Of ceiling wax and cabbages

YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between

Archive for the ‘manga’ Category

Confabulating Beastly Hunger Games*

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Beastly by Alex Flinn The other day I mentioned Beastly by Alex Flinn and mistakenly said it was by Suzanne Collins. I would love to read Beastly by Suzanne Collins, but sadly it’s only available in a parallel universe.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I enjoyed Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (although I only read the first in the series) but her latest The Hunger Games is much darker and thought provoking. I read Beastly and The Hunger Games in quick succession and they morphed into one in my rantings about the Productivity Commission’s report on removal of parallel importation restrictions on books. I said the copy I read was printed in the US. Subsequently I looked more closely at the paperback Beastly and found no mention of where it was printed. I’m pretty sure it’s a US produced book due to the not-so-white paper and a second barcode on the inside front cover, which I don’t think Australian produced books have. Most books state where they were printed, as did the hardback of The Hunger Games I read (printed in the US).

I have a thing for pictures in books (in case you hadn’t noticed) and when a book has no pictures, I have to make do with the cover, thus I’m passionate about cover design. Despite my non-existent design skills, I have an amazing ability to establish just how lacking someone else’s design skills are :P which is what I’m about to do with Beastly and The Hunger Games.

I wasn’t particularly enamoured of the cover designs of either book. They’re both true to their contents but the “futuristic” font of The Hunger Games grated and the rose on Beastly annoyed me. You can’t really see this from the small pic of the cover, but it had some strange texture thing going on, which I obviously didn’t get. The roses in the story are real and the cover rose just looked photocopied. (Spanish cover is way better.) But I don’t hate everything, if you remove the dust jacket of The Hunger Games the golden mocking-jay on the plain binding is stunning.

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Written by ClareSnow

19 July 2009 at 4:33 pm

Filtering is not the answer

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Australia’s Rudd government wants to trial online content filtering through Australian ISPs (Internet Service Providers) as a part of their Plan for Cyber-Safety [1]. Material deemed inappropriate for those under 18 would be blocked, and on the way, adults (who did not opt out) would also be unable to view this content.

Senator Conroy has stated that Australians would be given the opportunity to opt-out, and that the scheme would therefore not be mandatory…

But a network engineer from one of Australia’s leading net suppliers, Internode, has challenged that assertion, arguing that there would be two black-lists. One would contain unsuitable and harmful material for children; the other would include inappropriate material for adults.

Mark Newton of Internode wrote in an online forum:

The much-touted ‘opt-out’ would merely involve switching from blacklist number 1 to blacklist number 2…Regardless of your personal preference, your traffic will pass through the censorship box.

Senator Conroy has since indicated that there would be a two-tier system: a mandatory one that would block all ‘illegal material’ and an optional tier that would block material deemed unsuitable for children, such as pornography. [2]

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Written by ClareSnow

30 October 2008 at 12:53 pm

Yaoi in the Library

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Update: I made a mistake in this post and corrected it 11 June 2009.

I interviewed Librarian Ms Davilak at Hakea Park Public Library for my PhD research. (Names of people and libraries have been changed to ensure confidentiality.)

Yaoi Hakea Park’s graphic novel collection was located in the YA area. When complaints were received about titles in this collection (at that time only from staff members before the title was put on the shelf), the title was investigated and if found to be unsuitable for teenagers, moved to the general (adult) collection and interfiled with ordinary fiction. One such title was manga of the genre Boys’ Love, which has themes of romance and love between two men [1]. This genre is aimed at different age groups, and includes Yaoi, erotic titles aimed at adults [2]. The title at Hakea Park had no explicit material – the two male characters only went as far as kissing. It was deemed to be unsuitable for the YA collection and moved to adult fiction. Young People’s Librarian Ms Davilak felt this outcome was acceptable, because the title had not been removed from the library. It was investigated by four librarians at Hakea Park and deemed suitable for teenagers. Ms Davilak explained, “We all talked about it. We decided that we would leave it where it was.” A fortunate outcome for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) teenagers and those questioning their sexuality who would benefit from finding such material in their YA collection. While Yaoi and Boys’ Love is generally created by and for women and McLelland believes,

Gay men tend not to identify with the beautiful youths in women’s manga and feel that these figures are figments of women’s imaginations. [3]

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Written by ClareSnow

10 October 2008 at 11:38 am

Last Interview

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Last year I interviewed librarians from public and school libraries who have graphic novel collections. One school library didn’t have the time to talk to me before the summer holidays and last week I was able to talk to two members of the library staff. So I’ve finished all my interviews. Yay! I’m still transcribing the recordings and the amount of data I’ve amassed seems daunting. But as with the focus groups, once I’ve coded it in Nvivo it’ll be a lot easier to deal with (computers make things so much easier, sometimes). I’ve just got to finish all the boring transcribing and coding.

The libraries were all very different in the way they handled their graphic novels, how long they’ve had their collections and the use the teenagers/students made of the graphic novels. The growing popularity of manga was shown in the last library, with a lot of their graphic novel use and borrowing coming from manga.

During my last interview I was able to recommend the GNLIB-L email list as a good source of info on graphic novels. It can be a busy list, but it’s useful for news, reviews, recommendations and general questions about graphic novels in libraries. If you ask a question there’s always someone (and usually more than one person) who knows the answer. Last year the address changed and the above link is to the current address.

Written by ClareSnow

5 March 2008 at 2:16 pm


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