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Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.





text that says Ana's Section

➝ Gwenda Bond on teen characters in YA: The Fast-Talking Smarties. 'My suggested rule of thumb is that if you'd never say, "That's just not how adults are" about an adult character (and, really, you wouldn't, would you?), then don't vary the same theme about teen characters in YA.' THIS. This times a million. The fact that every other review of The Fault in Our Stars includes some sort of variation of "the characters are so unrealistic! Teens are not that smart, and they definitely don't sit around having philosophical discussions" has been driving.me.nuts.

10 Things Not to Say to Childfree People. I think I've heard all of those, though my absolute favourite is missing: the ever-recurring comments about how unnatural it is for a woman not to want children. One of these days the gender police is going to come for me.

➝ At the F Word, Emily Kenway and Kaite Welsh discuss the pilot of New Girl from a feminist perspective. As you might remember, my own reading was much closer to Welsh's , who says that "this is a show that revels in offensive gender stereotypes", than to Kenway's more generous take. But it was so interesting to see these two different perspectives side by side.

Sherman Alexie in conversation with Neko Case:

SA: [Exhales] I mean, certainly one of the things I was talking about: I'm a big fan, too. I'm a fanboy! So, you know the way in which they love what I do? I feel the same way about all sorts of artists. I may create the stuff, but I'm also a huge fan. So, I mean, I understand.
NC: Wouldn't it be terrible if you weren't a huge fan?
SA: There are a lot of people like that.
NC: I know! I think about those people all the time. I think, God, you must be so lonely. You're not excited about things. Or people who believe that artists have to be completely tortured to do anything good. I hate that stereotype, too. It's destructive.




Dangerous Minds asks some very interesting questions about the extent to which outraged reactions to MIA's finger gesture during the Super Bowl were influenced by her gender.

➝ And via that last post, I discovered Blessing All the Birds, a tumblr whose description just abut made me swoon: they're a feminist fan project focused on the work of songwriter Joanna Newsom. We see Newsom's work as feminist literature and our goal is to provide it the serious critical analysis it deserves, as well as to discuss her unique place in popular culture. !!1456@#!1 And look, look, they have an essay on Go Long and Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber!!!1 I'm in love.

Elaine Showalter writes about her favourite contemporary American female novelists and the problematic relationship between the critical establishment and women's writing.

Dreaming Awake: N.K. Jemisin on being a woman of colour and a fantasy writer. And how dare I disrespect that history, profane all my ancestors' suffering and struggles, by giving up the freedom to imagine that they've won for me.. I now really want the essay anthology she wrote this for, The Miseducation of the Writer.

Pinterest: A "Shocking Example of Women Using the Internet". The horror, the horror.

Gender and book covers: the romance novel edition. Do men get objectified through romance novel covers? Yes. Do they have it worse than the women on the covers? No, they absolutely do not. Not even close.

➝ Finally, Geek Feminism lists comics by or featuring women of colour.




text that says Jodie's Section

➝ From Jezebel: 'Ava DuVernay, director of the drama Middle of Nowhere just won the Best Director for Dramatic Film award at the festival.'

➝ The trailer for 'The Middle of Nowhere' makes it look stunningly shot. Another film for the LoveFilm list.

➝ The short lists have been announced for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the Man Asian Literary prize. I like prize lists, because they give you a place to start with areas of literature that you're unfamiliar with and now I have a few more titles written by Asian and South Asian authors (that I would probably never have heard about otherwise) to check out.

➝ I don't understand how I have lived without ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS until now. Edit: Problematic
update about this link" and link to this URL.


➝ Ari talks about The Birthday Party pledge, a project which asks readers to make a commitment to 'give multicultural books as gifts' to children for one year. I don't have any kids in my life, so I'm passing on the message.

➝ The Intergalactic Academy is the first place I saw anyone talk about 'Daughter of Centaurs' having a white washed cover. The Booksmugglers confirm. White washing covers is a really crap move.

'Daughter of Centaurs' is published by Random House for Young Readers and their contact page is here if you want to write to them about this incident of white washing (I'd guess a letter to the children's publishing address would be best, but please let me know if you think another address is better).




text that says Renay's Section

➝ I found this article posted on The Washington Post, Even today, an angry female arouses fear and is dismissed, fascinating.

What is all the more infuriating about such prohibitions are the breathtaking hypocrisies they contain. Sometimes it seems that those most likely to mock anger as a means of dismissing and silencing legitimate female claims of dissatisfaction are those most likely to utilize the politics of resentment and victimization for personal or ideological gain.


No! Really? Wow, who would have thought? This makes me want an entire book on this topic that's not as obvious. Do either of you have any recommendations?

➝ One month after the end of 2011, I am getting around to reading all the Best of 2011 books. Orbit Books posted a round up to several. I love best of lists, or...maybe I just love lists. I need to go through all the blogs I'm subscribed to and find their best of lists. Or people could link me to theirs! GIVE ME ALL THE LISTS so the March We Want It! post will be even larger. \o/

➝ I have a nook color (which I like) but I hated not being able to move the books I bought between my nook, my laptop and iPhone depending on where I was going to be or what I was going to be doing (when your 3GS iPhone battery is better than the nook, that's an issue). This resulted in me....not buying books, which was ¼ of what I planned to do with it (the other ¾ going to fanfic). Catherine linked me to It's time for a unified ebook format and the end of DRM:

Some publishers don't want to hear this, but the truth is that DRM can be hacked. It does not eliminate piracy. It not only fails as a piracy deterrent, but it also introduces restrictions that make ebooks less attractive than print books. We've all read a print book and passed it along to a friend. Good luck doing that with a DRM'd ebook! What publishers don't seem to understand is that DRM implies a lack of trust. All customers are considered thieves and must be treated accordingly.


The problem I have with moving to digital books is DRM (it was my biggest problem with iTunes) is how long devices last. What's the average age for a tech device these days? The odds of me wanting to move my stuff elsewhere, to new devices completely in two years, maybe not one owned by B&N, are high. I paid for these files. They are mine, and DRM tells me "these files are yours...sort of! Sorry about those strings but you can store them in the CLOUD OF INEVITABLE FAILURE!" Even then, I believe I should be able to do what I want with them in ways that don't actively harm an author's livelihood because ultimately I like authors and want them to write more books, so it doesn't make sense for me to strip the DRM and create 95728462 torrents, laughing manically all the while. Therefore, DRM is still on my list for treating me like that's my plan. Also, the fact that the nook color has a ~secret internal memory~ you can't access unless you root the device is so aggravating — I can't even access the location where the files are stored on my nook to control the device I bought. Screw you, Barnes & Noble, and your hidden memory, your insistence on treating me like a thief when I just want to read the book I bought on multiple devices. Thanks, I guess, for using epubs, which makes my life easier after I strip the damn thing of DRM so I can actively use the files I purchase in ways convenient to my life and not controlled and directed by your product and company.

It's difficult — I've chosen to support B&N as a bookselling company because there are no independent booksellers in my city and B&N remains the only bookseller that's not Hastings (super rude every time I've been in there) or a retail chain not dedicated to books. Not for the first time, I really regret that.

➝ I had no clue that ice could make these kinds of noises. Whoa.

➝ Ellen DeGeneres is still classy and hilarious. Worth it especially for the end.

➝ New blog I discovered courtesy of The Book Smugglers and Ana: slatebreakers. Awesome premise. I am jealous of blogs that can develop a very specific review style with sections and have it work. Intergalactic Academy is another blog who has this same type of great review style. I can't even settle on a solid rating system that doesn't change day to day.

Date: 2012-02-12 10:36 am (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
When a colleague of mine bought his Kindle, we had a long discussion where I tried to explain why even though I like books, as I don't need an e-reader to make reading easier, I would never buy one as long as DRM was part of the plan and while companies failed to make their devices work the way regular books do. I think that was kind of shocking for him, because I am the quiet girl who doesn't know about technology and he is the genius programmer.

It actively pisses me off that when you buy an e-book you basically don't own it at the moment, you sort of license it, while when you buy a paper book it's yours to do with as you will as long as you don't make a profit from redistributing lots of photocopies. If you're going to reinvent something, that still exists and works quite well for many people, then you shouldn't go around slapping limitations on your new product that don't exist on the product you're (maybe) competing with. I know that in theory DRM just reinforces the technical, legal restrictions that are written in the front of each book, but personally I think that's a bullshit argument.

It must be really hard at the moment for people who saw e-books as something that would really help their reading experience, because the technology just isn't right yet in terms of user experience and just ethics.

Date: 2012-02-12 06:26 pm (UTC)
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Ahhh, a Kindle. DRM is the least of my reasons why I won't buy a Kindle (Amazon's bookselling business practices being one of them.) Amazon, why are you so skeevy. Take off Mr. Moneybags's hat, Jeff Bezos, you are not even a little charming. :|

License. That was the word I couldn't figure out. I don't know how anything but the nook color works, but we can download books, and if we want to save space or remove them from our device, we can "archive" which stores them on B&N's servers. Which makes me as a person who works at a crappy job for every dollar quiver in fear of losing them if B&N tanks and I don't get access to them in time. I am GREAT at worrying.

Of course, I stopped worrying about it one day last week and am really thankful for tech savvy people on the Internet. I actually feel free to BUY MORE BOOKS now. Funny how that works, right?

Date: 2012-02-12 06:52 pm (UTC)
nymeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nymeth
HORRIBLE CONFESSION TIME: mine is a Kindle :P It wasn't my choice (gift horse and all that), but still, I know. I haven't bought e-books from Amazon and don't really plan to, but I hate that something I actually really like as a physical device (it's very comfortable to hold and easy to navigate and all that) is tied to it. Thank goodness for Calibre and the ability to easily convert files from and to mobi. Also, it doesn't have a ~secret internal memory~, which I'm now incredibly grateful for. I've had files from Netgalley sent to it directly, and when this messes up the formatting (which from what I hear happens 9 times out of 10 - seriously, wtf :S), it's easy enough to access and reconvert them with Calibre.

Date: 2012-02-12 07:19 pm (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
I know you can only get the Kindle over here, unless you go and buy one of the less big name readers. Can you get the Nook in mainland Europe?

Date: 2012-02-12 07:22 pm (UTC)
nymeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nymeth
Nope, we can't :\ It was either this or the sony e-reader - which is pricier, and from what Iris tells me also a nightmare in terms of rights. So despite my feelings about Amazon, I totally understand why I was given the kindle and appreciate it as my best current option.

Date: 2012-02-13 06:53 pm (UTC)
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Aww, that's not a horrible confession! You have way less choice than I do, for example, and you have to weigh your choices/reading habits against the reality of the market. I actually consider my less tech savvy friends at more risk. I have a friend who has a collection of 300 ebooks or something, all from Amazon, and she has no clue how to convert files from/to anything. The people who have learned these workarounds are more secure than the people who don't even know that it's possible to convert the files at all.

Right now, I considering B&N only about 1% less evil than Amazon given the internal memory issue. I can get around their DRM scheme, but I don't know how to root a device, the pros/cons, if that renders me unable to purchase books, etc. I love Calibre, though. ♥

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Renay is a long time member of slash fandom and nerdfighteria who stumbled into book blogging by accident and decided she liked arguing with herself at length and in capslock — it was all downhill from there. more? » about.me icon twitter icon pinboard icon tumblr icon

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