First up is an article from the Washington Post, reprinted in the Seattle Times. Now I like these newspapers. But this article is awful, IMHO. The problem I think I have with it is that I don't really trust the study. I look at the list, especially for the older grades (Besides just lumping 9-12th grades. Please. Like 9th graders are reading what 12th graders are. Whatever.), and I see well, gee, I wonder if some of those books are required reading at 80% of schools out there? I want to know what the top books for pleasure reading are. It's not that I don't think that there'd be duplications, I'm just not terribly surprised that Of Mice and Men shows up when everyone I know had to read it in high school. Did the survey at all cover whether the students enjoyed these titles? Furthermore, I question whether the survey was even balanced when you get what I consider a biased quote from guy who's company did the survey:
'"I find it reassuring ... that students are still reading the classics I read as a child," said Roy Truby, a senior vice president for Wisconsin-based Renaissance Learning. But Truby said he would have preferred to see more meaty and varied fare, such as "historical novels and biographical works so integral to understanding our past and contemporary books that help us understand our world."'
Furthermore, there wasn't any real kind of reporting on the survey itself. What were some of the questions? Did that guy write any of them? Was there another goal? And why does every. single. article concerning youth and reading have to compare whatever to Harry Potter?
I'm probably just cranky 'cause I had such a great weekend and didn't want to come back to work today.
In happier articles...
Containing this quote which I'm going to plaster somewhere: “Teen books are like adult books, without all the bull****” H. Jack Martin, assistant coordinator of young adult services at New York Public Library. That's awesome, right? I think so. And it epitomizes why I dig teen lit. The article is all about what makes YA lit not adult lit. Sherman Alexie was on the panel and there are some great quotes from him, as usual.
We've all read and loved Madeline L'Engle, right? New book, published posthumously (obviously) but written in the 1940's. It's said to be the most autobiographical of her work. Don't know about you, but that intrigues me. Although I hope that cover isn't the one they are using...
Further cannibalizing from PW: Twilight Zone is gonna be a series of graphic novels!