No Award reads books (over and over again)

One of the things we hear a lot from the YA and Middle Grade authors of our acquaintance is that one of the best things about writing for young people is that they don’t just read a book once. They’ll revisit it again and again, and their reactions to it change as they grow.

It’s been a while since we were part of the young reader demograp

hic, but we still have favourite books or series that we reread — and also works that we used to reread, but have now moved on from. Let’s talk about some of those books…

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edible australian care package

So your parent/friend/ex-wife’s coworker’s partner is travelling to Australia, and has offered to bring you back something delicious and uniquely Australia. But how will they know? NO AWARD IS HERE FOR YOU.
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the gilt of the linkspam

If you’re into Chinese identity politics, human rights and amazing voices and you’re not reading Sixth Tone, you are missing out. Some of Steph’s recent highlights as reads are: Love in the Lowlands as a Muslim Lesbian TomboyBeijing NGO Relieves Pressure on PeeingTemples Put Profits Over Enlightenment.

Come talk to Steph about this article at the Toast: “You left your culture at the door”: Relationships, Misogyny, and Asian American Inside Baseball

This post at the WaPo on food politics and racism is American but still great reading; many of its concepts apply in Australia. How Americans pretend to love ‘ethnic food’

But we have incorporated these foods on our terms — not on theirs. We want “ethnic food” to be authentic, but we are almost never willing to pay for it.

Squids and octopuses thrive as ‘weeds of the sea’ warm to hotter oceans

Related: Do you care about animals? Then you really shouldn’t eat octopus

(What Liz is taking away from this, as a person who already doesn’t eat cephalopods, is that you can adopt an octopus in NZ. Guys. GUYS.)

This piece is REALLY INTERESTING: How an Ad Campaign Made Lesbians Fall in Love with Subaru

What worked were winks and nudges. One ad campaign showed Subaru cars that had license plates that said “Xena LVR” (a reference to Xena: Warrior Princess, a TV show whose female protagonists seemed to be lovers) or “P-TOWN” (a moniker for Provincetown, Massachusetts, a popular LGBT vacation spot). Many ads had taglines with double meanings. “Get Out. And Stay Out” could refer to exploring the outdoors in a Subaru—or coming out as gay. “It’s Not a Choice. It’s the Way We’re Built” could refer to all Subarus coming with all-wheel-drive—or LGBT identity.

“Each year we’ve done this, we’ve learned more about our target audience,” John Nash, the creative director of the ad agency has said. “We’ve found that playful coding is really, really appreciated by our consumers. They like deciphering it.”

Steph is having a lot of feelings about coding and decoding in queer communities and acceptance/decriminalisation through marketing and capitalism.

Huge, exquisite egg sandwiches found around Tokyo. I (Liz, the non-vegan half of NA) just love tamago so much.

Cadavers in pearls: meet the Anatomical Venus

Erotic … anatomical models? Yes. Yes, there was a time when people (male people) thought that was a good thing that should exist.

Liz notes: I found this fascinating and not especially visceral or horrific except in the abstract, but others may wish to take note of the content warning in the first paragraph:

It is a truism of sitcoms that, whenever there’s a conversation about violence towards testicles, men always cross their legs. As a woman, reading Anatomical Venus, you will want to fold yourself protectively over everything, wrap your arms around your kidneys and liver, run some barbed wire round your reproductive area.

Love craft, hate yarnbombing, want to do something for refugees, and you live in Melbourne? The West Welcome Wagon is accepting donations of blankets, door snakes, cardigans and slippers, and also (I think?) fabric that can be turned into such things: Welcome Warmth.

Meet Cleverman: our first Aboriginal screen superhero, with healing powers and a political edge

Hugos 2016: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted is one of those hugely popular books that just left me … cold.

It won the Nebula. Lots of my friends loved it. (A handful disliked it, or liked it with reservations, reasons for which I’ll discuss below.)

I found it hugely derivative, with an unpleasant hero and more rape attempts and general rapeyness than the book actually needed. (Content warning ahead.)

Continue reading “Hugos 2016: Uprooted by Naomi Novik”

swinging dead cats and the narrative of refugees

Let’s talk about the dead cats that Peter Dutton has been swinging; a form of politics that we as Australians should understand, because it’s how this election will go down.

Also remember you have until 8pm/2000 TODAY, Monday 23 May, to be enrolled or you can’t vote this election! Not sure if this is AEST or AWST, but WHY WAIT?! AEC Website now please and thank you. Then come back here for dead cat swinging.

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all that glitters is linkspam

Psychic Snail Sex Couldn’t Replace the Telegraph, But One Frenchman Sure Tried

…wait, what?

Benoît and Biat had determined that snails, once mated, remained not only monogamous but, through the exchange of “sympathetic fluids,” bound in a lifelong telepathic bond. Poke a snail with an electrical current in one location, they decided, and its partner, however distant, would react in kind as a result of a phenomenon they termed “escargotic commotion.” By placing a letter next to each snail, this evolutionary loophole could be exploited to transmit messages at the speed of thought, across any distance.


* Not really.

Abigail Nussbaum has a roundup of the curiously muted critiques of Captain America: Civil War.

Suburbs in the Sky: High‑rise commission flats and the Melbourne imagination – a little piece on gentrification and class in Melbourne’s inner north


Here’s how I’m doing it: I am squeezing between your passenger side door and the curb. I am riding a hill slower than you would like me to. I am taking a second to gain momentum at the stop sign. I am doing all of this on purpose, to make you hit me, so you will be late again and it will be my fault. That is my goal, dream, purpose, the thing for which I was thrust from the womb and into this blinding sunlit world. I will only be happy when my bones are ground to dust in the road and my flesh has adhered to the asphalt and you are late for your 9:00 Meeting with the Board.

GLORIOUS, thanks to Friend of No Award Rivqa for making sure Steph saw this very important article.

OMG: Astronomers crack the secret of this gorgeous poem by Sappho

This is a super interesting piece on a state of transience enforced by our government: Noncitizens Down Under: How Migrant Belonging is Changing in a Nation of Immigrants

Plagiarism in the productivity community (I LOVE THE INTERNET): The Case of the Plagiarizing Productivity Pundit

The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies — this one’s for you, fellow Americans  fans!

There’s a protest happening right now in Melbourne’s City Square, some updates:

Homeless people camp out in Melbourne’s city square

Conversations with Melbourne’s homeless protesters

Those occupying the space were happy to chat; that is, once I’d assured them that I don’t work for the Herald Sun. They explained that it was an article published in that paper, making unfair and sweeping accusations against Melbourne’s homeless for being aggressive, that was the catalyst for their decision to occupy the Square.

They’re tired of not being respected — a word that came up over and over with everyone I spoke to — as if, because they’re homeless, they have no right to it.

Homeless protesters vow to continue demonstration after authorities break up camp in Melbourne’s CBD





Hugos 2016: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Once again, I’m attempting to read as many Hugo nominated works as I can stomach, review them here, and vote according to merit. Luckily, I have a really good library.

When I was twelve or thirteen, I read 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I didn’t like it. The first two thirds were okay, but then we hit the hallucinatory journey through the monolith, and although I lacked the appropriate vocabulary at the time, I thought it was a load of wank. My reading that year was equal parts Asimov and McCaffrey, and I didn’t have the patience for hallucinogenic metaphysical trips. (Spoilers: I still don’t.)

On the other hand, I adored 2010: Odyssey Two and 2067: Odyssey Three. I read my dad’s copies until they fell apart — there was something reassuring about them, with their spaceships full of multicultural, variously-degrees-of-stereotyped civilians and military officers. They were just simple enough for a young teen to understand, with occasional flashes of complexity that made me feel like I was reading proper literature. I even rented the 2010 film adaptation on VHS (it was my introduction to Helen Mirren, who played the commander of a Soviet space ship).

Which brings us to Seveneves.

(Spooooooilers ahead!)

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the light of keanu reeves

Last night, whilst we were sleeping, a post written by Steph and Birb Friend Hayley went up at The Toast! It’s 3000 words about Keanu Reeves.

Underappreciated Actors Reappraised: Keanu Reeves

HOW EXCITE. We love Keanu so much, quokkas. SO MUCH. So much so that below the cut is another 1500 words of APPENDIX (We had to cut over 500 from the post hahah) including a review of his book SHADOWS, Hayley’s notes on ode to friendship Man of Tai Chi, and many photos of Keanu being gazed at adoringly by either Winona Ryder or River Phoenix.


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