodes on iTunes. Or maybe you don’t really give a shit about catching up, in which case I think you will LOVE this Sunday’s episode, which is one of my favorite episodes of the whole season. (BONUS: a Buffy veteran guest-stars. Start guessing.)

Anyway, if you have been even maybe possibly thinking about watching Halt and Catch Fire, it would be awesome if you tuned in now. I’d love for more people to love this show, and for the characters to get the chance to make you fall in love, and for the season to go out with more viewers than it came in with.

So. What are you doing this Sunday at 10 pm?

Elizabeth is wonderful, Chris is wonderful, and the show he’s made is fantastic (and only getting better). If you’ve been watching, you already know. If you haven’t been START WATCHING HALT AND CATCH FIRE! And tell your friends to do the same. Don’t let this thing go away.

So I have been watching this show because I love Lee Pace a whole lot, and I do think it’s a show that requires patience and concentration, and I’m not caught up at all, BUT: I would still say watch it, if only because it’s so interesting to think about how we got where we are with computers, how this went from this crazy thing nobody thought was possible to an intrinsic part of what so many of us do every day.

Source: ecantwell


Buzzfeed’s 65 Books You Need To Read In Your 20s

but, like i think it’s okay if you read them later too

Source: BuzzFeed



One of the first things I did when stuff started falling into place with my writing career was talk about it with people like it was all this questionable accident.  “Yeah, I wrote a book and it’s being published,” I’d say, like it was nothing—not like it was easy, but like it was literally nothing.  It was amazing how quickly I was willing to let go of the hard work and sacrifices I’d made in hopes the thing I wanted to happen would.  When it did, I did not want anyone to be uncomfortable or, God forbid, like me less for my accomplishments.  Before I gave anyone a chance to be proud of me, to celebrate with me, I wanted them to know I was so sorry first. 

Eventually a friend emailed me and told me I could work that angle less and when she did, I realized how truly scared I was of claiming my part in what I made happen for me.  It’s so sad so many of the accomplished, hardworking women I know struggle with owning their success. How immediately they will tear themselves out of that part of the picture because it just doesn’t look as nice with them in it.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is: that’s enough of that.  Let’s stop.

So many women I know do this. I’ve done it myself. 

Source: summerscourtney



When I was in Ninth Grade, I won a thing.  

That thing, in particular, was a thirty dollar Barnes & Noble gift certificate.  I was still too young for a part-time job, so I didn’t have this kind of spending cash on me, ever.  I felt like a god.

Drunk with power, I fancy-stepped my way to my local B&N.  I was ready to choose new books based solely on the most important of qualities…BADASS COVER ART.  I walked away with a handful of paperbacks, most of which were horrible (I’m looking at you, Man-Kzin Wars III) or simply forgettable.  

One book did not disappoint.  I fell down the rabbit hole into a series that proved to be as badass as the cover art promised (Again, Man-Kzin Wars III, way to drop the ball on that one).  With more than a dozen books in the series, I devoured them.  I bought cassette tapes of ballads sung by bards in the stories.  And the characters.  Oh, the characters.  I loved them.  Gryphons, mages, but most importantly, lots of women.  Different kinds of women.  So many amazing women.  I looked up to them, wrote bad fiction that lifted entire portions of dialogue and character descriptions, dreamed of writing something that the author would include in an anthology.

This year I decided in a fit of nostalgia to revisit the books I loved so damn much.  I wanted to reconnect with my old friends…

…and I found myself facing Mary Sues.  Lots of them.  Perfect, perfect, perfect.  A fantasy world full of Anakin Skywalkers and Nancy Drews and Wesley Crushers.  I felt crushed.  I had remembered such complex, deep characters and didn’t see those women in front of me at all anymore.  Where were those strong women who kept me safe through the worst four years of my life?

Which led me to an important realization as I soldiered on through book after book.  That’s why I needed them.  Because they were Mary Sues.  These books were not written to draw my attention to all the ugly bumps and whiskers of the real world.  They were somewhere to hide.  I was painfully aware that I was being judged by my peers and adults and found lacking.  I was a fuckup.  And sometimes a fuckup needs to feel like a Mary Sue.  As an adult, these characters felt a little thin because they lacked the real world knowledge I, as an adult, had learned and earned.  But that’s the thing…these books weren’t FOR this current version of myself.   Who I am now doesn’t need a flawless hero because I’m comfortable with the idea that valuable people are also flawed.

There is a reason that most fanfiction authors, specifically girls, start with a Mary Sue.  It’s because girls are taught that they are never enough.  You can’t be too loud, too quiet, too smart, too stupid.  You can’t ask too many questions or know too many answers.  No one is flocking to you for advice.  Then something wonderful happens.  The girl who was told she’s stupid finds out that she can be a better wizard than Albus Dumbledore.  And that is something very important.  Terrible at sports?  You’re a warrior who does backflips and Legolas thinks you’re THE BEST.   No friends?  You get a standing ovation from Han Solo and the entire Rebel Alliance when you crash-land safely on Hoth after blowing up the Super Double Death Star.  It’s all about you.  Everyone in your favorite universe is TOTALLY ALL ABOUT YOU.

I started writing fanfiction the way most girls did, by re-inventing themselves.  

Mary Sues exist because children who are told they’re nothing want to be everything.  

As a girl, being “selfish” was the worst thing you could be.  Now you live in Narnia and Prince Caspian just proposed marriage to you.  Why?  Your SELF is what saved everyone from that sea serpent.  Plus your hair looks totally great braided like that.

In time, hopefully, these hardworking fanfiction authors realize that it’s okay to be somewhere in the middle and their characters adjust to respond to that.  As people grow and learn, characters grow and learn.  Turns out your Elven Mage is more interesting if he isn’t also the best swordsman in the kingdom.  Not everyone needs to be hopelessly in love with your Queen for her to be a great ruler.  There are all kinds of ways for people to start owning who they are, and embracing the things that make them so beautifully weird and complicated.

Personally, though, I think it’s a lot more fun learning how to trust yourself and others if you all happen to be riding dragons.

Mary Sues exist because children who are told they’re nothing want to be everything.

A girl making herself the hero of her own story is a radical act. Stop shaming girls for doing it. Stop shaming yourself for it. 

(via yaflash)

Source: unwinona

There is a lot about Philly that can be encapsulated in the metaphor of fireworks. They’re illegal here, but fuck if you would know that come 4th of July or New Years or…possibly any summer night when the Phillies win. People set them off everywhere, because this is a DIY city that’s also a little bit lawless. You make your own fucking light.

I’m from DC, which is a city with a limited amount of spotlight and way too many people trying to stand in it. Stay in the shadows and no one cares about you. DC is a city with lots of poverty that no one knows about. Philly is poor too - an estimated 1/4 of the population lives in poverty - but it’s impossible to ignore. Poverty threads through even the nicest of neighborhoods. Philly is low on resources and always falling apart in one way or another, but people here are often generous and kind. They’re creative in how they approach their cities’ problems, setting up urban gardens and painting murals on even the most desolate and dreary of streets. They raise money through one million tiny community events held on street corners, block parties, in churches. Sometimes the fragmentation of Philly’s social justice network is frustrating, but it’s also heartening. A lot of people love this city and want to help it survive and thrive, even if they don’t always agree on how to do it.

Philly is a mess. Parts of it are dirty, abandoned, decrepit. Other parts are beautiful. Class inequality is evident here in the way it is everywhere, but Philly still has a working class. People can still afford to own houses even when they’re not millionaires, and as a result, people stick around. They build communities and have families and settle in. This is a city that thrives on people knowing each other and connecting, but not just for the purpose of advancing in some ridiculous game of thrones. I found my house by talking to people. I bought my car because I talked to people. I found restaurants and stores and coffee shops and parks because people told me about them. I have never felt more connected than I do in Philly, and I’ve only been here a little over two years. I love that.

Philly is no bullshit. Pretentious people get laughed out of the room. It’s an in joke kind of a place that loves making outsiders feel dumb because they don’t know its secrets, but it’s not exclusive. If Philly had a motto, I think it would probably be something like: “Don’t be an asshole.” Be different, be strange, be queer, be yourself: just don’t be a dick.

I did not love Philly when I moved here. I saw it as a stopgap, maybe a way to get from here to there. I don’t see it that way anymore. I just finished school and got my first job and now I’m thinking about buying a house, about settling in. I feel comfortable here. Philly is the worn-in sweatpants of cities. It won’t win any glamour contests, but it can make you feel instantly at home.

I could go on awhile about the many things I love about this city - its old houses, its food, its diversity - but I want to get back to the fireworks. I walked around the neighborhood tonight and watched probably ten different people set them off, arching and sparkling over the low, flat rooftops. This is everybody’s party, and you’re all invited. That’s Philly, to me. Respect the struggle, celebrate everything. Make shit explode.



Raymond Depardon, Glasgow, 1980.

(via soemily)

Source: shihlun