From the Library: 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader

The Bitch Media Community Lending Library brings you our very first book list, made up of 100 young adult novels that every feminist should add to the stack of books on their bedside table. Here at the library we've been re-reading some of our old standbys and finding new feminist favorites. If you're looking to buy a book for your favorite teenage girl or just looking to cuddle up with a powerful story featuring teenage characters, look no further. Click on the pdf below to see our picks, and be sure to let us know which of these books have resonated with you and which books you would add to the list. 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader (609.65 KB) If you're unable to open the pdf, you can view the list here.

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433 Comments Have Been Posted

Because at the point that an

Because at the point that an author publishes a book, he or she loses control over what other people think of it or say about it. It would be ludicrous for Bitch to "honor" his request.

Right!

I mean, suppose Bitch asked that their name be removed from all of the tweets and blog posts made in response to this issue. I doubt very much that any supporter of the protesting authors' right to have their books' names removed from Bitch's subjective writing would also think Bitch has a right to that.

AnalogyFAIL!

Stop twisting your analogies to fit the situation. This comment thread is full of absolutely godawful analogies regarding the authors who have asked to be removed and not one comes anywhere near anything even resembling accuracy.

What Scott (and Maureen, Justine, Diana, et al) have said is that their books should not be on this list if the removed books were removed due to their treatment of difficult subject matter because their books all contain similarly difficult subject matter. Scott said that he personally has received letters from cutters that were triggered by the cutting scenes in his books. These authors also pointed out that the list now lacks any credibility it originally had by virtue of the completely one-sided process used to remove the three "offensive" books from the list and they would prefer to not be associated with such a haphazardly constructed list.

It is not like a Favorite Books list on some random kid's Facebook page, it's more like a list published by a magazine for the express purpose of recommending these books to their readership.

It is not like demanding to have won an award you have lost; it's more like refusing to accept an award because you believe the committee that distributed the awards was corrupt in their award-distribution-process. (Look, a bad analogy! I guess they just happen here...)

Removed Book List?

Please provide a list of the removed books (and any other books you deemed too radical to include on the list). I should very much like to read the books that I'm too delicate to read because I'm female.

How about providing a list of "Emotionally Unsettling Books" that include those that were removed? You could appease those upset with your decision to remove the books, and also keep them off this list. A very brief blurb about why each was selected for the list would be beneficial. Let's call the blurb column "trigger", and you could use defining characteristics such as "rape" or "abuse" or "torture". I hope this doesn't come across as a sarcastic tone, because I do not mean it sarcastically. I truly would love to see such a list!

Others have said, but I shall reiterate: it's not censorship in any way, but it is cowardly to remove books based upon a couple comments. If the books are that challenging, shouldn't you want MORE people to read them? Especially if you support strong females and want women and teen girls to think for themselves? You've undermined your entire philosophy with this quick move. That is why so many people are upset: not because you've changed your mind about a list, but <i>why</i> you changed your mind, and how this looks to strong women everywhere.

How about providing a list of

<i>How about providing a list of "Emotionally Unsettling Books" that include those that were removed? You could appease those upset with your decision to remove the books, and also keep them off this list.</i>

This is an amazing idea.

Pull the whole damn list.

Pull the whole damn list. Take the time to consider the ALL the books that you just slapped on it in the first place and repost a new list in six months with a better, more thoughtful explanation of what criteria you used to select books for this list.

did you pay for this list???

Are you the web editor of Bitch Magazine? Where do you get the nerve to take such a scathing tone in demanding that a blog post be removed and replaced with a very different project that you would appreciate more?

Why does the internet instill this sense of entitlement in a readership?

Jesse, when I first saw your

Jesse, when I first saw your comments all over this site, essentially saying over and over how *dare* we criticize Bitch, my first thought was: are you TWELVE? My second thought was: yes, you probably are. This is all about Bitch's list of books for YAs after all, so if you sounded immature and self-important that was okay. Most people grow out of that. Then I realized that unlike most of the other people commenting here, you have a profile, so I clicked on the link. You aren't twelve. You just sound like you are.

I apologize for what must seem like an ad hominem attack. It isn't meant to be one. It's just that I realized, after I read your most recent comment, that all us who are trying to tell Bitch that we expected something more and something better from them-- we don't have profiles. We are writers of YA literature and we are librarians for children and Young Adults. We are feminists who believe that this is important. Some of us think it is important enough to dedicate our professional lives to it. We are trying to tell Bitch that we believe they can and should produce material that's intelligent, informed and well-crafted and they are ignoring us.

It finally dawned on me why. WE aren't their target audience. You are. You're the guy with a profile after all, the sewed in member of the community. And if there are enough Jesse Dangerouslys out there on the internet to keep Bitch in business, that's good enough for them. So all of us hoping for something more, we've had the wrong idea of what Bitch is or could be. Sorry. Our bad.

1991

If all I'm getting across in my posts is "how dare you criticize Bitch" then we have a really bad communications breakdown. I'm all for criticizing Bitch - Bitch is a hub of criticism; that's the most valuable thing about it. It doesn't ever offer the definitive or final word on any topic, just a batch of feminist perspectives on different things in pop culture.

I have loads of criticisms of every issue of Bitch, and many of their tweets and blog posts that I've read, and I think it's very healthy to engage with them if one cares about advancing the feminist discourse in our culture.

I don't subscribe to the rows and columns you've drawn up for who's in what army. Having made a profile for commenting on a blog is not a tattoo or a set of dog tags. There is no definitive split between who cares about young adult literature and who cares about third-wave feminist magazines. Hopefully, anyone who has posted in this thread has some feeling that both are important and worthy of getting right.

I just... what exactly IS the idea you've had of what Bitch is or could be? I could follow that question up with a dozen rhetorically loaded sentences to express my bewilderment but I would much rather get a real answer.

I can't believe you included Harriet the Spy

That book made me physically ill when I was a child, and it still makes me cringe. One of the reasons I've never done what so many writers do and carry a notebook to jot down my thoughts is because of what happened to Harriet. I can't believe anyone still reads it, let alone recommends it. It's about as feminist as <i>Five Little Peppers and How They Grew</i>, and pretty mean spirited to boot.

Also, I'm with all the others who are less than pleased about you recommending three books and then yanking them. Bad form, not done, and I'm now seriously questioning whether I want to reup my subscription.

And when you post the better,

And when you post the better, more thought out version of this list, please consider adding a description of each book and a suggested age range. Because plonking Dealing with Dragons down on the same list as Sold with no indication that some of these books are appropriate for girls as young as ten and some of them really aren't, is misleading.

Librarians, you know, they don't just dust the shelves and tidy the books. They actually KNOW things. I wish you had more respect for what they do. Being able to play with Pages doesn't make me a magazine designer, does it?

YES

I think that would be a terrific idea, coming up with annotated list of books that the editorial board has actually read, plus an age range for each book. <i>A Wrinkle in Time</i> is written for a younger audience than Tamora Pierce, to name just one, and a ten year old who loved the latter might not be ready for the former.

Also, if you do this again, kindly separate the books by categories. People don't always read or like the same sorts of books, and speaking as someone who knew by the age of twelve that she loved mysteries, science fiction, and fantasy, but hated contemporary "realistic" fiction, it would be helpful to know what genre these books fall into before I head over to the library.

Not the point of a list

I don't believe the list should tell you everything about every book. I would expect parents and teens to take personal responsibility and research the books <i>before</i> reading them. It's asking too much for a list to include information about: "appropriate" age ranges (I was reading Stephen King at age 11 -- is this appropriate for everyone?), genre (very difficult to categorize books, as many cross genres). I look at the titles of the books and have no idea what many of them are about. I would certainly research them slightly before deciding to read them, and I suspect many people work this way.

to Banned Book Reader

Banned Book Reader,

I'm not expecting them to tell me "everything" about a book. No, asking for an age range or a single sentence synopsis, is not too much to ask, at least, not to much to ask of professionals interested in doing a good job. It may be too much to ask from a bunch of Bitch magazine writers who thought they could pick a list of a hundred books without actually reading all the books they were going to promote.

No one who actually works with books and young adults thinks that the age ranges are hard and fast rules. They know that age ranges are a coding system that by and large rank books in relation to other books. So-- This book for 13 and up is likely to be more challenging, or more mature than That book for 8-12.

And I am sorry, but Stephen King is written for eleven year olds. Tender Morsels is not. No coding system is perfect. That's why it's professional to give people a heads up about content.

Please do try to remain civil

Please do try to remain civil and reasonable. I know we're on the internet, but the personal attacks are unnecessary.

<blockquote>And I am sorry, but Stephen King is written for eleven year olds. Tender Morsels is not.</blockquote>
Ah, so you've read Dolores Claiborne, then? And Rose Madder? Abuse, rape, molestation, domestic violence... Meanwhile, the School Library Journal recommends Tender Morsels for grades 9+, so ages 13+. That is entirely appropriate for certain 11 year olds. And underlines my point that age ranges are useless, since you think there's NO WAY that book is appropriate for that age range, but an authoritative source says otherwise.

<blockquote>No, asking for an age range or a single sentence synopsis, is not too much to ask, at least, not to much to ask of professionals interested in doing a good job. It may be too much to ask from a bunch of Bitch magazine writers who thought they could pick a list of a hundred books without actually reading all the books they were going to promote.</blockquote>
I agree wholeheartedly that books shouldn't have been recommended based upon "research" only - they certainly should have been read first, if only to ascertain that they were appropriate books to recommend to their audience, regardless of what they want to title the list.

I don't <i>expect</i> a "list" to include such robust information, though I agree it would be helpful. By it's very nature, a list is simply a short and summarized version of something. To include a summary and age range and genre for all of these books would expand the list to several pages. Instead, I think a good way to handle this would be to use something like goodreads.com or amazon.com to create a List including all the books, that way it's incredibly easy for people to research the books and check "appropriate" age ranges.

Sorry, Banned Books. I knew

Sorry, Banned Books. I knew that would touch a nerve, but I thought it was important to draw a distinction between King's books which might be shocking and violent and graphic, but require no real intellectual effort to read and Tender Morsels which really demands a thoughtful reader. That expectation for a thoughtful reader is why I think that book was removed from the list. The staff at Bitch blew through the book in a day or two and failed to give it the consideration it deserved. There's very little chance that any reader can finish a King book without understanding exactly what King wants you to think of every character and decision. That doesn't make his books bad, just a whole lot more straightforward. Lanagan's book shows readers a complicated story and leaves them to come to their own conclusions about the characters and events. I think the editors pulled the book because they came to the wrong conclusions, or because they felt readers might come to the wrong conclusion. They don't respect the readers right to make their own judgement. That's really insulting.

How is stating an age range

How is stating an age range and a genre telling someone "everything about a book"? I am seriously asking, because that doesn't seem particularly burdensome on the editors. In particular, separating by genre only makes sense.

hmph

from one librarian, thank you!: "Librarians, you know, they don't just dust the shelves and tidy the books. They actually KNOW things. I wish you had more respect for what they do. "

one of those things librarians actually know is called readers' advisory. it's something we take pretty seriously.

i'm glad the discussion has moved on, for the most part, from whether this is censorship or just straight-up cowardice (my vote is for the latter) and the whole "triggering" term is so very very overused. also, "triggering", in my experience, excludes so many other aspects of life that are damaging and violent in people's life - like white imperialism: i.e., um, john marsden's book? and, as much as i love the blue sword still, and read it dozens of times as a teen and at least twice in the last year, there's no denying it's the typical fairy tale of the white person sweeping in and saving all the non-whites, she's better at them with their own magic, etc etc etc.

right now though, what's bothering me most is that it seems that the list was just thrown together and presented as if it'd been researched carefully and thoughtfully. and maybe that care and though is happening now or in the few days since the list was posted. however, clearly, some (many?) of these books were not originally read by bitch and were placed on the list due to recommendations by friends. wth! then at least make that known at the top of the list, please. whenever, i hand a book to someone as a suggested read and i haven't read the book, i make that super clear - that my recommendation comes from the author's previous works, reviews, a friend, whatever. that's the responsible action to take. i agree as well with what the previous commenters said re: age ranges, general categories, and so on. ya is a big big field and the term can, and is often, used to include anyone from age 12 to 24. that's quite a range!

basically, if you're going to call yourselves a library and attempt to put together an authoritative book list and distribute it, please do it responsibly - explain your choices, give recommended age ranges, be clear when you haven't read the book, etc. if you don't do this, you are belittling the importance of libraries - and as a librarian, well, that just pisses me off.

integrity of recommendations

YES, thank you for noting that if you haven't read something and are planning to recommend it, you should note that. In doing Readers' Advisory, I rarely recommend something I haven't read, but if I do, I will note that I haven't read it, but have seen it on several lists, or that it won an award or something to that effect to note where I heard about it and WHY I am recommending it. It's just responsible and professional, and allows you to stand behind the integrity of your recommendations.

Response from the Executive Director

If ever it is appropriate to characterize Bitch Media monolithically, it is safe to say that Bitch Media is an organization that loves books and we have a particular love for YA books.

There are thousands of YA books that we would heartily recommend and lend and passionately discuss and debate.

But we made a list of 100. Lists like these evolve and change. In some iterations a book isn’t listed, later it’s back again. Lists are idiosyncratic, biased and not the be all and end all. With the thousands of choices, there will always be some reason to choose one book over another.

I know for writers, readers and promoters of books, removal from a list can be a red flag, a call to action, a slippery slope toward book banning and censorship.

That’s simply not the case here. We’re proud to have all the books removed from the list available in our library (and, yes, it is a physical lending library in Portland, OR). I sincerely hope that more people buy, read, and discuss these books because of this discussion. But they’re not on this list.

And for those authors who have asked to be removed from the list, we respect your support for fellow authors, but it’s our list, with of our recommendations for young adults, and we think your books merit inclusion at this time. We don’t remove the books because we are asked; we remove or include them based on our judgment.

For these decisions, you can castigate or praise us, but I’ll hope you’ll do so in solidarity with an organization that promotes discussion and debate and condemns censorship.

Julie Falk, Executive Director, Bitch Media

You Are Missing The Point

Ms. Falk,

I'm going to start with saying that over the years I've bought Bitch when I can and have enjoyed reading it even when I've disagreed with some articles that have been published. It's made me think, it's made question, it's made me reexamine my own actions or beliefs.

Your response above does not seem to have done that for you or your organization in this matter.

Instead you've dug in your heels and basically said "This is only a list, it's not a big deal, and it's not really censorship so please just support us and go away."

You have brushed off the concerns people have had with the way in which your staff has handled this whole matter: they had no clear criteria by which they made this list, they caved to pressure when confronted with complaints about the original list and didn't take their time to establish a process to think about why they would want to amend this list (or not) and thus their criteria to change the list was so arbitrary you could take it and apply it many of the books still on the list!

Yes lists can change, but you did not address some of the fundamental flaws your organization had in putting together this list which many, many, many posters above me have pointed out.. You claim to be against censorship but quite frankly, your staff changed your organization's list of recommendations because of the complaints of a few people without a clear cut process is indeed the first step in censorship no matter how you cut it. The books may still be in your lending library but it calls into question how much resolve you all will have when someone physically comes to your lending library and demands that those books be removed because they are "triggering" or "not feminist enough."

Finally that you will blithely push aside the concerns of authors who wish to stand in solidarity with their fellow authors and be removed as a matter of principle is wrong and very disappointing: I think that you would change your tune if say Bitch was placed on some sort of recommended list that as an organization you objected to. Your words of " we remove or include them based on our judgment" may come back to haunt you one day.

I urge that you and your staff sit down and take a good long look at the procedures may want to have in place going forward. Talk to some librarians in Portland who you respect and will work with you on setting up criteria that is more clear cut than what you have communicated with the public and publish that criteria. Because quite frankly, the way you all have handled this whole affair has been awful, the way you've communicated your criteria and how the books were chosen and recommended was well below the standards I've come to expect from Bitch.

BItch can do better and I expect it to do so. Otherwise I am afraid that this will have offended many long time readers/supporters and turned off casual ones like myself. Address this properly and you may still have time to fix things for a great many supporters.

Sara E.

Well, no

"we don't remove the books because we are asked; we remove or include them based on our judgment."

This is transparently not true. Your original list met this criteria. Your subsequent bed-wetting, knee trembling cave to criticism shows that you do, in fact, remove books when asked. You only remove books when asked by the alarmist public, as opposed to the authors. You've shown scarce little in the way of the strength of your convictions, and it is that that is alarming.

When people compare this to book banning, it's not because these books are banned. Rather, it's because book banning is a knee jerk reaction to a minority complaining that a book is offensive. Instead of defending your choice, you've simply said, "sure," when someone bitched (pun intended). This list cannot be fairly said to have "evolved." It's change was reactionary, not evolutionary. Massive fail in the courage department.

minority

You know who doesn't listen when a minority complains?

Oppressors.

Minority Complaints

True enough, but highly irrelevant. Oppressors don't listen, period.

However, to take your point as I think it was intended, a proper response would have perhaps been to note the objection of the minority, either with or without comment, to let the potential reader know of the objection.

Instead, they allowed the minority (of one, in one case) to overrule their collective decision and substituted his/her judgment for their own. That's an act of supreme moral cowardice.

Upon what are you basing this

Upon what are you basing this weird revision of the clear history of events?

Upon receiving feedback, they INVESTIGATED. They re-read, and and had further discussions, and came to new conclusions.

Same as the process of figuring out what goes on the list at every other stage, except in public this time.

Freaking out over it is an act of supreme moral jerking off.

I think you'd have a hard time justifying "freaking out" based

on my commentary, but I assume you're being hyperbolic and generalizing.

However, as noted: The list was created by people who read the books, made a list. Then, some members of the group, having not first read a book, returned and purportedly read ~1000 pages of fiction in a couple of days, and decided, uniformly, to remove books that had been criticized. You take them fully at their word. I do not. I look at how they reacted here to the initial comments, and what they said when removing the books.

The best that can be said is this: Someone in the comments questioned a few books. The people that read and nominated those books in the first place were overruled by someone who read the books with that sole purpose in mind.

So, back to moral courage, for me. Or am I just freaking out?

hyperbole

"bedwetting, knee-trembling cave;"
"massive fail in the courage department;"
"supreme moral cowardice."

My use of "freaking out" to describe your vehement language is roughly equivalent in hyperbole to the rhetorical thrust of your above-selected quotes. If you had been literal in your usage of those terms, then you would have been freaking out. I was appealing to your established degree of melodrama.

I guess, given your best-case assessment of events, I don't even know why you would concern yourself with debating the integrity of such an intrinsically debased list in the first place. The first version was presented by the same people as the amended version. You don't respect their criteria or decisions. How could any version of this list satisfy you?

Language

bed wetting and knee trembling are not my view of vehemence, but simply strongly condemnatory. However, if you take them that way, I certainly won't disagree, as I did use them to convey strongly my feelings. I have used and do use them in conversation, and they're not part of "freaking out." But, I'll agree to "melodramatic," I just don't equate that with freaking out.

I think your language would be more likely to draw condemnation, but I don't really object to it personally, though you seem to have odd standards for others, considering your own uses. I kind of like your language, though, so don't take it as a request to change.

As to why I join in this debate? Like any other discussion of a philosophical nature, the discussion is worth it itself. Not to mention, when I see bullshit, I cry bullshit. I see bullshit in the rationalizations I'm seeing here. Had the list changed, without the initial hand wringing objection (there I go freaking out again), people would have objected, debated the relative merits, and it would have been generally a positive experience. When someone yields to criticism, without visible merit (as here), they are then subject to a different kind of criticism, as here.

Glad you support them, and post about it. I just think you're wrong.

Not. Cool. You're absolutely

Not. Cool.
You're absolutely right, it is your list, and it is your decision to keep or remove an author, but it is a professional courtesy to remove an author <i>who has asked to be removed.</i> To not do so shows EXTREME disrespect.
I am incredibly distressed to see the direction that Bitch magazine has gone. While sloppy (and there is no other word for it) list making is one thing it is quite another to completely disregard an author's wishes to be removed from your list.
Just...absolute, professionalism FAIL.

professionalism

To what particular professional code or standard do you refer?

If an author is put on a

If an author is put on a list, and then asks to be removed, in professional circles (I am a librarian) the author is removed.
Is it written? No. Does it happen often? No. But it <i>does</i> happen, and to not do so is either arrogant or uninformed. Based on the response from Bitch's ED, I'm going with arrogant.
They put this out there under a professional banner. This isn't some kid on Facebook. It's an organization making reading recommendations, and then blatantly ignoring the wishes of authors who wish to stand in solidarity with censored (because redacting titles is censorship-if they had not been put on, that would be selection, but taking them off is censorship) authors.

<i>That</i> professional code.

oh the professional code you just made up right now

You are being VERY silly.

Bitch IS, among many other things, some kid on Facebook. It is a (justly) gorlified zine that evolved to a point where it is accessible through almost-mainstream channels. It is not a peer-reviewed journal or an infallible religious text. It is a collection of variously radical perspectives that advance the popular discourse on feminism. Its content varies from extremely raw and personal viewpoints that don't require a solid foundation to be meaningful to well-covered, cogent and pointed arguments.

When it has a list of books its constituents think are good for people to read, then it just has that list, and the list is NOT Schedule "A" of a legal document. It is just where you find out what some people think.

TO ASK THAT IT BE AMENDED TO SUIT THE AUTHORS NAMED ***IS THE ACTUAL POINT AT WHICH SOME REASONABLE NOTION OF "CENSORSHIP" ENTERS THIS DISCUSSION.***

It is also no more professional for an author to request that his or her work be removed from a public library's list (or collection) than it would be to request that it be removed from an individual's collection or professed list from any criteria whatsoever.

You are being so VERY silly!

Sorry, but I'm with the

Sorry, but I'm with the authors. If they want their names off this list because they don't want to be associated with it, Bitch should honor their request. At this point this whole mess is about half an inch from becoming a full blown Internet wank a la RaceFail or the plagiarized medieval recipe business, and if you don't know what those are, Google them and find out. A very popular blogger (John Scalzi) linked to this post, so that odds are good that it *will* spread well beyond the ability of Bitch to control or shape.

Seriously. Bitch digging in its heels is only going to make this worse. Take the authors who want off the list off the list before this spirals out of control.

FailFail

Propose a likely scenario in which Bitch Magazine's further editing of their list as per the instructions of its constituent items will have any bearing upon how under control "this" ("this" = mild internet dust-up, mostly but not entirely between men, arguing about how feminists ought to talk to one another) remains once denizens of the rest of the Internet who care nothing for the goals of feminism, let alone those of children's authors.

The authors' time would be better spent petitioning literary columns to retract unfavourable reviews of their work. That is to say, otherwise wasted in a similarly narcissistic pursuit.

They made a request. Why

They made a request. Why should it not be honored? If nothing else, it might prevent other authors from doing likewise, and the editors at Bitch looking even worse than they already do in many eyes.

I believe they should pull

I believe they should pull the list entirely. Give the books on it the consideration they deserve. When they've read all the books they want to promote, they should repost the list with some description of the criteria they used to select titles. Then we can look at their criteria and have a thoughtful discussion of how well we think the titles they selected met their criteria. No bedwetting, or hand wringing necessary.

Not a bad idea.

Not a bad idea.

amazing

Would you also like final editorial sign-off on the articles included in the magazine?

Would you stop exaggerating

Would you stop exaggerating and reading things that are not there into the comments of those who disagree with you? Seriously.

if you could see my face!

What an astonishing recommendation.

The whole bottled controversy regarding the substitution of three books on a magazine's recommended reading list, especially where there have been appeals to notions of bowdlerization or banning, or anyone standing in solidarity with a harmed party, is PREDICATED upon exaggeration and reading in things which are not there.

And I'm NOT exaggerating when I suggest it seems like the people calling for the list to be repealed and re-imagined according to their unique personal vision would like to be in control of what the magazine publishes. That is really exactly what they are pushing for and it is completely weird even if they don't like the list as it is.

This reply from the

This reply from the executive director is disappointing. Authors asked for their books to be taken off your list. You haven't complied. You haven't taken any responsibility for the slipshod way in which this entire matter was handled or acknowledged the slipshod approach to compiling the list in the first place. Irrespective of the central issue of the three books taken off the list, your response is utterly inadequate.

I've bought Bitch in the past on the newsstand--for our daughter, in fact. I won't be doing so again.

JeffV

That's a real shame for your

That's a real shame for your daughters. I think you have every right to express your disappointment with Bitch, but good luck finding another magazine to fill the void you are creating for your girls.

(Also, the stand you're trying to make is going to cost Bitch something like 17 cents per issue. They gain very little from news stand purchases. Just sayin').

Dear Julie Judgement might

Dear Julie

Judgement might lead you to believe that it is the moral thing to do to remove an author's work from a list created by an organisation that they do not wish to be associated with.

Leaving their names on implies, however indirectly, that they approved of your company and its actions.

If you are keen on promoting discussion, please at least indicate on your list which authors requested to be removed and why along with why you refused.

<blockquote>And for those authors who have asked to be removed from the list, we respect your support for fellow authors, but it’s our list, with of our recommendations for young adults, and we think your books merit inclusion at this time. We don’t remove the books because we are asked; we remove or include them based on our judgment.</blockquote.

Evolution of lists.

<p>"Lists like these evolve and change. In some iterations a book isn’t listed, later it’s back again. "

</p><p>The issue about this statement is that this process of evolution takes place before the list is published. Others have made the same point, but let me reiterate, because clearly you're not getting it.

</p><p>Librarians (and yes, I am one) who create lists of "best" books (and I'm on a committee in the process of doing just that) do so over a long period of time, with much discussion, and only when everyone involved in the discussion has read every book.

But once those discussions are over, THE LIST STANDS. It is a meaningful list because it has been created thoughtfully, and the committee stands behind their choices.

</p><p>I don't have any background in journalism, so I can't speak to what magazines do, but the title of this post is "From the LIbrary." If you are going to call yourselves that, you have to earn the right to do so.

You might begin by reading the Library Bill Of Rights, <a href="http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/index.cfm">... at ALA's website</a>. It applies to all libraries: public, private, academic, or school.</p>

This is Entirely Untrue

<i>But once those discussions are over, THE LIST STANDS. It is a meaningful list because it has been created thoughtfully, and the committee stands behind their choices.</i>

I am also a librarian and that is utterly untrue. Many libraries revise booklists every years as new books come out. Often they'll leave the old ones accessible, but they do in fact change. And I would hope that if I made a Top 10 list that upset my constituents they would feel comfortable telling me what upset them so I could investigate and possibly make the list better.

Librarian Too.

Perhaps you should re-read your post. Because, oh, the contradictions! Let's parse what you've said - book lists are created yearly. The old lists are archived. New lists are created. How has the old list changed? Each list may be titled "Best Mystery Fiction", but the old lists still retain the original content.

Thanks for pulling SISTERS RED

I count myself lucky to have been removed, however forcibly. This isn't a list for feminist readers, and it's certainly not a list composed by journalists OR feminists--journalists can support and defend their writing; feminists know women don't need to be protected from "triggering". It's an insult to be on it, and shame on you for not respecting the wishes of authors who find your actions so weak-spirited that they want their names pulled. How about next time, create a list that it's an honor to be on, instead of a slap in the face?

Bitch, please.

-Jackson

Tender Morsels.

You made a list. Including & excluding things is the whole point of a list, so I won't cry censorship. I will however add my voice to the camp that says that a complicated book that provokes discussion...isn't a bad thing? To be fair, I adore Tender Morsels, & yeah-- part of it was because the book portrays the horrors of rape in an unflinching & pragmatic fashion. I wouldn't object to someone noting that the book may be triggering, of course. The strength of the book, however, in part lies in how it DOES tackle a tough issue. Relegating things to the junk pile because they arouse strong emotions really misses the point. The book doesn't have to critique or discuss everything-- that is the role of a critical reader. I'm sad Tender Morsels was removed-- I haven't read the others, so I won't comment-- but taking a book off this list for being too challenging hardly recommends the list itself.

Yikes. Bitch certainly has

Yikes. Bitch certainly has opened a can of worms with its first book list.

I agree this is not censorship, but the decision to remove the books from the list was ill-conceived, however Bitch may try to justify it. The problem is that once the list was published it became public property in the minds of readers, and the time for Bitch to change it based on personal opinion (their own and that of a few of their readers) without creating ire was over. It is never a good idea to attempt to tell the public what is good for them. Much better had they let the controversy occur over their original choices, than over their decision to alter the list.

I think that, at the cost of

I think that, at the cost of defending our individual causes, we are losing sight of the good that is being done here. There is not a huge mainstream movement to showcase YA fiction with feminist characters and a feminist storyline, and condemning this one is not going to help. Bitch has a fairly large readership, and this list is an awesome step in the right direction. If I were writing this list, I don't think I would have pulled books off after publishing it, but I don't think it means that this is useless.
I also don't think that calling this censorship or cowardice is very productive. It seems like there is a lack of understanding of the "triggering" label. It is not meant to censor anything, but rather to warn readers that there may be sensitive material. Many of us, both those who have survived a trauma and those who have not, are able to read sensitive material without any further trauma. A trigger warning is for the rest of the readers- the ones who may be recovering or traumatized or just not able to deal with the imagery that day, for whatever reason. It is worth using a trigger warning to keep a safe space available to them.
I do not believe that removing the books from the list was a move to censor them; I think it was to keep this list safe for the average reader to recommend books for any young woman in their life, without worrying about it being harmful. I don't think that it devalues the books, or says that they are worthless or not feminist enough, but rather that they are not exactly what the list-writers meant to feature.
On that note, should they have researched more? I think it easy to say yes, and in a perfect world, each book could have had a review and rating and appropriate trigger warnings and adorable color-coded drop down menus. But seriously, how many of us would continue blogging if we could only write about things that we were absolute experts about? I wouldn't. I think that this list was meant to be one (or at least a small number of) blogger's view on books that would be safe to recommend to the budding young feminist in your life, no matter who he/she is. If you disagree, make a different list! Even if you agree, make a different list! Seriously, the more attention we give to this topic, the more these awesome books get out there.
I hope that Bitch responds to explain a little more about why they made this list, why they chose to remove these books, and why it is important to respect trigger warnings. But in the meantime, lets not lose sight of the good that is being done in promoting this topic.

Thanks for the new buzz word "triggering"

And for reinforcing that old cliche about <b>the weaker sex</b>. Evidently women are such fragile hothouse flowers that merely <i>reading</i> about something unpleasant is harmful to them! Who knew?

Now I get to add "triggering" to "patriarchy," "white privilege" and "heteronormative" as definitive signifiers that the writer hails from the fever swamps of far-left-wing victimhood identity politics and therefore may be safely identified as someone completely devoid of any remotely original or interesting thoughts...

"anomaly"

What on EARTH leads someone like you to weigh in on the ins and outs of a list of books recommended by a magazine that bills itself "a feminist response to pop culture?" You seriously just wormed up out of the woodwork to (a) demonstrate your unfamiliarity with the established concept of the emotional or psychological "trigger," and (b) let everyone know that you don't believe in patriarchy, white privilege, or heteronormativity?? Why do you even want to talk to anyone who might ever read as far as the second page of comments to a post on this blog??? Are you REAL???

WTF?

You are adults and it's your list, so you can do whatever you want. I've read the comments and I find a lot of important ideas to think about, so that's good. I think that taking the books off the list so quickly on such a slim basis is a weenie move, if you care.

I could say more, but I am distracted. My mind keeps dragging me back to one question: you recommended these books without reading them? WTF? What were you <i>thinking</i>? I am trying to come up with a better word than "stupid". How about "ill-advised"? How did you compile the list? If you didn't read the books, what is your recommendation worth? What BitchValue did you add to it? You didn't read them? WTF?

MAO

ricochet

How did YOU, with YOUR evident high standard for getting all the facts straight before acting, manage to get as far as composing and submitting a comment without reading any of the many, many times that it was stated that, of the multiple bodies who worked to compile this list, each book had been read by some but not every contributor?

If you didn't read the posts, what is your comment worth? I can think of only one word better than "ill-advised."

Bobbing and Weaving

Ms. Falk,

I am yet more disappointed by your evasive response. The issue isn't really whether or not you get to put whomever you want on your list. Nor is it whether or not you people love YA books. Is this list the best you could do? No. It isn't it. It was a crappy job from the start and you should own your mistakes instead of trying to wiggle out from under them.

Damn.

Coming from a YA......

As someone who was recently within the target these book are aimed at I would like to day thank you.Books with female characters have always been difficult to find, finding female characters that I can relate to or even strong female characters was always more difficult. If I had something like this list at a younger age I'm sure more of my favorite stories would have contained strong female roles.

It is especially exciting to see a large number of my own favorites on the list. But I am a little disspointed that Howl's Moving Castle wasn't on the list originally. Sophie was in my opinion the stongest female charcter I had growing up.
I was wondering if the Abhorsen trilogy was ever up for consideration?

And to all the other posters out there, I think there needs some chilling done here. It is a list of reccomended books, not one that you have to follow, but if you are so concerned about the content of the list then do a little extra research yourself. Plan on picking up the book for someone you know? Ask a librarian or a sales person at a bookstore, read reviews online.
And for the books that were removed from the list because people complained, even if they cover touchy issues that may be trigering so do many other things, why not keep them on the list and let young people read them and decide for themselves how they feel about them? If you still have concerns about how a person may interpret the victim blaming passage on page 108 talk to them about it!

I'd also like to point out that no matter what Bitch did someone was going to complain. If they had kept the books on there would have been complaints, and obviously removing the books was going to cause problems. I think the issue here is how people reacted. It would have been nice if those who objected were able to calmly articulate why they had a problem as opposed to the heated or sometimes childish arguments here.

Over all I'm more dissapointed than the posters here than Bitch itself, no I'm not pleased that a few important books were removed, but there a lot of other worthwhile books on the list and I feel that such a list existing is more imporant than a dispute over a few books. And to the authors that want their books removed, I'm dissapointed in you as well. If not for a list like this I would have never come across your books, and perhaps neither would many of others. By having your books removed you are depriving readers books that relate to or that they resound with, books that could become very important to that persons growth

bravo

For my part, as a long-time and often critical reader of Bitch in its physical and electronic incarnations, I think that your team has handled this matter gracefully at all stages, and that very little reasonable criticism has been levied.

To be flexible and open to having been mistaken is laudable. To review a matter based on outside input is the opposite of cowardly.

You haven't done anything wrong. I think a lot of these riled-up commentators are basing their ideas more on early inaccurate characterizations from your critics than on what you said or did at any point. I think many of them don't know how writing, publishing, ideas, or opinions work, pretty much at all. It is really sad to see such misguided and aimless wailing, when they could all be just happily reading the books they like so much, which certainly no-one has expressed having a problem with them doing.

I won't even say "stay strong," or "hang in there," because if you go ahead and change your mind again, that's what you're here for! You're just a bunch of writers and editors, not a government body or anything, so you are not really accountable to anyone for your subjective opinions on art. You can make your list as weird as you want. Cut off every book I think is great for reasons I think are terrible! So what if you do? You're only contributing to the discourse.

And thank you for doing so.
rljd

From the makers of the list,

From the makers of the list, wherein the decision is made, based on a single complaint, to remove the book (a claim they later backtrack from)

Hi Pandora-

Thanks for bringing this up! I had only heard great reviews of Sister's Red. I was excited to hear it reviewed as a feminist retelling of the sexist and scary Little Red Riding Hood story, and like Ana at The Book Smugglers said, I love a good fairytale retelling. While I read most of the books on this list, there were a few that I just researched, and it appears that my researching skills failed in this instance (kind of like the book failed over at The Book Smugglers -- who sure know how to call out a book on perpetuating rape culture). Thanks for tuning me into this. I'm going to go ahead and remove Sister's Red from the list and replace it with another book.

tender morsels

This book came as a recommendation to us from a few feminists, and while we knew that some of the content was difficult, we weren't tuned into what you've just brought up. A couple of us at the office have decided to spend the rest of our weekend re-considering this choice by reading the book and discussing its place on the list.

Yes, let's spend the weekend reconsidering. Not making an unbiased decision, mind you, but reconsidering.

Yeah, they say they "read and re-read" the three books. I find that less than credible. I find that the decision to pull 100% of the books for which they received complaints, combined with the sheer bulk of literature they'd have to consume, combined with their initially announced decision, before they read and re-read the books, to lead me to one conclusion. They couldn't take the heat of having an offensive book in their list.

"unbiased"

(1) Why should the list, or any thought that goes into developing it, be "unbiased?" There is no objective, platonic list to be uncovered and reported to the people with supreme journalistic devotion to concrete fact! There is just some people saying what they think!

(2) ALL OF THE BOOKS ON THE LIST ARE OFFENSIVE TO ALMOST EVERYONE

unbiased

I didn't, and don't, ask the list be unbiased, that'd be irrational. But, when they themselves purport that their decision is unbiased (the removal decision, that is, not the list as a whole), then I'd expect that to be the case.

2. God, i hope so. Good books frequently are. But, not everyone that was offended by the books asked that their personal whim be implemented. A couple did, and got their wish. Makes the listing less valid, to me, and clearly, to many others. Note, many people have commented on books THEY wouldn't have included, they just didn't ask they be removed. It's that process that makes me question the validity of "their" list.

1 & 2

Where do you find their claim of an unbiased decision?

What <i>validity</i> can a list of recommended books have? How does a valid opinion differ from an invalid one?

I'm sure the published

I'm sure the published authors who requested that their books be removed from this list are pleased to learn that they know nothing about the publishing industry.

what?

Without a quotation from my text, I can't see how that has even the faintest thing to do with anything I wrote in the message of mine to which you are replying.

Since you seem unfamiliar

Since you seem unfamiliar with your own words, here is the reference:

"I think a lot of these riled-up commentators are basing their ideas more on early inaccurate characterizations from your critics than on what you said or did at any point. **I think many of them don't know how writing, publishing, ideas, or opinions work, pretty much at all.**"

Given that several of the "riled-up [sic] commentators" are themselves published authors, <i>including several who have explicitly requested that their books be removed from this list,</i> this assertion on your part is inaccurate to the point of absurdity.

venn diagram of "many" and "several"

Having used the equivocal language "a lot" and "many" when applying that characterization in my quoted statement, I think that for you to respond as though the statement logically encompassed your "several" is a leap, at best.

Whether I think that any of the published authors who have weighed in belong in the category of those who don't know how writing, publishing, ideas or opitions work has yet to be established by anything I've written. I can say, however, that your failure to imagine that someone COULD have been published without ever really getting a grasp on the full scope of the industry there says something for your own candidacy.

You are not doing a good job at making me look stupid with square brackets Latin and false equivalencies. You should try engaging my actual arguments if you want to score internet points.

*chuckles* First, I've

*chuckles*

First, I've probably been on the Internet longer than you've been alive, so I do not need your advice on how to respond to an exaggerated and ridiculous post. Also, you seem to have this peculiar idea that attacking someone who has the audacity to quote your own words back to you is a valid debating tactic.

Very, very sad.

indeed

ellid, like me, you probably thought jesse dangerously was twelve. Unlike you and me, he has a profile here at Bitch. You can see it by clicking on his name.

let us patronize one another just a little more shall we

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that my Internet career is old enough to do:
<ul><li> vote, if it were a person; and<li>cure me of the once-novel idea that verbs in asterisks will either advance any point I'm trying to make or help me to look super cool and nonchalant about whatever's going on.</ul>

And I have been alive for some years longer than that, besides.

I do have good news, however! Being concerned that I had made you very, very sad, I took another look at the post of mine to which you declined to respond when you wrote this little ad hominem side-note, and the upshot is that I didn't attack you by any means. If your idea of an attack is having it pointed out to you that your assumptions are ill-founded, then you have a bad case of the just-not-liking-talking-about-things.

So you know, go ahead and don't talk about things if that's what you'd prefer, but it's not super decorous to pretend that you are trying to talk about things while you do that.

p,s, I'm sorry if it's hard to tell while I'm disagreeing with your posts, but I'm actually being generally very polite and friendly to you.

I think you make more sense

I think you make more sense than probably anyone else here. Thank you.

Why do we value rigidity so much?

I don't really get why in our culture it's seen as the worst thing ever to reassess and change one's mind. I think this perception is a huge problem, and just leads to people digging in their heels behind a lousy position, because it's seen as better to consistently defend a lousy position than to adopt a new one based on new evidence or perspective. Good lord. Isn't that what we *want* people to do?

Point about rigidity

Interesting point about our society in general. The horror of the ol' "flip-flop." True.

But I'd say that in this case it's more relevant to the fact that Bitch has NOW dug in their heels, after removing those three books. They have said that the books WILL NOT be re-added. So that means they are not taking into account the many, many opinions of people who feel the removals were a mistake. (I know that these posters' opinions don't need to be taken into account -- it's Bitch's list -- but I'm among those who think the staff couldn't possibly have read the books, especially Tender Morsels, with close attention in the span of one weekend.)

absolut dictum

Perhaps they would feel more on the cusp of flopping right back over to thence from which they flipped if even one single person protesting their decision to remove any of the books swapped out had yet presented a calm, cogent argument supporting its restoration, rather than a wild-eyed and frothy explosion of rage on principle at anything ever being changed, for any reason, ever.

Some kind of thoughtful petition would probably serve the cause better than unholy outrage, all crayon-writ.

Are you honestly saying this

Are you honestly saying this is what you think the authors who asked for their names to be removed were protesting?

<blockquote> wild-eyed and frothy explosion of rage on principle at anything ever being changed, for any reason, ever.</blockquote>

honestly

Eliminating the things they THINK they're protesting which haven't HAPPENED, yes.

moral fibre tested

I want you to know that in order to give your assertion a fair shake, I just went and read, among other things, the full text of a socratic/sollipsistic/onanistic fake FAQ written by a man who saw fit to entitle his s/s/ofFAQ (on the topic of disagreeing with some feminists on how they should do their feminism) "BitchFest." That is kind of like walking on hot coals, so I hope you will forgive me if I then kind of tripped lightly over the other two and did resort to a little bit of skimming.

So at the risk of being as incapable of any sense of what was intended in those words as an intern ploughing through 960 pages in a weekend...

What I think I just read was a fine collection of arguments in defense of some books not being totally written off as being without value, plus a few apparently reasonable chunks of analysis and counter-analysis forming a fairly healthy venue of discourse around the concerns which some critical readers have expressed with regard to those books, and then a bunch of sort of fluffy, faux-activist rhetoric providing a Hallowe'en costume to dress the bits I just described up as a set of arguments for restoring those books to the list from which they were struck.

No-one who has anything to do with the list ever said anything BAD about any of the books replaced, so none of these arguments defending those books against being BAD have anything to do with the composition of the list. It is not a list of "The Only Books For Young Adults Which Are At All Feminist And/Or Not Shite, No Exceptions." It is not even close to that.

The complexity of purpose and voice

It is impossible in the public eye to make everyone happy. This in mind when you call yourself a library it should not be surprising to be expected to maintain similar standards that librarians do in their decision making, book selection and portrayal in the public sector.

If you do not want to be held to the standards and concepts of librarianship it is best to not put yourself in that position.

Librarians strive to support intellectual freedom and access to information. The concept behind this list was fantastic and fit a huge need for YA readers, to find books that would represent a new generation of feminists in their day to day fiction reading choices. However when faced with dissension rather than recognizing the inability to please everyone and simply sticking by their list choices changes were made. Perhaps the changes came from the simple fact that the list lacked the initial research for them to stand by their choices. This reminds me of the hard work that the Young Adult Library Services Association, a branch of the American Library Association, puts in to create all the lists and recommendations that they do for young adult readers. Their decisions and support of books in the form of lists, awards and honors is never taken lightly and the time that these people put into their choices is represented in the respect that the lists, awards and honors hold within the reading community. Their work is also done on a volunteer basis. So lets not make excuses or try to justify mistakes or keep playing the people pleasing game. Lets get realistic and really contemplate what the original goal of this list was and try to stick with that rather than wavering.

I believe the correct response would have been to stick with the initially published list. Unfortunately removing the titles from the list is an insidious kind of censorship that affects credibility. True libraries and librarians do not censor, they fight against it daily. Libraries have policies in place regarding book challenges and are prepared to fight for the books in their collection. Then when a situation like this comes up they know how to respond, instead of simply removing the title from the list. Re-evaluate your purpose and goals in making this list. If you want it to have any impact it needs credibility, which was lost in the hasty revisions.

Purposes and Goals

I'm curious about what the purpose of this list is. I don't think it's to expose readers to a wide variety of feminist YA literature, because I count at least eight authors who have multiple titles on the list. Authorial intent doesn't seem to matter much. Strong female characters are obviously an important qualifier, but if you were just choosing books with protagonists that fit that label this list would have been much longer, and/or is just picking at random from a list which is thankfully long and varied. Some of the books on this list were feminist touchstones when they were published and are no longer progressive; are they on the list as markers of what they have done for the field? Not that I'm not pleased to see so many queer-themed books on the list- I think many of the books you included are frequently quite good and very moving- but what makes those texts specifically feminist? If they were heterosexual romances, would they still qualify here as explicitly feminist YA literature?

Overall, while I'm grateful a list like this exists, and while I understand that part of the list's goal is brevity, I think that if the purpose of this list is truly to advise young feminist readers, it would be much more beneficial if each book came with a brief annotation explaining what makes that book one of the most feminist out there, and what triggers readers might expect. It would help avoid a lot of the criticism you've received thus far, and it would also be providing a service for smart YA readers that we're not receiving from all the other best-of lists around the blogosphere and in SLJ, Horn Book, Kirkus, and the other critical magazines that, believe it or not, many of us who love YA also read.

In any case, I really hope you'll add back the three titles you removed. Make it the 103 Feminist Titles You Should Read. Follow the texts with asterisks that identify them as potentially upsetting because of rape content. But please recommend the books- if for no other reason, do it because Bitch magazine has always shown that "feminist" and "unquestioning" aren't synonymous and shouldn't have to be.

I also note that a fair

I also note that a fair number of these books aren't especially feminist at all, nor were they originally written as YA books (<i>The Blue Sword</i> may have been a Newberry finalist but it is NOT a YA book nor was it marketed as such when first published, unless every fantasy novel on the stands is secretly for teenagers). If this had been called "100 YA novels that the Bitch editorial staff enjoyed and thinks have feminist content," it would have been much more accurate.

No, not really. It's pretty

No, not really. It's pretty clear the Bitch editorial staff didn't actually read the books. : )

Typical title hyperbole.

In general, titles of things like that are way over-blown and boastful, and I believe them about as much as "World's best burgers!" on every little burger joint in town.

Lists are generally published when a magazine or blog is short of ideas, and don't tend to be that well thought-out, and this seems to have fit that rule.

Your response to a little criticism (whether it was on here or in emails) shows that nobody involved actually had a great deal of confidence in your original choices; it's disappointing that you weren't confident enough in your judgement to actually stand by your picks when they were criticized.

Now, I'm not necessarily saying that it would be wrong to exclude those books from your list in the first place. Every list-maker has standards. The removal so quickly, though, says you did not actually apply those standards with <em>any</em> degree of rigor before publication.

I also have to express my disdain for "triggering" as an excuse to remove any novel. Yes, some things are triggering for those who have had traumatic experiences. It's that very verisimilitude that makes those books powerful and useful, especially for those who have not had those experiences and don't understand on a visceral level those who have, and why they respond the way they do.

Nicely written

But, ultimately irrelevant. It's clear the basis for removal was not the content of the works, but the content of the criticism. How many books were challenged in the comments? 3. How many were "reconsidered?" 3. How many were removed? 3. I guess it's possible this wasn't done out of a fear of offending, but it sure sounds like a duck.

Quick remove these books,

Quick remove these books, they require thought and confrontation of uncomfortable themes, we don't want that sort of thing here at Good Girls Stay in The Kitchen and think Pure Thoughts Magazine. Yes, remove these unwholesome stories, don't you know that if we prevent young girls from reading about rape then it can never happen to them. For goodness sake, what is the 19th Century coming to.

"Bitch Media's mission is to

<p>"Bitch Media's mission is to provide and encourage an empowered, feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture."

</p><p>Well, you certainly blew that one when you removed ,<em>Tender Morsels.</em></p>

I may not agree with editing

I may not agree with editing a recommendation list after it's posted (unless it's to add more books, lol), but I would like to thank you for removing those three books from the list, since it allowed you to put in the exact three books I *would* recommend to any teenage girl. Though honestly, you really should have been more careful about choosing your recs in the first place. The fact that rereading the books made you change your minds about including them tells me that you weren't very familiar with their contents, so why on earth did you put them on a recommended reading list?

In the future, you might want to simply include a trigger warning about the books in question. Personally, I would have really appreciated a warning on <i>Tender Morsels</i> when I first picked it up! (Since it seems rather innocuous, judging by the cover. A 'disturbing content' warning on a previous rec list would have saved me from the rather traumatic experience of reading the first couple of chapters on Amazon.) It does get recommended a lot after all, but very few people mention that it's got repeated, incestuous rape as a main plot point. This strikes me as a rather glaring oversight, so I'm very glad to see that book replaced.

"very few people mention that

"very few people mention that it's got repeated, incestuous rape as a main plot point. This strikes me as a rather glaring oversight, so I'm very glad to see that book replaced."

I would argue that it has *survival* of incestuous rape as a main plot point. Did you read more than the first few chapters?

Thoughts

- Why didn’t Bitch compose this list with care in the first place?
- Because Bitch ostensibly re-investigated these books because of one complaint, does that mean I, just as anonymous and just as valid, can ask Bitch to re-investigate and reconsider? I am asking, by the way.
- In my opinion, Tender Morsels is an incredible novel. As Margo Lanagan has said on her blog, the claims from "Scrumby" are simply not true. Reactions are detailed, and not just subtly—the other characters practically ship Urdda away until she learns to control her magic, which was the sole, uncontrollable cause of the event that has had the book arbitrarily removed from the list.
- Likewise, there is nothing wrong with Living Dead Girl as a work of fiction. There is no evidence for the removal Sisters Red either.
-The use of "triggers" is, again in my opinion, paternalistic and not fitting with the ethos of Bitch. Surely, people, not just women, have 'choice'. As Bitch has admitted, there is nothing otherwise wrong with Tender Morsels and the others, just how they and a small number of posters have judged a tangential part of the book. In my opinion, they have judged incorrectly.
- Did they actually read the book before putting it on their list? This hasn't been confirmed as far as I can see (recommendations, apparently, how not well thought out). Have they actually, all of them, read the books? Going by the timeline, this seems impossible: almost a thousand pages in two days.
- There is no transparency with this situation. Maybe Bitch can't reply to everyone, but some incredibly pertinent points, in my opinion, have trolls as the only responders. Why is it that only a small number of people are defending Bitch against an estimated 200 other posters, and others elsewhere? Why does Bitch judge an emailed response more important?
- I think it would be courteous for Bitch to remove the books of those authors who are embarrassed to have their books listed. I understand, I think, their perspective. Why would they want their books recommended by a list that is so thoughtless, unconsidered, and capricious with what they champion?
- This is not censorship here. It is merely opposed to feminism, which is all about having the ability to choose. It merely parallels how censorship works with libraries and so forth. People can always buy or borrow the books despite this, just like how it would work with libraries. It's merely the removal of materials from public notice that are, in my opinion, completely valuable, because select, apparently superior, few judge that they are obscene or otherwise considered morally questionable without providing any context or other evidence whatsoever.
- I'm not trying to be melodramatic or sarcastic. I would like these questions answered. I would not like to have my post ridiculed like others here, with their pertinent points buried.

The obvious solution to this kerfluffle?

As someone who thinks that both sides have valid points, you know what I think would be an interesting solution to this? A Bitch YA book club. Have a point-counterpoint post for each of the books in question with a) one half written by someone who was triggered or offended by it (and not just someone who is assuming that others <I>might</i> be upset by it) and b) the other half written by the book's author, one of their author acquaintances, or a fan in defense of that book's feminist values. Give your commenters a couple weeks to read each book before the post goes up, and they can all weigh in too!

It's a win-win-win:
- Bitch gets to keep the elevated page views that no doubt spiked in the wake of this drama-fest
- The authors of these books (and all the other offended YA authors out there) will feel like they get a chance to speak on behalf of their book and re-emphasis how feminist it is
- Women who have actually been upset by triggering material will be able to voice their concerns about sharing it with young women who been through the same things they have (and maybe authors both already-published and aspiring will learn something about how to best handle triggering subject matter)
- All your crazy commenters will be frothing at the mouth to continue weighing in
- Bitch can no longer be accused of "censorship" or "shutting down the dialogue" or whatever it is they're being accused of because they'll actively be trying to get people to discuss this subject more

Come on, you know you want to do it!

gosh, 300 or so comments

and it doesn't seem like anyone has noticed how cute the title lettering is or how lovely the layout is. dang.

WOW..I just spent an hour pouring over this link's comments!

Thank you for posting this book review of The Book Thief...I am so intrigued by the contention that almost any of these so called trigger words, phrases, ideas, concepts should in some way dictate the creation of a list and later the deletion of titles. Based on what I just read I am inclined to question the feminist perspective of The Book Thief and whether or not the character Liesel really has the feminist merit to remain on the list, to me she was relegated to supporting character by other voices within the book such as Max and Death.

Thanks for this response!

Not Impressed

I'm just going to say that I agree with a lot of other people on here, and I really don't think that Uglies is a good book to put on this list. I just read Scott Westerfeld's comment, and I fully agree with him.

However, I think a good book to put on this list would be Kiki Strike by Kirsten Miller. It's all about girl power and such.

This is such a heated thread

This is such a heated thread that I'm nervous about adding my tuppence worth. But here goes, I hope the flames don't get too hot for me.

I think the list should have been compiled with more care than it *appears* the editors gave it. I agree with the points about professionalism some of the librarians have been making, although not necessarily with how those points were made. But I'm genuinely torn on whether this should be considered censorship or responsive editing based on valid critique.

A few things that stood out to me about the comment trail here are:
- Sisters Red wasn't removed on the basis of "one comment". The comment about problems with it linked to a review, subsequent discussion and comment by the author herself which prompted further discussion.
- There seems to be a lot of dismissiveness here about the concept of triggers. I really would like to know the editors criteria for considering something sufficiently triggering to remove it, given other material on the list. But it's disappointing to see so many commentors dismissing triggers as over sensitivity. That's not what I expect from a feminist space.
- Being interested in a topic doesn't make you a clique. If there was a YA authors clique I'd have known before reading this article that Scott Westerfield is married to Justine Larbalestier! I am a YA author myself (yes, a real one) and I know lots of other YA authors who are naturally interested in YA reading lists. Just as librarians are. And feminists. Since we, presumably, wouldn't call feminists a clique, let's not lump all YA authors together like that.

Finally, (perhaps proving not all YA authors feel the same?) I don't think authorial intention trumps critical reading. I don't think the author gets to decide what is the correct reading of the text although they should be perfectly free to explain their intention. I also don't think authors get to decide whether they are included or not included in a list of recommendations. I see that the intent is solidarity but unlike the Ellen Hopkins boycott (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/sep/07/authors-boycott-cancels-teen...) I don't think asking to be removed from the list is the best response. A better response, IMO, would be to make your own list of recommendations.

I'm going to do that myself. But since I've only read 17 of the the 100 books on the list I have to go and check out 83 books now. (Oh, and the 3 removed ones, so I can make up my own mind about them.)

just because you are nervous I will echo-chamber you

I think this is a wonderful post.

Amelia Bloomer Project

<p>The whole list has problems. I've read fifteen of these books, and I've got serious doubts about three or four of them being on any list of recommended books, feminist or not.</p>

<p>And really, two books by Tamora Pierce? I've read thirteen of her books and the Trickster pair are by far the weakest, with an unbelievable Mary Sue and a god plugging the plot holes. List some of her good stuff, like the Circle of Magic.</p>

<p>Next time, have each editor list their favorites and say why. Then point people to the Amelia Bloomer Project, a list of feminist literature for youth with clear criteria and experienced referees who spend tons of time.</p>

<p><a href="http://ameliabloomer.wordpress.com/about/amelia-bloomer-project-book-cri... Bloomer criteria</a></p>

<p><a href="http://libr.org/ftf/bloomer.html">Amelia Bloomer lists</a></p>

<p><em>Living Dead Girl</em> made the 2009 Amelia Bloomer List.</p>

"Hi, I'm Walter and...

<p></p><p>...I would have made a different list, using my own opinions instead of yours! &nbsp;Why didn't you do that?"</p><p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Next time, have each editor list their favorites and say why. Then point people to the Amelia Bloomer Project, a list of feminist literature for youth with clear criteria and experienced referees who spend tons of time.</em></p><p><strong>Dude</strong>, make your own magazine with your own list and point people to your own touchstones and stop telling feminists how to do feminism better. &nbsp;Or heck you can even call your magazine <em>How Feminists Should Be Doing Feminism According To Me, A Bossy Man Who Has Feminism All Worked Out</em>&nbsp;and then your all-dude feminist readership will totally know exactly what books men know are the best books to make little girls into better feminists than some books some women recommended this other time.</p><p></p>

Favorites or The Best?

Serves me right for trying to make two points in one post.

Bitch is not clear about what sort of list this is. Is it favorites or authoritative? The into paragraph says "100 of our favorite young adult novels." The web page that introduces it says "100 young adult novels that every feminist should add to the stack of books on their bedside table."

Those are different kinds of list.

If it is a list of favorites, it doesn't make much sense to withdraw books. They liked the books and now they don't?

If it is authoritative, then there are some books on there that I don't think make the cut for "every feminist" to read.

Shoddy Research Much?

The root of the problem is that someone dropped the ball by not properly researching/reading these books before compiling this list in the first place.

I'm disappointed that the method used to compile this list was: "asking some rad feminists which YA books should be on the list". So for all I know you asked the "rad" woman who fixes your coffee--because she seems 'liberal minded or whatever'--what YA books she thinks you should add to your list. I'm not saying this is what you did do, but seeing as you've pretty much come out and said you asked around for book suggestions, how is anyone supposed to take anything you publish seriously, especially after this whole fiasco?

My suggestion? if you didn't read it yourself don't list it. Don't recommend it. Just don't. All of this could have been avoided had you just read the books yourself. One-hundred books is too much to read, you say? Maybe. Or perhaps not. It depends I suppose. But seriously, next time you need to do the work yourself (READ) and/or just simplify--example: Top Ten Books Every Young Feminist Should be Dying to Read THIS YEAR.

Also, you've handled the backlash poorly.

radical feminism

Who do you think the "you" is that you're addressing? Although the article was posted by one woman with one name, the collaborative nature of the list-building process has been fairly openly discussed at all points, in all communication from the writers and editors involved. Collectively, they had all read all of the books. When it came time to review some red-flagged titles, more of them read more of the books.

I don't think you are a reader of Bitch Magazine, or you would not be NOW asking how a reader is supposed to take what they publish seriously when it is so obviously just what some people think about some things. Bitch is a magazine about what just some people think about some things.

Asking some rad feminists (holy cow did you just slag off pink collar jobs in being hypothetically dismissive of what sort of feminist is qualified to think a book is good????) a question and roughly tabulating their responses with the tacit endorsement that comes with thinking they are rad feminists is the level of investigative integrity which defines Bitch Magazine, the magazine which is INVALUABLE for being about what just some people (to wit, feminist-identified women) think about some things.

It doesn't matter that the list was posted before the basis for absolute and final judgement of each title was established for every contributing member of the list-making committee. It is just a list, and it just changed a little, and it means precisely now what it meant before.

The Uglies request

I just want to reiterate that Scott Westerfeld requested that you remove his book "Uglies" and I've noticed you have yet to do so. You need to get on that. It's his book. Maybe you haven't removed it because he's the only one to suggest it. Given your obvious weakness to bitchy blog comments, I figured maybe you would cave if two people were suggesting it.

First, Julie Falk up at Feb

First, Julie Falk up at Feb 2nd, 11:25 AM said they would not be removing any books based on the authors' requests. Second, I count five authors who have requested to be removed. Several other commenters have criticized Bitch for not doing so.

I know the thread is long but you really do have to read the whole thing if you want to talk about it. Otherwise you just display your ignorance.

Not gonna happen.

It is his book, but it's not his list. Authors don't get to choose whether their books are featured or not featured on recommendation lists, just like they don't get to choose whether their books are recommended or not by word-of-mouth. This is exactly what Bitch is doing, except on a larger scale. The Executive Director of Bitch Media HAS responded, definitively stating that books will not be removed according to authors' requests. Nobody needs to "get on that," and nobody is going to.

Hang on, I'm on it. Uglies is

Hang on, I'm on it.

Uglies is very triggering I spent all morning crying into my cat because it reminded me of when I put the wrong colour dye in my hair and looked like totally non-hot. Bitch, how do you expect me to get a man if you trigger me like that.

That should do it.

Bonus points for using

Bonus points for using "bitchy" on a site named Bitch ("obvious weakness to bitchy blog comments"). <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/16/AR200711... is a word we use culturally to describe any woman who is strong, angry, uncompromising and, often, uninterested in pleasing men.</a> So I would <i>hope</i> they would be receptive to bitchy comments - comments made by strong, empowered women.

Or y'know, a woman whose only

Or y'know, a woman whose only purpose is to put out for sex and has been broken in any other meaningful way. Like say, you are the moral guardian's bitch, Bitch.

Yes, the word "bitch" is used

Yes, the word "bitch" is used in rape culture as well. Not only for women; the term "prison bitch" comes to mind. My point is that using the word to degrade the blog commenters is ironic given the site's push to reclaim the word for strong women everywhere.

I sincerely hope your example of "you are the moral guardian's bitch, Bitch" was meant ironically, as using a rape metaphor to describe an internet kerfluffle is not only inaccurate but offensive.

A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty is another good one for older teens.

Important difference

What Bitch has done is not at all like taking a book off a library shelf. It's more like taking a book off a display labeled "Staff's Favorite [Category] Books" and putting it back ON the shelf where one would normally look for it.

I am 100% anti-censorship, but I don't see how this has any relation, especially since Bitch apparently has all the contested books in its OWN library.

As for authors' requests...if they were to "honor" comments saying "I'm totally a writer on your list, so remove me, and, um, these other writers on your list told me to say the same thing"...does everyone see why that wouldn't be smart? Tweets and official blogs are one thing, but it would take a lot of trust in the internet to believe a name with a link, if even that, is who it says it is.

He should know.

The only person I've seen speaking on behalf of another author is Scott Westerfeld for Justine Larbalestier and Maureen Johnson. He has also blogged about it and tweeted about it. He is married to one of them, the former, and the latter has also tweeted, making it clear she wanted off the list. I'm all for skepticism, but really? :)

These folks, Bitch Media, should put whomever they want on their list, but the time to add, exclude, and exchange was before publishing this. Doing this after the fact is just disrespectful, insulting, and paints these people with an unfair brush. Why not go to the authors, see if they wanted to at least speak to the accusations? Why not go to the people who recommended them in the firs place? Why not have a panel who were unaware of the exact nature of the concerns read and decide?

Girls, women, can be strong in all sorts of ways. They can be wrong too. The girl in Tasty Morsels sounds like she didn't actively seek revenge -- she was angry and there was magic, and what happened was an accidental manifestation of her anger. Am I wrong? Are we denying victims or the daughters of victims their anger? In Sisters Red, Scarlett is, well, scarred, and has suffered trauma, and she sees girls who have the luxury of not knowing what lurks in the dark, and she both feels superior to and jealous of their beauty and naivete. Am I wrong in this? Why wouldn't we expect girls, women, to understand that without making the leap to saying this character thinks some girls have it coming to them? In the last book, folk(s?) are concerned it might be triggering as if women are too fragile to read a book description and decide.

I don't understand a feminist site thinking we can't handle complexity, or ambiguity, or choice. I don't get people who try to be apologists for that.

This isn't censorship, no, but it is disrespectful to the authors they praised moments before and disrespectful to, I was going to type :"women," but I think I want to go with sentient beings.

wow

As a reader and a writer, I honestly can't understand the anger here. It's not censorship; it's a RECOMMENDATION LIST. If you're the authors of these books that were taken off the list or a big fan of them, get over it, really. And I'm in awe of these authors who demand that their names be taken off the list. Reminds me of how cops stick together behind the thin blue line.... Non of these authors were banned from libraries or being published, so where's the censorship? Where's the fight? Pick your battles wisely. I may be the minority here, but I will never by books written by these self-righteous authors again. And I will tweet, blog, and tell anyone that will listen to me not to buy their books. Stop worrying about these lists; go and write a decent book, maybe a drink. Gees...

Above comment

Please excuse the typo and other error. I was in a hurry and shocked to take my time...

You seem to be responding to

You seem to be responding to be based on the formatting, but I'm not the author of any of these books and not known to any of the authors. I also never called it censorship. I've read Scott Westerfeld and liked his series, but not a big fan. I bought the removed books after the fact. Other than that, you're batting a thousand.

You ask why the anger will seeming *really* angry. Angry at writers for supporting other writers and making a request. Angry at pretty much everyone that isn't just okie dokie with the decision.

This list

After reading this list and the comments, the first three books I put on hold at the library were the three that were removed. Maybe being removed from the list was the best thing that could've happened to these titles in terms of helping them reach a wider audience. Otherwise they would've just been three out of a hundred. I love a lot of these books, and look forward to reading many of those I don't know. But the first three. Just sayin.

Plus I agree that before you post a list like this, you should be sure about it. Certainly before calling a book one of your favorites, you should have read it.

As many others have noted, if you're removing books from the list because they might trigger someone, I think you'd have to start over. And it would be a really short list.

Finally, since when is Carson McCullers a YA writer? And I'd call many of these titles middle-grade fiction or even children's books, since they both feature and are aimed at people younger than teens: Harriet the Spy, Number the Stars, Out of the Dust, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, and many other great books on this list. Maybe that's splitting hairs, and yeah this isn't my list, and all that, but I think it's helpful to be specific. If you're calling a list YA, shouldn't it be books written for (or at least published for) an audience of young adults, aka teens?

What were you thinking?

People look up to you, Bitch Magazine. All ages, all types of people, mostly women but men too. Lots of people read you and you're widely recommended across the web, across the blogosophere, and along all lines of social media. Somewhere along the way you became a force of journalism and for good or ill, you accepted the responsibility of doing your job well and taking care of your readers. You do a good job. Most of the time.

Before we even get to the book pulling, I have to ask, what were you thinking putting together a list of recommended books without having actually read all the books? Readers trust you. We trust you. When you give us a list of 100 books for the feminist reader, we trust that you can absolutely recommend all 100 books to the feminist reader. If you haven't read them you can't honestly recommend them in the first place, can you? And after we find out you put together a list of books you haven't actually read, well, how can we trust your advice? You've certainly shaken our ability to believe your opinions. How do we know the whole list is solid now that you've "Fixed" it? How do we know any of your lists in the future won't suffer from the same poor quality of "asking some rad feminists which YA books should be on the list."

And then the pulling. I have to tell you, I think it was a bad move. Like I said, people look up to you. They trust you. When we see a few hasty disagreements and then a very hasty list alteration, we start to wonder about what is motivating you to do this. We stop being able to trust quite so easily. At the very least you could have given us some thorough, thought provoking, discussion worthy reasons why you've changed your mind. Not a general "they don't fit" but something richer. Something smarter. Something to get us all talking about the nature of the books in question instead of arguing about book banning and editorializing and throwing around all this anger. You're smart writers, certainly you could have given us smart answers. If anything, your reading of the books should have been a wonderful opportunity to talk about the subjects at hand. Maybe you didn't mean anything by pulling them, Bitch, but suddenly these books aren't for feminist readers and we're all left wondering why you think that way. What's wrong with them? With no real answers, we are left scrambling about. Assumptions are made, and they aren't nice ones.

Finally, it is your list. You say you're all about supporting YA and YA authors, but when authors ask you to remove them from this incident, you should have respected their wishes and done so. That shows support, now you're just looking mean and petulant. You don't have to remove their books, but it is respectful to do so. Maybe you think you're supporting these authors, but I'm willing to bet they are no longer supporting you.

I hope you don't let this go and pretend it never happened. I hope you come back into the ring with some answers, some real reasons, and some good discussion. I hope you mend bridges and don't stand there with your arms crossed saying, "We can do what we want. It's our magazine." I hope we mean more to you than that, because there are a lot of people in these comments that are very unhappy with you and I hope you're willing to talk openly with us. So far you kind of haven't done that.

I personally love the books you pulled. I think they are worthwhile and absolutely worth discussing at length. I think it was a bad decision to pull them. I hope you turn this whole event around and turn it into a positive discussion about tough books. I would even think it might be a good idea to take the whole list down until the whole list can be reviewed and read and considered. Since right now all I know is that you've read 3 of the books and your rad friends helped build the rest. I don't know who your rad friends are. I wonder what their qualifications were. Aside from being rad, of course.

three things

A thing:
Bitch is not a person, Bitch is a publi<s>cation</s>sher, and the clear thrust of all communication about where the titles on the list come from is that someone in or trusted by the organization had read it. So the collective that you address when you talk to Bitch like Bitch is a coherent entity DID read every book. Think of it as similar a book reviews section - usually individual reviews are attributed to the different critics who undertook each title, but if they weren't, and even if they only had (let's say) star ratings, would you presume that one person was responsible for reading and rating all of them? If you learned that a team divided up those duties, would you think they all should have read and rated everything in the first place?

Another thing:
This list is explicitly not compiled for the benefit of the Young Adult AUTHOR but the Young Adult READER. The authors are, ostensibly, a bunch of grown-ups who can perhaps make some effort to take it on the chin a little better than a few of them have demonstrated an instinct for doing when someone doesn't (or does!) think their book is just perfect for this list they have in mind.

A really big other thing:
No qualifications are necessary for thinking a book would be good to read. Don't say things like "Readers trust you. We trust you." while demonstrating neither a shred of trust, nor any particular familiarity with the publication.

Aaarrrggghhh!

Can we get back to books we think should have been on the list in the first place? I understand that many people believe a certain book shouldn't have been removed, but never having read that particular book, I can't contribute. And I MUST contribute.

I mentioned A Tree Grows In Brooklyn in an earlier post, and would also like to see Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear and a few more of Cynthia Voigt's books, specifically The Homecoming and Come a Stranger. Now, I must add a few books to my "to-read" list!

Great idea - add to it, but don't censor it

I think this is an absolutely wonderful list, full of some really great reads. Even though I don't generally read a great deal of YA fiction, I found about a dozen books that I've either read, or are my list.

I have to admit, though, I don't understand the comment strings about certain books not being worthy of the list. Yes, there are always books we'd like to see recognized, but clearly somebody thought these 100 books were worthy too. I see no problem adding to the list, or creating a second 'readers' list comprised of commented books, but let the original list stand . . . don't censor it.

Well...

There is so much to say I hardly know where to begin.

First of all, for the sake of my sanity, I <i>must</i> point out (as others have before me) that this is hardly an example of censorship. Though this is a media outlet certainly making a... claim... about three works of fiction, BitchMedia has every right to those claims, and has hardly limited or restricted access to these works. The list is their own. I do understand that many individuals may base what books they purchase on lists similar to this one (both personally and professionally, in a library or school setting), but there are no rules when it comes to presenting "best of" lists. No obligations whatsoever.

With that said, however, I am still not crazy about the removal of the three titles from the original list. There are so many alternatives to removing the titles (posting a comment with a disclaimer, creating a new list next year, encouraging those readers with alternative suggestions to create and link to their own lists, categorizing the titles into books specifically recommended for younger readers, et cetera) that it seems, well, careless of them to do so. And so, though I don't think that this is censorship, I will admit that the message the publication is sending about the books is pretty negative. It would have been an entirely different ballgame had the books not made the list originally - there are always going to be differing opinions on what to include. The removal based on, what, the suggestions of others and the posters' hindsight? Considering that this is the first list of its kind for BitchMedia, it would have been nice to have the group who contributed stick up for their nominations. What kind of message is this sending to the authors who are present on the list? "We like you insofar as we don't get any crap for placing you here"? It should be an honour to be placed on this list - any list! - and, unfortunately, it seems as though many now feel differently.

Still, more than anything, I would like to emphasize that BitchMedia has done nothing <i>really</i> wrong here. What they did was very disappointing and, perhaps, a little desperate. Certainly I can understand the reactions posted here - I agree with many myself - but the request of authors to have their books removed is also disappointing to me. I understand the strategy behind it but I still believe that the list, however flawed, is BitchMedia's. It was handled poorly. I think the author's sharing their opinions on the subject, without the request, would have been statement enough.

Interesting list, and I can

Interesting list, and I can savely say that I lvoved the few books I read so far from it.
But I think I would have liked it more to see a shorter list with more personal comments why these specific books got included; because that's what I miss with most "best" lists (books, movies or whatever), a chance to get a glimps at the person (or persons) standing behind them, if only by their reasonings.

This list is not a list for

This list is not a list for feminist readers, it is a list for Bitch readers who have been co-opted into believing this commercial crap is relevant feminism. This is a safe list and I wouldn't blame any author for not wanting to be on it.

It's a Shame

Perhaps Bitch media doesn't understand the true meaning of feminism. It's about choice. This is what women in this country and many other countries have either fought for or are still fighting for. Maybe it would be a good time for them to peruse some of literature written by early feminists and some second wave feminists to remember a time when every decision was made for a woman by a male figure. Now I won't use the word censorship or say you don't have the right to do what you did. But just don't make it seem like you are striking a blow for feminism because you are not.

I don't need your protection, bitch

Jeesh, condescend to teenagers much? Why can't you trust us to make our way through these books? Big, strong, listmakers can handle it, but we can't. Hey everyone, try trusting young adult readers!

A Great and Terrible Beauty,

A Great and Terrible Beauty, All-American Girl, Hunger Games, Magic or Madness, Ella Enchanted, Tithe, Trickster's Choice, The Golden Compass, and Uglies are just a few of the books on this list I've read that I thought were wonderfuL! In fact, I read Graceling just last week (loved it) and just this moment put down Behemoth (it was Scott Westerfeld's blog that brought me to this site) and it was INCREDIBLE. I'm definitely pro-darwinist. I wish Deryn would just tell Alek she's a girl, she's making her life so difficult! The more she puts it off the more disconcerting it will be for him. Anyway, now I've finished that I'm just about to pick up Fire (the sequel to Graceling that I rushed my really pissed off mom to the store for yesterday) and I'm psyched for it. Katsa is such a strong, stolid, memorable character, I hope she makes an appearance even though I know she will not be the star of Fire. In fact, all of these books have very strong-minded, independent female front-women, so they were very well-chosen as far as I'm concerned. (Gemma and Felicity (Perhaps not Pippa and Anne so much, hah, hmm I'll have to think on that) , Sam, Katniss, JT and Ree, Ella,Lyra, and Tally). I definitely think Deryn (and even maybe Lilit) should be included on this list as well if those of you on staff haven't read it just yet. It takes spunk to dress as a man to become a British airman on a freaking flying, fabricated whale. Anyway, as for Scott Westerfeld's comments on his blog concerning the recent events on the site...I think it was very noble to make a request pending the removal of fellow authors. I perhaps wouldn't do the same thing in your place, but I do think that the time should be taken at least to understand the general theme of a book and (since this is a feminist listing) the character's traits and personality, before adding it to a compilation that your staff is supposedly recommending.

P.S.
I am so in love with Bovril.

Wow

Jumping in here.

I've read all 424 comments. Yes, I realize I have no life, but nonetheless, Bitch has to please someone. People are upset with Bitch for including books on said list they find very triggering, and others are upset when those books are removed from said list.

They can't please everyone. If they didn't remove the books, they would have upset their readers who were upset with the inclusion of the books. And since they decided to respect those readers' wishes, they've upset the readers who wanted those books to be included.

It's a catch-22. They couldn't do nothing, they had to do something. So they made a choice, and they were inevitably going to offend someone.

I can understand why people would be upset, however, the reaction on all sides seems exaggerated to me. To the people complaining about the inclusion of the three books in question (yes, some books are very triggering, but nonetheless, important to literature because some stories need to be told. I've read American Psycho and found it incredibly disturbing on every level, but I recognize it as an important piece of American literature and despite it making me physically ill at times, I wouldn't demand it to be removed from a list), to the YA authors demanding their works be removed from the list (although I did find it very cool you all responded), to the people comparing it to book banning and censorship, it was all over-the-top. People took things a little too personally. People blew things out of proportion. We saw people saying that using "triggering" was inappropriate and that people should just "deal". Not cool. People saying that life is triggering. Obviously. Ad hominem attacks abound.

Bitch representatives responded. They did the best they could, and decided to listen to the readers who found their list problematic. They had to listen to someone.

This is not censorship

This is an old post, probably soon to be forgotten, but I am outraged by so many of these comments. Do you all even understand what censorship is? These folks are bloggers. They are not banning books. They are not taking books off your library shelf. They are not enacting legislation. They are not telling you what you should or should not do. This is a feminist young adult reading list, and Ashley and everyone else at Bitch has every right to decide what should or should not be included on it. They get to decide what they want to be promoting, and they get to decide what does and does not fit within their core values, or even simply what is not a good fit for their recommended reading list.

They didn't "cave under the pressure of commenters"-- they thoughtfully considered what kinds of messages they wanted to represent, and decided that those three books WERE GREAT, but not what they were looking for. They have no obligation to be silent, bound and neutral about all of this. They can recommend whatever they want. This isn't the say-all, be-all of feminism or young adult literature. Once again, this is a LIST OF BOOKS.

Just because Bitch doesn't recommend your favorite book or film or album in their magazine, is that censorship? Do you believe that there has never once in history been an instance where Bitch was going to run an article, but decided at the last minute not to because they did not feel comfortable promoting the content? Bitch, as I understand it, is all about providing a feminist response to pop culture. They have feminist core values and they make decisions about what they will and will not promote based on those values. They do an awesome job most of the time. If you feel that you have been somehow oppressed by this reading list, then by all means, go explore some feminist media that is actually radical. Frankly, labeling this as censorship is pretty insulting to real free speech issues, and I am pretty appalled by the self-righteousness of some of these YA authors. Please get over it. This is the internet and as much as I'd like to believe otherwise, Bitch Media does not have that much sway in the world....

Couldn't agree more with above

Get over it. You can't have everything. The only censorship I see here is one being put on Bitch by these self-righteous authors and their stupid gangs. Why don't you stop bitching and go write a book worth my money, eh? Bitch does not have the moral, social, political authority and does not have to answer to your "personal" opinions. God, I hate stupid people. You want to see censorship? Go to Iran or China, okay? You'll enjoy plenty over there...

Jacob have I loved?!!!!

should be on here for sure. and as some other people said, RONIA THE ROBBERS DAUGHTER!

Ooooh, "Jacob Have I Loved"!

Ooooh, "Jacob Have I Loved"! I need to revisit that book. I just remember thinking it was SO INTENSE as a child. And the movie! Heartbreaking! Is it all still as heartbreaking as I remember??

Was looking for better books than Twilight

After reading this article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/feb/05/stephenking-fiction?fb=nativ...) on facebook I was inspired to provide a good list of young adult books with strong female characters. This looks like a very promising start. I would like to also recommend Jerry Spinnelli books in general and specifically "Stargirl". I haven't read it in ages, but I remember thinking that I really liked the female lead because she wasn't afraid to be unique. And since racism has been brought up, Spinnelli does a fantastic job of addressing race from a child's perspective in Maniac Magee, one of my favorite books ever. He does a wonderful job in general at addressing stereotypes and finding your true self.
As far as the censorship debate goes, I would say that people's comments have definitely inspired me to check out these books for myself. This is a long list and it's difficult to know where to start! I will just have to start with the "controversial" ones. ^_~

Additional Reads

I just found this list while searching for another article on Bitch's website and have read about a quarter of the titles. I started reviewing the comments to see other suggestions, or which ones were stand out favorites, and was overwhelmed by the back and forth controversy when this list was first posted. I'm not going to touch that issue!

I scanned through most of it and found a few other comments with titles suggested by readers, and wanted to add a few of my own. These are books that I haven't necessarily read recently but found inspiring in a "girls can do anything" or "this helps me understand growing up/coping with the real world" way when I was younger; they might not hold up to a re-reading at this point in my adult life - I fear I would be saddened to find their sentimental and inspirational roles in my young adulthood memories would not be as powerful today - but for all of them there are young female protagonists thinking on their feet and accomplishing a goal. Hopefully if I find time to revisit these with my own daughters one day, even if adult me does not find them as wonderful (I often find myself editing a book I loved as a kid instead of enjoying it), a younger generation will still be inspired. Some of these may have already been mentioned but I missed them with all the other chat. Hopefully if anyone else finds this list like I did and gets to the end of comments, they will have a few more to add to their reading lists....

Z for Zachariah by Robert O’Brien
The President's Daughter by Ellen Emerson White (I think someone mentioned this, but without the author listed)
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Lyddie and The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
Babysitting is a Dangerous Job by Willo Davis Roberts
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Abhorsen series by Garth Nix (this one was also mentioned in another comment)

I am particularly glad that Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, Madeline L'Engle, Cynthia Voigt, Meg Cabot, Judy Blume and Scott Westerfield are already on the list. These are all authors with several works and I read a majority of their books when I had more time in my life to read and loved (or at least liked) all they had to offer. While all the other ones on the list that I have read were good, if these specific authors weren't already featured on the list I would be adding them to this post, which is why I highlight them here. I know that any reading (or music, or movie, etc) list compiled by a person/group will always have more titles that could fit the list than it is possible to include on said list. I just wanted to add some continued reading for any who may be interested. Bitch, thanks for providing a great forum to share knowledge and ideas!

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