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By: Manuel Ramos,
Blog: La Bloga
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Review: The City of Palaces by Michael NavaThe City of Palaces
Terrace Books, University of Wisconsin Press, 2014
Michael Nava published his first novel, The Little Death
, in 1986. That book marked the debut of Henry Rios, a gay Chicano lawyer/detective who has become an iconic character in the crime fiction genre. The seven books in the Rios series, hailed as groundbreaking, have won six Lambda Literary Awards. The books recently were reissued in the Kindle format. In recognition of the excellence and popularity of Nava’s writing, he was the recipient of the 2000 Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award
in LGBT literature. That year also marked the publication of the last book in the series, Rag and Bone,
Nava's announcement that he had retired as a mystery writer. Lucha Corpi,
one of the cornerstones of Chicana/Chicano crime fiction and a person obviously qualified to judge, has noted that many consider Nava to be one of the “grandfathers” of the Chicano mystery genre (along with Rolando Hinojosa
, who published Partners in Crime
in 1984. See Lucha’s Confessions of a Book Burner,
The City of Palaces
marks Nava’s return to book length fiction, much to the relief of his many, many readers. And what a grand return it is.
Nava’s explanation of how he came to write this novel is worth repeating. Here are a few paragraphs from the author’s website:Beginning in 1995, Nava started researching a novel about the life of silent film star Ramon Novarro, a Mexican immigrant who came to Hollywood in 1915 after his family fled their homeland during the Mexican Revolution. Novarro was one of the first generation of internationally famous movie stars, like Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. Nava was drawn to Novarro not only because of their shared ethnic heritage but also because it was an open secret in Hollywood that Novarro was gay.
At the same time, he became interested in the Yaquis, an Indian tribe that inhabited the northwest state of Sonora along the border with Arizona. In the late nineteenth century, the Mexico government began to forcibly evict the Yaquis from their ancient homeland, a lush river valley at the edge of the Sonoran desert, to make way for Mexican settlers. But the Yaquis put up a fierce resistance and the Mexican government ultimately pursued a policy of extermination against the tribe that resulted in its virtual extinction. Nava’s great-grandparents were among the few Yaquis who had survived by escaping to Arizona where his grandfather, Ramón, was born in 1905.
Eventually, these interests converged and he began to write a novel that would tell the story of the Mexican Revolution, the near-genocide of the Yaquis, and the rise of silent film. Midway through his first draft, he recognized that this undertaking was too vast for a single book, so he conceived a series of novels called The Children of Eve, after the line in the Salve Regina addressed to Mary, the mother of Jesus: “To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.” The first novel in that series is The City of Palaces, which is set in Mexico City in the years before and at the beginning of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.
At its heart, The City of Palaces
is the love story of Alicia Gavilán and Miguel Sarmiento. Alicia is wealthy, religious, saintly, and beautiful but scarred (from smallpox.) Miguel is an atheistic doctor with a long family history of involvement in Mexico’s political scene. Miguel feels something like love at first sight when he encounters Alicia, but he struggles against his “manly” aversion to her scars. Alicia, on the other hand, may be spiritual and otherworldly, but she is sensual and most pragmatic. The two star-crossed lovers overcome obstacles put in their way by their families, the social stratification of early twentieth century Mexico, and their own inhibitions, fears, and prejudices. Yes, love conquers all.
A sure sign of excellent writing is that we read the words but see the images created by the author. As I read this book, I saw not only the decay and corruption of Mexico City at the end of the Díaz dictatorship, but I also met the people – the poor and oppressed masses that struggled together in the colonias and slums of the city, the wealthy elite hanging on to their fantasies of Europeanization and ostentatious glitter as their world collapsed, the passionate and somewhat naive revolutionaries who courageously rallied around the doomed Francisco Madero. The images are clear enough, and the writing is so direct and on point, that it does not take much to imagine this story as an HBO miniseries.
The novel sweeps through sixteen years of Mexican history. Nava has done his research, so the details are perfect. He hits high notes with his descriptions of neighborhoods, cafes and churches, references to historical figures such as Huerta, Zapata, Orozco, and Madero, and the sense of tumultuous change that was inescapable no matter how hard some tried to ignore it.
At the end, the book has transitioned to include the story of Alicia’s and Miguel’s child, José, described as a beautiful, sensitive boy who steals away from the safety of his grand “palace” to feed his secret desire for the new moving pictures, shown in dark and dirty alleys where only the most common people enter. Although there is tragedy at the end, there also is hope. The story finishes with these thoughts from Miguel: “[T]here appeared in the desert darkness an archway lit up with electric lights. It spelled out a greeting so simple in its unintentional arrogance he did not know whether the tears that filled his eyes were tears of anger or gratitude, but he wept them all the same as he spoke the words aloud: ‘Welcome to America.’” How many times has that scene been repeated by our own families?
Michael Nava tells a timeless story, a literary jewel waiting for La Bloga’s readers. I can only patiently anticipate the second novel in this series.
For another review of this book, see Michael Sedano’s
post on La Bloga at this link.____________________________________________________________________________
University of Texas Press - July, 2014
[from the the author's website]I'm very proud of this collection of scholarly essays. You'll find pieces on Sor Juana, on la Malinche, on Chicana feminist artists and lesbian theorists, on the murdered girls and women of Juárez, as well as a rewriting of the Coyolxauhqui myth, and an opening letter to my paisana from the border, Gloria Anzaldúa, in gratitude for her lenguas de fuego. There are also 8 color plates and 37 black and white photos. Artwork includes different images by Alma Lopez, beginning with that fabulous cover she created for the occasion of the book's publication, as well as pieces by Ester Hernández, Yreina Cervantez, Liliana Wilson, Patssi Valdez, Laura Aguilar, Deliliah Montoya, Alma Gómez-Frith, Miguel Gandert, Alfonso Cano, the "Saint Jerome" of Leonardo da Vinci, the iconic "American Progress, 1872" by John Gast, and a painting of Juana Inés by my very own mother, Teyali Falcón that she created for the publication of Sor Juana's Second Dream.
Upcoming book talks/book signings for the author:
July 29, 6-8pm
Austin, TX, August 28, 7pmHearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, Second EditionLuis J. Rodriguez
7 Stories Press - July, 2014
[from the author]
Join us in celebrating the book release of Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, Second Edition
this Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 5pm to 8pm.
Live art by Rah Azul
and silent art auction fundraiser during reception beginning at 5pm followed by author reading at 6pm. The event is free to the public, donations welcome.
The event will begin with a reception that will include live art by Rah Azul, a self-taught painter, muralist and poet based in the San Fernando Valley. Rah Azul's work is featured on the cover of the new Hearts & Hands
book. There will be limited prints available of the book cover artwork for sale. The silent art auction will feature a special edition by this featured artist. "Hearts & Hands
is a book that belongs in the hands of any person or organization wanting to understand and work with youth and community in a respectful, meaningful way." -Trini Rodriguez
, Co-Founder of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore
Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore |
13197 Gladstone Ave., Unit A |
Many of you know that as part of La Bloga's 10th anniversary commemoration several bloquistas participated in a panel at the International Latina/o Studies Conference
. See Amelia Montes
's most recent post for more info about and photos of the event. The panel invigorated and inspired all of us, and many of our readers and friends gathered to talk about and help us celebrate La Bloga. Seven of our eleven contributors made it to the Windy City, and we had a great time together. We hope to do something similar again. No rhyme or reason, here are a few photos taken in Chicago.
|Palmer House Stairwell|
|Millennium Park - Selfie|
|Millennium Park - Face|
|Millennium Park - Heads|
|Dessert at Zapatista - Free for La Bloga!|
|Long Live the Blues!|
|From the Galería Sin Fronteras Exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art|
|Wrapping Up the Panel|
Random Thought While Jogging Around Sloan's Lake
One of the regrettable things that has happened to Denver’s North Side, where I've lived for more than thirty years, is the rise and victory of the “suburban aesthetic”: boxy, boring housing lined up in rows; a uniform “non-conformist” style from clothes to music; restaurants that are destinations rather than good places to grab a bite to eat; an obsession about “making it,” a flaccid, common denominator cultural perspective. A great neighborhood has to be more than that.
*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page.
***************** This week's book beginnings is taken from THE WISHING TIDE by Barbara Davis.
"Through my fault.Through my fault.Through my most grievous fault.The sea, it seems, has become my priest, the punishing, faceless thing to which I confess sins, silent witness to my self-inflicted wounds. We're alike in many ways, a restless beating of water and salt, a shifting and seething of secrets, or treacheries. Reckless. Dangerous." It is a beautiful read so far. There are chapter headings introducing each character. The story is taking place at a bed and breakfast during a severe storm with a mysterious guest. That's all the farther I have gotten, but it seems as if it is going to be quite good.
What are you reading that you can't keep to yourself? :)
What makes a villain a villain? I’ve always been a fascinated—and a little bit terrified—of villains, especially in fairytales. As a child, I couldn’t get enough of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs even if the old witch sent me diving into our couch cushions to hide my eyes.
By: Guest Contributor,
Blog: ALSC Blog
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Returning from the ALA Conference, I was inspired by the notable tags used by the vendors on the exhibit floor. I didn’t want to print up tags because with our library’s circulation, the books on display are constantly changing. I needed a tag that was easy to see, but also adaptable to whatever book it was placed in. Thankfully, I have a really creative staff at my branch and by brainstorming with my branch head and afterschool leader, we were able to create some fun and useful book tags. To begin, I found some speech bubble post-it notes and laminated them. (Moment of honesty: These were a giveaway by Sam Hain Publishing at ALA this year. There are so many benefits of going to conference beyond the great programming!) When I cut them out, I kept a tail of laminated plastic on the end:
It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but I cut a slit into the tail so it would slide over a page in the book. Now that it’s laminated, it can be written on with a dry erase marker. (My after school leader told me about this and it’s revolutionized my life!) Here is a picture of some of the books:
I added a security tag to the back of each post-it, so they won’t accidentally walk out the door inside the book. Because the security tag is white, you really don’t notice it. Here is a group of books on display:
The picture is a bit dark, but they look great in person. If we lose any, we’re only out a post-it and some lamination paper. When I make more, I’m going to make the tails a little longer. I was able to make 9 tags out of one lamination sheet, but I think 6 would be better. This will allow the tail to be a little longer and fit more securely in the book. I’m using them in my picture book area currently, but I think the possibilities are endless.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Brown
Our guest blogger today is Christopher Brown. Chris is a librarian for the Wadsworth Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. He received is MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 and his MA from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2013. His current books obsessions are The Sittin’ Up by Shelia P. Moses, the Green Knowe series by Lucy M. Boston, and Leah Wilcox’s Waking Beauty. He’s probably book talking at least one of these titles right now.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at email@example.com.
In The Japan Times Reiji Yoshida reports that ¥80 million earmarked to translate Japanese books into English to aid PR drive.
Having learnt nothing from the catastrophe that was the Japanese Literature Publishing Project -- an incredible amount of money that did help get a lot of books translated (see those under review at the complete review) but to stunningly little effect (it still seems to me the ultimate case-study in how not to foster your literature abroad) -- they have decided:
A panel of seven Japanese intellectuals, including university professors and former government officials, will select candidate books over the next month.
The government will then subsidize the translation work and publication costs, the officials said.
I.e. they'll do exactly what the JLPP did (except they'll apparently only be translating into English -- another big mistake).
No doubt these will be worthy 'intellectuals' (hey, "university professors and former government officials" -- what could go wrong ?), but sorry, this is just not the way to go about it.
As is already clear from the observation: "Books will be selected to call attention to positive aspects of Japan" -- pretty much a death-knell for them choosing anything that might really work abroad.
It's real money, however -- almost US$800,000.
That's a lot of subsidy.
May it not go entirely to waste .....
Read the rest of this post
By: Sonja C.,
Blog: Ink Splot 26
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August is the Month for Adventure!
STACKS has some new activities lined up for your August reading adventure. If you like adventure books, you are going to love our Adventure Books Bash. Here’s what we have planned. . .
August 6: Choose Your Own Adventure: Part 1
STACKS Staffer En-Szu is writing an adventure story where YOU get to choose what happens. At the end of the story, your choices will reveal which adventure hero you are most like.
August 12: Shark Week Who Would Win
If you have read I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916,
then you understand my terror of sharks. Guys, an actual shark attacked actual people swimming at the actual Jersey shore. I ask you, what is scarier than that?
August 13: Choose Your Own Adventure Part 2
En-Szu’s story continues with a new twist!
August 20: Choose Your Own Adventure Part 3
August 26: National Dog Day
Well, this might not have anything to do with adventure books, but how awesome is a whole day when we get to celebrate dogs?
August 27: Which Adventure Hero Are You? Find out!
August 28: Readathon 12-4 p.m. ET
Join us on the STACKS for a live 4-hour readathon!
I hope you can join us for 1 or all of these STACKS events this August!
Sonja, STACKS Staffer
I am a big fan of the work of Bob Staake and I hope you'll take time at the end of this review to explore his other books, many of which I have reviewed here. His newest picture book, My Pet BOOK, perfectly presents Staake's wacky sensibilities and his colorfully crowded world while expressing the joys of books and reading at the same time.
Set in Smartytown, we meet a boy who wants a
By: Bowie Style,
Blog: print & pattern
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Today's Friday eye candy feature all comes from the Pinterest boards of Arden Kuhlman Riordan. Arden is the daughter of Graphic Designers Roy and Gilda Kuhlman and it is obvious she has a passion for mid century graphics and illustration. Her boards are a treasure trove of design on book covers, records, posters, and more. You can see a wealth of artists such as Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Dick Bruna
Blog: educating alice
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The recent attention being paid to the many young undocumented immigrants coming across our country’s southern border brings to mind the remarkable book, Migrant by José Manuel Mateo’s and illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro. This story of one young boy’s difficult migration from Mexico to the United States is one spectacular book. Beginning in a rural village, readers learn why the young boy’s mother makes the difficult decision to leave. Their father has already left and, when he stops sending money and she cannot find work locally, she decides to leave with her two children, the narrator and his sister. The rest of the story is of their hard and frightening journey as they make way to Los Angeles. What really makes the book stand-out is that the poignant words are illustrated by one huge piece of art. Inspired by the codices the early people of Mexico and Central America, the intricate black and white art is viewed in an accordion format, something you fold it out as you read the story of the family’s journey. You can get a sense of this and the art itself at Jules’ featured post about it here. Highly, highly recommended.
By Matthew Jent
To mark the 25th anniversary of Heartbreakers, an action/sci-fi serial originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents, co-creator Anina Bennett brought the conversation about Female Heroes, Then & Now to SDCC.
Allison Baker & Claire Hummel share their personal heroes with a full room.
Anina was joined by her husband and Heartbreakers co-creator Paul Guinan, Geek & Sundry’s Kiala Kazebee, comics/movie/video game writer Jimmy Palmiotti, Monkeybrain Co-Publisher and IDW Director of Operations Allison Baker, and former Xbox/current HBO Production Designer Claire Hummel.
The room was packed, and it was filled with men, women, and a fair share of cosplayers. There was a twi’lek wielding a lightsaber, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, a TARDIS, and a little Batgirl — also carrying a lightsaber, which was downright adorable.
Anina, who introduced herself as “a recovering comic book editor,” led off by thanking so many people for turning out for a positive discussion about female heroes. Her first question to the panel was about their real-life female heroes, and the panel name-checked a lot of the more popular and interesting female cartoonists in the industry today — Kate Beaton, Colleen Coover, Joelle Jones, Kate Leth, Erika Moen, and others. Claire Hummel specifically pointed out Sheilah Beckett, known for her work on the Little Golden Books, and 20th century artist Mary Blair. “Everyone’s trying to be Mary Blair,” Claire said.
Allison Baker mentioned comics writer & all-star Trina Robbins, Jimmy Palmiotti and Paul Guinan lauded their (respective) mothers and wives, and Kiala Kazebee said she looks up to her Geek & Sundry co-hosts Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, and Bonnie Burton.
The panel moved on to discussing some of the everyday examples of sexism and fear of feminism in the comics, film, and video game industries, including Ubisoft’s recent declaration that female avatars were too difficult to add to the upcoming Far Cry 4, and David Finch’s assertion that his upcoming run on Wonder Woman will feature a strong, but not feminist, version of the Amazon.
In a time when more and more women are creating and enjoying media in comics, film, and video games, this backward assertion comes from, in the opinion of the panel, that fact that the editors, managers, and leaders of these companies are still men. Without that diversity of thought and opinion from the top, there will continue to be shortsighted missteps like Ubisoft’s.
Anina stressed to the panel attendees: don’t be afraid to call yourself a feminist.
“It means we want equal rights,” said Kiala. “That’s all it is. It’s very simple.”
“I think real men are feminists,” Allison added, and the audience agreed.
There was a brief discussion of the new Thor, but that was deemed not as good news as it might seem, since there are still so few freelancers working on Marvel titles.
“Representation is important, but also on the creators’ side,” Claire said.
Paul asked if Thor as a woman, and Captain America as an African-American, were just gimmicks. But the panel mostly shrugged it off.
“It’s more than DC is doing,” Kiala said.
So why aren’t there more female creators on the big-name books? Jimmy Palmiotti asserted that at DC it was matter of putting the right creators on the right books, but Allison said, “It’s the sign of a rut. The editors don’t go outside of their circles when assembling their creative team. If women see more women working in that field, more women will go into that field.
When asked if leaders had a responsibility to build more diverse teams, the panel’s answer was resoundingly yes. More diverse teams would mean more diverse outlooks, which would mean better books, movies, and games.
Nearing conclusion, Anina asked if the panelists had themselves been accused of sexism or bigotry. Claire talked about creating some Indian-influenced steampunk designs in her early Tumblr days, and being called out for still relying on primarily Western concepts. She said it was because, at the time, she thought, “Steampunk is Western.” Being called out made her realized it didn’t have to be. “I can say I’m sorry, and I can move forward, and I learned how to react reasonably and take advice,” she said.
(Although apparently some doofball approached her after the panel to add a particularly doofy addendum to this commendable and enlightened anecdote. But we’re patient and enlightened feminists around here, so we won’t let that ruin a perfectly good panel.)
A few other examples were given, including a recap of the Harley Quinn/art contest/bathtub snafu from a few months back, but Anina summarized them all with, “All examples involved taking a step back and changing your attitudes and your behavior.”
With a growing number of women in the industry (and fandom), these kinds of conversations are going to happen more often, and not just within the confines of the old school “Women in Comics” panels that used to permeate conventions of this size. Women Heroes was an engaging and (overall) positive discussion about how far this industry has come — and how far it still has to go.
They've announced the thirteen-title strong longlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize -- open to UK-published novels by writers from anywhere (previously: only from the UK, Commonwealth, plus Zimbabwe and the Republic of Ireland) -- i.e. for the first time also by American writers.
The longlisted titles are:
- The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
- The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
- The Dog by Joseph O'Neill
- History of the Rain by Niall Williams
- How to be Both by Ali Smith
- J by Howard Jacobson
- The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
- The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
- Orfeo by Richard Powers
- To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
- The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
- Us by David Nicholls
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Several of these haven't even been published in the UK yet, much less in the US; I haven't seen a one of these, save the Ferris, which happened to be available at the library yesterday, so I picked it up.
I expect to read/cover several of these when/if I do get copies: the Mitchell, Smith, Jacobson, and -- if it gets a US publisher -- the Mukherjee.
Notable titles that didn't make the cut: The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt (suggesting the judging panel has at least a modicum of sense/taste), as well as works by Ian McEwan, Philip Hensher, Nicola Barker, Martin Amis, and Will Self.
As usual, however, the Man Booker folks don't even reveal what titles were in the running -- some of these may not even have been submitted by their publishers (though quite a few get automatic byes due to their author's books' past performance)
[Judge Sarah Churchwell even tweeted
that we should: "bear in mind that what we longlist is defined by what publishers submit to us" -- a valid point, which however does nothing to explain why the Man Booker folk won't let on what books were actually in the running .....]
Apparently 154 titles were submitted/considered [as I suspected, judge Sarah Churchwell's claim of considering/reading 160 submissions was incorrect and inflated]
-- not a terrible increase from last year's 151 -- with entries from the Commonwealth (excluding the UK) down to 31 (versus 43 last year), while: "44 titles were by authors who are now eligible under the new rule changes" (presumably all of whom are US authors).
So, yes, as feared US authors 'took' some places from UK and Commonwealth authors -- and quite a few places on the longlist -- but things didn't turn out quite as bad as some feared.
Books LIVE has a useful look
at the country-of-origin of longlisted authors (debatable though some of these are) since 2001, suggesting the inclusion of American authors has indeed come at the cost of Commonwealth and African authors.
Among the other observations/criticisms: the gender disparity -- as noted, for example, by Tina Jordan at Entertainment Weekly
's Shelf Life weblog, in Really, Man Booker Prize ? 10 male authors, 3 female ?
(Again -- and as she also notes --: part of the problem may be what the publishers are submitting.
Which is kept secret, for no good reason .....)
In the UK they're taking bets, of course -- Ladbrokes have
Mukherjee as 3/1 favorite, ahead of Mitchell and Smith (6/1) -- and offer 2/1 that an American author wil take the prize.
(But remember to compare odds at various betting shops before placing your bets !)
Question of the Week:
Do you like to read books with a theme such as Halloween, Christmas, etc?
I read themed books once in a while, but not a regular basis.
I actually think I have only read one book that had a Christmas theme. It was The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd.
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By Linda Woodhead
There are two kinds of churches. The ‘church type’, as the great sociologist Ernst Troeltsch called it, has fuzzy boundaries and embraces the whole of society. The ‘sect type’ has hard boundaries and tries to keep its distance. Until recently, the Church of England has been the former – a church ‘by law established’ for the whole nation. Since the 1980s, however, the Church has veered towards sectarianism. It’s within this context that we have to understand the significance of the recent vote for women bishops.
Robert Runcie (Archbishop of Canterbury 1980 to 1991) was the last leader to have no doubts about the Church’s role as a pillar of society. That didn’t mean he was a flunky of the social establishment. When he prayed for the dead on both sides of the Falklands War, or commissioned the Faith in the City report which criticised the Thatcher government, he did so from a confident position at the centre of things rather than as critic standing on the margins.
A shift away from this stance began under Runcie’s successor, George Carey (Archbishop from 1991-2002). Carey was part of the modern evangelical wing of the Church, some of whose members were already pushing for the Church to keep its distance from ‘secular’ society, but it was under Archbishop Rowan Williams (2002-2012) that the really decisive shift took place.
The background was a British society whose values were changing rapidly. My recent surveys of British beliefs and values reveal a remarkably swift liberalisation of attitudes. In this context, liberalism is the conviction that all adults should be equally free to make up their minds about choices which affect them directly. Its opposite is not conservatism but paternalism – the view that one should defer to higher authorities.
In the 1960s and ‘70s the Church of England was travelling with society in a broadly liberal direction, with prominent Anglicans supporting the liberalisation of laws relating to abortion, homosexuality, and divorce. But after Runcie, Anglican leaders made a U-turn. The extension of equal rights to women and gay people proved hardest for them to swallow. At stake for evangelicals was God-ordained male headship, and for Anglo-Catholics, an exclusively male priesthood extending back to Christ himself, and good relations with Rome.
Under the leadership of Rowan Williams and John Sentamu, the Church of England campaigned successfully to be exempted from provisions of the new equality legislation, took a hard line against homosexual practice and gay marriage, and made continuing concessions to the opponents of women’s progress in the Church (women had first been ordained priests in 1994, expecting that the office of bishop would be opened to them soon after).
Williams often behaved like an outsider to mainstream English society. He was a fierce critic of liberal ‘individualism’, and thought that religious people should huddle together against the chilly winds of secularism (hence his support for sharia law). He favoured the moral conservatism of African church leaders over the liberalism of American ones, and made disastrous compromises with illiberal factions in the Church. It was the latter which led to the failure of the last vote for women bishops in 2012 – shortly before Williams stepped down.
Williams’ supporters can say that he maintained Anglican unity, both at home and abroad. But the cost has been enormous. Church of England numbers have collapsed, and it has become more marginal to society and most people’s lives than ever before.
So the vote to allow women bishops is a turning-point which may see the Church re-engage the moral sentiments of the majority of its members and the country as a whole. But the sectarian tendency remains strong. Although Archbishop Welby supports women bishops, he remains opposed to same-sex marriage and assisted dying, and takes very seriously the relationship with African churches and their leaders. The sectarian fringes of the Church remain influential, and the bishops remain isolated from the views of ordinary Anglicans. The Church as a whole creaks under the weight of historic buildings, unimaginative mangerialism, and sub-democratic structures.
Over the last few decades the Church of England has missed a great opportunity to reinvent itself as a genuinely liberal form of religion in a world suffering from an excess of sectarian religion of illiberal and paternalistic kinds. It lost its nerve at the crucial moment, forgetting that liberalism has Christian as well as secular roots, and reading Britain’s drive towards greater freedom and toleration as permissive rather than moral.
To task Anglican clergywomen with putting all this right is to ask too much. But the vote for women bishops strikes a blow against sectarian ‘male’ Christianity. And if the Church is serious about drawing closer to the people it is meant to serve, then becoming representative of half the population and an even bigger proportion of Anglicans has to count as a significant step in the right direction.
Linda Woodhead is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University, UK. Her research interests lie in the entanglements of religion, politics, and economy, both historically and in the contemporary world. Between 2007 and 2013 she directed the Religion and Society Programme http://www.religionandsociety.org.uk, the UK’s largest ever research investment on religion. She is the author of Christianity: A Very Short Introduction, which comes out in its second edition in August. She tweets from @LindaWoodhead.
The Very Short Introductions (VSI) series combines a small format with authoritative analysis and big ideas for hundreds of topic areas. Written by our expert authors, these books can change the way you think about the things that interest you and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Grow your knowledge with OUPblog and the VSI series every Friday, subscribe to Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS, and like Very Short Introductions on Facebook.
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Image credit: Common Worship Books, by Gareth Hughes (Own work). CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Lucas P, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘REPEAT’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.
And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:
Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).
Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.
Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).
Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!
Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!
They've announced that the €10,000 2014 Hannah-Arendt-Prize for Political Thought, awarded by the City of Bremen and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, will be shared by Pussy Riot-ers Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, and -- as they spell it -- Jury Andruchowytsch (Юрій Андрухович, usually -- so also elsewhere in this press release ... transliterated in English as 'Yuri Andrukhovych'), five of whose works are under review at the complete review, see e.g. Perverzion).
"The Prize is awarded to people who in their thought and deeds courageously accept the challenge of public intervention" ... well, you get the idea, right ?
And, this being a German prize (i.e. winners announced way in advance), the prize ceremony will only be held on 5 December.
Blog: Ink Splot 26
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If you love Leo Howard from Kickin’ It, keep reading.
If any television actor has undergone an on-screen transformation, it’s Kickin’ It‘s Leo Howard. Remember what he was like when the show first started? But even if Leo–and his character Jack–has changed a bit on the outside, he’s still the super-chill guy we interviewed a little while back.
So it was great to catch up with him again and see what he’s been reading, what his favorite school subject is, and more! Check it out.
Q: What are you reading now?
Leo: I just finished reading Night by Elie Wiesel (for ages 12 and up). It was awesome. It made me cry many times. It’s about a Jewish kid that went through Auschwitz. Unbelievable.
Q: What’s your favorite school subject and why?
Leo: I like history because I like learning about things that happened in the past.
Q: Do you have any study tips?
Leo: Not really. Yes, actually I do. [Laughs] Stay diligent. Procrastination is your worst enemy when it comes to studying!
Q: What do you feel is the most important issue for kids your age today?
Leo: Probably texting and driving. It’s a big, big issue that a lot of kids need to be aware of and check themselves for.
Yup, Leo’s still the sensible, cool guy we remember. Are you a fan of Leo Howard?
Do you watch Kickin’ It
? If you could meet him in real life, what questions would YOU ask? Tell us in the Comments below!
En-Szu, STACKS Staffer
The Spring, 2014 issue of list - Books from Korea is finally out online, with a special section on 'Children's Picture Books' as well as the usual reviews and information-pieces.
Also of interest: Suh Heewon has a Q & A with The Man Who Loved Moebius Novelist Choi Jae-hoon.
I am very
excited to announce that my debut novel, Life with Jesse Daniels
is in the hands of my editor and will be released in the coming weeks
!!!!!!!! (Is that enough exclamation points?)
When people say something sucked the life right out of them
, they're usually exaggerating. Believe me, this is no exaggeration
! I spent the last eight years (on and off) working on this book. I first wrote it in 2006. I say "I first
wrote it" because it certainly wasn't the last.
I rewrote it.
And rewrote it.
And rewrote it.
And this year, I completely
rewrote it. It has come far from what it originally was. Light years.
Okay, just years....
I'm a perfectionist. It had to be perfect. So I edited it about a million times. No exaggeration. And it's finally with my editor! That means (for once) no more changes! Yes, I said for once
, because for someone who is not a fan of change, I change the hell out of things! lol
More to follow!
Not fearing competition from that Man Booker Prize, they also announced the finalists for the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
Okay, they take things at their own pace down there -- last year's Man Booker winner is a fiction finalist -- but what really struck me is that five of the eight fiction and poetry finalists are published by Victoria University Press.
Sounds like a pretty interesting/unusual book market there if that's possible .....
(VUP describes itself as: "New Zealand's leading publisher of new fiction and poetry" -- but also notes that it publishes (only): "on average 25 new titles every year" (which is ... not that much).
Aw, Gee! My computer is actually not completely fixed. Who would have thought. Please enjoy Howard B. Wigglebottom for one more day. I am working on getting a late review out for tomorrow. If not, relax, enjoy your time away from the comment boxes—thank you all for your comments, I love them—read a book, paint a picture, bake some brownies, or just have fun in the summer sun (unless you are here where the temperature is currently 50 degrees of cool.
In August, if the computer (and Best Buy Geeky squad cooperate), I will finally start posting on a personal blog I have had waiting in the WordPress wings since 2007. There is a DIY MFA: Conquer the Craft in 29 Days! at diymfa.com if you are interested. I really have no idea what will be expected of me. I did the April, 30 Poetry days at Angie Karchner’s RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month) and did well. That has actually encouraged me to try other things going on around the literary blogosphere.
Those posts will be at Loving Kidlit @ http://suemorris.wordpress.com/
Keep on stopping by and I will keeping on plugging away!
Up Coming Books include, in NO particular order:
The Lonely Crow by Paul Stillabower
Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog by Jackie Clark Mancuso
The Ghost of Stonebridge Lane by Rpoberta Hoffer
Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne Grasso
plus many new books from traditional publishers.
There are some terrific MG books, a great new odd alphabet book, a new set of board books for boys (and girls), and picture books to make your heart melt and your tongue giggle. So, darn it!, keep coming back. Eventually, the computer will give in and work or find itself alone in a dark, wet pasture.
Thanks for understanding and not leaving KLR behind. Enjoy Mr. Wigglebottom’s “trailer.”
Filed under: Children's Books
Appropriately timed with the announcement of the Man Booker Prize longlist (see above), the most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Edward St. Aubyn's Lost for Words -- about which Stuart Kelly wrote (in his review in the Times Literary Supplement, 21 May):
To call this a thinly veiled attack on the Man Booker Prize [...] would be a disservice to veils and how diaphanous they might be.
This has already/soon will appear in French and German translation, but turns out to be a rather disappointing prize-satire; among the few who really, really seemed to enjoy it was the Kakutani
You...yes, you...come here, I've got a confession to make. I've been a naughty girl, see. I've been thinking bad thoughts. I have been working out the best ways to break the law. And last weekend, I met up with a bunch of people who were doing exactly the same thing. I went to the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
First of all, can I say that there can be no finer place for contemplating murder than Harrogate. It's genteel and gorgeous and manicured to within an inch of its life. If you were to bump someone off, I feel the chief concern would be not getting blood on the geraniums. But we weren't there to admire the blooms or take in a cream tea in Bettys Tea Rooms (although naturally, I did) - we were there to consider dark deeds and twisted motives. We were there to bring on a crime-wave.
TOP Crime Festival is a great mixture of readers and writers. Because I don't write crime, I was technically there as a reader and I certainly picked up a lot of new books but I actually went as a writer, to see how other authors put their stories together. I'm a great believer in being inspired by fellow writers and I knew from the very first talk I intended that I'd made a good choice in coming to Harrogate. Not only did I flesh out my crime novel idea (well you knew that was coming, didn't you?) but I learned a lot too. Denise Mina taught me about Narrative Inevitability (the way the story arcs towards an inescapable conclusion), Natalie Haynes explained that Oedipus Rex was the first whodunnit? SJ Watson revealed the meaning of the Rubber Ducky moment, where an antagonist confesses that the reason he is a cold-blooded serial killer is because his mother took his rubber ducky away when he was six. And I know way more than I need to about the effects of rats on corpses and the inner workings of saunas.
One of my biggest light-bulb moments came during JK Rowling's interview as Robert Galbraith. In her discussion with Val McDermid, they touched upon why whichever book you are writing feels like your worst story ever, and why the book you want to write next is so enticing. And I was amazed to discover that JK Rowling herself suffers from the same insecurities and fears we do. I frequently tell my writing students that every writer I know fears they might never write another book again. At TOP Crime Festival, I discovered that it really is true: even the most successful among us struggle with self-doubt and the conviction that our WIP is a steaming pile of poo.
Now I'm back home and I'm still thinking about breaking the law. The difference is that I know exactly how I'm going to do it now. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
by Zachary Clemente
Image Comics’ all-around rad panel host (among other talents) David Brothers hosted the first of many of the “I is for…” panels scheduled this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Following in line with their new branding which spins their lineup with succinct descriptive words that being with “I”. “Innovative”, “Irreverent”, “Interplanetary” have been banded about with this new means of breaking the bonds of genre definitions – but today’s panel (“Infinite” for those keeping score at home) was all about introspection.
A good mix of writers and illustrators joined the panel to talk their work in respect to genre definitions, their experiences at Image, the next stages of their projects, and field a good amount of questions from the audience. Since the publisher has a whole mess of creators working with them, an interesting mix is available. On the panel was Ryan Burton (Dark Engine), Nick Dragotta (East of West), Jason Latour (Southern Bastards), Richard Starkins (Elephantmen), Declan Shalvey (Injection), Tom Neely (The Humans), Stuart Moore (EGOs), and Rick Remender (Deadly Class).
The two most noticeable things about the panel was that it all of the creators on it were white and male. Considering Eric Stephenson’s points of the necessity of diversity in their creators at yesterday’s Image Expo, the panelist lineup does seem to strike an odd chord. Granted, the following Image panels scheduled throughout the rest of the week due feature non-white creators and female creators – so let’s chalk it up to scheduling.
I have to say, often panels like this can hit low points where the people participating weren’t sure where to go from the previous discussion, but give it up for Brothers – this one moved smoothly between talks; allowing all the panelists good time to talk about their own experiences and share their own stories, while the rest were able to interject casually. It felt more like watching a conversation than attending a press event, which is what I look for in a good panel.
Going up and down the table, each creator touched on the influences that shape their books and their relationships with genres such as sci-fi and western and how that informs their books. Burton commented on how he doesn’t feel that Dark Engine could be done elsewhere as he’s allowed to push the concept further – creating an intensely powerful female character in the vein of Conan or Beowulf, going as far as give her a sword made from a T-Rex’s rib.
One interesting topic broached was the age gap for most Image readers. There really isn’t much along the lines of all-ages or kid-friendly currently being published by Image – and Nick Dragotta was happy to discuss the strange interplay he has as an artist recollecting the for-kids DIY educational HowToons book and his raucous and bloody work in East of West. We also found out that East of West is set at about 60 issues, with each 15-issue installment representing approximately a year in the story’s timeline.
Jason Latour, half of the Jason-based team creating Southern Bastards talked about how the book, while not from exact experiences, is ingrained with impressions of spending childhood weekends in rural North Carolina. Otherwise, he jokingly suggested that “it’s about watching dogs poop.” When pressed about his working relationship with Jason Aaron and their southern roots, Latour explained their occasional disagreements with the example of “I’ve tried to convince him that farm animals are off-limits for sexual proclivities,” which received quite a hoot n’ holler from the audience.
Notably, many questions were directed to Remender, which isn’t too surprising considering he now has 4 titles with Image (Black Science, The Low, Deadly Class, and the recently announced Tokyo Ghost). As he had in the back of the trade release of Deadly Class, Remender delved into his past, much unpleasant, that influenced the world and emotional core of the teenage assassins book. When queried about engaging the controversy over a certain scene involving Marvel character Sam Wilson and how fan reaction plays a part in their work, Remender was quick to explain that there wasn’t a true controversy in play and that as the outrage built, he “removed himself and spent 3 days hugging his kids, while eating toast and crying.”
As the rest of the panel attempted to field the question, Latour piped in, saying that “some of the rednecks who would have a problem with Southern Bastards can’t read.” Problem solved.
Overall, it was a well-organized panel that come from a lot more thought about their lineup of talent and book on the part of the publisher that I expect of most, though perhaps a slightly more diverse cast would have played well. I’m looking forward to the rest of the Image panels, featuring different guests to discuss different topics.
Another wonderful illustration by Amal Karzai. Thought it showed the feeling of this post. Website: http://www.amalillustration.com Blog: http://amalimages.blogspot.co.uk/
There might be a spot opening up at the Avalon Full Manuscript Critique Writer’s Retreat. If you are one of the people who have been kicking yourself for not getting in for this opportunity to get a critique with Agent Ammi-Joan Pacquette from Erin Murphy Agency or Agent Heather Alexander from Pippin Properties, send me an email and I will get back with you.
WOO HOO! It seems like a number of you jumped on the post where I told you about Schoolwide.com had a call out for submissions, because I’ve heard from a number of writers this week who have heard back from them. Most have received very nice letters showing interest in their manuscript and asking for revisions, which is great and could be a start of something big, but Sheila Fuller had her book ALL NIGHT SINGING accepted. Congratulations Sheila!
Christopher Behrens’ finished his book, found an illustrator whose work has been on The Today Show, used Jim Whiting and Writer’s Digest for editing, then self-published his book Savanna’s Treasure this past spring.
Kirkus gave him a good review in June and now The Community Life Newspaper wrote an article the book. If you would like to read the article, here is the link: http://www.northjersey.com/arts-and-entertainment/books/longtime-dpw-employee-pens-first-children-s-book-1.1052358
Savanna’s Treasure is available everywhere online and in all formats, including the ebook.
Two of the comments from Kirkus:
“…story enriched by an inspiring animal alliance….a good fit for early readers.” —Kirkus Reviews
Good job Chris!
Check back next Friday for the First Page Results.
Filed under: authors and illustrators
, Conferences and Workshops
, Illustrator Sites
Tagged: Amal Karzai
, Christopher Behrens
, Free Fall Friday
, Sheila Fuller
Blog: Perpetually Adolescent
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There are several books by Australian authors being published in the last six months of the year that I’m really looking forward to, so I thought I’d share them with you.
The first is already out, and it’s Kate Forsyth‘s Dancing With Knives. Set on a farm outside Narooma in NSW, Dancing With Knives is a rural murder mystery and a story about love and family secrets.
Rebecca James (author of Beautiful Malice and Sweet Damage) is gearing up for the launch of Cooper Bartholomew is Dead in early October. Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is a psychological thriller centred around the death of Cooper Bartholomew, and his group of friends, one of which is keeping a dangerous secret.
Kate Morton (author of The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Keeper) is releasing her fifth novel in October this year and I’m so excited about it. Untitled and simply called Book 5 for now, we don’t know what’s it’s about yet, but given she’s one of my favourite Australian authors, I’m sure it’s going to be a delicious page-turner.
Matthew Reilly is releasing a block-buster action monster-movie of a novel (his words) called The Great Zoo of China on 10 November. China has discovered a new species of animal and is preparing to unveil their amazing find in the form of the largest zoo in human history. The Chinese re-assure a media contingent invited to tour the zoo that it’s perfectly safe; however if Matthew Reilly is involved, you know that nothing’s ever safe. You can click here to watch a short video of Matthew Reilly telling us about The Great Zoo of China, or pre-order it now and receive 30% off.
Candice Fox (author of Hades) featured here on the blog in January this year, and her latest book in the Bennett/Archer series Eden, is due out later this year. Click here to read the Player Profile with Candice conducted by Jon Page.
Australian music personality Molly Meldrum has written a memoir called The Never Ever Ending Story, and is said to contain plenty of stories about some of the many rock and pop stars he interviewed throughout his career. The Never Ever Ending Story is due to be released in November.
Another iconic member of the Australian music industry has to be John Williamson. In the aptly named Hey, True Blue, John Williamson takes readers through his life story and his success as a singer.
So, that’s it from me, but what new Australian books are you looking forward to?