Friday, October 24, 2014

What's Caught My Eye: This Week's Links & Quotes & Whatnot

I'm going away for a few days, so I thought I'd leave you with an expanded edition of "What Caught My Eye This Week." This is usually part of my Sunday Salon posts, but I don't think I'll be around the blog much this weekend. (You may find me on Twitter and Instagram, though.)

"Eyecatchers" links & quotes roundup on The 3 Rs Blog

Some of us book bloggers have occasionally joked about "author stalking" at book festivals or on Twitter, but I doubt many of us have ever thought about it going in reverse. Enough people have linked to Kathleen Hale's Guardian essay that I'm not going to bother--I'll just save you a few seconds of Googling--but let's just say that we know differently now.
"A new study from Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life confirms the worst news about online harassment. It is pervasive, endemic, and disproportionately levied against women. What we have done so far to deal with it isn't helping. As horrible as these findings are, do they offer ways to help safeguard ourselves, to be better Internet citizens, or to change the onslaught of harassment and danger? 
"...Women were more likely than men to find their most recent experience with online harassment extremely or very upsetting—38% of harassed women said so of their most recent experience, compared with 17% of harassed men. The harassment levied against women is frightening and creates real stress and impact. This is huge confirmation that what happens online is real, and it is really unsettling to victims. We are so guilty of creating arbitrary lines between on- and offline that don't exist, and this old way of thinking allows us to diminish the injury caused by online harassment. 
"...Up until recently, advocates have been most worried about online harassment that is either an extension of real-life stalking or violence, or is the precursor to offline stalking or death threats. Those threats are dangerous and need our full systemic response. But we also can no longer be expected to shrug off what these Pew findings are telling us about harassment that is born and stays online. It is damaging, it is silencing people from full participation, and it is pernicious."
-- "New Pew Research Confirms the Worst About Online Harassment" by Deb Rox at BlogHer.com

Harassment--on- and off-line--is a key component of the Hale story. Hale's response to perceived online harassment was to turn the situation upside-down and backwards, but this was emphatically not a case where the victim became the victor.

Unless it was. I've been fascinated to see authors reacting to this story very differently than bloggers have. Does the identification of a troll depend on which side of the bridge you're on?
"Responses to this story fell into three general camps. One merely found it a freakishly fascinating yarn about two people with a dysfunctional relationship to the Internet; Hale makes largely unsubstantiated claims that the blogger had triggered a 'ripple effect' of 'vitriol' throughout Goodreads in opposition to her book and that the blogger had mocked Hale in a series of posts on Twitter. Bloggers, reviewers and Goodreads members were appalled by the Guardian essay, and accused Hale of stalking a reader who had done nothing more than give her a bad review. They also condemned the Guardian for publishing the blogger’s (maybe) real name. With authors this nutty running around, the reviewers maintained, it’s little wonder that many of them prefer to blog or review anonymously or behind the screen of a false identity. Lastly, there were also plenty of authors who cheered Hale on for 'exposing a troll,' and for confronting, in the words of one supporter, 'a typical online bully hiding behind anonymity.' 
"...If the horrified response of book bloggers and Goodreads reviewers to Hale’s confession is well-founded, what about the authors and other commentators who felt that Hale was holding a troll accountable for her misdeeds? Most of these did not approve of the author’s visit to the blogger’s home, but they still sympathized with her frustration at being unable to effectively challenge someone she believed had treated her work unfairly. Still other writers — those unfamiliar with the well-networked world of YA authors, reviewers and bloggers — expressed bafflement that anyone would bother to look at their Goodreads reviews in the first place, let alone become so fixated on one of the people who writes them.  
"...It’s worth pointing out that both sides in this conflict feel disadvantaged. The reviewers tend to see successful authors as culturally powerful. (So much of the Internet’s nastiest manifestations come from those who view themselves as underdogs striking back in the only way they can.) Authors, having been told that only word-of-mouth can sell a book, see the worst-case scenario playing out online and believe the reviewers capable of 'ruining' their careers."
--"Battle of the trolls: Kathleen Hale reveals the war raging between authors and readers" by Laura Miller at Salon.com

The Hale story may be a consciousness-raiser for book bloggers, but online harassment is an entrenched problem in other spheres of the Internet, and is all too familiar to women in the tech and gaming sectors. Not being in either, I'm really not qualified to discuss #GamerGate--although I'm happy to save you some Googling on that too--but this leads me to think our problems aren't all that different:
"Does this mean occasionally there will be a review you don’t agree with somewhere? You better believe it. First off, a review, BY DEFINITION, is subjective. It’s one person’s take on a moment in time from their own perspective. If you don’t like it, look at some other reviews. There’s plenty out there!"
--from "Why #Gamergaters Piss Me The F*** Off" by Chris Kluwe on Medium (if you don't read any other links from this post, read this one)

My own feeling is that becoming a citizen of the Internet is accompanied by loss--or surrender--of some degree of privacy, and we need to accept that as part of the online condition. However, we shouldn't expect that loss to threaten our personal safety.
"You get to decide how you interact online. Set up boundaries and feel free to stick with them or change them as you want to. If you want to use your real name on one site and not another, go for it. If you want to share details of your employer, feel free. But also know those choices come with consequences -- I know more than one person who had their employment information easily findable and have had people from the internet contact their bosses about something. I've had situations where someone has been looking for someone with the same name as me, has found my place of employment, and tried running a collection agency through that work place's HR to get my address. HR warned me they weren't looking for me, but told me to be safe and run credit reports anyway (yes, this has happened multiple times).

"You don't owe anything to anyone on the internet.

"You don't have to use a real picture. You don't have to use a real name. You can be inconsistent with your handles. You are the only one who has to have a handle on it, and you can choose those levels of privacy for yourself."
--"7 Steps to Protect Your Privacy As A Blogger (Or As A Person On The Internet, Period)" by Kelly Jensen at Stacked

One of the steps mentioned in Kelly's post is having a dedicated email account for your blog. I have one, and maybe before too long, I'll be accessing it on mobile with Google's new Inbox app. It's currently in invite-only rollout, but I've asked for one. I don't love the Gmail app for iOS, and I really don't like the standard iOS Mail app, so I've been skipping around among different third-party email apps for the last couple of years. If Inbox lives up to its press, I may finally have a mobile mail app I can commit to.

See you next week, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#WordlessWednesday: She Wears Many Hats

#WordlessWednesday Woman With Many Hats on The 3 Rs Blog
Specifically, a fedora, a bowler, and whatever style the one on top is...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Instead of 1000 Words...Happy Anniversary!

A few photos from eight years ago today...some of my happiest memories, colored with love and anticipation of memories we have yet to make, together.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What's What in the Sunday Salon: "Almost" Monday Edition

The Sunday Salon on The 3 Rs Blog

What I’m reading
  • in print / on screen
I finished reading On Immunity this morning. Well, I mostly finished–in full disclosure, I didn’t read through all the endnotes. However, I have a feeling this is another book that will inspire more than one post--this fall has been pretty good for those!--so I may get to them yet.

I'm hoping to finish my galley of Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking this week, and am seriously considering taking nothing but ebooks with me on our upcoming long weekend up on the Central Coast.
  • on audio
I’m past the halfway point of The Magicians. I’m liking it more than I expected to and not minding at all that I’m finding it quite derivative (I wonder if that’s at least somewhat intentional). Friends who’ve read the entire series have given me the impression that it’s improved with each book–so far, I’m glad I decided to start it.

What I’m watching

It’s all about comic-book TV around here lately–ArrowThe FlashAgents of SHIELD. I’m not sure I’m totally sold on Gotham just yet, but we’re hanging in with it. And even though it didn’t originate in comics, I’ll count Doctor Who here–it has the right sensibility, plus it has comic-book spinoffs.

What I’m writing

I’m finding that my “100 Days of Day One” journaling project is taking a little bite out of my desire to write for the blog. It’s like there are some days when I’ve only got so many words, if that makes sense. Along with that, the time factor is always an issue, and it may be even more of one during the next couple of weeks. I’ll be making my best effort to write something every day, but I won’t guarantee how much of it will show up here for the next little while.

BTW and FTR, I’ve only missed one day of journaling since I started the project a month ago this week. I have a variety of entries, including transcribed quotes and little notes recorded while I’m reading a book. I have never kept that kind of “reading journal” before and I’m not sure it’ll stick, but I’m open to seeing how it works out for me.

What caught my eye this week
”No one book, after all, can completely capture the spirit of something so unwieldy as a state. Few—if any—books can even completely capture the spirit of an individual. And yet there are those stories that so beautifully evoke a time and a place and a way of life that it becomes close to impossible to separate the literary perception of a place from its reality—one winds up informing the other. 
”So while some of these stories do indeed paint in rather broad strokes, others speak to singular experiences that still manage to be expansive in their reach. This is the writing we want to celebrate. Several of these books number among the usual suspects of lists of this kind, but many remain anything but widely known. Almost all are fiction and most are novels; some were written for children, but just about every genre is represented. All are literary in voice and spirit; every last one will let you understand a time and place in a more profound way than you maybe thought possible.”
“The Literary United States: A Map of the Best Book for Every State”’ on Brooklyn Magazine’s website. Which book did they choose to speak for your state? What do you think of their pick?
7. Ending a sentence with a preposition: Writing at the Oxford Dictionaries blog, Catherine Soanes refers to the notion that one may not end a sentence with a preposition as “fetish” rather than a rule. And if you’ve ever tried to contort a sentence to avoid ending on a preposition, you might suspect that fetish is linguistic masochism. Like so many rules-that-aren’t-rules, this one gets blamed on Latin-loving English grammarians who thought they could squeeze an English-language peg into a Latin-language hole. Latin infinitives are contained in a single verb; therefore, we must not split infinitives. Latin prepositions must always precede prepositional phrases; therefore, English prepositions must always precede prepositional phrases. Even if you never learned it in school, Latin is still messing with your life.”
—One of “10 Grammar Mistakes People Love To Correct (That Aren’t Actually Wrong)”, via Lifehacker

Gratuitous Photo of the Week

I didn't sign up for this weekend's 24-Hour Readathon, but to my pleasant surprise, I was able to participate unofficially for a few hours of productive reading...and a little snacking.

Fall Readathon photo collage The 3 Rs Blog

Friday, October 17, 2014

#31bookpics, Week 3

I'm cheating a little in this week's collage by including one of next week's photos. Some prompts just aren't a good fit for me, but it's fun to join in when I can. #31bookpics links up each Friday at Quirky Bookworm. The originals of each photo are posted on Instagram.

#31bookpics Week 3 collage The 3 Rs Blog

Thursday, October 16, 2014

(Audio)Book Talk: LANDLINE, by Rainbow Rowell, read by Rebecca Lowman

Rainbow Rowell (Twitter) (Facebook) (Tumblr)
Audiobook read by Rebecca Lowman
St. Martin’s Press (July 2014), Hardcover (ISBN 1250049377 / 9781250049377)
Fiction, 320 pages
Source: Purchased audiobook (Macmillan Audio (July 2014), ISBN 9781427239334; Audible ASIN B00KAG8OZM)

audiobook discussion LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell The 3 Rs Blog

I haven’t been able to pull my thoughts about Rainbow Rowell’s return to adult-audience fiction, Landline, into a thematically coherent whole, so I’m recording my impressions in bullet-point format. Some of these points may be spoilers if you have not yet read the novel, so proceed at your own risk!
  • The characters in Landline have adult lives and and adult concerns, but on the whole, this novel didn’t feel all that different from Rowell’s YA fiction to me. There were some parts, particularly the flashbacks to Georgie and Neal’s relationship during college, that feltvery much like Rowell’s YA fiction. I’m a fan of her work in that category, and I’m still not sure whether I think this should have felt different. That said, the parts that felt more like Rowell’s YA work felt more convincing and authentic to me.
  • One element of the novel that did feel authentic to me, if not entirely convincing, was Georgie and Seth’s friendship. I found it very interesting that Rowell gave her protagonist a “best friend” that she couldn’t really talk to about anything too personal—I don’t think I see that in fiction very often. But I don’t see best-friend relationships between straight, married women and straight, unmarried men in fiction very often either, and I thought the boundaries in this particular friendship—largely defined by work, and a source of friction in Georgie’s marriage—were realistic.
  • Any consideration of what’s “realistic” in Landline has to come back around to the novel’s central device: the “time-traveling telephone.” I realize that it’s essentially the basis for the story, but I’m not sure the story needed to be structured around it. As Rowell reveals Georgie and Neal’s relationship, the conflict between them becomes clear enough, and it absolutely makes sense that Georgie would be reflecting on their history and its impact on their future during a week of separation even if she weren’t having telephone conversations with the Neal of fifteen years earlier.
  • I had the opportunity to read Landline in print, but I chose the audiobook version instead, and I’m very glad I did. The pairing of author Rainbow Rowell and narrator Rebecca Lowman has become one of my favorites, and I think Lowman’s work here is some of the very best I’ve heard from her. As you may have gathered by now, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the novel, but the quality of the audio performance helped me set aside some of my issues with the material.
Rating: Book, 3.5 of 5; Audio, 4 of 5

Book description, from the publisher’s website:
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now. Maybe that was always beside the point.
Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her—Neal is always a little upset with Georgie—but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her.
When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.
That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts… .
Is that what she’s supposed to do?
Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Opening Lines:

"Georgie pulled into the driveway, swerving to miss a bike.

"Neal never made Alice put it away.

"Apparently bicycles never got stolen back in Nebraska—and people never tried to break in to your house. Neal didn’t even lock the front door most nights until after Georgie came home, though she’d told him that was like putting a sign in the yard that said PLEASE ROB US AT GUNPOINT. ‘No,’ he’d said. ‘That would be different, I think.’

"She hauled the bike up onto the porch and opened the (unlocked) door.

"The lights were off in the living room, but the TV was still on. Alice had fallen asleep on the couch watching Pink Panther cartoons. Georgie went to turn it off and stumbled over a bowl of milk sitting on the floor. There was a stack of laundry folded on the coffee table—she grabbed whatever was on the top to wipe it up.

“When Neal stepped into the archway between the living room and the dining room, Georgie was crouched on the floor, sopping up milk with a pair of her own underwear.”

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#WordlessWednesday: Here Comes #Readathon

I have to skip the Fall edition of Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon this Saturday, so I thought I'd collage some Mini-Challenge photos from last Spring.

#WordlessWednesday #Readathon photo collage The 3 Rs Blog