Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Words: Cover Controversy

Let me just start this post by saying I can't believe I'm actually writing about this.

Because it's the year 2013 and this should NOT be a controversy. I really have a hard time stomaching that this is apparently a big deal, but unfortunately while humanity has come so far, we've also got so much further to go.

David Levithan is an incredibly prolific, insanely talented writer. He's also an editor for Scholastic. (You may be familiar with some of the books he's worked on - you've heard of The Hunger Games trilogyright? Yeah. He edited that.) He's won awards. He's incredibly funny and smart and kind (and I once got to hold his phone at a book signing and take a picture he wanted of himself and Heather Brewer - it was awesome).

He's also gay, and therefore it's hardly a shock that many of his stories often have and explore the lives of gay characters. But they aren't 'gay books' - they're fine examples of contemporary fiction about people.

Two Boys KissingA few days ago was the grand reveal of the cover art for his next novel coming out this August, Two Boys Kissing, the story of two boyfriends who decide to try and break the world record for longest kiss of 32 hours. And wouldn't you know it, but the cover depicts just that: two boys kissing. The picture actually comes with a cool story which you can read about here on EW, and I think this is just very pretty: the font, the lighting, the soft colors.

But of course, many people out there are less enthusiastic. For some, it may be their personal opinions about homosexuality. For others, it may be a business and numbers thing in that covers which depict an 'other' (i.e. anything besides white, heterosexual people) don't sell as well. And these reasons may be enough in the minds of some not to stock this book to sell in stores, or it may be enough of a deterrent that libraries won't buy it for their patrons because it may ruffle some feathers.

As for me, I say rock on, David. I say this is a step in the right direction for our society because sometimes society needs to change. It is my sincerest hope that story this won't continue to be dragged up and down and around in the press because this shouldn't be a big deal in the first place. So rock on, David Levithan. Keep writing amazing stories about the human condition and major props to the publisher Knopf for standing by this book and giving it the cover art it deserves.

If you really want to hear about this situation more eloquently, I highly encourage you to check out the video made by 365 Days of Reading - basically, I agree with everything she says.

Comments welcome, and as always, happy reading.

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