Being a Discussion of an Issue, a Shopping List, and Notice of a Reading

There are so many things to talk about this week that I’m not sure where to start.

First: do you shop at Amazon? Do you find yourself in need of a good RPG to play with your kids? The neighborhood kids? Kids in your class? Argyle & Crew is now available via Amazon! How cool is that? Go on, take a look. You know you want to.

Second, Scott Lynch is doing fall cleaning. What does this mean for you? It means he has several editions, including UK and limited Subterranean Press editions, of Red Seas Under Red Skies that he is willing to sell to YOU! For a small fee. Go forth and buy. I did.

Third: I’m headed to Houston, Texas this afternoon to a Saturday book reading and signing at Murder by the Book. Blake Charlton has been persuaded (we’ll see if he knows what he’s getting into) to brave the southern drought and heat to talk to us about his second book, Spellbound, which hit shelves September 13. Look for a write up on the event and pictures (or it didn’t happen, right?) in this space next week. Just for fun, maybe I’ll even review the book!

Fourth: there was a really interesting discussion on Twitter over the last week about “straightwashing” occurring in books, particularly in YA lit. The conversation started with two authors who wrote a journal entry detailing their reaction to a suggestion that a book would be acceptable if they rewrote a character who was gay to be straight.

This is incredibly disturbing. Because (and I worry that it’s only because) I have begun following author blogs over the last four or five years, I’m a lot more conscious of the fact that book covers are “whitewashed” – main characters whose skin is definitely not white are given white skin on the covers, presumably to sell more books.

What message does that send our kids? If we’re going from whitewashing characters and covers to straightwashing characters and covers, we are sending messages about how it’s okay to look and how it’s okay to be.

Books have been my safe haven for 34 years. They have been a safe place to go when I didn’t feel I had anywhere else. I can’t stand by and be quiet while another developing book nerd is denied a possible safe haven.

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