Monday Musings: The Saintification of YA Authors

I've been noticing a trend online that I don't understand. If I had a dollar for every time someone has breathily spoken of J.K. Rowling or S. Meyer or similar YA authors as having done a tremendous public service for having gotten young adults to read, I'd have quite a few dollars at my disposal now.

Why is this? I'm not disputing that their series have sold well, and I generally think that young adult reading is a decent thing (in general, it depends on what is being read and the young adult in question and stuff like this is complicated and individual circumstances matter), so yay, but writers ... write. It's what they/we do, and while I think it's a valuable service to society, I don't imagine that most of them/us ply their/our trade purely and simply to encourage literacy, forsaking all other worldly considerations.

What interests me, though, is that I only see this with YA authors. I have never seen anyone speak in reverent tones about how John Grisham should be especially honored (and implicitly immune from criticism) for having gotten adults to read. Which is interesting, because John Grisham did start my mother reading, so the statement would be as factually true as it would be about various YA authors. (And while I think reading has been entirely beneficial to my mother, I don't imagine society indebted to John Grisham for it.)

Why is this? I'm curious as to what you think.

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34 comments:

Will Wildman said...

I'd guess that the YA emphasis comes from parents desperately wanting their children to do something that involves being quiet, easily located, and at least hypothetically enriching. A child busy reading is unlikely to break themself or anything else, unlikely to get lost or in trouble, and is healthfully improving themselves* rather than burning out their eyes in front of that consarned TV or blasting their ears apart with the devil rock music.

The same concerns tend not to get directed to adults.

*Same disclaimer about the content of the reading material and the engagement thereof. It continues to disturb me that people are all 'sparkly vampires and teen romance, that's stupid' about Twilight, rather than 'abusive relationships and racism, that's hideous'.

Isabel C. said...

Although they really should. The world needs more adults who can quietly amuse themselves. (And get off my lawn.)

"I don't read for fun" used to be an automatic disqualification where men were concerned. Not because I'm a literary snob, although I might be, but a guy who doesn't read for fun is probably a guy who's less able than I am to keep himself entertained (especially on trips or similar TV-less moments) and therefore a guy who will want me to entertain him whenever I'm around. Therefore: no. Furthermore, hell no.

These days it's less of a problem, but I still run into the non-romantic equivalent: Chatty Transportation Seatmate. No, see, I'm not actually interested in...because I'm reading? You see how I have a book? And I was looking at it before you started talking to me? You do know that these 'book' things are available at many fine stores, right? And for free at your local library? And vastly more interesting, on average, than the gripping saga of how We Are Both Going to Quincy, How About That?

No? ...okaaaay, then.

Ana Mardoll said...

The particularly startling thing about Twilight for me is that I've read several things since then that are just as bad (abuse, racism, etc.) and popular enough to be targets, yet not viscerally hated as Twilight is.

That, combined with the point that a lot of anti-Twilight stuff is deeply misogynistic, makes me wonder just HOW MUCH of the backlash is against Awful versus against Girly.

chris the cynic said...

My personal theory is that the next generations is a bunch of useless degenerates who will destroy everything, have noise instead of music and don't care about any of the things that matter (regardless of what generation the next generation happens to be) so for them to be doing something as traditional as reading* is a Miracle Of Epic Proportions. Furthermore, such a Miracle Of Epic Proportions cannot be a result of those doing the actual reading, they're all a bunch of degenerates, recall,, it must be the product of someone from Our Generation which is why the authors get credit for getting the yutes** to read but the readers get no credit for doing the actual reading.

-

* Note that Plato would be appalled, traditional has different meanings to different people. That we read Plato, someone who was anti-reading and anti-writing is one of those little amusements of history I suppose.

** My Cousin Vinny came up in Latin Class last week, at least I think it was last week. Definitely Latin class.

--

Now let me see what I've written in the last week, back in a bit.

Silver Adept said...

Traditionally, it's because around the YA mark that children stop reading for pleasure (due to a myriad of things including school assignments, after school activities, other entertainment, and an unstated but very real social norm that reading makes one a nerd and socially unpopular, right at the time when teen brains are externally focused). Those that do stop are unlikely to return to books or libraries until they have kids of their own or serendipity finds them a good book.

There's also a social rule that says reading for pleasure is Intrinsically Good for children and that New Media Causes Evil. So of kids are reading, them they aren't doing whatever anti-social thing they would have been doing without the book.

I'm more of a fan of the #YASaves idea - books can help kids and teens work through problems in their lives, articulate the situations they're in, and provide a way for teens to escape from reality for long enough to keep going through their lives.

If we're going to commend YA authors, we should be doing it for the real good that they do, and not the good of "it gets them reading instead of doing Straw Man Evil things".

fizzchick said...

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the saintification happening nearly as much for male authors. Which makes me wonder if it's also partly tied up in gender norms, and "oh thank goodness that woman is doing (some of) the child-rearing that society ought to be doing".

depizan said...

There is one thing that Rowling and Meyers and the like may be responsible for, that's - at least potentially* - great for teens. Their incredible success made publishers realize they weren't paying enough attention to a market. When I first started working in books, our teen section consisted nearly entirely of R L Stein, Sweetvalley High, and a few other similar authors and works. It was one of the smallest sections. Now Barnes and Noble has such a big Teen section, it's actually subdivided into a couple of genres.

Also, their success just might be chipping away at that whole reading is uncool thing.

But it still seems strange to use that to defend them (or any other author) from criticism. But, then, I'm the sort of person who complains about the problems with the things I like. I don't see pointing out race fail or insufficient female characters or unfortunate implications or whatever as bad. Something can be both all the awesome things and full of fail. (See, oh, the vast majority of things I love.)

Rowling and Meyers may have made it easier for teens to read, but that doesn't mean they didn't also write some really questionable stuff that should be pointed out.

*Assuming publishers have the good sense to not just look for "The Next Harry Potter" and "The Next Twilight". Wizards and paranormal romance are fine, but I'm willing to bet teens would like a bit more variety.


This should probably have gone on last weeks, but I did put up the first part of another SW:TOR fanfic. http://virtualvoyages.dreamwidth.org/11748.html Now I just need to get the subsequent parts finished.

TheDarkArtist said...

To be honest, I think that it's mostly a fandom kind of thing. On the internet it's just really easy for the Author Worshipers to band together in a group, which brings out that tribal mentality. I'm not immune to it, either. If there's an argument about a democrat versus a republican, I'll defend the democrat, just because they're the "liberal" party, even though they're pretty damn conservative and I don't even consider myself a democrat.

I have my doubts about that whole "they're getting kids to read" thing, too. I know a lot of people, both young adults and adults, who read the Harry Potter series, or the Twilight saga, the Hunger Games, or those books about dragons that got really big (you'll have to forgive me, I'm a non-fiction/horror kind of reader, so I don't know too many YA series). The thing is, after they finish those books, I feel like most of them just go back to not reading until the next series comes out. At least that's how my anecdotal experiences have worked out.

My parents just forced me to read when I was a kid. I had two options, generally: go outside and get some exercise, or read a book. I was more of an indoor type of kid, so I spent my summers reading a ton of books. The thing is, eventually I liked it, and I'm still a reader to this day.

So, I don't know. I find the idea that a fad book series can have a lasting impact on whether or not someone reads for fun to be fairly dubious claim. However, I'd love to be proven wrong.

graylor said...

Meh. VC Andrews (or "VC Andrews et al") was getting kids to read when I was in school. And I don't mean Flowers in the Attic, I mean the endless line of other series of gothic-gothicness with runaway girls, child abuse, murder, rape, creepy dolls and stepfathers, etc. Maybe they weren't lauded because they were 'trashy'? Or because boys wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole? Then again, I guess Twilight isn't exactly dragging teenage boys to the bookstore, either.

I've never really understood the 'zomg, a teenager is reading! yay!' thing. In my, admittedly limited experience, the kids who devour books as children continue to devour them as teenagers and adults. The kids who are taught to devalue reading, for whatever reason, are probably not going to change their minds because of Twilight. And, if they do, what are the odds they'll stay in that one corner of the bookstore rather than find something 'edifying', which, I guess is what all the 'aw, you're ~reading~, how great' people think of it.

*

At the insistence of my oldest sister, I am reading 'A Discovery of Witches'. ... You know how bad Twilight is, but you can sort of excuse it if you squint and say that teenagers are neurologically kind of assholes anyway? You can't do that when the characters are in their thirties (and tenured at Yale, btw). DoW takes the worst attributes of the Bella and Edward saga and then adds more. Informed attributes abound, most notably this brilliant historian heroine who spends pages coming to conclusions the reader reaches within a few sentences, who has no intellectual curiousity, and is generally as a historian in general. Science fails that will make you wince. Tears (literally--first page of chapter twenty-three, swear to god) the size of snowballs. Alpha vampires. Assholes are teh sexxors. Abstinence is teh sexxors. Stalking. A heroine who is too damn stupid to jog with her eyes open (think I'm joking? 'fraid not.) who nevertheless believes she is leading a magicless existence. True love = no privacy, ever, and isn't that great!

Tl:dr: in the name of all you hold dear, flee, you fools! if you are ever presented with this book.

Makabit said...

The people who have gotten more elementary-school aged kids to read than anyone else I can think of are R.L. Stine and the guy who wrote "Diary of A Wimpy Kid".

They get no respect whatsoever.

Makabit said...

I mean, in recent age cohorts.

bekabot said...

Yeah, but in A Discovery of Witches the witch and her vampire actually like each other (I regard Bella as a failed witch — daughter of Renee, a weak witch) and that's different from what we see in Twilight. Then too, the witch in A Discovery of Witches is in fact a witch. She is presented to us as a witch and describes herself as a witch. Witch-hood can be managed so as to account for a lot.

I realize that "but she's a witch: that explains why she can jog with her eyes closed or, alternatively, why she thinks she can jog with her eyes closed" is a piece of hand-waving, but my point would be that there are many places in Twilight where hand-waving would come in, um, handy, but isn't attempted, though it should be.

Now there is the measure of a bad book. "Needs more hand-waving but doesn't get it" is eloquent condemnation (of which I hold Twilight all-worthy).

Will Wildman said...

But, then, I'm the sort of person who complains about the problems with the things I like. I don't see pointing out race fail or insufficient female characters or unfortunate implications or whatever as bad. Something can be both all the awesome things and full of fail. (See, oh, the vast majority of things I love.)

Fact 1: Doctor Who has displayed sexism in all the colours of the wind (and occasionally other forms of bigotry) throughout its many series, and especially egregiously in some of the most recent material. I will point this out and belabour it at the drop of a fez and endlessly harangue the writers for their failures.

Fact 2: Doctor Who is one of my favourite anythings ever and watching it borders on a spiritual experience. Even at those moments when I hate it.

Talking about why I hate the things that I hate seems pointless and destructive. Talking about the things that I hate within the things that I adore seems like a necessary awareness and a healthy examination.

depizan said...

*nods*

Likewise, I could probably spend a year blogging alternately about all the things wrong WRONG I TELL YOU in various Star Wars books/movies/shows/games/stuff and about all the things that make me love that universe (and a decent portion of stories there in) ever so much.

I think there's value to be found in calling out popular media on their crap (as in Ana's deconstructions or the epic decon of Left Behind that will probably have to be finished by Fred's great grandchildren), if for no reason than that stuff doesn't get called on it's crap nearly often enough. But there's a potential extra value in pointing out the problematic stuff in things you like - some creator of that type of fiction might happen across it and go "Huh, so people who like this kind of thing would like it even better if it was more diverse, etc." (Not to mention, it makes it somewhat less likely that one will make the same errors in one's own stuff. I hope, anyway.)

graylor said...

I regard Bella as a failed witch — daughter of Renee, a weak witch I like this interpretation--it makes Bella's anti-telepathy mojo much more sensible.

My problem with DW is that *I* don't like either of the main characters, but you do have a point--Diana does think Matthew is awesome and he seems to like Diana as more than a springboard for moar angst. The witch characterization just seems spotty to me--it's as if the author wanted to write the bog-standard 'ordinary' person discovers they are magical and adventure ensues story, but also have the same character be in on the masquerade at the same time from the get go. Dianna is conveniently clueless about things she should know, especially if she is as curious and intelligent as we are told she is.

Can I vote for more handwaving and less butchering of innocent sciences?

Pqw said...

I bought DoW--in hardcover--because Amazon.com recommended it, and I thought maybe it would be awesome, or at least pretty good. It was not. (I don't actually get the Vampires are Sexxxy thing, but I was willing to suspend disbelief if well-written. Ugh.)

A friend of mine--a highly educated friend, no less--loved it, and is very excited that the sequel is now out. However, I will not be reading the sequel. I got rid of DoW.

(At the same time, Amazon also recommended to me another up-and-coming new author whose book I also bought in hardcover. Swamplandia! DO NOT BUY (OR READ) THIS BOOK! Lots of triggery things happen in it. I wanted brain bleach afterward. Got rid of it toot suite as well.)

Now I carefully vet Amazon's recommendations, and mostly do not buy them.

bekabot said...

"Can I vote for more handwaving and less butchering of innocent sciences?"

That would be my vote too — if you're going to have fantasy and magic, then go with the fantasy and magic, and stop trying to justify things in mundane terms. You could fix it up so that Diana gets tenured and comes to be regarded as a big-deal respectable historian 'cuz Magick or maybe because a witch/wizard did Oxford a humoungous favor back in the day, leaving the college saddled with a debt it's still trying to pay off. Whatever. (FWIW I did think the booksplain of having Diana be magical but "magically shackled" was, though obvious, effective to the extent that, for me, it sufficed to ward off what would have been some of the more painful cramp-inducing eye-rolls.) Just don't try to situate your magical characters in such a way that they have to pull a workaday load in the workaday world*, because as it turns out, most of them can't do that. Which is fine, because otherwise, what would be the use of them being magical? They might as well get some good out of it.

There is one major exception. (IMO.) If you're going to suspend logic and physics, you can't into the bargain suspend all interpersonal rules and expect that no reader will ever bray in disbelief. Some version of cause and effect must prevail. If it's not going to be Newtonian or Einsteinian cause and effect, then it has to be Pavlovian cause and effect or something of that kind. If you present the reader with a world in which a book doesn't necessarily fall to the ground when it's shoved off a table, you have to make sure that the person who shoves the book has a reason to do so. In other words you have to make up for the trouble you've saved yourself somehow. You can't have floating books and floating motivations at the same time. Pick one.

"...he seems to like Diana as more than a springboard for moar angst."

Yah. What is it with vampire guys in vampire books? Why can't they ever be cheerful? Why do they all have to have these horrible pasts? Why can't you have some guy that, maybe he was turned into a vampire by a Baphomet-worshiper in the Middle East during the Crusades, but, gosh almighty, it was the best thing that ever happened to him because, geez louise, get a load of the Paynims he was able to kill after that? (I think I just described one of Matthew's brothers, but my question is, why couldn't Diana have fallen in love with him?

bekabot said...

...oh, the asterisk. Well, I was going to add that if you're a spy writing a spy novel or a baker writing a book about cakes, your protagonist can be as magical as you want him/her to be and you'll probably still be on safe ground.

Sven said...

I suppose the reason YA authors get more credit than authors who write "for adults" also has something to do with the idea that their putative effect is more beneficial because Getting Them Young is considered more valuable than enticing older people to read (this is given the Reading Is Good, Period premise, of course).

With regard to this:
"so yay, but writers ... write. It's what they/we do, and while I think it's a valuable service to society, I don't imagine that most of them/us ply their/our trade purely and simply to encourage literacy, forsaking all other worldly considerations."

I tend to see the "undeserved" praise here as something borderline positive (or at least the exception to something that I consider generally negative): As an academic (esp. in a discipline that many people (wrongly?) count under the Humanities), I am all too familiar with being challenged on what my "contribution to society" is. Interestingly, these challenges are usually not made by people who actually do "contribute to society" in tangible ways (doctors, firefighters, garbage collectors, farmers, teachers), but rather from people whose "contribution" is at best totally abstract and usually highly questionable---in a word, money people. That is, people who are successful in business and/or successful in handling/increasing other people's money.

I find this an annoying and disturbing trend (that the contribution of "money people" is generally considered a valid contribution to society, while the work of academics, authors and other think-workers needs justification), so I can understand/appreciate if the work of (some) authors is given extrinsic justification.

Boutet said...

There's a similar movement in my part of the country (central Canada) about farmers. Everywhere I go there's signs saying things like "Did you EAT today? THANK A FARMER!" And I really want to tack another sign on the end of it saying "They get PAID. NO THANKS NEEDED!"

In the case of YA novels, I think at least some of it might be leftover resentment on the part of former YA readers. I look back at the drivel I had to put up with at that age (Goosebumps, Sweet Valley High, etc) and look at current YA authors, and it's all I can do to keep from ranting about how certain good authors were just not available to me at the age when I would have most benefitted from them (Tamora Pierce!). I play up YA authors with good writing, plausable characters, meaningful stories to any person of any age that asks me for YA novel suggestions (I am both a teacher and former librarian), much more enthusiastically than I play up adult authors partly because I"m genuinely excited that good YA books are finally available. Good adult books have been already available for all my life.

Not sure why that should excuse them from crisicism though. I'm more critical of authors that I like. I expect better of them, haha

chris the cynic said...

So, an update on the Team Big Bird thing. Apparently I screwed up. The first thing I did was check to see if "Big Bird" was protected, but somehow I managed to miss the one entry that mattered, a live copyright at the bottom of the page.

I am considering:
a) dropping the whole thing
b) translating it into Latin and hoping no one notices
c) Team Large Avian
d) Honestly plan a of giving up looks like the best option at this point
e) Team Oscar, which is clearly legal but without a "the grouch" at the end (which would be illegal) no one knows what you're talking about
f) did I mention giving up on this because it serves no purpose

Amaryllis said...

I find the idea that a fad book series can have a lasting impact on whether or not someone reads for fun to be fairly dubious claim. However, I'd love to be proven wrong.
From my entirely personal experience, I don't think you're wrong.

Amaryllis said...

When my daughter was in elementary school, the school and public librarians made sure to have a copious supply of the "Captain Underpants" books on the shelve. I don't think that guy gets too much respect either.

Asha said...

I'm trying to remember back when I would have been considered one of the YA crowd- and most of what I remember being offered was not aimed at me, especially when I was in middle school. And I was Not Interested once I got past the first wave of Babysitters' Club books, Sweet Valley and My Teacher Is An Alien and got bored with them. I've said before I'm a fantasy fan, and there just wasn't a lot in the middle school library that appealed to me. Most of it was very easy, or very dull, or dealt with Newberry Award topics like your mother dying of cancer, your best friend died by drowning after the rope broke, or you had to shoot your dog.

Long, meaty books just didn't exist unless you were writing a paper on something. Then I discovered that the bookstore didn't care what my age was and I started buying Mercedes Lackey, Ann Macaffery and Piers Anthony, and actually found something I liked. But none of those authors meant to write young adult books, and again, most of what I remember in the libraries was just not appealing. So, yeah, I can see the importance of getting kids into a book that lasts more than a hundred pages. I don't understand is why those authors are above reproach for it. Like any genre, they need critics to point out the flaws so writing can improve.

Boutet said...

"... New Media Causes Evil. So of kids are reading, them they aren't doing whatever anti-social thing they would have been doing without the book"

I had an argument with a School Board member when they went on a rant about how anti-social video games are as opposed to reading. Video games, internet forums, many uses of media can be very social. Reading is extremely anti-social. A person sitting alone and not communicating with another living person for the time it takes to read an entire novel is not a person being enriched by socializing. Going to new media methods of communication (like this blog) to discuss what they've read after they've read it IS social. Praising reading while complaining about "anti-social media" just seems inconsistant to me.

Not that I'm saying that the statement was your point. You've presented in a way that makes me think you disagree with it. You just reminded me of the argument that bothers me so I've grabbed it as a jumping off point.

Silver Adept said...

@Makabit, @Amaryllis - Kinney (Wimpy Kid) and Pilkey (Captain Underpants) usually get their props and yays for getting guys to read - because if we're needing to cheer for teenagers reading, regardless of gender, men, and especially elementary-school age boys, reading is something that has fireworks and parades, because men have an even greater social stigma associated with reading, plus the additional hurdles of men being turned off to reading because school reading is too hard for them and it has nothing of interest to them. (Developmental studies say that girls read better than boys at certain parts of schooling - guys will eventually close the gap, but only if they haven't been discouraged or improperly labeled as slow or stupid in the interim.) The people here that work in libraries have horror stories of guys being turned off of reading, but also great stories where guys found something interesting and were able to demonstrate just how well they can read, despite having been labeled as slow or stupid.

@Boutet - Thank you for clarifying - you've read my context and position correctly. I'm tired of having to keep fighting the New Media Is Evil battle - for example, when people leave comments about how the summer reading program for teenagers should be solely about book reading, instead of trying to encourage activities and things that help teens develop self-awareness and showcase their knowledge.

These days, reading is a social activity - and there is a lot more reading going on, just not in books, than many people, including the people praising YA authors for "getting kids reading" realize.

depizan said...

That's a pity. My middle school library had quite a bit of fantasy (and sci-fi), as well as other popular authors like V C Andrews and Clive Cussler. Clearly, whoever was in charge was okay with people reading for fun.

UrsulaVernon said...

*cough* I, uh, have a dog in this fight. I write the Dragonbreath series of books for kids, and they're aimed primarily at the reluctant reader set. (Not that younger ages don't read them, or kids who read just fine, but they're marketed heavily for the middle-grade books-are-an-instrument-of-torture demographic.)

And I do indeed get mail, usually a couple times a month, from parents who are thanking me for getting their kid to read SOMETHING. ("Anything!" is not usually stated, but occasionally implied.)

I say this not to be egotistical, but because having read a BUNCH of these over the last four years, I've actually got a theory.

See, a lot of these parents are avid readers themselves, and I think they view it--perhaps understandably!--as the norm. Then they wind up with a kid who doesn't like reading, and since they believe, with every fiber of their being, that reading is awesome, they're worried that their kids are missing out on the best thing since sliced bread.

And I can sort of understand this, because dude, reading is one of my BIG activities. It's up there with eating and bathing and gardening and a couple other things we won't mention in a thread about children's literature. If I was suddenly bereft of it, I would lose a lot, so I can't blame these parents for being desperate and feeling like they/school/the world is failing their child miserably if he or she really doesn't like reading.

I mean, THEY went to Narnia and Earthsea and Pern and Baker's Street, so how awful would it be if their kid never got to visit all those awesome places too?

That being said, is there any evidence at all that if you read my books, or Wimpy Kid, or anything else like that, you'll be less inclined to think that books are trying to kill you?

...no idea. I'd like to think I'm fighting the good fight, but hard data is thin on the ground. But I can still understand why seeing your kid with a book--any book!--is hailed with great relief, and various authors canonized (although there's already a St. Ursula and I'm pretty sure the world doesn't need two. Also, nobody's offered.)

Asha said...

Most of the authors were in our high school library, but not the middle school one, which is the reading level I would place Twilight and Harry Potter when I was that age. Ironically, I found a lot more of the 'good' YA books when I went to college and found their teaching reading library, which included Tamora Pierce (which my town library did have, yay!) and (I can't remember the authors) Am I Blue? But there was a lot more entertaining stuff there. All of this is very sad, because I loved my librarians as fun and interesting people. I don't think I really skipped any reading levels, just that the stuff I was supposed to be reading and interested in, that the library stocked, did not appeal to me in the slightest.

However, I will not discount the idea that I skipped an intermediate level not because I'm particularly smart, but because someone left some defective books at my dance school and I tore into them like a starved wolf. I hadn't realized fantasy like this existed until that moment, and I wanted more. I'm from a very conservative religious background, to the point that I was accused of witchcraft when I bought the starter AD&D box back in the day and tried to figure out how to play. (The books and magazines at my old dance school introduced me to a lot of things that I wasn't supposed to know. Which is good.)

You're quite lucky to have had those books available to you. *sigh* I guess this is where my love of airport fantasy comes from. Ah, well.

depizan said...

Looking back on it, I'm very curious as to how my middle school ended up the way it did. Not only was the library enthusiastically stocked with fun stuff (and, obviously, not just "age appropriate" stuff), but all of the English/literature teachers had bookcases in their rooms which were also stocked with a huge mixture of stuff, and which kids could borrow from at will. I don't know whose idea it was, but it was a very good one.

Hell, I can thank my eighth grade English teacher for the fact that I'm a Star Wars fan (though I might have become one at some point anyway). She had a bad habit of randomly reminiscing about the ducks she'd had as a kid and I snuck a random book from her bookcase (which was directly behind me) because I didn't feel like hearing her duck story for the nine millionth time. The book was Han Solo's Revenge by Brian Daley. One of the earliest EU books written.

And that's why teachers should have bookcases in their classrooms.

Wait, that didn't make me a reader (I'd been one of those forever), it just made me a Star Wars fan.

Er, it's still a really good idea! Along with making sure there's a big enough variety in the school library to appeal to most tastes (I'm not sure if "all tastes" is feasible, but it'd make a good goal to aim for.) and a big range of reading levels.

depizan said...

I didn't really think of this earlier, but I actually do know of someone who just had to find the right book to be interested in reading. So chances are pretty good that at least a few people have become readers from reading your books or Wimpy Kid or Harry Potter or [giant list of books].

(As a side note, your audience includes at least a few library clerks, too. Sometimes one just feels like reading a fun kids book.)

Silver Adept said...

@UrsulaVernon -

Congratulations on the award.

We second depizan here - there's crossover appeal in good books. And sometimes finding just the right book gets someone on the right track for reading.

That's a different theory - parents that read wanting their kids to read and share the joy instead of people wanting kids to sit still for a bit so that they aren't doing something that would net them a role in A Clockwork Orange. Makes sense - I'd definitely be trying whatever possible to instill that love of reading in my own children, if/when I have some.

(Also, tiny squee about more published authors joining in the threads here!)

hf said...

Remember my zombie apocalypse team?

I do recall that. I'm still trying to figure out how Cervantes from "Man of La Mancha" should help Susan Pevensie and Hirou go after the Author/Aslan.

hf said...

My objection has always been that one could find better porn on the Internet for free. (I feel disappointed to learn that Fifty Shades has awful writing. At least it disproves the claim that Twilight appealed to women chiefly because of the chastity.)

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Internet's reaction may have an aspect of How Dare You Have Different Tastes in Porn.

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