Smugglers Stash

Smugglers’ Stash and News

Howdy, and a good Sunday to all!

First, a giveaway announcement, then on to the Big Stuff.

Unrest Giveaway:

The winner of the Most Awesome giveaway is…


Congratulations! You know the drill – send an email to contact AT thebooksmugglers DOT com with your snail mail address and we will send your winnings out to you as soon as possible!

Whitewashing Strikes Again (Again):

Two new cases of Whitewashing have been brought to our attention this week.

The case of Julie Kagawa’s new book, The Immortal Rules: as reported by Racebending and Kirkus. From Kirkus:

Lastly, a note about the cover art. Due to passages like the following, I think it’s pretty clear that Allie is of Asian descent:

My reflection stared back at me, a dirty-faced girl with straight black hair and “squinty eyes,” as Rat put it.

“Or maybe I’ll just save it for that sweet little Asian doll. We don’t get many whores through here, do we, boys?”

“I should have known,” he said, coming forward. “I should have known you would be drawn to that. It’s very fitting, actually.”

“It’s perfect,” I said, holding up the sword. “What is it, anyway?”

Kanin regarded me with amusement. “What you’re holding is called a katana.”

The girl on the cover? Doesn’t jive with my vision of Allison Sekemoto.

The case of For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund: as reported by The Readventurer:

This cover has got to go! Elliot is repeatedly described as having brown skin, almond-shaped eyes, and long black hair. She’s clearly not a white person!

We feel very strongly about this, as you know: Whitewashing is WRONG. Period. This needs to stop.

The Book Smugglers at Kirkus:

We are delighted to be able to finally announce that from June onwards (with two posts in May as a delicious appetizer) we will be weekly columnists over at The idea is to have a Book Smugglers presence at Kirkus, talking about SF and Fantasy. We will be doing reviews (solos and joints), op-eds and possibly interviews. Needless to say, we are totally over the moon as this fits really well with our evil agenda for world domination, one review at a time.

Our first post is from Ana with her first ever China Mieville review, Railsea. It will be up at Kirkus on May 10 (you betcha we will be tweeting the link).

This Week on the Book Smugglers:

On Monday, Ana reviews Eight Days of Luke AND Witch Week by the ever reliable Diana Wynne Jones. Then Thea will be presenting the general results of the survey she posted a few weeks back, now that her thesis is finished (HOORAY!).

On Tuesday, Thea reviews one of her most anticipated reads of 2012: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (with a giveaway)…

On Wednesday, Thea is back again with a review of The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda, followed by a guest post from the author.

Thea is back one more time on Thursday for her review of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (which Ana really wants to read too! Soon!)

Finally, we close the week with a joint review of Struck by Jennifer Bosworth.

Aaaaaand that’s it from us today. As usual, we remain…

Art by Des Taylor

~ Your Friendly Neighborhood Book Smugglers

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  • Flannery (The Readventurer)
    May 6, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Just looking at your blog schedule is making me tired. I seriously have no idea how you do it…but I like it.

  • Anonymous Midlist Author
    May 6, 2012 at 1:32 am

    You know what I find hard to stomach about this new resurgence in whitewashing?

    I can see why Diana Peterfreund, a midlist author, would be happy just to get an attractive cover and wouldn’t want to say much about the disconnect between her descriptions of the character and the model on the cover. Midlisters are in a precarious position these days and don’t really dare rock the boat too much (in addition, Peterfreund must had a hard time after her publisher failed to buy the third book in her unicorn series).

    But Julie Kagawa is a huge bestseller! Surely she has the influence to have protested over this? Or, if her protests weren’t fruitful, why not talk about it openly online like Justine Larbelastier did when they tried to whitewash the cover of LIAR? Why go the ‘squeee, look at my gorgeous cover!’ route and completely ignore the issue?

    It makes my respect for her dive, frankly.

  • Andrea K Host
    May 6, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Today Kirkus, tomorrow the world? 🙂

  • Tripping ourselves up with the best of intentions | All Things Moorehawke and Otherwise
    May 6, 2012 at 2:17 am

    […] HERE are rather exacerbated by yet another case of cover whitewashing, as highlighted by this recent post over on the booksmugglers.  PLEASE NOTE: I am a genre writer. Fantasy and YA fantasy at that. Most of the […]

  • Tanya Patrice
    May 6, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Wow – thanks for pointing out the whitewashing. I’ve seen quite a few reviews of The Immortal Rules over the last week – and not one mentioned anything about the cover not seeming to be a true representation.

  • kara-karina
    May 6, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Ahaha1 I’m all up for world domination by The Book Smugglers! Huge, huge congrats on your new role! *hugs*

  • janicu
    May 6, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Hmm. I just started reading FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS last night. I’m only 70 pages in but I just read one description of Elliot. I don’t think it clearly says she’s brown all the time, but she has black hair and almond eyes (I don’t know what almond eyes means, I never did). I will keep an eye out for more descriptors as I read now.
    “Elliot’s features, which had been harsh and solemn even when she was younger, hadn’t softened with age. Her dark brows were thick slashes over the deep-set, almond shaped eyes she’d inherited from the Boatwright side of the family. The round snub nose came courtesy of her grandfather as well, and the skin that turned brown in the sun, then sallow in the dark winter months. She’d also gotten his full lips though, and her black hair took on ruddy highlights every summer.”

  • heather
    May 6, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Congrats on the Kirkus gig! It only goes to further showcase how talented you guys are at writing reviews. 🙂

  • Kristen
    May 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Congratulations on writing/reviewing for Kirkus! That is fantastic news!

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    May 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Whoa. Totally did not know FDStS was whitewashed. Ugh! Especially since I always imagine the girl on the cover as the heroine.

  • Emily's Reading Room
    May 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Very interested in your take on Struck. Shall definitely be back for that one.

  • Gem
    May 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Congrats on your position at Kirkus. I’m sure you’ll bend more people to your will. ^_~

    I just started reading Bitterblue so I can’t wait to read Thea’s take on the book! And DWJ is always good to have.

  • Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    May 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Congrats on the Kirkus position!

    Sigh, it’s so frustrating to see white-washing come up again and again. I really hope designers/publishers take note in future.

  • Linda W
    May 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Congrats on the Kirkus presence!! And how awful that whitewashing again rears its ugly head.

  • Jennifer @ A Librarian's Library
    May 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    “Whitewashing” is a new term for me as of this post, but I recently read a novel that infuriated me because of what I now know as “whitewashing.” Jennifer Echols The One that I Want, which was published December of 2011, does this as well. Not once, but TWICE! Two cute white people on the cover, not at all representative of the characters in the book! Full analysis/rant located here!.

    But on a positive note, I am very excited for your upcoming week of reviews!

  • Maili
    May 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I feel I’m a thicko. I really don’t get the tagline of Unrest: “When the dead don’t sleep, the living are afraid to…Unrest.

    I’m thinking: “Shouldn’t you be more afraid to rest in case the dead pounce on you and go ‘Got you! lol! You shouldn’t have rested, bozo! *bites*’?” Or am I overthinking here?

    Whitewashing: I recently had a chat with a friend, who works as an in-house interior text designer for a major publisher, about whitewashing. She’s insisted the problem lies with one of those three things: poorly written art briefs (most don’t mention ethnicities), cover designers (who think white as the default), and stock photography agencies (they don’t provide many good images of “non-white models”). Most publishers, she’s insisted, don’t have enough in their design budgets to commission images of models with correct ethnicities so they have to make do what’s available or has already offered.

    I don’t know well enough about the process of creating a book cover to know if it’s true, but I still find her explanation rather odd. Perhaps you will some day do an interview with an industry publishing person or a cover designer about this?

  • Maili
    May 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    “poorly written art briefs (most don’t mention ethnicities)”

    Sorry, clarification: authors apparently tend to opt to dance around the bush by issuing vague descriptions – the same kind they use in their stories – e.g. black hair, almond eyes, etc. with no specific mention of an actual ethnicity. So cover designers assume characters are Caucasian with dark colouring.

  • Celine
    May 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    “authors apparently tend to opt to dance around the bush by issuing vague descriptions – the same kind they use in their stories – e.g. black hair, almond eyes, etc. with no specific mention of an actual ethnicity. So cover designers assume characters are Caucasian with dark colouring.”

    Firstly, as an author, I’ve never been asked to describe a character for a cover brief – and I’ve been far more involved than most authors I know in the cover process.Secondly, even if some authors do tend to ‘dance around the bush’ I’ve come to suspect that this is happening more often than we’ll ever know.

  • Deirdre
    May 7, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Congrats on your gig at Kirkus! 😀

    On a more somber note, I am sadly not surprised that whitewashing of book covers continues, but it still irks me when it does. Thanks for continuing to tackle this topic; there are so few popular book blogs that do so.

  • Seb
    May 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Wow, congratulations on your weekly Kirkus column. I will keep my eyes peeled. 😀

  • Megan no h
    May 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Congrats to Kirkus! (heh, see what I did there…they are lucky to have YOU!) But seriously, you ladies are awesome and deserve awesome things, yay!

  • Sarah Rees Brennan
    May 18, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Congrats to both you and Kirkus. 😉

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