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Killing Your Darlings (A reflection on weeding)

Weeding. Sometimes, it seems such a violent act. Sometimes we have to kill our darlings. And for me, that time came in 2011. And it involved my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

You see, as a Buffy fan I had been on standing order for the book series since forever. But time marches on, shows get cancelled, and new fandoms emerge.

I had read every single one of the Buffy and Angel books on my teen shelves. And together, the series took over a shelf and a half of precious space.

The problem wasn’t even that the books weren’t being read. Angel really wasn’t, but the Buffy books still flew off the shelves. Well, flew off the shelves may be a bit of hyperbole, but they definitely earned their keep.

No, the problem was an entirely different problem that comes with age and use: they were – quite literally – beginning to fall apart. Sometimes it seemed as if when you took the book off the shelf it might just disintegrate into dust like you had staked a vampire right there in the teen area. All that would remain was a pile of dust that used to be the stories on the page.

So one final, fateful, mournful day, I did the unthinkable. I killed my darlings. I took every single last Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel book off of the shelves. I swiped them with the magic wand that would remove them from the collection. I crossed out their barcodes. I stamped them withdrawn. And I shoved them all in a box.

I think that box stayed under my desk for about a month. Maybe I would change my mind. Maybe a patron would ask for them. Maybe I would just take them home.

None of those things happened. They were in such bad shape that the Friends didn’t even want them in their annual book sale, so they were recycled. It seemed such an inglorious end to this thing that I loved so dearly.

By the time I had finally gotten up the courage to this evil seeming deed, the series has stopped publication for a few years. There were no new titles coming in. The show was off TV. This new crop of teens were asking for different vampire books and television series. But it hurt, this thing I had to do. It hurt more than any other weeding moment in my life.

The other day, we hired a new circulation clerk. She came up to me and whispered the name of a book that she thought we should never, ever, ever, weed from our library. “Be sure you check it out,” I told her. She was perplexed. “If you want a book to stay in the library and you are worried it won’t, check it out.” But the truth is, sometimes just circulating isn’t enough.

Sometimes books die horrible deaths. They fall apart. They reach a point where they can’t be glued, taped or mended any more. They go out of print and can’t be re-ordered. They simply die. Even well loved ones.

Even Buffy.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: My First Fandom (a guest post by Cindy) (The Sunnydale Project Year 3)

Photo used with permission by Sarah Stumpf

One true thing is that you will never forget your first big fandom. Growing up as the weird kid in my school, I loved Beauty and the Beast and I adored L.J. Smith whose books started me on my love affair with reading. Nothing could and will never compare to my love of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I was obsessed to put it mildly. I had watched it off and on during the first season, but it was the second season that hooked me.

‘Becoming’ Part One and Part Two changed everything for me.

It was hard loving something so much, because I knew people who liked the show, but I knew no one who I could really talk to about it. I would have friends who would listen, but I knew no one really understood it. I had trouble finding my tribe. The internet was blooming and I would go on the Bronze, which was a popular message board for the show on the WB website.I was too young to really post and was scared of interacting. I would read as much fan fiction as I could find, which was a lot, but I will always remember feeling like I was annoying everyone around me about Buffy, but honestly I did not care. Buffy made me happy. I was going to talk about it no matter what.

That is what fandom is too me– strongly loving something so much that you just don’t care about what other people think about the object of your fandom or you. This is one reason why we have so many fandom related activities at my library. It gives the teens a place to express their love of something whether it is Hunger Games, Black Butler, or Dr.Who. I want teens to feel like they have found their place and their tribe. Buffy was and is my home.

About Our Guest Blogger:

Cindy Shutts is a Teen Services Librarian at White Oak Library District. She has guest blogged with us before sharing her Divergent library program and a display she put together for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You can follow her on Twitter @cindysku

More About Fandoms:

Check out the Fanlore Wiki to learn more about Fandom

Huffington Post: A Complete Guide to the Tangled Web of Teen Fandom

Mtv: Decoding Millennials and Fandom

Style Caster: Teenage Fandom in the Age of Twitter (this takes a specific look at online bullying in the world of fandom)

Robin Brenner presents on Fandom and the Teen World (with resource links provided)

Starting a Vampire Book Club, a guest post by Carrie (The Sunnydale Project Year 3)

Back when Edward Cullen was at his very sparkliest, I was teaching English at an all-girls high school. I have never seen anything like it. Spontaneous character debates broke out in class and my pro-Jacob leanings earned me some enemies (I make no apologies. He was WARM and could FIX THINGS). Whispers of “Team Edward” followed me down the hallways. Backpacks were heavy with books and my heart was light: kids were READING. 
 I do not want to bag on Twilight. It got kids to read, and that is an amazing and admirable thing. We should never shame anybody for reading whatever they damn well please, and the reason I wanted my students to go beyond Bella wasn’t that I thought Twilightwas a “bad book,” it was because I wanted them to realize that it wasn’t the ONLY book, that they could keep having that incredible experience of being immersed in another world, over and over again, for the rest of their lives.
I also wanted to give them more characters who could help them navigate their lives with confidence and courage. When I looked at the students in my class I saw smart, strong, funny, kick-ass young women who could change the world. I also saw vulnerable kids fending off endless online approaches by strange men and whose boyfriends demanded they get Brazilians before the big dance. (And that’s just the stuff I knew about.) They needed somebody fierce to help guide them.
So I gave them Buffy.
(Eventually.)
First, I started a vampire book club. It would be totes legit, I assured my skeptical colleagues: We would investigate vampire myths! We would explore the genre! We would move on to classic literature and soon the girls would be gushing about gothic novels instead of Edward’s abs…
Yeah, none of that really happened. 
Image from Muppet Wikia

They did read some new books, and a few even tackled Dracula. We discussed how vampire myths are tied to the Count on Sesame Street and we had a good time, but it never felt like enough. I was entertaining them, sure, but I wasn’t giving them any characters or ideas they could take away and hold close to bring out when they felt scared or unsure. I wondered about this in my three minutes of free time a week (#teacherlife) and decided I was being unrealistic. Maybe what I wanted to give them didn’t really exist – or maybe it wasn’t even mine to give.

We met during lunchtimes and after a few months the girls decided that watching some vampire videos would really “help with their understanding,” and, coincidentally, they just happened to have The Vampire Diariesright here.  
“No!” I said, desperately fighting to maintain control of my creation. “Come back tomorrow and we will watch the best show about vampires that ever has been, is, or will be.”
And that’s how my book club turned into a Buffy club.
None of the students had seen it before, and after a few “look at baby Booth” giggles they settled in. In fact, they were hooked. Once a week wasn’t enough for them anymore: soon they were knocking everyday on the staffroom door, eyes shining and hands outstretched, pleading for the next episode.
They cheered when Buffy told Angel that being stalked “isn’t exactly a big turn on for girls” and they cried when he lost his soul and Buffy realized when she would have to do to stop him. A lot of the references flew past them (New Zealand teenagers have never seen the softer side of Sears) but it didn’t matter: the characters and the themes were relatable and timeless. They got it. Buffy was in their heads and she’d be there, making bad puns and refusing to back down, whenever they needed a boost of confidence.
I left the classroom but stayed in town and I still run into the Buffy girls every now and again. One of them served me a coffee a year later and told me she and a few friends had pooled their money to buy all five seasons of Angel. At the New Zealand film festival screening of Much Ado About Nothing I waved across the room to a group of them, giddy with excitement and dressed to the nines in honor of Joss Whedon’s latest production.
Buffy is not a perfect character. She is not the “anti-Bella” or the answer to every teenage girl’s problems. Nothing is that simple. But showing teenagers a brave, flawed, kind, strong, ass-kicking female character canmake a difference. Those students probably don’t remember all the stuff I spouted in class about visual and verbal language features (even I have blocked most of those memories) – but they do remember Buffy.
My vampire book club (like so many things in life and teaching) didn’t quite turn out the way I thought it would. We didn’t read as many books as I’d hoped, and I certainly can’t prove I upped any test scores. But it is one of my absolute favorite teaching memories, and I will always be grateful that Buffy was there when my students and I really needed her. 


Meet our guest blogger, Carrie Boufard
Bio: I’m a Vermonter in New Zealand who spends my days working with teachers and librarians to build strong reading cultures in schools and get students excited about books. I spend my nights writing middle grade stories and drinking lots of coffee. I’m repped by Carrie Howland, which makes me a very lucky writer indeed. I’m jumping back into social media after a break (there was a whole baby/sleep deprivation thing) and I would love to connect with you on my blog, Twitter, or Goodreads.

The Sunnydale Project: Celebrating Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Years 1 and 2 at TLT
Embrace the Slayer: Embrace (Jessica Shirvington) will make Buffy fans happy with Karen J
Who watches the Watchers? A guest post about librarians by Ilsa J. Bick and why Ashes is a great read for Buffy fans
Being the “Slayer” Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes with Karen J  
Buffy and the Reversal of Halloween, a guest post by Nancy Holder

Years 1 and 2 at Bookish Comforts
Slayer Saturday: Halloween Party, Buffy Style
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 10+ Years Later: The Joss Factor
Season 4 Episode “Hush” Picture Review
Watching Buffy as an Adult… and Loving It!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Feminism: An Analysis & Discussion, Part 2
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Feminism, Gender & Sexuality: An Analysis & Discussion, Part 1
Buffyisms: Season 3
My Favourite Buffy Episode: Smashed (6×09)
Trivia Tuesday: BtVS Season 2
“Everyone Forgets, Willow, Knowledge is the Ultimate Weapon”: Buffy & Academia
Buffyisms: Season 2
Trivia Tuesday: BtVS Season 1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Companions: A Buying Guide
Slayer Saturday: Season 1
Fangirl Friday: Art
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Books & Covers
Buffyisms: Season 1
Trivia Tuesday: General Buffy the Vampire Slayer Facts
Review: Blood and Fog (BTVS, Season 6) by Nancy Holder
“Love Makes You Do the Wacky”: How Buffy Slayed My Heart
Welcome to the Hellmouth: The Sunnydale Project Schedule

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Project Pinterest Board

Year 3 at Bookish Comforts
Monday – Welcome, Girls’ Stories: Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s World of Women (Sarah)
Tuesday –  Mixed Feelings on Spike’s Character (Bridgette)
Thursday- Teen Girls, Fandoms & Buffy (author Annie Cardi)
Friday – Are You Ready to Be Strong? Buffy & Strength (Justine)


Year 3 at TLT
Monday – Take 5: Why I Love Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Karen)
Tuesday – Buffy: Validating Teens (author Annie Cardi)
Wednesday – Starting a Vampire Book Club (Carrie)
Thursday – BtVS Read-a-Likes (author Alexandra Duncan) and more read-a-likes (Karen)

Friday – Buffy: My First Big Fandom (Cindy)

Take 5: Why I Love Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The Sunnydale Project Year 3)

Today we kick off the 3rd year of The Sunnydale Project with Rachelia at Bookish Comforts, where we celebrate all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Today I thought I would start by telling you why I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It goes beyond the quips and snark, which are in fact truly excellent.




Buffy: A New Kind of Hero

As someone who reads on the Internet a lot, one of the complaints you’ll read over and over again is the lack of female superheroes. Where IS the Black Widow movie, people ask? Why can’t they get a Superwoman reboot off the ground? Buffy, I would argue, is in fact a superhero. She has special powers. She fights evil. She has to make incredible sacrifices to do it. She tries to keep her identity as the Slayer secret. Etc.

Buffy is also a complex hero. She makes sacrifices, but not always gracefully and sometimes not without complaining about it. She is allow by the writers to mourn the sacrifices – the moments and relationships – that she has to sacrifice in order to keep the world safe.

And the best part is, she gets to do all this with a sense of style. She is strong, she is fierce, but she also likes to go shopping for a great pair of shoes. In order to make her appear as a strong female, the writers don’t force her to give up some of the more simple pleasures of life. Sure you could argue that it’s stereotypical to have a female character who likes clothes and shoes, but the truth is that a lot of women do in fact like to go shopping, they like to wear nice clothes and shoes, they like to accessorize. And a lot of men do as well. I love that the writers were able to present us with a hero that had a fierce edge who wasn’t totally asked to sacrifice the idea of femininity. Buffy is both strong and feminine, whereas a lot of female characters who are written as strong tend to come across as being more what we consider traditionally masculine.

Giles speaking to Angel about Buffy: I’m glad that you’re watching out for her, but I feel I should remind you that she’s not helpless and it’s not your job to keep her safe.


The other great thing about Buffy is that she was also very much a teenager. She whined. She pouted. She was full of angst. She worried about things like dating and prom. Thus much like Harry in the Harry Potter books, she is a hero that is also more developmentally accurate. Even though she wasn’t played by a teen, Buffy the character was very much a developing teen and seeing her balance those struggles against the life of a hero made for some interesting storytelling.

Giles: A New Kind of Librarian

Willow: “Once again I’m banished to the demon section of the card catalog.”
 

Find out more about the school library at Buffy Wikia (image from Buffy Wikia)


I don’t know how you can watch Buffy and not fall in love with Giles. Sure, Giles had a locked cage with prohibited access to a large number of books, which I am fundamentally opposed to as a librarian. Plus, sometimes students got locked into this cage. Sure, they were deadly and dangerous, sometimes even werewolves, but it seems like a bit much for a library. And the ways in which he taught the Scooby gang their basic research skills is kind of questionable. But he grew a lot as a character over the years. He came to love Buffy and her friends. He began to stand up to the council and the authority and the tradition that they used to try and manipulate the slayer. Giles is by no means an example of a good librarian – were there ever any students besides the Scooby gang even in his library? – but he was a great example of a caring adult and mentor. And he got some truly great lines.

Cordelia: Perhaps the Best Character Arc of All

When we first met Cordelia she was a stereotypically shallow, vapid and quintessential mean girl. A cheerleader even, just to drive the stereotype home. But man that girl had some tremendous character growth over the years on both Buffy and Angel. I can count the number of female characters that have exhibited such tremendous growth on a TV series on one hand sometimes it seems. Certainly Carol from The Walking Dead is another example. But Cordelia went from worrying about her reputation to developing true compassion for others and the state of the world. Sometimes she would still hide it behind the veneer of her clothing, but she still kept showing up at the library to be a part of the fight. I loved Cordelia’s story perhaps more than any other characters. The writers managed to do something remarkable, take this girl that we all loathed and detested and turn her into her own type of hero. Also, check out these fun Cordelia Chase quotes as motivational posters at Buzzfeed.

The Idea of Sacrifice: “She Saved the World. A lot.”

We live in a world that can trap you under its dangerous and false mottos: Look out for number one. You Only Live Once. Live for the Moment.

One of the major themes of Buffy, I would argue, is the value of sacrifice. Every single character is forced to make sacrifices of some kind in order to keep the world safe. Sometimes those sacrifices may seem small, a first date. At other times they are the most costly sacrifices of all: Having, for example, to kill the man you love in order to literally save the entire world. Buffy isn’t just kicking vampire ass and taking names, she is reminding us all that success involves training and practice and commitment, and sometimes sacrifice. Sometimes we are forced to make difficult decisions and the right way is often not the easiest way. Sometimes doing the right thing means having to sacrifice your time, your talents, your comfort. I think the world would be a better place if we were all willing to sacrifice a little more every day to make it so.

Family is More than Blood

One of the running themes through the Joss Whedonverse is the idea that family isn’t just the people you share blood with. Willow, Xander, Cordelia, Oz, Anya, Tara – they all became family to one another. They all failed each other miserably at one point or another, then they chose to forgive and keep being family. As a kid, my parents divorced and we moved around a lot. By the time I graduated high school I had attended 9 different schools. The fact that Buffy could transfer to a new high school and build these friendships for herself was the most life affirming message someone like me could ever hope to see on my television screen.

This past summer, I rewatched all of Buffy with my girls. Well, to be honest, I did skip an episode here and there in the last couple of seasons. I know that there are people who would find this thought appalling. I was once told by one of my Sunday school teen’s parents that I was a bad spiritual leader because I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Some people may look at it and see a show with violence and demons, but I look at it and see an empowering show that features a strong, sympathetic female lead who is able to build for herself in love and commitment a strong family that practices the art of forgiveness and sacrifice. Like all of us, they are imperfect humans trying to figure out how to live this thing we call life, but they offer themselves and others grace time and time again. They are, in fact, really great and realistic examples of what being a good person is all about. And they do it all with some of the best quips imaginable.

Now it’s your turn, are you a Buffy fan? Tell us your reasons in the comments. Also, please feel free to share your favorite characters, moments and more.

There will be new posts everyday here at TLT and at Bookish Comforts as part of The Sunnydale Project. I’ll link to all of the posts to make sure you don’t miss them. Guest bloggers include authors Alexandra Duncan and Annie Cardi, as well as some of my favorite author librarians, readers and Buffy fans. You can join in on the conversation by using the hashtag #SunnydaleProject.

Buffy Guest Posts this week at Bookish Comforts
Monday – Welcome,  Girls’ Stories: Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s World of Women (Sarah)
Tuesday –  Mixed Feelings on Spike’s Character (Bridgette)
Wednesday – “It’s not noise! It’s music!” Music & BtVS (Rachelia)
Thursday- Teen Girls, Fandoms & Buffy (author Annie Cardi)
Friday – Are You Ready to Be Strong? Buffy & Strength (Justine)


Buffy Guest Posts this week at TLT
Tuesday – Buffy: Validating Teens (author Annie Cardi)
Wednesday – Starting a Vampire Book Club (Carrie)
Thursday – BtVS Read-a-Likes (author Alexandra Duncan)
Friday – Buffy: My First Big Fandom (Cindy)

Coming Soon: The Third Sunndaydale Project, celebrating all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and you can join!)

We’re doing it again! Going to Sunnydale, that is, and celebrating all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And if you like Buffy, you can join us. During the week of October 27th through the 31st, we’re hosting our third Sunnydale Project. Who is we? Rachelia at Bookish Comforts and Teen Librarian Toolbox. 

Do you want to write a post and pontificate on all things Buffy and Joss Whedon related? This is your chance. Let us know by the end of September by leaving a comment below with contact information or emailing me directly at kjensenmls at yahoo dot com. You can talk about the show, the characters, the writing, or more. Share great programming and craft related ideas. Or create a list of YA lit titles that you think Buffy fans might want to read. You can post on your blog and we’ll cross post some of them here at TLT and some of them at Bookish Comforts, linking back to your blog as well, of course. If you don’t have a blog don’t worry, you can still participate – we’d be glad to share your post and give you a chance to share your Buffy thoughts.

Oh and look, if you sign up feel free to grab a button. We have buttons!

Here’s a look at some of the previous year’s events and posts from TLT:

10 Things I Learned from Buffy with Christie G X Marks the Spot: Family in the Buffyverse with Karen J Necromancing the Slayer: Hold Me Closer Necromancer (Lish McBride) will make Buffy fans happy with Karen J (Saturday Scavenger Hunt) Embrace the Slayer: Embrace (Jessica Shirvington) will make Buffy fans happy with Karen J (Saturday Scavenger Hunt) Who watches the Watchers? A guest post about librarians by Ilsa J. Bick and why Ashes is a great read for Buffy fans (Saturday Scavenger Hunt) Being the “Slayer” Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes with Karen J Down the Zombie Hole: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Sometimes the girl gets to be the hero, Buffy as a feminist hero by Molly Wetta
10 YA Books that Buffy Fans will want to Read Buffy on the page and on the screen, seasons 8 and 9 by Maria Selke Buffy and the Reversal of Halloween, a guest post by Nancy Holder

Previous posts from Bookish Comforts:

Slayer Saturday: Halloween Party, Buffy Style
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 10+ Years Later: The Joss Factor
Season 4 Episode “Hush” Picture Review
Watching Buffy as an Adult… and Loving It!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Feminism: An Analysis & Discussion, Part 2
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Feminism, Gender & Sexuality: An Analysis & Discussion, Part 1
Buffyisms: Season 3
My Favourite Buffy Episode: Smashed (6×09)
Trivia Tuesday: BtVS Season 2
“Everyone Forgets, Willow, Knowledge is the Ultimate Weapon”: Buffy & Academia
Buffyisms: Season 2
Trivia Tuesday: BtVS Season 1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Companions: A Buying Guide
Slayer Saturday: Season 1
Fangirl Friday: Art
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Books & Covers
Buffyisms: Season 1
Trivia Tuesday: General Buffy the Vampire Slayer Facts
Review: Blood and Fog (BTVS, Season 6) by Nancy Holder
“Love Makes You Do the Wacky”: How Buffy Slayed My Heart
Welcome to the Hellmouth: The Sunnydale Project Schedule

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Project Pinterest Board

This might even require a Buffy re-watch. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

The Sunnydale Project, a celebration of all things Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a whole bundle of awesome.  There are few other shows that have tapped into the zeitgeist so perfectly an explained with humor, pathos and vampires – yes, vampires – the suck that can sometimes be the teenage years.  Although the TV show has ended, the vision of Buffy lives on through books and even comic books.  Joss Whedon writes brilliant characters and television, and then a whole bundle of amazing writers have expanded the verse through books and comic books to keep us enlightened and entertained.  For the months of September and October, we will be exploring that verse and what it means to us personally as librarians, as readers and as fangirls.

The original post announcing the Sunnydale Project can be found here

In celebration of the awesomeness that is Buffy, 3 book bloggers have been working hard all summer to plan this 2 month event: Rachelia @ Bookish ComfortsPatricia @ Patricia’s Particularity, and Karen @ Teen Librarian’s Toolbox. During this event we will be reviewing Buffy books, comics, and episodes as well and sharing some fanfic, delving into some of the characters, and looking at some topics and issues within the Buffy world (such as feminism). We will also have some guest posts from other amazing Buffy fans, hearing their thought and obsession! And what would an event be without a giveaway or two?! There will be plenty of giveaways for you to enter!

Each hosting blog will have their own schedule, providing you with as many views as possible. So please be sure to check out their schedules: Rachelia @ Bookish Comforts & Patricia @ Patricia’s Particularity.

 

September

10 Things I Learned from Buffy with Christie G
X Marks the Spot: Family in the Buffyverse with Karen J
Necromancing the Slayer: Hold Me Closer Necromancer (Lish McBride) will make Buffy fans happy with Karen J (Saturday Scavenger Hunt)
Embrace the Slayer: Embrace (Jessica Shirvington) will make Buffy fans happy with Karen J (Saturday Scavenger Hunt)
Who watches the Watchers? A guest post about librarians by Ilsa J. Bick and why Ashes is a great read for Buffy fans (Saturday Scavenger Hunt)

October

Being the “Slayer” Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes with Karen J
Down the Zombie Hole: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Sometimes the girl gets to be the hero, Buffy as a feminist hero by Molly Wetta
10 YA Books that Buffy Fans will want to Read
Buffy on the page and on the screen, seasons 8 and 9 by Maria Selke
Buffy and the Reversal of Halloween, a guest post by Nancy Holder

 
This is our Sunnydale Project headquarters here at TLT.  Keep checking back for post updates and fun contests.  All posts will be linked to this page.  And be sure to keep checking all three blogs for a complete look at the awesomeness that is The Sunnydale Project.
 
Sunnydale Project Scavenger Hunt
 
Did you notice some words written in red in this post? If not, go back and take a look. You’ll want to, I can reassure you. Why? Because we are having a Buffy themed scavenger hunt! How fun is that? To find out how to participate, read the details below. And I know you’ll want to participate because we are working on getting some GREAT prizes lined up for the winners!
  • Each week on our Slayer Saturday posts look for the words highlighted. There will be 3 sets of words each weekend, so make sure to visit all three blogs (Bookish Comforts, Patricia’s Particularity and Teen Librarian Toolbox).
  • Write down the words each week (Sept. 8 – Oct. 20), putting them in an order that makes sense. All together these words create a quote from Buffy.
  • During the last week a form will be made available on all three blogs where you can turn in the quote that you have pieced together.
  • On the last weekend of The Sunnydale Project, Oct. 27, the quote will be revealed! We will then draw a winner from those who have correctly completed the quote.
Giles: Into each generation, a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a chosen one. One born with the…
Giles, Buffy: -the strength and skill to hunt the vampires…
Buffy: To stop the spread of their evil blah, blah, blah, I’ve heard it, okay?


It is my understanding that not all the words appeared as they were supposed to so if you send an email to me at kjensenmls@yahoo.com telling me what words appeared in Red here on TLT and in what posts, you will be entered to win.  We will be giving away a small collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Books of 4 to 5 titles.  Contest entries will be accepted through November 10th.

Top 10 YA Books that Buffy fans will want to read . . .

As you know, we are in the midst of our Sunnydale Project here at TLT, where we are discussing all things Buffy blah blah blah.  Today I share with you some of my favorite must reads that will definitely satisfy Buffy fans.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Buffy has spent her fair share of time hanging out in graveyards waiting for vampires to rise so she can stake them through the heart.  Joey spends a lot of time in graveyards at night too, but for completely different reasons.  Sure our Slayer was quipping and the show could be funny, but sometimes it was seriously dark.  And trust me, Rotters is seriously dark and twisty and reminiscent of some of the best moments and themes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine
Glass Houses is book #1

 
“Run first,’ Shane said. ‘Mourn later.’
It was the perfect motto for Morganville.” 

 

What if you went to college and learned that your college town had a secret underworld of vampires? Yeah, that’s what happens.  I love this series.  Claire’s roommates may not be showing any signs of life, but there are more than just vampires here – which makes it even more fun.

 
“There’s a ghost in this house! An unquiet spirit!”
Unquiet spirit?” Shane said under his breath. “Is that politically correct for pissed off? You know, like Undead American or something?”
 

Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

“They were the screams of riders torn apart by the twisted reflections of their own inner selves.”
 
 


In Hush, the Gentlemen came to town and in the most amazing episode of television, and the most silent, the Gentlemen wreaked havoc and gave us all nightmares.  Full Tilt is a throwback to the days of Ray Bradbury – think Something Wicked This Way Comes.  In a very special Halloween episode of Buffy, our Scooby gang become their costumes.  Full Tilt reminds me of that kind of Buffy episode.  Blake and Quinn are brothers who find their very souls at stake when they visit a phantom carnival.  They have to ride all the ride – and they are not your normal rides – before the sun comes up or hand over their souls.
 
Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

“There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends – why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they’re happening to me.”
 
 

Speaking of Neal Shusterman, one of my favorite and most underrated books ever is Bruiser by Shusterman.  This book reminds of the more emotional Buffy episodes where people can suddenly hear others thoughts.  In Bruiser, Bruiser can literally take away other people’s pain, but it means that he has to feel them.  This is an amazing and thoughtful book and if you haven’t read it yet, you should.

The Fury Trilogy by Elizabeth Miles
Fury book 1, Envy book 2

The town of Sunnydale was built right on top of the Hellmouth, and it has secrets.  Fury introduces us to a town with supernatural secrets as well.  The town in question is Ascension, Maine and Ascension is an automatic nod to Buffy, right.  Here our main characters Em and Chase are being haunted, literally, by the things they have done and someone – or some thing – is very angry.

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

“You went out and made magic. Made your own wishes come true.” 
 
 


There are moments on Buffy where everyone steps into some bizarro world and then suddenly, they are the Halloween costume they are wearing.  Or they become literal neanderthals from the beer that they drink.  Or they are being chased around by a cheese man in their dreams. Kill Me Softly is a look at a world where many people are living lives that are twisted version of the fairy tales.  See that girl hobbling over there down the street? She is obviously supposed to be the stepsister from Cinderella and the show didn’t fit so she hacked off her toes.  This is a dark, interesting look at a world that you can definitely see our Scooby gang making a visit too.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

“Jazz hadn’t given her many details of exactly what life in the Dent house had been like, but he’d told her enough that she knew it wasn’t hearts and flowers. Well, except for the occasional heart cut from a chest. And the kind of flowers you send to funerals.” 
 
 


At some point or another, it seems like everyone in the Buffyverse has to try and hold back the evil inside them.  Anya is of course a demon and Angel and Spike are vampires, so they are quite literally trying to hold back evil.  But even Buffy had times where she is tempted into darkness.  And let’s not forget the story arc where Willow became addicted to magic.  I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is also about a boy trying to hold back the evil he fears inside of him: his father is the world’s most notorious serial killer, so what does that make him.

The following books were previously reviewed and discussed.  Please click on the titles to read the reviews:

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Embrace/Entice by Jessica Shirvington
Every Other Day by Jenny Lynn Barnes
Ashes/Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Slayer Scavenger Hunt

Did you notice some words written in red in this post? If not, go back and take a look. You’ll want to, I can reassure you. Why? Because we are having a Buffy themed scavenger hunt! How fun is that? To find out how to participate, read the details below. And I know you’ll want to participate because we are working on getting some GREAT prizes lined up for the winners!
  • Each week on our Slayer Saturday posts look for the words highlighted. There will be 3 sets of words each weekend, so make sure to visit all three blogs (Bookish Comforts, Patricia’s Particularity and Teen Librarian Toolbox).
  • Write down the words each week (Sept. 8 – Oct. 20), putting them in an order that makes sense. All together these words create a quote from Buffy.
  • During the last week a form will be made available on all three blogs where you can turn in the quote that you have pieced together.
  • On the last weekend of The Sunnydale Project, Oct. 27, the quote will be revealed! We will then draw a winner from those who have correctly completed the quote.
We really hope you have fun with this! We’re still finalizing the prize, but it’ll be worth participating for! An announcement will be made when all details have been finalized.
 
And yes, there are a few more than titles on this list – but I can live with that.  What would you add?

Buffy, off the screen and on to the page: seasons 8 and 9 (guest post by Maria Selke)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer appeared on TV for 7 seasons, but that is not the end of the story.  In a unique twist, Joss Whedon continued the story of the Buffy verse in comic book seasons.  So far there has been a season 8 and 9.  They are released as serial comics and then compiled into a graphic novel that works much better for libraries.  I love that Joss Whedon is using the written word to continue to spread his message even though the tv show is no longer.  Today, guest blogger Maria Selke reviews seasons 8 and 9 for us.


I have a confession to make – I didn’t start watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer until partway through season two. It was at the recommendation of some online gaming friends that my husband and I took the plunge and started to watch the series. For you young things out there, that online RPG required us to have dialup Internet access! Ahem… but I digress. 

We had a good run, Joss and I. I spent a glorious seven years watching Buffy grow up, fall in love, die, come back to life, fight off every possible form of the apocalypse, and do it all over again. I followed Angel to his show and had a son around the same time he did. Midnight feedings? You’d find me on the couch with a Buffy rerun. Saying goodbye to the Scooby gang was far from easy.



I moved on, though the powerful messages of the Whedonverse stuck with me. So many of the Sunnydale Project posts have done an excellent job explaining exactly what those messages have meant to us all over the years.

Of course, the journey doesn’t have to be over. I didn’t realize that until recently, when I discovered that Buffy had continued into a season 8 comic. By that point, season 9 was about to begin, so I eagerly devoured the trades. In the comics, there were no special effect budgets to consider. No sets to construct. The world could be exactly as the Whedon team wanted it to be – with a world full of slayers who are learning how to handle their power.  Joss being Joss, though, we do lose a few beloved characters along the way.
If you haven’t yet experienced the world of Buffy comics, you may be amazed by the ongoing story.  I reviewed many of the season 8 trades on Fandom Post.
Volume 1: The Long Way Home (the first 5 issues of season 8) is reviewed by one of the other reviewers on the site. http://www.fandompost.com/2011/06/28/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-season-8-vol-1-the-long-way-home-tpb-review/ 
Volume 2:  No Future for You: This arc brings Faith back into the picture, and also has a heavy focus on Xander. I love the heart of the team. http://www.fandompost.com/2011/08/15/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-season-8-vol-02-no-future-for-you-review/
Volume 3: Wolves at the Gate: Remember when Dracula was on Buffy? You’ll see him again here. Very funny stuff! I loved this arc a lot. http://www.fandompost.com/2011/08/24/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-season-8-vol-03-%E2%80%93-wolves-at-the-gate-review/

Volume 4: Time of Your Life: This arc jumps into the future world, with the slayer Fray. I was glad I read this as a trade, because it took a bit to get into the swing of it all. The final issue of this set was a dream Buffy has of being in Sunnydale. Definitely enjoyed that one. http://www.fandompost.com/2011/09/02/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-season-8-vol-04-%E2%80%93-time-of-your-life-review/

While I read the other parts of season 8, I didn’t review them. This was about when season 9 started up, and I jumped into reviewing single issues whenever I could.
Season 9 is now in full swing, and it has something for every Buffy aficionado. There are two main lines running in this season; “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel and Faith”.
Buffy picks up where season 8 left off, with the loss of magic in the world. The first arc is appropriately called “Free Fall”, as Buffy is tumbling into a life more ordinary than she could have expected.  Spike is here to help, though he keeps warning about something mysterious rumbling on the horizon.
I’ll link up to a few reviews here, but you can find more at Fandom Post:  

Issue 1 http://www.fandompost.com/2011/09/13/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-season-9-1-review/

Buffy handles a new job, Xander and Dawn juggle helping Buffy with their budding relationship, and Willow deals with the fallout of the disappearance of magic. Andrew even jumps back into the storyline with humorous results. Even though there were some plot points I felt were handled poorly, overall it’s been a fun season so far.

While both series have fabulous teams of writers and artists, I’m finding Angel and Faithto be my favorite right now. 

Desperate to learn more about Giles and his younger years? The first arc of Angel and Faith, “Live Through This”, has some amazing flashbacks to his younger years.  The dialogue between Angel and Faith is dead on, and they make a dramatic team.

Love Drusilla’s broody insanity? Angel and Faith brings her back in the arc “Daddy Issues”. We also get a peek into Faith’s past as we meet her father. Check out a review of the issue 6, which is the start of this arc. http://www.fandompost.com/2012/01/25/angel-faith-6-review/

The current arc, “Family Reunion”, is my favorite one yet. Willow arrives, and the team recruits Angel’s son Connor to help them enter a hell dimension and find a way to restore magic to earth.  Read my review of issue 11, which is the start of the Family Reunion arc. http://www.fandompost.com/2012/07/13/angel-faith-11-review/

Issue 14 came out September 26th, and I haven’t gotten a review in yet, but I’d be a failure if I didn’t show you this adorable variant cover. Check out more information at the Dark Horse site: http://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/19-622/Angel-Faith-14-Rebekah-Isaacs-variant-cover

Finally, there are two extra special minis that will be part of this season. The first focuses on Spike, and has already started. Seriously, friends, you want to read this one. My review of the first is live at Fandom Post, in case you want more details. Really want to check it out? You are in luck – assuming you win. I’m giving away a copy of the first and second issues of Spike to one lucky reader!

http://www.fandompost.com/2012/09/18/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-spike-1-review/

The second features Willow, and won’t begin until she’s finished with her run on Angel and Faith. The Dark Horse site has it listed as being available in November.

Even if you’ve never been a comic reader, I encourage you to give this season a shot. I hadn’t read any comics, and I loved how the art, lettering, and writing brought my beloved characters back into my life.

Interested in winning those first two issues of the Spike mini? Take a moment and tell us how you feel about Spike (or any vampire, if you don’t know Spike). One lucky commenter will receive both comics!
Maria Selke blogs at Maria’s Melange.  You can read all about it and join her for Sci Fi Fridays.
Slayer Scavenger Hunt
Did you notice some words written in red in this post? If not, go back and take a look. You’ll want to, I can reassure you. Why? Because we are having a Buffy themed scavenger hunt! How fun is that? To find out how to participate, read the details below. And I know you’ll want to participate because we are working on getting some GREAT prizes lined up for the winners!
  • Each week on our Slayer Saturday posts look for the words highlighted. There will be 3 sets of words each weekend, so make sure to visit all three blogs (Bookish Comforts, Patricia’s Particularity and Teen Librarian Toolbox).
  • Write down the words each week (Sept. 8 – Oct. 20), putting them in an order that makes sense. All together these words create a quote from Buffy.
  • During the last week a form will be made available on all three blogs where you can turn in the quote that you have pieced together.
  • On the last weekend of The Sunnydale Project, Oct. 27, the quote will be revealed! We will then draw a winner from those who have correctly completed the quote.
We really hope you have fun with this! We’re still finalizing the prize, but it’ll be worth participating for! An announcement will be made when all details have been finalized.

Sometimes, the Girl Gets to be the Hero (Buffy as a Feminist Hero by Molly Wetta)

I watched my first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer my freshman year of college. I went home for a weekend because I was distraught after breaking up with my high school boyfriend. My younger sister, in an attempt to cheer me up, said, “at least your ex-boyfriend isn’t going around killing your friends,” and then forced me to watch “Passions” with her.
 
 

This was also just about the time I started to identify as a feminist. I was aware of feminism as a high schooler, but I never proclaimed myself a feminist until I took Social and Political Philosophy with the director of the Women’s Studies program my first year in college. The confluence of my own feminist awakenings and my discovery of BtVS has inextricably woven the two together in my mind. I have always viewed Buffy through a feminist lens.



But even if one is not predisposed to associate Buffy with feminism, the show still provides a framework for exploring various feminist issues. The show’s concept deliberately subverts a common teenage female stereotype of the ditzy blonde cheerleader by imbuing her with supernatural powers that give her not only the strength but the obligation to save the world. There is an entire subfield of cultural studiesdedicated to exploring the myriad of questions that Buffy prompts, and I’m not attempting to cover the ground of an academic discipline in a blog post. Whether or not you think Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a feminist show, there’s no doubt that it invites discussion of feminism, which is an important reason it’s still relevant ten years after going off the air and why the comics, graphic novels, and related publications are read by fans both old and new.

 
“This is why Joss Whedon is my Hero”
Image from Shawnee Small blog
Arguments can be made both in favor and against BtVS as feminist. Though the show’s creator, Joss Whedon, is a self-identified feminist who explicitly states that Buffy is intended as a feminist work, Sarah Michelle Gellar, the actress who portrays Buffy, has claimed in interviews that she doesnt label herself as a feminist. This tension is at the heart of what makes BtVS great. There aren’t easy answers, but complicated contradictions that allow viewers to explore issues from gender to sexuality, ethics to metaphysics.  

Buffy is a girly-girl. She may be able to kick some demon butt, but the first thing she wants to do after destroying the Hellmouth is go to the mall. In part, due to the proliferation of kick-butt girls in YA fiction that reject femininity, there is a common misconception among some teens that for a girl to be “strong” she can’t embrace her girliness at the same time. Buffy offers another way of being a strong young woman. She hunts vampires in stylish leather boots and halter tops, staking them just after delivering a snappy pun.  

Being a vampire slayer results in several complications in Buffy’s life—many of them romantic. From having your boyfriend turn evil after you sleep with him (Angel), to having your boyfriend resent you for being stronger (Riley), to engaging in a self-destructive relationship fraught with violence (Spike), Buffy experiences a wide spectrum of heartache. Buffy’s romantic entanglements are more than just good drama, however—they can prompt reflection by those navigating real-life relationships. Buffy makes mistakes, and learns from the consequences. Buffy writers did not shy away from controversial topics like teen sex, dating violence, and attempted rape. During the series finale, Buffy explains to Angel that she is “cookie dough” that’s “not done baking yet.” Her primary interest is in finding out who she is, rather than allowing a romantic relationship to define her.  

BtVS was a groundbreaking show. Whether it was the critically acclaimed silent episode “Hush” or the musical episode “Once More with Feeling” before Glee was a hit, Joss Whedon was a pioneer pushing the limits of the pop culture frontier. Perhaps the most important achievement of BtVS was exploring the first lesbian romance on television. Willow and Tara had a complex relationship that wasn’t free of conflict and helped create a generation more accepting of the LGBTQ community. 

It isn’t just the ladies of the Buffyverse that challenge gender stereotypes. When, following Tara’s accidental and very unsupernatural death, Willow’s grief plunges her deep into dark magic, it is her childhood best friend Xander—not Buffy, with her strength—that stops Willow from destroying the world in “Grave.” His appeal is an emotional one rather than a logical argument or an exercise in physical strength. Rather than the knight-in-shining-armour swooping in to save the day, Xander uses his relationship with Willow and their history to pull her back from the edge, a tactic that might be considered stereotypically feminine.  

Popular culture doesn’t offer nearly enough feminist role models. Buffy may not be the ideal, but the storylines and characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer provide a framework for feminist discussions. It’s my belief that public and school libraries—as community centers and sites for education —have the ability to serve as places of consciousness raising about sexism and oppression. Including Buffy-related items in collections and promoting them is a way to contribute to feminist consciousness raising. 

In the final episode of the television series, Buffy poses the question: “Are you ready to be strong?” After seven seasons on television, Buffy the Vampire Slayer the characters represented many different ways to be strong woman or man, regardless of gender.
 
Editor’s note: In a time where we have just had the discussion about ya literature and body image, it is nice to have strong, empowered female characters that remind teens that girls they can be the hero.
 
 
Slayer Scavenger Hunt
 

Did you notice some words written in red in this post? If not, go back and take a look. You’ll want to, I can reassure you. Why? Because we are having a Buffy themed scavenger hunt! How fun is that? To find out how to participate, read the details below. And I know you’ll want to participate because we are working on getting some GREAT prizes lined up for the winners!
  • Write down the words each week (Sept. 8 – Oct. 20), putting them in an order that makes sense. All together these words create a quote from Buffy.
  •  
  • During the last week a form will be made available on all three blogs where you can turn in the quote that you have pieced together.
  • On the last weekend of The Sunnydale Project, Oct. 27, the quote will be revealed! We will then draw a winner from those who have correctly completed the quote.
We really hope you have fun with this! We’re still finalizing the prize, but it’ll be worth participating for! An announcement will be made when all details have been finalized!