Critical Linking: December 7, 2014

The best books cast a spell over readers, inviting them to forget that the world they’re invested in is the result of the author’s imagination. But this becomes exponentially harder to do when novelists decide to write themselves into their fiction, breaking the trance and reminding everyone there is no magic in the world. It’s somewhat cruel. Here are seven examples where fictional characters literally met their maker.

It’s 7 men who wrote themselves into their own work. Is there a word for writing yourself into your own books?


So she wrote to Abdo, telling the publisher that “I really enjoyed the section on Glow in the Dark bugs and the quizzes at the end”, but that “when I saw the back cover title, it said ‘Biggest Baddest Books for Boys’ and it made me very unhappy. It made me very sad because there’s no such thing as a boy book. You should change from ‘Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys’ into ‘Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys and Girls’ because some girls would like to be entomologists too.”

According to the local paper, the publisher responded and told her she had made “a very good point”. “After all, girls can like ‘boy’ things too,” wrote Abdo, adding that it had “decided to take your advice”.

Kudos to the publisher for removing the “for boys” bit in the title. Let’s maybe just not do it at all in the future.

____________________ recently asked 49th Shelf to work with them to compile a list of 100 Canadian Books to Read in a Lifetime, with the idea of arriving at a broad selection of books that would help to expose readers to a wider range of Canadian writing.

Want to read more Canadian books? This list is pretty diverse.



A report on what kids want to be reading in their free time — with nifty infographic.


“The classics offer a chance to submerge ourselves in another time, in another kind of language, which might sound somewhat disconcerting, but might also be exciting,” Lentge said. She added: “I think one should really consider whether instances like this can’t be handled by some kind of annotation, a forward or an epilogue by a children’s book expert who could put the work in its historical context.”

Nel also comes down on the side of leaving the books as they are. “If we exclude troubling works from the discussion, then children are more likely to face sadness and pain on their own,” he wrote. “It is, I think, better that we give them the tools with which to face prejudice-bearing literature. In doing so, we can help them learn to cope with a world that can be neither just nor fair. With this knowledge, perhaps we may also give them a source of power.”

Should children’s classics that have problematic content be sanitized?


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