Skip to main content

Baltimore Book Festival Saturday, September 29, 2018

Where Are All the Asian Beach Reads?
Moderator: Aesthetic Distance's Eliza Romero
Panelists: Jay ( - apologies for missing his last name - in for Dr. Tamara Bhalla), Sunny J. Reed, Vanessa Ulrich, Keith Chow 

Middle-brow literature determines current cultural baselines.
Accessibility to inclusive middle-brow lit is essential for the diaspora of readers.
Incompetent diversity in casts of characters sucks a bushel of lemons.
Transracial adoption and racial mirroring are underrepresented in middle-brow lit.

Book rec's:
The Private Citizens
Free Food for Millionaires

Some of the panelists' media content:
Nerds of Color
Sunny J. Reed blog
Plan A Magazine
Primpy Sheep

Afrofuturism: Black Panther, Janelle Monae, and the Spaces in Between 
Moderator: Justina Ireland, author of Dead Nation and editor(?) of Fiyah Magazine 
Panelists: Bill Campbell (Rosarium Publishing), Kosoko Jackson, Irette Y. Patterson, L. Penelope

Reimagining the past to imagine the future sometimes reclaims a more accurate accounting of history, especially when discovering people and their contributions that have been erased from the official record.

Book rec's:
Zone One  
Christian Storm Punches a Hole in the Sky 
On the Comeup
works by Stephen Barnes
and by Eden Royce

Writers & the Legacy of Black Panther 
Moderator: L. Penelope
Panelists: Cheryl Barton, Dawn Ibanez, Denny S. Bryce, J.L. Lora, Xio Axelrod

T'Challa embodies a black man in complete hero mode in conflict with Killmonger as a nuanced villian whose arguments have a some merit.
There's a range of fully developed female characters who are feminine and powerful without mimicking toxic masculinity.
Diversity is not a trend!

Authors' inspirations:
L.A. Banks
Brenda Jackson
Anne Rice
Octavia Butler
Robin Covington
Sandra Brown
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Gloria Naylor

Love and Lies: Contemporary Romance 
Panelists: Stoni Alexander, Christi Barth, Andi J. Christopher, Nancy C. Weeks, Kate Clayborn

Things that made people say, "Hmmm."
Why does the fake relationship trope endure?

  • forced to spend time together 
  • permission to flirt 
  • extra access to who the other person is 
  • team work  
The secret baby debate got heated between its fans and its haters with valid reasoning on both sides. 
The panelists agreed that the secondary characters were essential as mirrors for the primary characters, and as safe places where deceitful characters are able to tell the truth. Otherwise, the deceitful characters are irredeemable. 

Moderator: Marianne Kirby 
Panelists: Kosoko Jackson, KJ Kabza, Sam J. Miller, Nibedita Sen, K.M. Szpara  

Writing for a mainstream audience versus a queer one 
The expectation for marginalized authors to educate mainstream/majority readers 

Queer canon suggestions: 
Tensorate series by J.Y. Yang 
Sadie by Courtney Summers 
Sam J. Miller quote: "As far as I'm concerned Octavia Butler is the queer canon. And everyone else is extra." 
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany 
K.M. Szpara recommended works by Sam J. Miller 
works by Cecilia Tan with her own Circlet Press 
M.K. Jameson works where queerness is an element in the world building without being the focus. 
That Inevitable Victorian Thing 

CityLit Stage 
Honorable mention to Christen B.'s outstanding musical performance. Her voice evokes an emotional range of expression. 

Disclaimer: My brain was still in vacation mode after a glorious stay in Kiawah Island, S.C. until Friday 9/28. Add that fact into the background noise of fellow booklovers and a construction truck next to the Maryland Romance Writers Stage and there are probably a few misspellings and other mistakes. Please accept my apologies for any errors. 


Popular posts from this blog

Howl At the Moon, Give Yourself a Break & Get Your Freak On

Forever Wolf by Maria Vale Sourcebooks Casablanca  March 2019 While comparisons to Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong are appropriate, Maria Vale establishes a distinctive depth and range of storytelling excellence in her Legend of All Wolves series that is unique in its artistry. As the third entry, Forever Wolf continues the pattern of transcending the boundaries of the paranormal shape-shifting genre by creating more poignant character sketches of compelling individuals who embody a variety of multifaceted points of view about how to survive. That shared intention is just one of many ways in which Forever Wolf exudes its primal energy. Varya and Eyulf’s story progresses like a heartrending blend of ballad, dirge, and warriors’ battle cries. Seraphina Does Everything by Melissa Gratias; Sue Cornelison, illus. National Center for Youth Issues  April 2019 At a time when privileged kids are over-scheduled and internalizing society’s constant, dema

Celebrating You & Breaking Through in 2021, Plus Romance

Is last year's bumper crop of lemons the main ingredient for this year's success?  Here's a book with plenty of reasons why yes is the answer.  Rethink, Smashing the Myths of Women in Business   Andi Simon, Ph.D.   Non-fiction business biography  Fast Company Press (Greenleaf Book Group, distributor)   January 5, 2021   At a time when the world is reeling from being forced to improvise almost everything on a daily basis, Rethink profiles eleven women, including the author, whose lives and professional careers are prime examples of adaptability that defy entrenched gendered expectations. Invisible barriers to achievement in science, management, finance, and other industries are examined through the lenses of these accomplished women's experiences. Their profiles make for compelling reading and comprise the majority of the text, which is its strength. Notable reading frustrations include points of view and blanket statements that reinforce a narrow focus on a hetero, priv

#HunkerDown Reading

Resistant by Rachael Sparks Spark Press 2018 Sci-fi surrealism Is this author clairvoyant? Or as a scientist has she extrapolated a possible future based on current facts? In Resistant, it's 2041 and fifteen percent of the human population is dead from being infected by an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Sound eerily relevant? Sure, COVID-19 is a virus, but the template for this imaginary manmade catastrophe bears striking similarities to the world's present-day reality. Die-off survivor and microbiology student Aurora “Rory" Stevigson lives with her climatologist father Byron Stevigson on an apple farm in Massachusetts. Their grief over the loss of Dr. Persephone Tyler-Stevigson shadows their playful father-daughter rapport as they struggle to heal themselves while also helping others in their isolated community. When a mysterious man who introduces himself as Navy appears, everything Rory believed about her life becomes questionable, which puts her in danger. Her