The view from my reading pile.

Women in Comics, Comics in the Library August 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — stackscene @ 1:08 am
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I love this article on Bitch Blogs about the history and inspirations for Lois Lane.  There’s going to be a Part II tomorrow, and I can’t wait!  My fiance is a huge comics fan, and we have a lot of the Showcase books of old comics, so I’ve actually read some of the older Superman stuff, and also the Superboy and Legion of Superheroes stories that feature Lois and Lana Lang (Superboy’s girlfriend) being told that they can’t handle whatever important thing, because they’re clearly just girls.  I love that, sexism aside, these characters were still motivated to go out and prove themselves, even if the writers were using that as comic relief and a convenient way to get them into trouble so they could be saved.  I also love the point the post makes about Lois being a marker of the ways that attitudes towards women, especially professional women, have changed over time.

The article also makes me think about ways to use comics in the library, as a way to get kids and teens engaged with reading.  Getting kids involved with some of the older comics and using that as a jumping off point to discuss some of the historical elements (I’d love to get a bunch of comics from the 80’s and show them say, the giant cell phones.  Remember those?) of what was going on, and the ways that comics reacted to the larger contexts of the time.  Like, how often did Superman fight Nazis?  A lot?  And Superman was created by Jewish guys, right?  Not that it’s a terribly deep analysis right there, but as a different angle for studying history and reading, I think comics could definitely help refresh the process for some kids.  It could also be used as a way to look at gender studies and race issues.  Like with this article, having kids read comics featuring women from different eras and then talk about the different ways the women are presented and treated might be an interesting way to get kids engaged with the history of feminism.  Along the same lines, I can think of some interesting conversations about the way race relations are portrayed in comics.

Too often I see educators and other adults dismiss comics as having no educational value, but I think there’s a lot that can be found in them with some guidance.  I’m not necessarily saying that every comic is worth reading, and I’m not going to start handing kids Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose (LINK IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED) or anything, but I love the idea of taking something kids will engage with and using it to help them learn about other things, as well as encouraging reading in general.

In conclusion: Lois Lane rocks and is a better reporter than Clark Kent anyway.


Introducing Stackscene August 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — stackscene @ 11:41 pm
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Why Stackscene?  Because of the giant stack of books to read on my dining room table (and next to the bed, and in the craft room, and over there. . .), because of the time spent wandering the library stacks, because of the stacks of crafting projects alongside the books; my life is organized in stacks.  Shelves are good too, but stacks are clearly where it’s at.

So hi, I’m Emily, I’ll have my resume’ up soon on this blog.  This is actually not my only blog.  If you want to read about the cool things my friends do and listen to my podcast, that’s over at We Have Thumbs.  There might be a little bit of overlap between the two blogs, but this one really is more for me to talk about the books I’m reading/have read, post the text of booktalks I write, and talk about issues in librarianship and literacy.

Who am I and why am I here?  I’m a recent graduate of the Simmons Graduate School of Library Science, and I’m currently looking for a job in the greater Boston area (really greater, I’m outside the city and willing to go reasonably far out into the rest of New England), and I’m mostly interested in public library jobs, specifically Young Adult librarianship or technology outreach types of work.  I do other things too, including work on literacy and providing access to people with disabilities.  You may have gathered that I also like to play with string, in the form of knitting and spinning, and I also like: podcasting, genre fiction in the fantasy and science fiction vein, and going to SF/F conventions.  Cons are great for meeting other readers and talking about books, and I also end up meeting new authors to check out (some of whom give me ARCs of their books, which is always awesome), talking about reading and literacy issues, and just generally finding out what’s going on in that world.

As a matter of fact (ooh, busting out the cliches early!), I just got back from the 67th Annual World Science Fiction Convention, Anticipation, held this year in Montreal!  I had a great time seeing friends, totally did not stalk Guest of Honor Neil Gaiman, and found new authors to fall in love with.  I was on panels about literacy, traditional women’s crafts in fiction, and a few other interesting topics, as well as being staff for the kaffeeklatches with authors.  One of the best parts for me was actually going to a kaffeeklatch with Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner, who as well as being some of my favorite people to talk to at conventions are also excellent writers.  I have plans to read Delia’s Changeling series sometime soon, and I can’t wait!  If you want to get a taste of her words for free, check out Delia’s story “The Fiddler of Bayou Teche” at Podcastle.  I fell completely in love with this story almost from the beginning, and couldn’t wait to get to Worldcon and discuss it with Delia!

Actually, talking about Delia and Ellen reminds me of something *else* I do!  The Interstitial Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing a place for art and story that doesn’t fall neatly into marketing categories.  Ellen and Delia were involved in founding the IAF, and Delia is currently editing their second anthology, Interfictions 2.  The Foundation is doing a really cool art auction to go along with the release of the book, with people making all kinds of things to go with the stories.  I’m making art yarn to go with the story a friend of mine, Shira Lipkin, has published in the book!  In addition, I’m a volunteer with the IAF and am producing a Boston-area event for them, called the Bryan Slattery Project.  This is going to be a really interesting event, with improvisational music, live readings of the stories from the book, visual elements, and more!  There will be more information about the event as we get details squared away, but I’m really excited to be working with the IAF and helping with this event.

So that’s me and what I’ll be doing here, I’ll start posting about the books I want to talk about soon!