“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”—John Green, Paper Towns (via shoutinthevoid)
“Being in front of an audience makes me feel alive. Being with friends makes me feel alive. I’ve done some crazy stuff in my time, and yet I can feel infinitely alive curled up on a sofa reading a book. So, what makes me feel alive? I guess it’s realizing I’m part of the world around me.”—Benedict Cumberbatch (via whenstarsarebright)
I’m late, but in my defense I was on planes much of the last five days.
So a quick prefatory comment: I’m quoted on the back of The Hunger Games for nice things I said about the first book in the New York Times Book Review when it came out, so obviously I like the book. Back then, I remember…
“Do you ever wonder whether people would like you more or less if they could see inside you? …I always wonder about that. If people could see me the way I see myself—if they could live in my memories—would anyone, anyone, love me?”—John Green, An Abundance of Katherines (via 24ribs)
“Readers develop unique histories with the books they read. It may not be immediately apparent at the time of reading, but the person you were when you read the book, the place you were where you read the book, your state of mind while you read it, your personal situation (happy, frustrated, depressed, bored) and so on—all these factors, and others, make the simple experience of reading a book a far more complex and multi-layered affair than might be thought. Moreover, the reading of a memorable book somehow insinuates itself into the tangled skein of personal history that is the reader’s autobiography: the book leaves a mark on that page of your life—leaves a trace—one way or another.”—William Boyd, writing about Lanark
“I almost felt like he was there in my room with me, but in a way it was better, like I was not in my room and he was not in his, but instead we were together in some invisible and tenuous third space that could only be visited on the phone” (72).
Yesterday on twitter, I expressed annoyance with the hundreds of people who send me emails or tumblr messages or whatever to let me know that they illegally downloaded one of my books, as if they expect me to reply with my hearty congratulations that they are technologically sophisticated enough…
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I totally agree that books are worth paying money and that authors should benefit from that. (Although, Neil Gaiman argues the same point in reverse, saying that he has noticed an upturn in book sales in countries where his books were being pirated.) So what makes me able to believe that, yet not feel any guilt in streaming television shows? Because I’ve never had to pay a cable bill, and therefore TV has always been ‘free’ to me?
“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”— The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (page 153)
Do I love what I do? Yes. And I loved being an English major. I love to read. I love to revise a sentence, pick apart copy, and pinpoint tropes and important literary themes; I can’t turn off that part of my brain even when I’m watching Madmen or reading e-mails from ex-boyfriends. And I can’t live without writing. This is my skill set.
The New York Times Opinionator posted an article today that talks about the HPA, Andrew Slack, the fans, and how fandom facilitates activism.
There are a few key strategies that make fan activist campaigns like The Harry Potter Alliance successful: invest deeply in the literary themes, prize weirdness, honor the power of cohesive online communities and link to larger organizations that can implement the big ideas of plot-fueled real world advocacy. It’s essential that fans see their own power, or as Slack puts it, “We all yearn to be told we are magical.”
Read the full article here and be sure to comment; let’s show the world just how magical fans are.
This editorial was inspired by the HPA’s Hunger is Not a Game campaign to fight systematic injustice.
“I don’t care how much sex anyone has, how often they do it, or who they do it with. I’m much more interested in the consent, pleasure, and well-being of the participants and the people affected by it. I respect women who are asexual, celibate, monogamous, multi-partnered, or have had more partners than they can recall. I respect women who only have sex after a commitment to monogamy and those who have sex with someone within minutes of meeting them. I respect women who have transactional sex, women who have sex for love, or for any other reason. I know that all of these categories are permeable and that many women move from one to another. And I know that any of these decisions can be made from a place of personal power, choice, and authenticity, as well as from a place of coercion, shame, and disempowerment.”—Charlie Glickman (If You Don’t Respect Sluts, You Don’t Respect Women)
“Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves.” Easy enough to say when you’re a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.”—Peter Van Houten (John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars)
“J.K. Rowling didn’t only provide a source of entertainment for readers through Harry Potter; her works of fiction serve as critical tools in shaping the ways in which we perceive real-life experiences. Underneath the Death Eaters and Floo Powder are characters, themes, and metaphors filled with a deeper understanding. The Wizarding World might be a whole world away from reality, but its underlying messages hold true. I’m just so grateful that my mom bought me my first Harry Potter hardcover at that book fair. My feminist consciousness wouldn’t have been the same without it.”—“How I Learned About Feminism And Motherhood From Molly Weasley” by Krystie Lee Yandoli via The Frisky
“Librarians who respect the unique needs of teenagers will be approachable, nonjudgmental, and accepting. They will be encouraging, tolerant, patient, persistent, and emphatic. They will understand young adults - their psychology, their literature, and even their popular culture. They will advocate for intellectual freedom, for free access, and for solving problems to knock down barriers to youth access. They will have a sense of humour, involve youth, and be creative. When young adults are given respect, they will respond in kind.”—Patrick Jones, on teen librarianship (via bainzie)
“Before I wrote books I worked as a chaplain at a children’s hospital and when I was there my supervisor always used to tell me, ‘John, don’t just do something. Stand there.’ We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the cloud. But I believe there is real value in just standing there. Being still, being sad, bearing witness…and allowing ourselves to be transformed by it.”—John Green (via textlesscommuncation)