In the Teen Lit Classics, Clues

What your childhood reading says about you

Lizzie Skurnick, a writer for and author of 10 Sweet Valley High books, has just published a collection of essays on childrens' and young adult books, Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading. The book is organized into chapters based upon themes-"Still Checked Out-YA Heroines We'll Never Return," "She Comes By It Supernaturally: Girls Who Are Gifted and Talented," and "Panty Lines: I Can't Believe They Let Us Read This." Within each chapter are short essays on various kids' books, set up as "book reports," or "extra credit."Skurnick analyzes the appeal of Judy Blume's Margaret, Harriet the Spy, Claudia from From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and other heroines. The allure of old-fashioned girls sparks devotion in some-"Of all the forms of fetish pornography running rampant in society today, the deepest and most invidious must be that found in all of the stories of young orphaned girls plunked down in splendorous circumstances who proceed to go about returning all the inhabitants thereof to a state of beruffled, wool-stockinged happiness." Others consumed an oddly large number of rape-themed stories-"Without exaggeration, I can say with confidence that any child of the 1970s and 1980s can confirm, in a sizable swath of mainstream TV, they raped everyone."Skurnick writes in jaunty, wink-wink prose punctuated with a heavy dose of all caps. It can get a bit cutesy, but the book offers a non-threatening, girlfriend's-gabbing-over-wine atmosphere of nostalgia for the wistful tween days, when we lay around feeling ugly and fat, reading our first sex scenes. (Ralph shows up throughout the book. You know, that Ralph).Skurnick's teen classics are not mine, save for the gold standard, Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, which, according to guest columnist Meg Cabot, is still popular with many girls, including underprivileged South African girls with whom she spoke (and the startlingly frank Forever is wonderfully limned by Tayari Jones). My favorites from tween and teen days sync with my tomboy tastes at the time, as well as my lifelong amusement at puns. The Phantom Toolbooth is the only answer I have ever been able to give to the question "What is your favorite book?" (Really, should anyone be able to answer this definitely after age 12?). Encyclopedia Brown and Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (sorry to say) were also high on my list at various points, too.Girls identifying with characters from childhood books has become a popular theme since Sonia Sotomayor announced she loved Nancy Drew, which was quickly followed by a slew of other famous women coming out to pledge their Nancy Drew love, too.Let's face it: Declaring your favorite childhood books is a way of staking identity, a code for telling others who you really are. Plucky; Smart; Clever; Independent, says Sotomayor. Neither Girly-Girl nor Middlebrow I say by mine. Boys are not immune to this shortcut to self-expression, either (Adventurous Jack London, anyone?)So which is your favorite from those drowsy days when you did not worry about bills? I cannot imagine many will chose the horridly earnest "problem novels" so popular in YA lit these days. But prove me wrong, especially those of you for whom the tween days are still fresh. Which titles did you brag about having finished in front of your lockers? Which do you mention over beers at a dive bar today, to impress a date? And tell me-or tell your shrink-what do you think they say about you?
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Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

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The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

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"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet
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The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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