Monday Morning Stepback: Lots o' Links

All the online happenings … a week late.

Links of Interest:

Yesterday I interviewed Milena, a Croatian romance and SFF reader, who has written an article on Romanceland to be published in Croatia’s Centre for Women’s Studies journal.

It’s Read an Ebook week. Books on the Knob –which will round up the deals daily — explains:

For those who are new to ebooks, this is a promotion started by Rita Toews, where ebook publishers and authors try to entice us to try them out by offering free and discounted books.

A writer’s blog I have been enjoying a lot lately is Tracey Cooper-Posey’s/Teal Ceagh’s. She’s an erotic romance author who blogs about such topics as The Perils of Writing Erotic Romance and Love ’em or Hate ’em — What Amazon is Doing for the e-Book Business is Phenomenal.

10 Rules For Criticism from A Commonplace Blog (inspired by the Guardian’s 2 part series featuring advice from 29 contemporary writers, each of whom was asked to produce ten rules. It took some very undeserved flak, IMO. Why would anyone think that writing is the only human endeavor that successful veterans can’t offer advice about?). Here’s a snippet:

(1.) You are not a makeup artist. You shouldn’t be applying anything, least of all someone else’s “system.”

(2.) In fact, give up the dream of a system altogether. There is no general system or theory of literature; there are only particular texts, with their own particular system of law, which demand a particular respect.

The Guardian Books Blog on why The Best Contemporary Japanese Novel is a Manga (The Legend of Koizumi, by Hideki Ohwada).

When’s the last time you read an A+ review? Here’s one by Sandy M at TGTBTU on Sylvia Day’s The Stranger I Married.

The big action in feminist philosophy online last week was reaction to the NPR report on recent research on sexual assault on college campuses. Very distressing. Here’s the summary from NPR of the research:

There’s a common assumption about men who commit sexual assault on a college campus: That they made a one-time, bad decision. But psychologist David Lisak says this assumption is wrong —-and dangerously so.

It might seem like it would be hard for a researcher to get these men to admit to something that fits the definition of rape. But Lisak says it’s not. “They are very forthcoming,” he says. “In fact, they are eager to talk about their experiences. They’re quite narcissistic as a group — the offenders — and they view this as an opportunity, essentially, to brag.”

What Lisak found was that students who commit rape on a college campus are pretty much like those rapists in prison. In both groups, many are serial rapists. On college campuses, repeat predators account for 9 out of every 10 rapes.

The NPR comment thread is over 300 comments long. Then Matthew Yglesias posted on it, and his ambiguous comments upset a lot of people, and spawned another huge thread (he has since updated and clarified). See this post at Feministe for a feminist take on the original Yglesias wording.

The American Scholar is talking about Reading in the Digital Age (from Books Inq.). It’s very long — it makes my blog posts look like haiku — but it’s a thoughtful meditation on what is changing and what might be at stake. Here’s a passage:

MY REAL WORRY has less to do with the overthrow of human intelligence by Google-powered artificial intelligence and more with the rapid erosion of certain ways of thinking—their demotion, as it were. I mean reflection, a contextual understanding of information, imaginative projection. I mean, in my shorthand, intransitive thinking. Contemplation. Thinking for its own sake, non-instrumental, as opposed to transitive thinking, the kind that would depend on a machine-drive harvesting of facts toward some specified end. Ideally, of course, we have both, left brain and right brain in balance. But the evidence keeps coming in that not only are we hypertrophied on the left-brain side, but we are subscribing wholesale to technologies reinforcing that kind of thinking in every aspect of our lives. The digital paradigm.

Marg at Reading Adventures is talking about the Book Blogger Hop. 89 bloggers have already signed up, but few from romance.

A New Yorker review of Sexual Ethics for the New Millenium, a new book by psychology professor Paul R. Abramson. Here are the principles: do no harm, celebrate sex, be careful, know yourself, speak up and speak out, and throw no stones. Got it? Now you can go have all the sex you want, minus that unpleasant moral residue!

A NSFW commentary at Racialicious on a series of racialized, hypersexualized images of Disney princes. Sometimes I am really happy to say “your kink is not my kink”. And this is one of those times.

Finally, Steampunk Week begins today over at The Book Smugglers with an Introduction and Primer.


The governor announced that the university system budget for next year is projected to be $6 million higher than previously thought. No one knows whether it is too late to save the two “mystery” programs in my college that have already been targeted for elimination, but it definitely relieves the pressure for next year. I’m still holding my breath until we get official word.

This week is my second week of spring break, although I actually have a very busy schedule at my other job. I have a presentation on fluctuating mental capacity, one of the hardest things to deal with as a clinician or an ethicist (and no, not MY fluctuating mental capacity, the patient’s!). There’s also work on code status for brain dead patients who are organ donors. While always treating the body with respect, at what point can we focus solely on the needs of the recipient, and stop treating the dead patient as a living being? Finally, I am coming up on my annual review, which means I have to subject myself to a battery of diabolical computer modules on things like blood borne pathogens and moving the heavy patient. Somebody decided I had to complete all the same modules a physician’s assistant completes, which is super fun because, you know, Aristotle and Hegel talked all the time about pharmacy formularies, interpreting labs tests, and suturing. Like lima beans, I know it is good for me, but I do not enjoy it.

Spring is here (by which I mean temps in the high 40s). We’re getting the garden ready and I couldn’t be more pleased we’ve made the turn in the road away from winter. (Now watch, there will be a huge snow storm!)

The WifFi only iPad is available for preorder March 12 and will ship April 3. Units with 3G will be available a bit later. This really is not “personal.” Because I am not buying one. Really. I’m not.

On the blog this week:

The third and final installment of my summary of An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction, followed by a summary and discussion of the first two chapters of Feminist Popular Fiction by Merja Makinen. I’ll also write a review of Julie James’s latest, Something About You, because I think my Romanceland passport will be revoked if I don’t.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to everyone for your help with transitioning to Read React Review. And thank you for sticking with it!

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