In the Media: 18th January 2015

In the media is a weekly round-up of features written by, about or containing female writers that have appeared during the previous week and I think are insightful, interesting and/or thought provoking. Linking to them is not necessarily a sign that I agree with everything that’s said but it’s definitely an indication that they’ve made me think. Also, just a note to make it clear that I’m using the term ‘media’ to include social media, so links to blog posts as well as traditional media are likely.

It’s been another grim week for news. There’s been some insightful commentary from a number of female writers on the big stories though:

Charlie Hebdo and terrorism was written about by Caitlin Moran in The Times; while in The Guardian, Natasha Lehrer wrote ‘The Threat to France’s Jews‘; Hadley Freeman covered the same issue alongside the UK’s antisemitism survey, and Suzanne Moore declared ‘Add faithophobia to my crimes: I have no respect for religions that have little respect for me‘. On Reimagining My Reality, Steph wrote ‘Charlie Hebdo, freedom of speech, and male privilege‘ whilst on Media Diversified, Cristine Edusi wrote, ‘Ongoing terrorism in Nigeria is not a novel, the use of children as human bombs is #WeAreAllNigeria‘.

The Stuart Kerner case was commented on by Janice Turner in The Times; Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian, and Antonia Honeywell on her blog.

The lack of diversity in the Oscar nominees was written about by Roxane Gay in The Butter

And if that’s all made you thoroughly miserable/angry, here’s Sophie Heawood on Clooney’s Golden Globes speech and her daughter’s first day at nursery and Hadley Freeman on ‘How Amy Poehler and Tina Fey made the Golden Globes the first feminist awards ceremony‘ both in The Guardian.

Speaking of award winners, Hilary Mantel’s having another moment with the BBC television adaptation of Wolf Hall beginning this week. She’s in The Guardian, writing about the TV version; while John Mullan, also in The Guardian, profiles her ‘strange and brilliant fiction‘, while Kirstie McCrum tells us ‘What TV series like Wolf Hall can teach us about history‘ on Wales Online.

Joan Didion’s stint as a model for Celine has also been big news again this week. Adrienne LaFrance writes about fashion and loss in Didion’s work for The Atlantic; Molly Fischer tells us ‘Why Loving Joan Didion Is a Trap‘ on The Cut; Lynne Segal talks about ‘Invisible Women‘ in the LRB; Haley Mlotek declared ‘Free Joan Didion‘ in The Awl and Rachel Cooke says ‘That’s so smart‘ in The Observer, while Brainpickings revealed ‘Joan Didion’s Favorite Books of All Time, in a Handwritten Reading List‘.

 

The best of the rest articles/essays:

The interviews:

If you want some fiction/poetry to read:

The lists:

And the best things I’ve read this week:

Through the Woods – Emily Carroll

Not being a big reader of graphic novels/stories, I wouldn’t have picked Emily Carroll’s book up if it wasn’t on the Green Carnation Prize longlist. I had a quick look at it in Foyles and it was so beautiful I bought it.

Through the Woods consists of five stories (and an introduction and conclusion): ‘Our Neighbour’s House’; ‘A Lady’s Hands Are Cold’; ‘His Face All Red’; ‘My Friend Janna’, and ‘The Nesting Place’. Each of the five stories is a horror, most using at least some elements of the gothic genre.

Two themes run throughout the stories: one is the idea of family – what is family? How should families behave? The other is the idea of loss or something being missing or haunted. In some cases this is someone physically disappearing and sometimes returning in some form, in others it is someone who has been possessed by something otherworldly.

The beauty of these stories comes from the gaps that Carroll creates. She doesn’t explain every piece of the tale, the reader is left to piece some elements together using both the text and the pictures. Some are not easily resolved and leave you wondering about different possibilities.

Carroll makes the illustrations part of the stories – nothing is there for decoration, each frame has earned its place – and my, they are beautifully drawn and coloured. Through the Woods is a joy to look at as well as read.

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But be warned: the stories become more intricate and dark as you read through the collection, until the point when they are shit scary (technical term). Don’t read them in the house on your own or just before you go to sleep.

Through the Woods made me think I should venture further into the world of graphic books, particularly if there are others out there as successful as this one. Highly recommended.