Gender-izing children’s books…

This issue of gender-izing toy and books for children hurts both boys and girls. Parents, let’s refuse to participate.

What we are doing by pigeon-holing children is badly letting them down. And books, above all things, should be available to any child who is interested in them.

I applaud the Independent‘s book reviewers for taking a stand: Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex – Comment – Voices – The Independent. I’d like to see more newspapers, blogs, and websites join them.

Also see the Let Toys Be Toys campaign.

Writers should not be seen or heard…

If you’ve been following this year’s Tournament of Books, you may have noticed a mild controversy flare up there. Not only did underdog Hill William beat out Booker Prize winner The Luminaries, but its author, Scott McClanahan, apparently tried to pull out of the Tournament via Facebook post with a derogatory comment aimed at soccer moms. I’m not sure of the reasoning there, but McClanahan becomes yet another in a long line of writers who would have been better off keeping his mouth shut.

My father, who was a great reader, often said that you shouldn’t try to find out too much about what your favorite authors or musicians are like as people, because while it’s possible to enjoy someone’s art if you know nothing about them, it may be impossible to enjoy it once you do know something about them. Reminds me of a quote I read recently by Daphne Du Maurier:

“Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.”

Le Guin’s hypothesis…

Ursula K. Le Guin on the false dichotomy between genre fiction and literary fiction and the endless, meaningless debate over which is better to read: Le Guin’s Hypothesis | Book View Cafe Blog.

If you’re one of those people who never reads genre fiction, you should read Ursula K. Le Guin. She is a better writer than almost anyone I can think of in either realm.