All in Announcements

Quick Housekeeping Notes

I’ve got a few announcements today. I’ve spent the last week or so doing some cleanup and maintenance on the blog, with a few changes you may notice.

Reading Lists

Due to the popularity of our List-O-Rama posts, I’ve started compiling some “best-of” type reading lists that you can find in the navigation bar. I have several more I’m going to put together, and I’m happy to consider your requests. My pet project is the “Sex Positive YA” list, which is way too small for my liking. 

Review Policy

I continue to tweak the CEFS review policy, as we are getting more and more requests for reviews these days. I am considering requiring that requesters fill out a form in order for their request to be considered. I’d love to hear if any of you have had success with that type of requirement. 

Whew… that’s a mouthful, eh?

Awhile back, I made the flip obversation on Goodreads, that I think our reading and understanding of books—especially those in the young adult category—is often very influenced by the generation whose culture with which we most identify.

I gave the example of how often I come across reviews of books I’ve read where the reviewer is very critical of what she reads as “slut shaming” in the novel (check out the reviews of Fracture, for example). And, honestly, it’s not something I particularly notice (I’m at the tail end of Generation X)—and I’ve got a couple of women’s studies degrees. (I’m not saying it’s not relevant, it’s just not on my radar, because that was a big issue long after I was solidly in Grownupland.)

Condom usage (or lack thereof) is another time this division seems to show up. When I read a novel and there’s sex and there’s no condom, I freak the hell out, because I grew up in the 80s/90s where AIDS was an automatic death sentence and well before teen pregnancy was glamorized with all this Teen Mom malarky. I’ve been told by people older than me that they don’t care for mention of condom usage because they think it’s “disruptive” or “jarring.” (Their argument is that the condom usage is implied.) And I’m all, “Dying is disruptive!” And, now, interestingly, I’ve heard the same from people in their 20s on this topic. (Which boggles my mind, but that’s another subject.)

My mom (60s) has very different reactions to things than I do, which I always think is fascinating. And, when we got into this discussion on Goodreads, folks in their 20s had very different thoughts that I. Obviously, a lot of that is just different tastes and other things such as geography, but I think generational contexts are enormous. 

So… where am I going with all this?

This phone booth is in Middle of Nowhere, Oregon—very near where I grew up.

This is one of those annoying riveting posts where I let you know that I’ve been doing some major maintenance on our commenting system.

Major. Maintenance. 

So, instead of our old, basic system I’ve added Disqus, which has all sorts of interactive features—and you’ll be able to tell if a comment is from Laura, Sandra or myself (and, starting in June, our new contributor, Rebeca) and associate your comment with a URL, Twitter, Facebook, OpenID (I still don’t really know what that’s for) or Google account. You’ll still be able to comment anonymously, of course. Also, you can “like” comments and reply to people, which has been happening already, but this way it’ll be way more organized and easy-to-use. And… tweets that link to our post will show below the comments, which makes me super-happy, because it’s helping me find more people to follow on Twitter—I think this is super cool!

Tim Riggins would like to “talk.”You may have noticed (though, likely you haven’t) that we’re no longer giving books we review a recommendation or rating.

Yes, we’re still employing the Extremely Scientific FNL Character Rating System when applicable, but there are no longer any ratings of books we review on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves. (We had originally categorized them on a scale from “Avoid” to “Must Read.”)

We were never comfortable with a numeric system (1-5 or 1-10 or letter grades are common), but felt that since it was “normal” to have a rating/recommendation that we should try to be somewhat “normal.”

(You can stop snickering now.)

(Really? You’re still laughing? It’s that funny that we were attempting to be “normal”?)

(Okay. You’re right. It’s pretty freaking hilarious.)