Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Julia Rants about Barbie and Technology

I don’t bring you a review. I had a book in mind but to do a View from Page Thirty from, but another crisis has been brought to my attention: Barbie. “Barbie? What does a child’s toy have to do with book site?” Well Barbie, in its ever growing empire, has spread to books. I am sure that there were Barbie books when I was a kid, but I never remember them being as bad as this.

I still really like this doll. Fun fact!
Her shirt is in binary and spells out
Barbie over and over.

The internet has been a flutter today and yesterday about I Can Be a Computer Engineer by Susan Marenco where Barbie is supposed to go through a fun story about Computer Engineering. In summary, Barbie is designing a game but doesn’t actually code it instead offloading that to the boys to do. She also breaks her and her sisters computer by infecting them with a virus that wipes design and Skipper's homework and music library. The boys fix that, too. Then in the end, in probably the cherry on top of this frosted cake wreck is Barbie taking all the credit in the end for fixing her sisters computer and for the coded game. The Amazon reviews are worth reading for this one.

It’s just so frustrating. So frustrating. I graduated college with a computer science degree. Do you know how many women were in my program and the computer engineering program put together? On average, three to five. At any point it was usually around three. This was in a computer department of about 100 I'd say. 

This is a new phenomenon. Computing was women’swork in the 1950s. The first computer language was written by a woman, Ada Lovelace. But something happen in the mid-eighties that just killed women going into computing. 

The NPR piece where this graphic comes from, When Women Stopped Codingis a great listen on that phenomena, but in general it’s because of schlock like this book getting into the hands of little girls.

It’s subconscious the way society turns girls away from technology. I don’t think people are honestly thinking, “We really don’t want more women in computing.” That’s silly. But the online harassment from women who show their faces in a coding forum, or the fact that we have to prove that we know what we are doing… it’s so sad. The original blog post from had this quote that I thought summed up the thoughts around this well. For context, Steven and Brian are the two guys who Barbie turns to helping fix her computers:

Steven and Brian are nice guys, I’m sure. But Steven and Brian are also everything frustrating about the tech industry. Steven and Brian represent the tech industry assumption that only men make meaningful contributions. Men fix this, men drive this and men take control to finish this. Steven and Brian don’t value design as much as code. Steven and Brian represent every time I was talked over and interrupted — every time I didn’t post a code solution in a forum because I didn’t want to spend the next 72 years defending it. Steven and Brian make more money than I do for doing the same thing. And at the same time, Steven and Brian are nice guys. 
The issue is not on a micro level, it’s on a macro level. It’s the fact that Barbie can’t just be a software developer, she designs but doesn’t code. It’s the fact that after six years of marvel movies, we have yet to have a female lead. It’s the fact that LEGO released its special “girl colored” line with “girl approved” activities. It’s the male dominated society. I am sure it is better in some aspects than it was in previous generations, but when it comes to women persuing careers and passions in technology, we are going backwards.

I want to conclude with a plea. If a little girl is interested in technology, foster it. Get her some Goldieblox to help with engineering skills. Check out books that feature women doing things for themselves. A great resource for this for books and other media is A Mighty Girl. Lists and lists of female empowerment focused lit and other products!

I stumbled into computer science because I enjoyed creating and maintaining a Geocities webpage when I was younger. I didn't know it was something that not many girls did until I got to my first programming class. I am not a coder today but still work in technology, and it is an uphill battle sometimes. So I guess I’ll end this with a cool resource that I know of that we used for our GEMS (Girls in Engineering Math and Science) summer camp for beginning programming. It’s a language called Alice and it’s free. It teaches basic programming skills while using cool graphics and not just boring code. You actually get to see the code in action.

Link me up with your own ideas for great literature or other media for young girls looking to foster their love for technology! It is close to Christmas… :)

Update: So the internet has been taking this book and fixing it to make it more something real computer engineer Barbie would say. Also apparently the writers of the original blog post are going to be on Good Morning America tomorrow so clearly this ruffled some feathers. The rewriting of the book is making me laugh at this sad situation. The twitter hashtag is #feministhackerbarbie

Make your own corrections to this book with this awesome website!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Sequels Daisy Can't Wait To Get

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

1. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon: so this is cheating a bit since I've already read and loved it, due to Debby generously loaning me her ARC, but I can't wait to get my own finished copy! Also, you should all read it, cause it's REALLY good.

2. Untitled Throne of Glass #4 by Sarah J. Maas: I NEED THIS!!! Heir of Fire left me with ALL THE FEELS and I need MORE. The wait is KILLING ME! If you want to see me rave and go crazy fangirl over Heir of Fire, here's my review.

3. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson: I absolutely loved The Kiss of Deception, so I need the sequel in my life to find out what happens next!

4. Half the World by Joe Abercrombie: Half a King was beyond amazing and I love Yarvi so much! He reminds me of Tyrion and that's not a comparison I make lightly. Go forth and read this.

5. The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn: so technically this might not count as a sequel, but it's the 4th instalment in the Smythe-Smith Quartet and I just love Julia Quinn's writing!

6. Emeralds & Ashes by Leila Rasheed: young adult historical fiction done absolutely right! I LOVE this series! Sad that this will be the last book...

7. Ensnared by A.G. Howard: THIS SERIES YOU GUYS!! There is no end to my love for it and the characters and MORPHEUS and just GIVE IT TO ME NOOOOOOWWWWWW!!! Also: how will I recover once this series is finished???

8. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: These Broken Stars tugged on all my feelings, even if I was hesitant to read it cause I'm not really all that into books set in space and weird planets and all that, but it was SO GOOD. So This Shattered World is gonna get lots of hugs when it arrives in my mailbox!

9. Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss: Patrick Rothfuss is just a genius, he has a way of storytelling that is brilliant and captivating and just perfect. So please can this no doubt amazing book get released so I can love the crap out of it?

10. The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin: you didn't seriously think I'd leave this off the list, did you? Full disclosure: I haven't read A Dance With Dragons yet, but that's partly because I know the wait for Winds of Winter will be EXCRUCIATING. I respect brilliance takes time, but I can't help but want to series to be completed because I am so invested in all these characters!

So that's it for me, what's on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up in the community where we provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to! Just please link back to us if you are participating :)

To join, link up below with the URL to your blog POST (not your blog), your name and your email (which will remain hidden). Then bounce around the Linky!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Do you write in books?

I don't just mean textbooks, or books you have to read (and/or write in) for class. (When I was a senior in high school, we were required to purchase our outside reading books and hand them in with the notes we had made in the margins. It was a bad time.) Do you write in your own personal read-for-pleasure books?

I can't decide how I feel about this. On the one hand, I think it would be nice to have an easier way to go back to passages that I liked or that moved me; I always find myself thinking, "Well, I know it was somewhere in the 200s, and it was in the middle of the page on the left-hand side..." and if I had just underlined the darn thing I wouldn't be having that problem. There's also a lot to be said for leaving your mark on a book; do we really own something if we don't make it 100% ours? 

On the other hand, what if your book is a first-edition hardcover, and might one day be valuable? Do you get a paperback copy to write in, or do you write in your hardcover? What if you're really terrible at underlining and always end up going through the words instead of under them? (No, I'm totally not talking about myself, what do you mean...) What if the margins of the book are small and you can't write all the notes you want to, and it ends up looking all sloppy and terrible?? What then??

Why would you do this? Why?!

In case you couldn't infer from above, I am not a book-writer-inner. For the most part, I like my books to stay pristine and unmarkedmostly because I don't trust myself to mark them well or neatly. I remember finding my old copies of Wuthering Heights and The Picture of Dorian Gray from high school and thinking, "Why would she make us ruin a book like this?"

I can see where it's helpful for some people, especially if something really touches you and you want to remember it. I know one of my friends from high school would write in her books, but in very light pencil so that, upon rereading, she might not even notice what she had underlined before. And unlike some other things related to books, I totally won't judge if you're a book-writer-inner. It's just not my style—I don't want to reread my notes every time I read a book. If there was a way I could scan stuff from my books, sort of how you can highlight and make notes on a kindle, that would be ideal for me, I think. Having a single document with all my notes (and page numbers!) would be awesome, and the pages of my book could remain clean. But alas, such technology doesn't exist. (Yet, anyway—who wants to get on developing that for me?)

How about you? Do you write in books? 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tahleen reviews: "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow on Audio

9809033Title: Little Brother
Author: Cory Doctorow
Publisher: Listening Library, 2008
Narrator: Kirby Heyborne

Rating: 4 stars

Marcus Yallow, aka W1N5TON, is pretty much a normal teen, albeit one who enjoys mass multiplayer online role playing games, LARPing, hacking, and all kinds of computer technology stuff. He also has no qualms about cutting school to further along the gaming competition he and a few of his friends are in the middle of. That is, until the worst terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 happens in their hometown of San Francisco. After being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting picked up by Homeland Security, held for days in a prison while being questioned and humiliated, and finally getting released with the warning that if he talks they will come for him, he is forever changed. He and his friends, one of whom is still missing, must go on with their lives pretending like nothing happened. But Marcus has other ideas. Eventually, he wants to fight back and get some payback on Homeland Security for what they are still doing in his city, stripping what they once considered basic freedoms that they had taken for granted.

I would almost hesitate to call this book dystopian, since it's not really that; it's more like science fiction or speculative fiction, as this is something that possibly could happen in the future. And it is terrifying. I can very easily see this happening in our country, and it's very scary to think about.

What follows the attack mentioned above in the summary is a look at America sans freedom, America where all Internet use is closely monitored, where every move you make is put under a microscope. People are arrested for simply talking about things. It's very 1984. We are already part of the way there; I truly hope we never make it this far. It's a sobering thought, and this is a very important book for showing how we could get there.

I will say there is a lot of technical description, as well as other explanations of what things are and how they work, which might put off some people. As I listened to the audiobook while running, it didn't really bother me since I could zone out a bit while having the book go on. I was able to pay attention for most of it without getting bored though. And speaking of narration, Kirby Heyborne is great. As many of you already know.

Disclaimer: I got this audiobook out from the public library through OverDrive.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Characters You Wish Would Get Their OWN Book

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Due to a scheduling mishap WE don't have a Top Ten Tuesday list today so unintentional vacation from TTT this week for us? But we can't wait to see YOUR lists!!

Also, reminder: our 5th annual Secret Santa signups end this week! You have BEFORE Friday to get it in! We hope you will join us!! :)

And while we are at it: if you have any TTT list ideas (maybe that you used for a freebie or a twist you did on a topic) please share! I can't guarantee that we will use it (sometimes things are a good idea but don't have a general appeal) or that we haven't already done it (seriously, 4.5 years of TTT we have done a LOT of things). But holler if you have a new idea or REALLY want to revisit a topic..which we usually DO after a couple years.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 10/26 - 11/8

Daisy's Book Haul


I went to Boekenfestijn last week (which is basically lots of books on sale that I can't resist grabbing) and bought a LOT of books...
-The Sorcerer Heir by Cinda Williams Chima: I still haven't started this series, I'm embarassed to say, but I loved her Seven Realms series so much that this has to be amazing as well.
-The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss: AND IT IS SIGNED, HOORAY!! Due to the awesomeness that is The American Book Center and in particular one of their employees Tiemen, I managed to get a signed edition of this pretty and I've just been hugging it :)
-Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle: because Debby is awesome, she gave me this book after she read it, and as I really loved When You Were Mine, I hope this one will make me smile as well.
-Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Lawson: and because Debby is double awesome, she also gave me this one :) It sounds like just my kind of book!
-Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black: I had this for review on NetGalley, and the cover is so pretty...
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer volume 3 by Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder, Kirsten Beyer, Joss Whedon: I couldn't help myself, I'm a Buffy fan and it was just begging me to take it home. I'm sad they didn't have the first two volumes cause it feels weird just having the third.
-Poison Heart by S.B. Hayes: I'm not really sure of this one, but it sounded good and I just impulse bought it cause that's what one does at Boekenfestijn.
-Paper Cuts by Sandy Rideout and Yvonne Collins: I mostly picked this up because it looked cute and it matched the cover for Love Inc (again: as one does at Boekenfestijn).
-Spellwright by Blake Charlton: I'm intrigued by what I think is dyxlexia affecting a wizard in training, this should be good.
-City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare: I haven't started this series yet and I feel that I should read it, so I'm just giving into the urge to buy a complete series and then reading it. Someday.

-Love Inc by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout: this has been on my wishlist for a LONG time and suddenly it was just lying there at Boekenfestijn and I grabbed it. It sounds really cute!
-Making Your Mind Up by Jill Mansell: I love Jill Mansell's books and I didn't have this one yet, so obviously it had to come home with me.
-City of Glass by Cassandra Clare: I am an incurable series hoarder.
-The Green Mile by Stephen King: I love the movie and I felt like I should read the book as well.
-Angels & Demons by Dan Brown: I realised I have never actually read this one, which should be remedied soonish.
-The Maze Runner
The Scorch Trials
The Death Cure
The Kill Order by James Dashner: this boxed set was too good to pass on, I really want to read The Maze Runner and see what people have been talking about.

Not pictured:
-The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon: I borrowed this from Debby, THANK YOUUUUU!! And already read and loved it! So many feels!
-Fables Vol 1: Legends in Exile and Fables Vol 2: Animal Farm: borrowed from one of my best friends, they look really interesting, and I've been meaning to try something new, maybe graphic novels will become a new obsession :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Julia Reviews The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Title/Author: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
Publisher/Year Published: August 2014 by Harlequin 
How I got this book: I was provided with an ARC in return for an honest review
Why I read this book: I was in the mood for paranormal in October... I wonder why?
Rating: 3.5 stars

This book leaves me a bit torn which is why I think it's taken me a few weeks to start this review. On one hand it has a very interesting paranormal plot line that I haven't read anything similar too. On the other hand the characters aren't very well written. Adrian is as cliche as they come - smoldering demon thing who can melt the pants off women with one look. Ivy is the inexperienced woman who finds herself in a situation she was destined for and somehow gets good at mastering things instantly. Then there is their romance which was very instant attraction that moves into the "I can fix him our love will save the world" cliche mix. But the plot was really interesting! 

Let's back up and talk about that plot. Ivy is a college age woman who's parents just died in a car accident and only other living relative, her sister, has gone missing. She is in New York looking for her when she is sort of kidnapped/rescued by Adrian, a humanish hunk who was sent to take her to this angel guy to start down the path of her destiny and save her from the clutches of demons. She is from some special bloodline and the last of the line and only she can do... something. I don't even really think that was clear... it of course is a series. 

Adrian didn't know who she was initially and was all trying to get in her pants, but once he realized she is the last of that line things change. You see, he is the last of another line whose paths were destined to cross with the first line but in like a betrayer way. 

It's sort of convoluted, but it is introduced easily enough. Things get answered along the way as the plot clips along. It's very much angels vs demons, heaven vs hell sort of book that pulls a lot of stuff from Christianity's history and lore. I really enjoyed that part and the vivid imagery of the demon world. 

But the characters were not as gripping. They were along the ride for the story, but just seemed like plot points or cardboard cutout cliches. I keep using that word, but it very much fits. Think of your normal leading hero in a paranormal book. That's Adrian. Think of your normal heroine in a YA paranormal. That's Ivy. 

That's another thing that bothered me. I thought this was paranormal romance, but it is more like new adultish paranormal romance sort of. When I start a romance novel, I go into it knowing a few things are going to happen. 1) The main characters fall in love (check) 2) They get a Happily Ever After or a Happy For Now (it's a HFN because I think these characters are going to run through the series) 3) They have the sexytimes. (no check) I was a little saddened when I got to the end and pants remained on. This is published by Harlequin, right? Well, I don't know if it will be a plot point later or something, but I was missing the romance part of this book. Not just the sex, but like the tension. It wasn't there for me in the subtext. She told me they were falling in love, but I sure as hell didn't see it.

So in summary, it wasn't horrid. I liked the creativity of the world where it was set. I liked the descriptions of some of the demon based characters. But I didn't like the lackluster leads and their lack of realistic chemistry. Apparently it is marketed as New Adult and not paranormal romance, so if you are looking to try a paranormal story with a dash of romance, I'd say give this a try. At least read the sample and see if it grips you. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Design By Designer Blogs Content © 2012 The Broke and the Bookish. All Rights Reserved