Literary Criticism and Gender

(CCO Creative Commons)

So, I’m pretty sure I was supposed to post a review yesterday, but I just plum forgot.

Anyhoo…this article came across my radar this morning in which a male literary critic discusses gender bias in the critiquing biz. I found it very intriguing, and I wonder why I never thought of it before. Clearly, the writer felt similarly befuddled.

The article is available here, and the conclusion he comes to is this:

“…the solution to this unjust system has to be both to encourage more female critics and to assign more female authors to both male and female critics…”

This leads me to ponder on the gender bias in reading in general. Now, I personally read both male and female writers, and I think my reviews on this site reflect that. But, I’ve noticed that many people gender their reading, and many more people, ahem PARENTS, tend to gender reading for their children. How many of you women out there were only ever presented with “girly” type material — tutus, parties, princesses, pink, etc., but were never introduced to things like questing, danger, science, or mystery?

Excuse my French, but what the crap is that!? Why would no one have ever offered me some Fred Gipson (Old Yeller) or William H. Armstrong (Sounder) when I was a kid. I mean, I ❤ ❤ ❤ dogs. Why would no one have suggested those to me? Because I’m female? Frankly, that’s stupid.

And this totally goes the other way as well. Boys are given suggestions like Gipson and Armstrong as well as William Golding (Lord of the Flies) and Gary Paulsen (Hatchet & Dogsong). But rarely are they encouraged to read something like Judy Blume or Jane Austen. Heaven forbid they enjoy reading something about ballet and tutus! The world might slip off its axis or something.

Now, I know I’m generalizing and speaking hyperbolically, and there are certainly exceptions to the statements I made above. But I would be generally interested to hear from anyone who can deny that there is still a gender bias when it comes to reading and/or picking out books for children. Seriously, shoot me a message, I would love to have that conversation.

Just doing a quick Google search I can see that discussion of gender bias, balance, and discrimination has been going on at least since 2011 (probably before I just didn’t find that in my quick search), and it continues to this day. Why, for the love of everything, in the twenty-first century, are we still gendering books. Why do we gender anything for that matter? Shouldn’t enjoyment be the focus? Like, if you really like floral patterns, you should be able to read a book about floral patterns regardless of gender. And if you really like sports, you should be able to read a book about sports regardless of gender. Duh!

So, why am I ranting about this? Well, it’s been on my mind for a long time, and the article I read this morning just triggered something in my soap-box sensors. But also, gendering books to begin with, leads to the kind of gender bias in reviewing and critiquing that the article talks about. Am I missing out on books because I’m a woman? When I submit reviews to journals or magazines, do they consider my gender as compared to the author’s gender? Does that cause me to lose out?

It has to stop. The gender disparity in the entire literary world, just needs to stop.

I’m thinking about doing a year where I only accept and review female writers. What do you all think? Is that a great idea? Or does that contribute even more to the gender divide?

As always my lovelies, happy reading.


SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki — A Review

superMutantMagicAcademyTamakiSuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

RaeleighReads rating: love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

“‘What’s wrong with you?’

‘Nothing. Everything.’

‘Okay. Well, text me when you’re done.'”

So, first off, this is not a graphic novel. Just wanted to clear that up for anyone who was confused. This is a compilation of Tamaki’s web comic of the same name. So, you’ll find mostly single page strips. Here’s some of the Goodreads summary:

SuperMutant Magic Academy has won two Ignatz Awards. This volume combines the most popular content from the webcomic with a selection of all-new, never-before-seen strips that conclude Tamaki’s account of life at the academy.”

Now, don’t let the title throw you. You will not be delving into a fantastical world of magic and witches and supernatural creatures. Well, you will, but that isn’t the focus. This is teen angst at its most excruciating. It’s hilarious. Trust me. Do NOT read this in the library. I got more than a few annoyed looks at my giggles and guffaws. It’s also pensive. A little existential. And a little weird, but in a good way.

I absolutely loved the character Francis. She is fearless and wild and I ❤ her. She’s a performance artist, and… I’ll just leave it at that. Go read the compilation to see for yourself. It’s just really good stuff.

Now, I’ll be honest, I often found the strips to be confusing, and I think that is partly because it is arranged as if it were a complete narrative, but of course it isn’t. But that’s how my brain is trained to read left to right continuous text and imagery. Some sort of page breaks or strip breaks would have been appreciated.

Anyhoo, I’ll just finish off by sharing a few of my favorite strips.

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I read this for the Read Harder Challenge. I wanted to knock off several challenges in one go, and there were THREE comics challenges this year:

  • #4, A Comic written and illustrated by the same person.
  • #8, A comic written or illustrated by a person of color.
  • #18, A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image.

If you like a little teen drama with a side of serious, this is for you. Happy reading!

#TopTenTuesday – 10 Bookish Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Ten Bookish Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In

    1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
    3. Sisters of Sorrow by Axel Blackwell
    4. Children of the Mountain series by R.A. Hakok
    5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
    6. 1984 by George Orwell
    7. The Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman
    8. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    9. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
    10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Pretty much all of the really really bad dystopian worlds! 😛

Please leave a link to your Top Ten Tuesday in the comments section below so I can check out your picks! 😀

Discount Prices (Heroes for Hire #1) by C.S. Feldman — A Review

29106592Discount Prices (Heroes for Hire #1) by C.S. Feldman

RaeleighReads rating: Hot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_Emoji

Really very enjoyable.

Need a hero? Are you a bargain hunter? Well you’ve come to the right place. In Cantrial you can hire heroes to complete your quests. Unfortunately for Peg Brickner, she finds herself in Cantrial quite unexpectedly and is unprepared for the creatures and monsters she encounters.

Coerced into completing a mission for a low-rate hero scout, Peg must travel with strange companions so that she may return to her own home on planet Earth. Along the way she finds bumps, and cuts, and bruises plus terrifying bitey creatures. But she also finds friendship, loyalty, and a new sense of self. There were definitely some warm and fuzzy moments amid the action scenes.

This was a delightful heroic adventure story – perfect for a summer read. Perfect for anyone who likes quirky stories, or stories where women find their own strength. Also, have you guys seen that preview for Teen Titans Go!? This reminds me a bit of that. Our band of “heroes” isn’t very strong or burly or talented, but they do have a lot of heart!

The writing was very good, the pacing was excellent. Sometimes Peg really bothered me with her whining, but she won me over in the end. I can not wait for Heroes for Hire #2. I don’t see it listed on Feldman’s author page on Goodreads, but I do hope it’s in the works! So, why not five coffee cups? Because I really do reserve the five cupper for books I find transcendent. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Happy reading everyone!


#TopTenTuesday – 10 Best Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Ten Best Character Names

What I’m gathering from completing this post is that YA fiction has a lot of really cool/weird names! Hope you enjoy my graphic approach this week!

best character names_ya

Please leave a link to your Top Ten Tuesday in the comments section below so I can check out your picks! 😀