In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: Little House On The Prairie Adaption, A Book Synopsis’ Troubling Language, Diversity in Romance, and more!
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two.
The Night Manager Trailer
I have two words for you, ladies and gents: Tom Hiddleston
Ricky Whittle Confirms The Death of #Linctavia
I’m trying to pull myself together to write this post, but it’s very hard, guys. This season of The 100 has already managed to break my heart (see last night’s episode), and now I know there is more heartbreak to come. How you ask? The actor who plays Lincoln just got hired onto a different show, that’s how!
— Ricky Whittle (@MrRickyWhittle) January 28, 2016
Gaiman said in a statement, “I’m thrilled that Ricky has been cast as Shadow. His auditions were remarkable. The process of taking a world out of the pages of a book, and putting it onto the screen has begun. ‘American Gods’ is, at its heart, a book about immigrants, and it seems perfectly appropriate that Shadow will, like so much else, be Coming to America. I’m delighted Ricky will get to embody Shadow. Now the fun starts.”
Oh, he’s thrilled, is he? Here is me yesterday after hearing the news:
Showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green added, “We searched every continent and country and all the islands in between for our Shadow Moon, and we are lucky to have found Ricky. Fans of the novel will find he has every bit of the heart of the character they fell in love with.”
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in my sobbing corner, crying until my eyes fall out.
(Meg’s note: WE DON’T KNOW HE’S GOING TO DIE OKAY THEY COULD MAKE IT WORK WE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING YET)
Casting News From Series Of Unfortunate Events
Boy Howdy have I been excited about this project. I loved these books, and I loved the movie. (Yes, I did! So there! Although I will agree with your point about Jim Carey totally hogging the spotlight.)
We have cast members, people! Actual faces and names! Some of them are even well known!
If you haven’t heard yet (sorry, I was sick that week) Neil Patrick Harris has climbed aboard as Count Olaf. He will be stunning, I know. (and his kids will get a kick out of it, I bet)
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) January 16, 2016
Then there are the most important parts:
Yesterday, it was released that open calls for Klaus and Violet were closed and we have our stars! Malina Weissman from ‘Supergirl’ is our Violet. And an unknown actor, Louis Hynes, will be playing her little brother Klaus.
‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ tracks the sorry tale of the orphaned Baudelaire children, Violet, Sunny and Klaus, as they are hounded by the evil Count Olaf who is after the Baudelaire fortune.
Little House On The Prairie Movie
The ‘Little House’ books were the foundation of my childhood. I read a LOT of older books and these were at the top of the list, probably because I wanted to be a farm girl when I was little.
The adaptation of the iconic TV series was previously in development at Sony, which picked it up in 2012 with Scott Rudin attached to produce. The title was put into turnaround last year.
Now, the package — which includes Martha Marcy May Marlene filmmaker Sean Durkin, who is attached to direct, and the script by Abi Morgan — is setting up shop under the Melrose Ave. watertower.
Durkin’s credits include “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” Morgan’s credits include “Shame,” “The Iron Lady” and “Suffragette.”
I know a lot of people are pooh-poohing this whole nostalgia craze, but since I never liked the Little House On The Prairie tv show, I’m hoping for a refreshing adaption that really captures the magic of these books for children.
New Beatrix Potter Book
Despite being dead for many years, it appears Potter has risen up from the grave to pen a new book. Or someone found some notes somewhere and put together a book. Let’s see which is the right answer!
The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots was re-discovered by PRH Children’s U.K. publisher Jo Hanks, via a reference to the unedited story in an out-of-print Potter biography. Hanks made a trip to the archives at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and found three manuscripts and some sketches.
Kitty-in-Boots “is the best of Beatrix Potter,” Hanks said in a release. “It has double identities, colorful villains and a number of favorite characters from other tales (including Mr. Tod, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Ribby and Tabitha Twitchit). And, most excitingly, our treasured, mischievous Peter Rabbit makes an appearance – albeit older, slower and portlier!”
The book was found handwritten in children’s school notebooks, with one rough color sketch of Kitty-in-Boots and a dummy book with some pencil sketches.
So look forward to that.
Jazz Jennings To Pen Memoir
Jazz Jennings, force for change and inclusiveness, is writing a memoir about her life.
“This book reveals many rarely shared memories from my past that have molded me into the teenager I am today,” 15-year-old Jennings exclusively told TIME in a statement. “I hope that my challenges and triumphs will resonate with readers of all ages, whether they are transgender or not.”
There will, of course, be details revealed in this book that wouldn’t show up in the average high school soccer player’s bildungsroman. Though Jazz was assigned male at birth, she has identified as female since she was a toddler, transitioning at the age of five with the support of her parents.
The book is slated for release in June of this year.
Publisher Agrees to Remove Gendered Labels For Books
We’ve talked again and again AND FREAKING AGAIN about the harm of labeling and playing up the differences between boys and girls. Yes, there are biological differences, but this isn’t about science, this is about giving boys the “cool” labels and making FREAKING EVERYTHING for girls fashion and make-up.
Well, Buster Books has wised up, at last.
“It’s great that Buster Books has finally agreed to stop labelling their books. We believe that labelling books as for ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ serves no positive purpose, and only limits children’s interests and choices. In work the campaign has recently done with children, these Buster Books titles have been mentioned negatively time and time again, so we are delighted we can now tell them that the books will no longer be published with these limiting labels.”
John Dougherty, children’s author and Chair of the Society of Authors’ Children’s Writers and illustrators Group said: “The idea of ‘books for boys’ or ‘books for girls’ has become a pernicious way of reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes from an early age. I’m absolutely delighted to hear that Buster Books has committed to taking a stand in favour of genuine choice for children.”
Holding Up The Universe Releases Troublesome Synopsis
Oh the internet was a hoppin’ last week when the new synopsis for Jennifer Niven’s new book was revealed. The response was immediate:
WOAH THAT IS ONE UNFORTUNATE BOOK SUMMARY.
— Kat Kennedy (@_KatKennedy) January 26, 2016
Hi skinny authors! When you think: "I bet a fat girl, A RILLY FAT GIRL, would be great inspirational figure" please stop yourself FOREVER.
— Angie Manfredi (@misskubelik) January 26, 2016
Everyone knows Libby Strout. She’s the girl who was so heavy she had to be lifted out of her house by a crane. After being homeschooled for years, she’s ready to rejoin the human race, aka the junior class of MVB High.
Now see, this is so poorly written that it could be insulting to “girls so heavy they have to be lifted out of their houses with cranes” AND homeschoolers.
If only it had stopped there. But no.
Everyone knows Jack Masselin, too. He may not be the most popular guy in school, but he’s got swagger. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: his brain is different, or maybe a little broken, and he can’t recognize faces.
Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed . . . and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.
Oh yeah, this seems like the PERFECT recipe for romance.
It all snowballed into a massive mess on the twitters from there.
Smiling Slaves Disturbing Prevalence In Children’s Books
In the second such instance in the last four months, another children’s book showcasing so-called “smiling slaves” has been published, but this time, amid much controversy, the book has been pulled by the publisher.
“While we have great respect for the integrity and scholarship of the author, illustrator and editor, we believe that, without more historical background on the evils of slavery than this book for younger children can provide, the book may give a false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves and therefore should be withdrawn,” the children’s publisher said in a statement released to the AP.
The book, which depicts Hercules and Delia preparing a cake for Washington, has received more than 100 one-star reviews on Amazon.com. As of Sunday evening, only 12 reviews were positive. The book also set off discussions on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere on social media.
While notes in “A Birthday Cake for George Washington” from author Ramin Ganeshram and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton had pointed out the historical context of the 18th century story and that Hercules eventually escaped, some critics faulted Ganeshram and Brantley-Newton for leaving out those details from the main narrative.
Can you understand how this might be confusing for children? How are they supposed to grasp the complexities of slavery and its affect on the slaves with such a book?
“How could they smile? How could they be anything but unrelentingly miserable?” Ganeshram wrote. “How could they be proud to bake a cake for George Washington? The answers to those questions are complex because human nature is complex. Bizarrely and yes, disturbingly, there were some enslaved people who had a better quality of life than others and ‘close’ relationships with those who enslaved them. But they were smart enough to use those ‘advantages’ to improve their lives.”
The problem is that the age range of the children who are meant to be reached with such a book aren’t taught those complexities. They only see ‘happy’ slaves, glad to make a cake for their master. Not exactly what I want my grade school child to be reading. :/
People Keep Writing Jewish/Nazi Romances (Yes, Really)
Hey remember a few months ago when we covered that story about the author who wrote the book about the Nazi and the Jewish woman who fell in love? Well, someone did it again.
Y'ALL. REMEMBER THAT TIME THIS SUMMER WHERE WE HAD A LITTLE CHAT ABOUT NOT WRITING NAZI/JEW ROMANCES? REMEMBER???
— KK Hendin (@kkhendin) January 28, 2016
A description of the book from Amazon:
A Nazi doctor. A Jewish rebel. A little girl. Each one will fight for freedom—or die trying.
Imprisoned in the Lodz Ghetto, Elsi discovers her mother’s desperate attempt to end her pregnancy and comes face-to-face with the impossibility of their situation. Risking her own life, Elsi joins a resistance group to sabotage the regime.
Willem, a high-ranking Nazi doctor, plans to save lives when he takes posts in both the ghetto and Auschwitz. After witnessing unimaginable cruelties, he begins to question his role and the future of those he is ordered to destroy.
While Hitler ransacks Europe in pursuit of a pure German race, the lives of three broken souls—thrown together by chance—intertwine. Only love and sacrifice might make them whole again.
IT. IS. NOT. OKAY. TO. WRITE. A. ROMANCE. NOVEL. ABOUT. A. NAZI. AND. A. JEWISH. PERSON. EVER. EVER. EVER. EVER.
— KK Hendin (@kkhendin) January 28, 2016
The Privilege in Romance – by Kat Kennedy
This is a complicated story, so let’s dive right into it.
Bobbi Dumas, over at Kirkus wrote an article on why she doesn’t really read Diverse Romance and announced she’s putting together a readathon…thing… to help encourage other people to read Diverse Romances (romances featuring POC, LGBTQIA etc). The problem came with some of her attitudes towards these Romances that she’s not reading and why she wasn’t reading them.
As a reviewer, I have very little time to actually read books that I don’t get assigned. I try to augment my reading with audiobooks, but I have to rely on the library, friends, and occasionally publishers and authors to send me audio copies of their books, since I can’t really afford to buy them.
I rarely get romances to review that are written by or include characters of color. So even when I actually buy a book, or a publisher sends me an author I really want to read, I usually don’t have time—reading that book takes me away from titles I get paid to read. (I know, poor me—but it is nice to be able to pay the mortgage.) And unlike many of you who can read a book a day (don’t I wish?!), I’m a much slower reader than that. Darn it.
My library carries plenty of audiobooks—both in CD form and through Overdrive—but not all that many romances, and certainly not many romances that aren’t traditionally published bestsellers. For instance, they don’t have one Courtney Milan in audio. Courtney Milan! I’ve requested many of her books, but they have yet to buy any.
So, she’s hosting this event, yet seems mostly unwilling to put her money where her mouth is regarding diversity. And this is a problem. Courtney Milan, of course, responded brilliantly in the comment section of the post itself.
I understand not having a lot of time to read outside of what you read for your job. That being said, when you talk about the “publishing world,” I think we need to be clear. You review and write for Kirkus and NPR and–very soon–the New York Times. You are part of that publishing world. Your not reviewing diverse romance (whatever the reason) is a part of the structural wall that authors who write diversely face. (As an author with a reasonably recognizable name, I’m also part of that same publishing world and wall, and I recognize and own that.) We both seem to recognize that there’s a structural problem here, and we both have some degree (albeit not much) of structural power. I would love to have a conversation with you about what you are doing to use what power you have to try and push back on this situation.
Bobbi Dumas responded both in the comments section and then went on to give a follow-up post.
This post spectacularly failed to pacify people concerned about the exclusion of diversity in the romance publishing industry.
Courtney Milan then followed up that post on her blog.
The author wrote a response, posted as a second post on Kirkus’s blog. I’m not going to go into the myriad reasons why I felt this response was inflammatory and unresponsive. There’s only one that matters. One of the major structural barriers that creates a roadblock for diverse authors having careers–that they aren’t reviewed by major publications–was not addressed by the person who was best in a position to remedy that structural barrier–namely, the person who reviews for those major publications. A promise to read more on her personal time doesn’t remove that structural barrier.
Courtney Milan and Bobbi Dumas took to twitter and it did not go well.
Oh @BobbiDumas did you really just "my best friend" me in a diversity conversation?
— Courtney Milan (@courtneymilan) January 26, 2016
Other blog posts were written. Melissa Blue posted:
When it comes to diversity people are always making a mountain out of a molehill. She’s not saying I can’t read books with people of color because POC is so OTHER. She’s not even saying diverse books aren’t on my radar and I never read one. She comes across nice, right?One: A person decided to put together an event that would showcase diversity in romance.Two: This event was planned months in advance.Three: Everyone is living a busy life, and their time is limited. So…understandable. BUT…
Four: And in all those months you couldn’t manage to read ONE or listen to ONE, half a of ONE, a paragraph, a sentence…
Five: And in all the months ahead, you still might not read ONE or listen to ONE, half of ONE, a paragraph, a sentence….
Why should a person reading this article go out of their way to read a diverse romance when the writer of said article couldn’t be bothered to do it? For an event she put together? Instead of a showcase, what the article becomes is Reasons Why I Don’t Have Time To Read Diversely But Meybe You Should????What was the purpose of writing anything about diversity in romance? Other than to get a pat on the back because it looks good.
While Suliekha Snyder posted:
Do we only want the “right” people supporting diverse causes and inclusive books? And here’s my answer: It’s not about the right people, it’s about HOW the message is spread. If someone couches reading a book by a black author as a “have to,” is that really palatable? There’s a reason many kids hate broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Do you really want to pick up a book if someone says you SHOULD read it because Diversity Is Important? That’s like forcing cod liver oil down someone’s throat! And it’s even worse if you’re trying to say Diversity is Important and Trendy. People of color aren’t kale. I don’t care how artisanal and hip you pretend inclusive romance is, no one’s drinking your kale smoothie.
And finally, Alisha Rai, another well-respected romance author, Storified a Romance Con where diversity was discussed.