New York books
Originally uploaded by tsheko
Read Alert has a fascinating debate about the place of the Young Adult label in fiction. To whet your appetite, here’s a section of what Frank Cottrell Boyce says:
‘It used to be the case that you moved on from children’s fiction to adult fiction, from The Owl Service, maybe, to Catcher in the Rye. There were, of course, some adult authors who were more fashionable with teenage readers than others – Salinger, Vonnegut, Maya Angelou. But these were chosen by teenagers themselves from the vast world of books. Some time ago, someone saw that trend and turned it into a demographic. Fortunes were made but something crucial was lost. We have already ghettoised teenagers’ tastes in music, in clothes and – God forgive us – in food. Can’t we at least let them share our reading? Is there anything more depressing than the sight of a “young adult” bookshelf in the corner of the shop’.
Read the string of comments for a satisfying debate on the issue of Young Adult fiction – is the category YA ‘ghettoising’ or ‘the most flexible, challenging and dynamic genre in publishing’?
Little suck a thumb 2
Originally uploaded by daniel.schenzer
I thought I’d search an old German children’s book to test out Google Book Search. Can’t believe it, not only did I get a result, but also whole page images (which I couldn’t copy), extracts of popular passages and interesting background information. I still can’t believe this book – so violent and politically incorrect. It’s fascinating to see what was important for children of nineteenth century Germany. The author wrote and illustrated it in 1845 as a Christmas present for his 3 year old son. I’m not sure of the psychological damage done to this little boy as he pored over stories with gruesome consequences that befell children who tormented animals, played with matches, sucked their thumbs and refused to eat their soup. As you can see from the picture I’ve included about the boy who sucked his thumb, the illustrations spare no detail. Actually, it reminds me a little of Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons – not the moralising part, just the violence. I’m not sure what I thought of all this when I read it as a young girl. I must have realised that it wasn’t a realistic depiction of what would happen to me if I displayed any of this behaviour. Grimms’ fairy tales were no less gruesome. I think kids like that, actually. Look at older kids watching South Park.
The Google book search gives a synopsis, reviews, other editions, where to buy or borrow from a library, the option to add to your Google library or write a review. You can search genres within fiction and non-fiction.