Discover more from Stacked Thoughts from Kelly Jensen
Links to Click: November 3, 2023
Let's talk about Britney, therapy, the Bard, and more.
It has been a week. Has it been a week for you, too? Between unexpectedly needing to buy a real bed for my crib-escaping toddler and needing to unexpectedly buy her a winter coat now because we went from 80 degrees to the upper 20s in days, it’s been a lot of running around and a lot of spending money.
I’m going to take this week off a long newsletter on Sunday, as the piece I am working on isn’t quite finished. I don’t have the capacity to get it done and don’t want to push to do it. It’s a mental health essay and an essay on censorship, but also an essay on social media and on being a competent adult and what it is to change habits. Maybe next week! Maybe the week following! In any case, I do have some links this week to share. Most are my own, since I have done a lot of writing and podcasting.
Let’s get into it.
My work this week
Over on, I talked about another cross tab on the EveryLibrary x Book Riot survey on parental perceptions of the public library. Is there a correlation between the folks who do not know how books get onto library shelves and a tendency to believe LGBTQ+ books are damaging to young people? That they should never have access to LGBTQ+ books? Perhaps the right’s talking points are doing even more harm than we thought.
Last week was Prison Banned Books Week. Here’s why it is essential to talk about the largest perpetrators of censorship–prisons–and a roundup of some incredible reading about prison book bans.
The Prom musical is back on at Hampshire High School in Illinois. I do not think this is going to be the end of this story, unfortunately, as I’ve gotten some privileged information about what’s happened in the last week. I had a realization this week that part of my feeling so burnt out and exhausted lately is having so much information other people do not have–and which is not mine to tell–about ongoing censorship stories. It is a lot to carry and it is also a lot to know other people sometimes do not want to believe you when you say to not get too excited or too enthusiastic. It’s not because I’m a killjoy. There’s just more to the story.
Two new studies on American book-owning and reading habits came out in the last week. Dig in and see where/how you stack up to other people.
For fun, I asked AI to write a couple of scary stories about book banning for Halloween and honestly, they’re not far from reality.
Also for fun, I did a very quick and dirty look at celebrity memoir sales for the last few years to see how Britney’s 1.1 million copies being sold in the first week stacks up.
Speaking of Britney, I was on this week’s Book Riot Podcast talking about all things The Woman in Me and why I know the girl has gone to therapy. . . and what one of the things I hope she works on in therapy is.
It was also my week to cohost the All The Books podcast. I’m highlighting several new horror books and YA books for your TBR.
I’ve got the cover story for November’s issue of School Library Journal. The piece itself just published online here, but I need you to also appreciate the incredible art here by Marcos Chin. I think it captures the story so well, which is about how inclusive and creative Shakespeare has been explored in the world of YA. Easily, one of the most fun stories I’ve written in a while.
What I’ve Consumed This Week
One of the big censorship stories making the rounds in the media this week was about new research on how book bans in some states have increased circulation of those books both in those states and beyond. As soon as I began to read the spins from outlets on this, I knew I needed to find the study itself. Let’s just say the methodology leaves a lot to be desired and that it tells you what you would expect to know being a person who understands patterns. Books that get talked about more get borrowed more. So, sure, Gender Queer circulates. But what about the other 86% of books? I won’t get into how the Streisand Effect won’t save us (my colleague Danika did that) and I won’t get into how using Goodreads as any kind of metric is silly. As the incomparable Michael Hobbs says, one reason people think he is so smart is he reads the studies or papers that the media cherry picks. I invite you to do that here–it’s not a bad study but it doesn’t add anything new nor does it make sense why it has gotten so much press.
NPR talks about how many friends American adults have. I have a good handful of people I consider close friends, as well as a sizable number of people I consider friends, period. I don’t think I felt this way in my 20s, but my 30s have been a game-changer for understand what friendship truly is.
Speaking of friends, my best friend loves vintage cookbooks, especially of the Jell-o variety. Enjoy this interesting look at making the (disgusting) recipes of the 1950s from such cookbooks. You will indeed find “aspic” in your control + F search.
Cats, I tell you. I believe that they have this many facial expressions.
I finished listening to Taylor Lorenz’s Extremely Online this week as well and it made me realize how much my own experiences in the internet world will be so beneficial as a future therapist. I didn’t think the book was incredible or especially mind-boggling, but I’ve been in this world enough to know how much it glosses over or decontextualizes, only because it tries to cover so much. It’s not bad, though! The audio production is solid, with Emily Tremaine performing.
All right, y’all. See you next week!