Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Aug 12, 2011
by Glenn Garvin - McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
Rather than the first steps of a funeral cortege, the death of Borders is really just the first little dip on a wildly careening roller coaster ride for the people who write, publish, buy and sell books. It's going to shake us up, down and sideways, industry figures say, and some people may get thrown from their cars. But one group is sure to be happy at the end: readers.

MIAMI — “Vanishing stores are sad way to close book,” read one headline. “The last days of once upon a time,” said another.


Last month’s news that the giant Borders bookstore chain had collapsed, taking 400 stores and 11,000 employees with it, leaving behind only a couple of hundred millions of dollars in IOUs to publishers, was for many the seventh sign of an impending apocalypse: for bookstores, for the art of reading, for the very concept of literacy.


But rather than the first steps of a funeral cortege, the death of Borders is really just the first little dip on a wildly careening roller coaster ride for the people who write, publish, buy and sell books. It’s going to shake us up, down and sideways, industry figures say, and some people may get thrown from their cars. But one group is sure to be happy at the end: readers.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Apr 19, 2011
The scandal over the possible truthiness of Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea leaves us with a lesson that apparently needs to be taught again and again.

The 17 April edition of 60 Minutes was surprisingly book-heavy for these tweetable times, with two segments being focused on recent books and, more particularly, on the men who wrote them. The second was the less eye-opening of the two, being a somewhat quizzical take on the new memoir by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. This is the same Allen who cashed out to a tune of some $40 billion, which he then spent on philanthropy, but more eye-catchingly on a Jimi Hendrix guitar, his own ocean-going yacht that’s bigger than a football field, and a hanger full of vintage war planes, not to mention a couple of pro sports franchises. Leslie Stahl looks at Allen crook-eyed while he awkwardly tells stories about what a screaming jerk Bill Gates was, and tells him that she’s getting a certain Howard Hughes vibe, as are those viewers paying attention…


The Gates story – about how he and Steve Ballmer supposedly conspired to dilute Allen’s share of the company after Allen was diagnosed with cancer – was the book’s attention-grabber that hooked people in. But pretty quickly it becomes apparent that that’s not the narrative 60 Minutes wants to pursue. The feeling the whole piece leaves one with is pretty sour, and will likely not result in anybody rushing out to get Allen’s book, Idea Man; a pretty astounding thing given that this is the man who was instrumental in creating the dominant corporate-technological apparatus of the late 20th century. The book is hobbled before it even gets out of the gate.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011
The setting of Johannesburg, but one in the new South African literature, is cool and accessible; a global city where aliens can come down to earth and magic is alive and well in the slums of Hillbrow.

Gone are the days of stodgy literary fiction bewailing the atrocities of Apartheid by authors such as Andre Brink and JM Coetzee. South African literature is today a melting pot of pop culture, social media and new writers giving the middle finger to the tweed-wearing grey beards that once dominated literary circles.


Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City is a noir crime novel following the adventures of black hipster protagonist, Zinzi December, as she makes a living in downtown Johannesburg creating 419 scams and finding lost things with the help of the handy magical sloth on her back.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Feb 8, 2011
" [Elizabeth] Scott's book is an intense read, but it reflects the horrifying reality that abducted women face... I remember thinking when I first saw [these titles on the list] that they must have been included because the issues they dealt with were important women's issues and thus of particular interest to the feminist reader."

Note: This is the second installment of this topic.  See also Scott Westerfeld Talks with PopMatters About Bitch Media’s Top 100 Feminist YA List Debacle


Young adult author Diana Peterfreund was the first author to call out Bitch Media on their removal of Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red, and the first to ask for her book to be removed.


Last week, Peterfreund elaborated on her issues with Bitch’s actions. Her novel, Rampant is 71 on the list (it’s in alphabetical order).


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Monday, Feb 7, 2011
Is a book removed from a list comparable to a book removed from a library shelf? This and other concerns are raised in this discussion about Bitch Media's removal of three YA novels from its published 'Best of' list.

Note: This is the first installment of this topic.  See also Diana Peterfreund Talks with PopMatters About Bitch Media’s Top 100 Feminist YA List Debacle


Bitch Media has a lot of wins under its belt—its flagship project, Bitch Magazine, is a must-read for feminists everywhere. The non-profit has been lauded by critics, authors, and readers for its mission “to provide and encourage an empowered, feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture,” and for calling out anti-feminist attitudes in a thought-provoking, often entertaining, way.


Until now. Last week, Bitch Media published a list of 100 feminist young adult books on their blog. Packed with excellent reads, the list was quickly gobbled up buy YA authors and enthusiasts, and there was joy all around. Except there wasn’t—the day after the post, a commenter questioned the inclusion of Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red and Bitch Media removed the book. Soon after, it removed two other books Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels and Elizabeth Scott’s Living Dead Girl, for the same reason—comments and an email about the books’ rape, rape culture, and trigger content (e.g., content that might trigger flashbacks or have other detrimental effects in survivors). Shortly after, the internet exploded—the YA section of it, anyway. (As of this writing, there are 379 comments on the original post.)


 


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.