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 #5

  1. All I really want for my birthday this year is Scrivener. Sounds absolutely perfect.
  2. Have some chiptunes I came across. Music made with a GameBoy, for those not in the know.
  3. Here’s an interesting article about Tumblr as the modern commonplace book. I’ve never kept one of my own, although I suppose this blog has become a sort with the inclusion of these carousels.
  4. I recently discovered the fantastic Dear Sugar advice column. Anonymous questions (often difficult, sometimes quite strange) are sent in and eloquently answered by the always compassionate, level-headed Sugar (who recently revealed herself as the author Cheryl Strayed, by the way).
  5. While the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games enjoying a huge success at the box office wasn’t all too surprising, it was surprising to see how some fans reacted to some of the characters being portrayed as black. I haven’t read the books myself, but the response is quite shocking to say the least. On the heels of this whole debacle, here’s Toni Morrison discussing racism.
  6. Aaron Burch, the fantastic editor over at Hobart, wrote a eulogy for the closing of a bookstore he used to work at. Sad to see all these bookstores go.
  7. Something I’ve noticed when it comes to fiction novels these days: there are a ton of books out there with the titles “The _____’s Daughter,” or “The _____’s Wife.” Apparently though, I’m not the only one who has picked up on this. Maybe the titles have a nice cadence, and maybe people do pick them up because they’re familiar, but I think it’s about time we retire them.
  8. Flannery O’Connor is one of my favorite short story writers, and it was her birthday last week. A big volume of her complete works sits on my shelf. Lacy Marschalk, a writer and a teacher, recounts her visit to Ms. O’Connor’s house in Georgia and the farm. Plus peacocks!
  9. This week, poet Adrienne Rich passed away. She was one of my favorite poets as an undergrad. Read and listen to her poem “Diving into the Wreck.”

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.