Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Thursday News: Gender swap thoughts in 2000; Irene Adler’s character assassination;...

Further Hingston argues that subsequent releases of the books in other forms that contain “bonus” material are kind of a finger to the eye of the reader. Hingston suggests that readers who formerly would buy hardcovers will actually make up the loss of dollars in volume. That’s the argument for low priced books but the ebook volume hasn’t fully made up for the decline of print books.  Edmonton Journal

According to i09’s interpretation, Adler is quick witted, insightful, a dab hand at disguises, and quite an honorable person. So honorable that the King, whom she fears, declares at the end that her word is “inviolate.”

Yet, modern adaptions show none of this. Perhaps because it is a result of casual internalized misogyny or lazy storytelling or both.i09

A library will be in the middle of this new public space that will also include a huge garden, an amphitheater, water play area and music rooms. Pretty cool. h/t MediaBistro.  Sydney Morning Herald

“Junior high school students in north-midwestern states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota) were asked what they would do if the next morning they awoke to find themselves transformed into the opposite sex. The girls thought about the question for a while, expressed modest disappointment, and then described the kids of things they would do if they were suddenly transformed into boys. Become a doctor, fireman, policeman, or baseball player were typical answers. The boys, by contrast, took virtually no time before answering. “Kill myself” was the most common answer when they contemplated the possibility of life as a girl.”

From The Gendered Society by Michael S. Kimmel, 2000, Oxford University Press.  There are so many sad things about this paragraph from the girls’ ideas that doctor, fireman, and policeman are vocations that are closed to them unless they had a penis or the boys’ utter disdain of a girls’ existence.

 

The way the PW article attempts to establish Mitchard’s YA creds is a bit bizarre.

While she may be best known for her adult work, Mitchard not only writes for young people but is especially passionate about the impact of books on teens. She arrived at lunch wearing a pair of earrings based on Betty Smith’s novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a personal favorite of hers.

Publishers Weekly

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

29 Comments

  1. Ella Drake
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 05:32:59

    Couldn’t agree more about Irene Adler. She was someone he greatly admired. And whose looks didn’t matter. Holmes felt as if she were like the female version of himself. To make her otherwise would be to change what it is that Holmes sees in the mirror.

  2. Cindy
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 06:31:29

    BBC’s Sherlock treated Irene Adler this way, and as Holmes’ foe. I’m wondering if it might be that when they’re modernizing Holmes to this day and age (BBC’s Sherlock is set in present day), that is how women from all action/spy/mysteries are being perceived. Elementary has not really used Irene Adler except in a mention about her fate, so I don’t know how they would have treated her.

  3. Tina M.
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 07:07:58

    That was the best answer boys could come up with if they woke up to being a girl? You mean, they can’t imagine facing the challenges girls go through on a daily basis? I suppose this shows who the weaker sex is.

    At least the girls put some effort into their answer, even if it shows they believe certain paths are only meant for males.

  4. Patricia Eimer
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 07:19:21

    I hated how BBC Sherlock treated Irene Adler– I actually quit watching their show over it because it just irked me so much. Like the only thing a really smart woman can do for money is exploit men for sex? Really?

    And as far as the boys wanting to kill themselves? I can’t even think of what to say to that it’s so sad.

  5. Stephanie
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 07:36:54

    Re: Hardcovers — I disagree completely. I love hardcovers! And when given the choice between two paperbacks and one hardcover, I’d always choose quality over quantity. Actually, in recent years I’ve stopped buying paperbacks completely. Right now I buy all of my books first as ebooks. And if I really like a book, I gladly pay the price for a beautifully made hardcover to take up precious space on my bookshelves.

    Re: gender swap — Really sad, but I think there’s also typical teenaged boy behaviour to take into account, grandstanding instead of thinking things through and providing thoughtful answers, so I doubt the kids really meant what they said. Though it’s bad and sad enough that they did say something like that at all.

  6. Ren
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 07:37:56

    Alternate alarmist interpretation: Young men place so little value on their own lives, their go-to reaction to a change of circumstance is suicide.

    Ten- to twelve-year-old boys are not shining examples of thoughtfulness and maturity, particularly when answering hypothetical questions for which they’re not receiving grades for demonstrating thoughtfulness and maturity. No one should read too much into a study to which a significant portion of responses from both genders would be some variation of “Investigate my new genitalia” if the respondents weren’t afraid of getting detention for honesty.

  7. Tina
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 08:14:17

    Regarding the gender swap thing, I refuse to believe that big portion of those boys wouldn’t have answered that they’d feel themselves up first.

    There is a British TV show called Misfits where a group of young adults are hit by a freaky storm and come away with weird powers. One of the members later in the show gets a gender swap power. He can switch from male to female. After the requisite initial freak out, he spends every moment he can masturbating because, as he exclaims with wonder to his ex-girlfriend, the sensations a woman feels are different from those that a man feels.

  8. John
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 08:42:20

    Re: Mitchard – I read her latest YA novel and was unimpressed by the logistics she tried to establish in what is essentially a contemporary suspense novel. She’s not awful, but Mitchard spends entirely too much time with exposition for what she tries to write. Though some YA readers enjoy her YA novels, I don’t think she’s ever been held to critical acclaim or niche acclaim in the genre. I also haven’t honestly heard of her being a big advocate for YA or being highly invovled in the genre prior to the past year or two, and then mainly due to her latest book release and the new editorial position.

    Re: Gender swap – This is sad, and I don’t think that the discussion should be limited to their age. These kids are in junior high, so they range in age from probably 11 to 14. This is the age where kids are required to start thinking more critically and begin to consider their lives in a broader perspective. They may not have the most insightful answers, but it says a lot regardless – and not just about the value someone of the male gender puts on their life. It does reak of sexism, because young boys are generally more likely to find an unexpected science-fiction-y situation exciting. Unless, of course, it involves them becoming girls.

    The reaction of the girls is just as sad. On one hand, some of them could have just mentioned that they would do what they would have done as a girl – just as a boy – but the study implies that it’s not the case. Believe me, these kids may not all be considerate about their answers (or about the sexual leanings of their curiosities), but it’s more than male recklessness.

  9. mari
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 09:01:20

    Actually the most shocking thing about the gender swap study is that is that it was allowed to happen at all. Absolute waste of time and money. This is what schools concern themselves with?????! And we wonder why kids graduate illiterate. And what did they expect the boys to say? “Oooooo I guess I would go out and seek empowerment and have babies!” Its a study that should never have been allowed to begin with, unfairly targets boys, and produces laughable results. Unfortunatly, these “results” will be taken seriously and now everyone will think earnestly and refectively about how to change boys’ thinking, because boys think so wrong!

  10. tangodiva
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 09:13:09

    For Irene Adler done right, I recommend The Zero Effect.

  11. Sunita
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:14:23

    The gender news is not as bad as it sounds. I couldn’t track down the original survey easily online, but this is not new research. Kimmel is referencing a study that is cited in a 1977 book (in other words, it’s not his study and he’s not citing the original study in his footnotes, but rather a discussion of it). I couldn’t track down the original research, but we’re talking about a survey that was carried out nearly four decades ago. That’s probably why the girls didn’t think they could be doctors, firefighters, etc.

    He’s presenting these results as if they’re relatively current, but they’re not. It’s there for shock value.

  12. Ridley
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:32:41

    @mari: You’re adorable! Keep this up, and someday you can be a real troll!

  13. SAO
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:32:45

    Frankly, I think the boys gave the answer that kind of hypothetical question deserves. If you aren’t going to supply the truthful answer, which is, as Ren points out, “check out my new genitalia” (exactly the answer I’ve given when asked this question by my kids, who love this kind of hypothetical question and never think deeply about them), you are left with sexist suppositions of what new abilities you might have. And let’s not forget, many of those girls saying “Fireman” are probably saying what they think the questioner expects to hear.

    In school, I got “values clarification” which was a variety of scenarios that boiled down to, which of the 8 people in your life boat built for 5 will you throw to the sharks, and why. It never produced any kind of useful thought, other than for me to bitterly resent the constraints of the unrealistic exercise.

  14. JL
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:36:01

    I think it’s important to keep in mind the publication date of the gender swapping study. It’s 13 years old. The data could very well be 20+ years old for all I know. American society has come pretty far (not far enough of course, but far) in that time. If you don’t believe me, just watch an rerun of any tv show from the early 2000s to see how much racist, sexist, classist and homophobic content goes unchecked.
    That being said, I think it still speaks to just how normative ‘male’ is. The girls saw being male as an opportunity, the boys saw it as all their opportunity and power being taken away. I agree that there was probably some grandstanding taking place and that these boys are too young to ‘go there’ as with the show Misfits as mentioned above. This suggests to me that characteristics and paths considered stereotypically ‘feminine’ are so devalued that boys are never encouraged to consider about them and if that if they do, they ought to keep it to themselves. Being ‘masculine’ in wanting to be a policeman is clearly given a higher value, but the girls are still positioned as having lesser capacity.
    I disagree with Mari that these types of exercises are useless. In fact, I think it’s because we don’t have enough of these types of exercises that kids get to university woefully underprepared. But, the challenge is to have a teacher who skillfully addresses what comes of these exercises. It would be so easy to reinforce bad stereotypes rather than confront them.

  15. Jody W.
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:38:30

    If I woke up as a dude, my actions would depend on my new dude body. If I got taller (hopefully!), I’d spend a lot of time grabbing things off high shelves without jumping or using a stool. JUST BECAUSE I COULD.

  16. pooks
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 11:41:07

    I love hardcover.

    I often buy a book in ebook and hardcover, because if I read the ebook (or listen to the audiobook) and really love it, I want to own it in hardcover. So I think she is totally wrong. I especially love it when the hardcovers have deckle-edges, illustrations or other touches that lift them above the ordinary.

  17. jmc
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 11:47:08

    @tangodiva: I love that movie.

  18. Isobel Carr
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 11:52:46

    @SAO: I got scolded when we had to write a “life boat” essay in grade school for giving a spot to my dog. I still stand by the choice though.

    @pooks: I would love it if there were more QUALITY hardbacks. Ones with acid-free paper, illustrations, and REAL sewn bindings. Currently, the hardbacks that I’m seeing are just really poorly constructed, which makes me sad.

  19. Lauren Willig
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 11:52:59

    For a truly excellent portrayal of Irene Adler– as quick-witted mastermind rather than sexualized femme fatale– I recommend Carole Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler series: “Good Night, Mr Holmes”, “Good Morning, Irene”, etc. They’re beautifully done.

  20. Joy
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 12:57:07

    I don’t know – why is everyone assuming that the girls in the study thought that they would be a fireman, etc. if they woke up as boys “because they thought those careers were closed to girls”?
    Why couldn’t it be the case that what thought they may have given to careers at that age would have been based on what their moms or friends’ mom did, such that they may have been vaguely thinking that they’d be moms or writers or nurses or whatever, and when faced with the question thought something like, “Oh, boys can’t be moms. Can they be those other things? What does my little brother want to be? A policeman! I guess I could do that.”
    Not to say that there isn’t a component of girls thinking they can’t do certain jobs, traditionally – there is. But it just may not be the only reasoning here.

  21. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 17:17:10

    Gender study: My impression was that the boys were imagining waking up as themselves on the inside (male) and female on the outside, ie transgendered. I’ve heard that depression and suicide are common for trans people. They are probably the most misunderstood and looked down on group. Add the feeling of being trapped in the wrong body with no easy solution. I don’t think it compares to a TV show about a person who can change sex at will.

    If I woke up male, playing with myself would not be my first priority. I would hate having male genitalia. I like being female.

    Not to discount the gender issues. Someone tweeted a Madonna quote the other day about how it’s okay for girls to dress like boys, because being a boy is cool, but it’s degrading for boys to dress like girls.

    Edited to change wording because comment got sent to spam.

  22. azteclady
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 20:04:56

    Pamela wrote about this over the now defunct The Discriminating Fangirl blog back in June 2012.

  23. Ann Somerville
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 21:32:36

    @Ridley:

    She’s probably heartbroken that she can’t respond by saying she will ‘never ever’ buy your books again. Since you’re not an author she can punish, I mean.

    So I’m commenting so she can have a soft target again. After all, we don’t want her to spend all her time listening to Rush, bashing schools, and lauding ignorance, do we?

  24. Sandra Schwab
    Mar 01, 2013 @ 03:35:44

    @Isobel Carr:

    For quality hardbacks, try the Folio Society. Granted, their selection is very limited and their books are fairly expensive, but the quality of their books is AMAZING! I discovered them shortly before Christmas and have completely fallen under their spell. I particularly love their fairy books, but they also have very interesting non-fiction titles in their programme, for example, Thomas Bewick’s A History of British Birds, first published between 1797 and 1804.

    What I find really annoying is the extremely poor quality of some publisher’s paperbacks: the inside cover of a 5-year-old book is not supposed to turn brown. Grrrr.

  25. Maura
    Mar 03, 2013 @ 10:06:14

    @Patricia Eimer: I stopped watching the show for the same reason. Their Irene Adler episode just turned me off so much.

  26. Anon
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 14:07:38

    Dear Jane,

    I am a Crimson Romance author and wanted to share with you what it is like behind the scenes. Your comment above about the Crimson line reflects my experience as an author with that line.

    I am one of the authors who signed with the new imprint last summer, hoping for good things. For what it’s worth, I’ve long been skeptical of digital publishing. But during the years since I started writing romance, and the time I signed with Crimson, it looked like the landscape had changed and digital publishing was a serious contender. Harlequin was no longer the only game in town for someone who wanted to tell a category length story. So after dusting off the manuscript, I decided to submit to several ‘e’ and digital first publishers.

    I got a few offers and chose to sign with F+W, even though they were new. I signed primarily because they were doing a concurrent print-on-demand option, and with their longstanding writer focused business, appeared to have a longer marketing reach than some of the newer publishers. Unfortunately, the experience with this new imprint lived down to my worst expectations. After I signed the contract, there was little communication from our editor (the only contact person we had with the publisher for many months).

    I did not know when my book would be released, what the editing process would be, or how my book would be marketed. And as readers have indicated to you, editing has been a disaster. From what I heard from other authors, either books were very lightly edited (stylistic changes), or some authors were asked to rewrite their books. I was somewhere in between.

    Many of our books were assigned to freelance editors with whom we had no contact. (Their information wasn’t provided and we were given the option of accepting the edits or not). No matter how light or heavy the edits, we were only given one pass. All edits, developmental and copy-editing were included in that first and last edit. Furthermore, we are the proofreaders. From my experience, no one else does a serious edit after revisions are turned in.

    We have also had little marketing support. The end result is that most authors have not sold more than a few hundred copies of their book, with many not selling more than fifty of any given title. We now know that the publisher’s intention is to sell subscription services giving monthly member readers unlimited access to our books. I have not been paid from the subscription service, and I have not been paid during our last royalty period – with no explanation from the publisher.

    I want to give a heartfelt apology to readers who have had a bad experience. As an author I went into the experience with the best intentions. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.

    –a Crimson author

  27. another Crimson author
    Apr 27, 2013 @ 14:16:22

    Dear a Crimson author,
    These issues are troublesome. Aside from the poorly edited material, lack of interest to rectify said material, and the managing editor releasing a book of her own every month, believe it or not, there are bigger problems. You are brave for bringing this public. Especially since the efforts put forth by some authors has fallen on deaf ears and greedy pockets. What has happened within this imprint’s walls I pray nobody will ever have to experience in their publishing careers. While being published is great, (and I understand CR giving some authors their “big break” in the industry so they remain loyal), I fear it will be far too late when they realise the only thing Crimson Romance is breaking are contracts and spirits. I have seen a blatant disregard for any input that is given and a managing editor that couldn’t handle the workload, which resulted in multiple nasty emails to several authors or simply ignoring the issues at hand. Honestly though, how could you possibly keep up with five new releases a week, a mob of angry authors while publishing your own titles with the company simultaneously? You can’t. Which is why most books in the line look as if it was put together by an eight year old.
    With all that being said, this is a rough business to be in, especially when you’re getting the shaft. What’s worse is while getting the shaft you have to sit back, grit your teeth, and say cheese for the camera because if you don’t, you get a reputation. And it makes no difference if you’re in the right, you get a bad reputation. I have seen it too many times in my years of publishing.
    Sincerely,

    – another Crimson author

  28. Bobbi Romans
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 22:11:24

    I actually critted a story once that I urged the author to consider revising a scene to make it YA. It was an amazing tale that isn’t out yet (but the 1st is, which I assume is similar in theme) but had similar issues. Loved the thought process from all around. The child’s fellow friends to adults (teachers) and even the gender changing child’s own parents.

    Apparently I don’t get around much in the genre’s I read, because for me it had been a first. It was fresh, fun and I truly couldn’t wait to see where this teenager ended up.

    Gender equality has been a thorn in my household for years. From my husband giving the boys a later time to be home than our daughter (it got ugly people) to some of my sons friends and their comments about ‘girls’ doing ‘boy’ things.

    Sadly much of how what we learn comes from our youth. Thankfully I was raised that I could be/do anything that I wanted and gender was never brought up.

    Interestingly enough, most of the male romance authors I know, say they catch quite a bit of flack from their own peers, over their chosen profession. So sad. They are really amazing guys and authors.

    On a separate note, I too am with Crimson Romance (among others) and have had nothing but a wonderful experience with them. Prompt replies, friendly attitudes and encouragement from all that I have worked with.

    When I started writing I started following the authors I loved. Listened to their helpful tidbits. Made notes. Followed editors and publishers they suggested. I came into writing with both eyes open.

    I hoped to be the next Stephanie Meyer (well not really because I don’t write YA-least yet) but didn’t count my mortgage on it.

    The one thing all those wonderful authors said to me was…”Write because you love it. Because it’s something you have to do. Write because it’s who you are.” They were also pretty honest and said it takes time, for a name to build and fans to come. Until that time, it’s best to keep your day job.

    Bobbi Romans-

  29. Robyn Corum
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 09:00:56

    This is an interesting discussion. My family is in the construction business and this proves one of my father-in-law’s favorite quotes: “That’s why they make black and white shutters.” Every individual brings their own tastes and preferences to the table, and thankfully, all can be served.

    As a new author, I’m proud to be published with Crimson Romance, and I hate that others have had bad experiences. Personally, I enjoyed working with both my editor and copy-editor, and I’m extremely proud of my finished book. As a by-product, I’ve gained an army of sister-authors who mentor, guide, share, provoke and inspire me to reach higher.

    To date, Crimson Romance has published close to 250 Romance titles. Every book in our list may not hit a homerun with you, but I predict that there will be some that score BIG. Check them out yourself at: http://goo.gl/hGfNq

    Happy reading! robyn corum

%d bloggers like this: