Carousel #13

  1. Joyce Carol Oates talks about Foxfire‘s newest film adaptation and its relevance to feminism and online internet harassment.
  2. Flannery O’Connor reads her short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” I’ve never actually heard her read before. Excellent.
  3. You can trade your used books online at Paperbackswap. I’ve been looking for something like this.
  4. Flavorwire compiles a list of the prettiest online literary magazines.
  5. More from Flavorwire: School pictures of famous authors.
  6. As previously mentioned, 750words is a website that motivates writers to write every day. It’s been extremely useful to me so far, and maybe it’ll help you too.
  7. My writer-friend Melissa Dominic has a fantastic new blog over at the Pocket House. Feel free to explore and make yourself at home. She’ll be happy to have you.

Carousel #3

I don’t have much to post here this week because I’ve been busy working on writing things and spending less time just scouring the internet. Hopefully I’ll have things to post about my writing soon. Anyway, enjoy!

  1. I stumbled across the artwork of Baran Sarigul. Love when metaphors and symbols become real and lush like this. Particularly here and here.
  2. Writer Jonathan Franzen has notorious unpopular opinions and one of these is being stubbornly opposed to all forms of social networking. The thing is, he’s already a well-known writer and he doesn’t even know (or has to know) a thing about it. Roxane Gay wrote this excellent post that pretty much encapsulates my opinions as well.
  3. Infamous Latina writer Isabel Allende visited my alma mater and discussed her books, the writing process, language, her family, her idea of being a stranger in a strange culture, and feminism. Charming and outright hilarious woman.
  4. My friend Nikki recently discovered the website Least Helpful, which seeks out the internet’s least helpful (and most hilarious) product reviews. Just take a glance at those reviews of Animal Farm. Do people like this actually exist on this planet?
  5. Here is a short list of recommended books for teenagers who want to be better writers. I’ve only read His Dark Materials, but this seems like a pretty decent list (The Shadow of the Wind is sitting on my bookshelf though!).

Read More Female Writers!

When it comes to dealing with other people’s reading habits, something that has always bothered me is the way so many readers of fiction largely ignore women writers, whether consciously or unconsciously. I always think to myself: I must be dreaming! This is 2012, and this is still going on? Yet I’ve encountered (and continue to encounter) quite a few male readers who simply just don’t read any at all (maybe a short story by Flannery O’Connor or two, and maybe some Joyce Carol Oates, maybe). It just seems really extraordinary to me.

Obviously, there is something to be said here about patriarchy and how women have been stifled and silenced throughout history when it comes to writing, philosophy, the arts, the Western canon, etc. The other day, I came across these statistics that detail the gender breakdown of contributions to the biggest literary journals around. Shocked? Well, I suppose you could reasonably guess the results without even looking. I know I did. But the gender disparity is still fairly alarming regardless, and the divide is far more gaping than I imagined. There have been several responses to these statistics already, with both editors and readers alike trying to come up with possible solutions to address these problems. Other relevant questions might be: How many men actually submit to these magazines in comparison to women? If more men do (which I suspect is the case), why is that? Do women still feel powerless in their attempts to become great literary writers, or is their attention simply focused elsewhere? Or both?

I remember once coming across a particular male reader’s blog discussing how few women writers he has given the time of day. It went something like this: “I’ve noticed I don’t read female writers at all, but I think that’s simply a coincidence. It’s just the type of books I like.” Honestly, with all the women writers I can name (even those considered “literary”), I don’t think that’s a very convincing argument.

And what about the newer and upcoming online literary journals? Is this disparity the same for them, or is it becoming more equal? This is just based on my own observations (no official statistics here or anything), but I do suspect there may be a much more equal gender representation among these journals, than say, The New Yorker.

With that said, I think it would be great if people actively tried to search out more books by female authors this year. As of now, I’ve only read one novel so far, but at least I can safely say that that is, in fact, just a coincidence (back in 2011, I actually read more female writers than I did male writers). There are many on my to-read list already, and I look forward to getting to them. Particularly Carson McCullers, who I’ve grown to love very much recently.