I have a confession to make, dear readers. Once upon a time I was an entertainment snob. Now what I mean by that is that once upon a time, I lorded reading literature above watching Geordie Shore. I thought that those who would rather spend 7 hours watching cartoons were lesser than those who chose to watch historical documentaries. I was, in short, a total and utter bitch. See, I had absorbed and internalized the idea that everything we do should be for some higher purpose – that the media we consume should always be for some higher purpose. I couldn’t see the point of Geordie Shore because there was literally nothing to be gained from it in my opinion. But the point I was missing was in reality a very simple one: entertainment simply for entertainment’s sake is not only good and valid, it’s also a complete necessity. We…

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YouTube is a huge phenomenon these days. The art of vlogging (that is, video-blogging) your life, thoughts, ideas, whatever, is immensely popular, particularly with young people. Many YouTubers amass millions of followers, millions of viewers, and million (okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration for most) of pounds. ‘Professional YouTuber’ is now a full-time job title that many people have claimed. Take Zoe ‘Zoella’ Sugg, for instance. Even if you don’t watch her videos, chances are you’ve probably heard her name. She’s Traditional Media’s go-to reference for all things YouTube related. Not only is Zoe one of the most popular YouTubers ever, but she was also one of the first YouTubers to release a book. Not just any old book, mind you. No, Zoe’s first book Girl Online became the fastest selling debut novel of all time. Ever. Instead of being happy for the young woman, however, many took to social media and the internet to slate…

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Note: This review of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks will be as spoiler-free as possible. — I’m a sucker for a good YA novel – and one of my favourite YA writers of all times has got to be E. Lockhart , aka author of possibly the best YA novel ever written, We Were Liars. But in addition to We Were Liars, E. Lockhart has also written many another book, including the one I want to review today: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Boarding school. Secret societies. Elaborate pranks. Feminism. The Disreputable History is everything I could ever want from a book. What made this book for me was the main character – Frankie Landau-Banks. Frankie is attractive. Her parents know it; boys know it; and, most importantly for me, Frankie knows it. Lockhart doesn’t try to pass her off as some kind of plain-yet-boys-are-falling-all-over-her heroine, like most…

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Every now and then, somebody somewhere brings up the question of whether or not books should have age limits. And you can kinda see their point. After all, we restrict so much of society – bars, pubs, clubs, painkillers, even films – that it seems the next logical step is to restrict books too. Not out of some dictatorial desire to control culture (although, given the abhorrent re-rise of fascism in the West, we’re possibly not too far from that reality), but out of concern for our dear, beloved children. We stop our children from watching films about violence and sex, because we’re scared of corrupting them or traumatising them – so shouldn’t we also stop them from reading about violence and sex? We restrict films like Fifty Shades of Grey to the over-eighteens; so why don’t we stop children from innocently picking up a copy of the same book?…

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Back in September, I wrote about LGBT+ representation in fiction, and how to write diverse characters. This interview with J. M. Frey – author of The Forgotten Tale – is a follow up to that post. For more about Frey’s new book, or to pre-order your copy today, keep reading! — How often do you think of representation in media? Either of yourself, or other groups? Much more than I used to. Growing up in a majority-white, majority-Presbyterian small town in southern Ontario, I had the privilege to see myself on TV and in films constantly. Even the way I speak was represented: my accent matches the standard Canadian broadcast accent (more or less, I’ve since been trained to say certain words differently now that I actually work in broadcasting). And I grew up assuming that I matched the “factory default setting” of humanity – cisgendered, heterosexual, upper-middle class, white.…

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