Sunday, June 5, 2011

~Sunday Stew - June 5th, 2011~

Sunday Stew is a Weekly Meme hosted Here at Books Devoured

Bookmark of the Week

I'm still using this card from my Uncle's memorial as a bookmark - as I said in my last week's ~Sunday Stew~ post, I think it'll be a while before I give this one up. Having it tucked between my books feels like I am sharing the story I am reading with him. And that is important to me. Last week, a cousin said to me that she hadn't felt like we were very close to Uncle Paul. And this is true - he was a quite sort of man where the rest of our families are exceptionally loud. In front of his quiet, resolute charm, we all looked like heathens. But, in all honesty, I think that was the case because although he's been in our life for ages, we never quite spend any particular chunk of time with him. That opportunity arose for me last November, and I realized that in spending a mere few days with him, I'd begun to love him. I know,'s been a while, and I should slowly ease up on the grief of it all, and I am sorry if I continue on and on about it. But I am still coming to terms with this loss - so just bear with me just a little longer. Thank you.

Around The Web:

 Avatar created by Novel Novice 

Yesterday, and article appeared in The Wall Street Journal saying that Young Adult novels are too "dark", and berating Young Adult novelists for incorporating taboos like rape, pederasty, self-harm/self-mutilation etc into their work. The journalist goes so far as to say that "publishers use the vehicle of fundamental free-expression principles to try to bulldoze coarseness or misery into their children's lives." 

The article points fingers at some books and authors that I have immense respect for. For example, the article speaks about "Shine" by author Lauren Myracle. The writer of this article believes Myracle doesn't deserve the title of "this generation's Judy Blume" because Blume's work, in comparison to Lauren Myracle's work, at least is "not grotesque." The subject and nature of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov was considered grotesque, by many, although it was not even a Young Adult novel - it was an adult novel, with adult themes, and yet many objected to it. But it is considered a must read by many classicists, and is considered an extraordinary novel. I firmly believe that Lauren Myracle's novel, dealing with abuse, rampant homophobia, and friendship is a novel that should be taken notice of, for the boldness of its content, rather than belittled or berated. Judy Blume became legendary not because she talked about teenage issues in a mild manner - she was remembered and revered because she talked about them at all when these things were considered taboo. She spoke freely of the sexual awakening of a young person, and brought it out into the open with her books. Lauren Myracle's "Shine" does exactly the same thing. So yes, Lauren Myracle is most certainly "this generation's Judy Blume."

Also, and this enraged me to no end, was the targeting of author Cheryl Rainfield and her book "Scars" - a novel about the emotional turmoil of a teenager, and her dealing with it by way of self-harm/self-mutilation. If you have ever dealt with author Rainfield, and I have, you know that she is an amazing person. I have never seen her advocate her book, without also advocating Reasons Not To Hurt Yourself. Her blog is chock-full of important information and links for people, both young and old, who may be dealing with issues of self-harm. Her book is aimed towards bringing understanding to a difficult situation - not to promote self-harm/mutilation. She is not sensationalizing self-mutilation, she is simply bringing it out in the open. There are SO many young adults out there who internalize their pain and hurt themselves, as an outlet to their pain. I used to be one of them - and if I felt more comfortable speaking about it, had there been more advocates like Cheryl Rainfield, or perhaps a literary character like Kendra whose story I could refer to - I would have gotten rid of my habit a lot earlier.
 This one reminds me a little of the cover of The Postmistress - but maybe I'm just crazy, lol :P

 I know it's sheer blasphemy to choose one as your favorite since they are all so beautiful, but this one was my favorite out of all the favorites! lol :P

 But the smell from this one was unrivaled - I mean, this one rose smelled like a bouquet of roses.

 That was just the result of the first hour or picking and plucking! :)


  1. I think this is my first time commenting, so hello! I read Shine and felt very strongly that if only every high school student in America were assigned to read it, perhaps it could change a few minds and make the world a little bit better place. I actually think that the ending leaves the reader with a feeling of hope that people can change for the better.

  2. Thank you Hira for being so honest and sharing so much! Sometimes things like that WSJ article turn out to be the best thing that could have happened. It sure has everyone up in arms and supporting the YA genre. A few bloggers have opened up and shared some very personal things. The more we talk about it the less power it has to hurt us. I think that is what YA does. When you bring something into the light it starts to release the shame.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost a friend 24 years ago and I still think of him and miss him daily. The WSJ article seems to have really struck up some conversation. Honestly, I think a lot of great things will come from that article. Those flowers are absolutely beautiful! Great pictures of them as well.
    @shannon, very well put "When you bring something into the light it starts to release the shame."
    Have a wonderful week!

  4. OMIGOSH!!!! I'm scared of all those roses!!! Those pictures are scarier than the WSJ article. OK, maybe I'm reacting a little (A LOT) to the attack of the killer rose bush the the cellulitis that resulted. But still, be careful. Rose bushes are nastier than WSJ writers.

    As for the WSJ article, while I don't feel the need to conjure up a personal response on my blog because the rest of you are doing such a remarkable job, I do think the writer has a point...the covers of SCARS is a bit triggering for former cutters. Speaking as a former cutter, I can definitely agree. In fact, I have the picture on my blog for a giveaway and it sort of creeps me out. However, I never heard of MOST of the books he mentioned, and think it's hilarious that he doesn't see all the AWESOME YA books available for consumption. As if most of us buy our books at Barnes & Noble anyway...

    I'm not sure if I properly expressed my condolences over your uncle's passing, but a great light seems to have gone out in our world. I am so glad that you got to know a wonderful man. Keep honoring his life and memory.

  5. @readerofthepack


    Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to comment! I am glad that you felt that way about "Shine" - I haven't read the book yet, and I still feel that way. I am absolutely unashamed to say that if I had a teenage child, I would not shy from giving them that book as a present, to read. I believe that educating your child, and teaching them tolerance & acceptance is a way to make the future a better place, absolutely. I hope you'll continue to visit the blog! :)


  6. @Shannon@BooksDevoured

    Dear Shannon,

    As always, your commentary is spot-on, and immensely thought-provoking! I love that you said "The more we talk about it the less power it has to hurt us." - because so many still believe that hiding issues of relevancy and importance under layers of secrecy is the way to "shelter" our children, and it is not. I believe that we must make our children aware of any and all things that they may face, so (Heaven forbid), if they're ever faced with them - they're not blindsided! :) Thank you for your comment - and thank you for the Sunday Stew :D


  7. @Cici

    Darling Cici,

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I believe I will never forget my Uncle either. I'm glad that people are speaking and communicating their outrage over the article - it was shoddy reporting, really. No article in the WSJ should be so biased, and without any relevant input/insight from the parties being written about. Thank you for your comment, and I hope you'll continue to visit! :D


  8. @Amy (ArtsyBookishGal)

    Amy, Amy, Amy,

    Haha, darling...I believe you are not obligated to write a book (or at least a post) titled "Attack of the Rose Bush" - I will most certainly read it! :) I am sure if you did write about the subject, it would be an insightful post. I am sorry to hear that you were a cutter, as was I. To me, the scars on the cover NEVER incite the desire to cut again - but they make me want to read out into the cover and hug the girl whose arm it is. I am not afraid of my past, I have come to embrace it. I am in complete support of Cheryl Rainfield's book "Scars", as well as Lauren Myracle's book "Shine" - I think our youth needs to know about what they could face,or what their peers could already be facing! Thank you for your comments :)


  9. Hira, I'm sorry for the loss of your uncle and sharing your feelings with us is a good thing. I still mourn my auntie and she's been gone a long time and well, with Buddy, I'm not sure I'll ever get over it. Grief is something we each work through in our own time and we have to allow ourselves that.

    I love your photos! The flowers are so beautiful. The lilac trees all around my home have been blooming and they smell so heavenly. I put a vase of them in my room the other day and they smelled wonderful.


  10. I LOVE the rose pictures. I saw the first pic you posted and it triggered the image of the postmistress. you're so right about that.

    that pink rose is sheer gorgeousness. seriously.

  11. Thanks, sweetie. And indeed, hugs to you--in honor of your uncle.