Submitted by Kingsland on Sat, 09/17/2011 - 4:54pm
Say Yes To Gay YA
By Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
We are published authors who co-wrote a post-apocalyptic young adult
novel. When we set out to find an agent for it, we expected to get some
rejections. But we never expected to be offered representation… on the
condition that we make a gay character straight, or cut him out
Our novel, Stranger, has five viewpoint characters; one,
Yuki Nakamura, is gay and has a boyfriend. Yuki’s romance, like the
heterosexual ones in the novel, involves nothing more explicit than
An agent from a major agency, one which represents a bestselling YA novel in the same genre as ours, called us.
Read the rest of the article in Publishers Weekly HERE
I am appalled and saddened by this article although I shouldn't be
surprised, I've known for a long time that I inhabit a bubble where
social justice matters. As the book buyer for teen fiction for the
Diesel bookstores I consider it a plus when the publisher rep tells me
there is a positive LGBT point of view in the story, better yet one of
the main characters. This will cause me to give a second look to a title
I might otherwise have passed. There is a link in the article to a
decent list of YA Fantasy & Science Fiction with LBGT POV that I
have posted at the Oakland store.
I must say these issues are far more troubling to me than the general
state of the book industry. What kind of industry are we trying to save
if a stranglehold is put on open-mindedness and diversity.
We fit them under our beds and over our kitchen cabinets and stack them into twin pillars on either side of the actual bookcase. We set them down in the bathroom and the backseat of the car and on the kitchen tables of friends and family. Booksellers are notorious book-hoarders, so we here at Diesel thought we'd share the places (and mis-places) we stash our stash.
In my eyes, books have always been beautiful. To walk up to the bookshelf, inhale the aroma, gaze upon the selection, and pull that one special book that speaks to you. Something magical happens at that moment. You open the pages and are transported into another world. A world that could be anything: high adventure that has you eagerly turning the page, romance that conjures fond memories or longings, or poetry and art so beautiful it inspires you to create your own. In this age of electronics, we have the ease to select books almost instantaneously. Via a good review or word of mouth, one can download a book in a matter of seconds. I appreciate the enthusiasm and understand the convenience but remain a proponent for the tangible. Licking your finger, placing it behind the page, ready to turn as soon as the last word on the previous has been read. It's that excitement that can't be reproduced. Curling the pages back as you curl up in a chair....being one with the book, that's for me. You know what I'm talking about.
It seems that publishers are creating more books that appeal to the senses; albeit a textural cover or an interactive interior. It's these features that can't be mimicked on an electronic device. Pages that literally unfold and spill out or pop to life at the turn of a page. Close your eyes and run your fingers over the raised cover and imagine what lies inside. This, is the magic I speak of. Let your imagination run wild. So, let loose, adorn your bookshelf with beautiful, mental sustenance that can be passed down through the generations--it is within your grasp.
At the Edinburgh International
Book Festival, someone had an ingenious idea: don't ask the publishers
what they're pushing, ask the readers what they're buying. Click
hereto watch the video series from the festival and, next time you visit Diesel, let us know what you're reading!
3. A Cat Who Thinks He's A Chihuahua.
After having great success with the piñata giveaway in our
Brentwood store, the Oakland store is hosting a raffle for the Skippyjon Jones piñata
that’s been hanging behind the counter, watching over the store. Raffle tickets
are free to anyone who purchases a Skippyjon Jones book before September 15th.
On The 15th we’ll have a drawing and one lucky winner will take
Skippy home, where he or she will treasure him forever and not hit him with any
sort of bat or stick for any reason.
You know the situation all too well.You go to a grocery store, a BART station, or
any other wide “parking lotted” location, and you are immediately locked into an
uncomfortable stare-down with a pseudo-impassioned plain-clothed youth, armed
with a clipboard and an intrusiveness that ranks somewhere between an aggressive
homeless person and a Macy's employee desperate to meet a quota.You normally think up some lie, pretend to be
on your phone—anything to just get into the store and on with your life.
But, every once in a while, they shout out a line that lures
you in. Something that you are indeed passionate about, something that makes
you surrender that look of "okay, tell me more".Now they've got you. And they hand over that
clipboard with a list of dozens, maybe even hundreds, of people who have stood right
where you’re standing. It's a relatively small commitment.All you have to do is sign and your show of
support is tallied.
It's a high pressure sales situation except nobody is asking
for your money.
These days, there is a new beast in front of your grocery store
and its mating call is "More Jobs, Not Taxes"—it is trying to sell
you on petitioning the internet sales tax.
You may hear this and immediately want to sign, because it
sounds appealing to reject any new taxes.It would be slightly more difficult than asking a room to give a show of
hands if they want to pay more or less for something.
What you should know, though, is that "More Jobs, Not
Taxes" is a campaign funded entirely by Amazon.com, an online retailer whose
refusal to collect sales tax costs California,
according to estimates, around $200 million a year.
It's incredibly important that you know this, because,
unlike other petitions, this one is asking for your money, as well as your
community.Amazon's attempt to block
this new law prevents them from collecting and remitting taxes that go towards
fire departments, police stations, public schools, health programs, etc.Their refusal to collect sales tax also gives
them an unfair advantage over local retailers who do collect and remit taxes
for the community.
So, even though your immediate reaction to one of these
petitioners may be to sign on, just remember that, by saying "No" to
internet sales tax, you're actually saying "No" to fairness, small
business, and the wealth of your community.
-Jon Stich, Diesel Bookstore-Oakland
Visit the Green Apple Books blog for another indie bookseller response to the Amazon problem.
Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to our winners!
John Sayles' new film Amigo opens August 19th and we're giving away tickets! Comment here or on our facebook page for a chance to win a pair of ticket vouchers to see the film.
The Brentwood winner will win tickets for the Laemmle's Monica 4 in Santa Monica.
The Oakland winner will win tickets for the Cinemark Union Landing 25 in Union City.
About the film:
AMIGO, the 17th feature film from Academy Award-nominated writer-director John Sayles, stars legendary Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor caught in the murderous crossfire of the Philippine-American War.
When U.S. troops occupy his village, Rafael comes under pressure from a tough-as-nails officer (Chris Cooper) to help the Americans in their hunt for Filipino guerilla fighters. But Rafael’s brother (Ronnie Lazaro) is the head of the local guerillas, and considers anyone who cooperates with the Americans to be a traitor. Rafael quickly finds himself forced to make the impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by ordinary civilians in an occupied country.
A powerful drama of friendship, betrayal, romance and heartbreaking violence, Amigo is a page torn from the untold history of the Philippines, and a mirror of today’s unresolvable conflicts.
At Diesel, Oakland we have an architect in our midst. Well, half architect, half inspired trash sculptor, Daniel Nelson. With cardboard, bookmarks, and just a little packing tape, Danny (above) has taken our global-studies alcove around the world in way less than eighty days. Check out just a few of the titles on our Great Wall display:
Why I do what I do: "Simply because I love books and find them necessary. Getting information from the internet is like fishing with a hundred hooks and no sinker; you end up catching a lot of bait. Books are the sinkers that let you catch the big fish."
CLICK HERE to read more of John's interview on the Algonquin Books Blog.
"All it takes is a single image to evoke our favorite Grimm’s fairy
tales and other childhood stories: Rapunzel’s golden braid, the Cheshire
Cat’s toothy grin in Alice in Wonderland, Snow White’s poison apple.
These are the stars of Christian Jackson’s minimalist kids-book posters,
which provide a refreshing alternative to the loud, busy Disney-style
design of most entertainment-inspired children’s decor." -- Via Flavorwire.