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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Most Appalling Thing...

The most appalling thing I heard today, from the mouth of a 9th grader, was If Fight Club was a book, I wouldn't want to read that! Ah, such a big if.


Reminds me of a joke my beloved spouse and his used bookstore co-workers have been known to entertain themselves with
Customer- brings up copy of Fellowship of the Ring.
Bookstore worker- Man! I hate it when they take a movie and then make a book out of it. Customer- Um no--
Other Bookstore Worker--I know, right? I hate that too. Like those awful Star Wars Books!
Bookstore Worker- that sucks. Why would they do that?
Customer- I'm pretty sure it was a book first--
Bookstore Worker-- so frustrating...novelizations...(sighs dramatically)

Please note- none of these bookstore workers are even close to as amusing as their (apparent) idol. Jack Black in High Fidelity (see below)


The Fight Club thing came up in a conversation about YA Lit. We were reading an article that suggests that no divisions are needed between YA and Adult lit. One of the assertions of the article was that it's actually insulting to have a separate category for teens.

For the most part, my teen readers (I have two YA Lit classes) did not feel ghettoized by their YA selections. Okay, none of them felt ghettoized. Our school is pretty non-ghetto. A few didn't see any particular reasons for the distinction, and one said he had no desire to read adult literature (this is a kid who has been eating up the books on our list, a smart kid) who said "they" should just make adult books into movies so he wouldn't have to bother reading them.

Oddly, and I know we always hear that teen boys don't read YA argument, I haven't been seeing teen boys read much else lately. My aide is reading Ender's Game, but he got from me recommended shelf. A few years ago I saw a constant stream of boys reading King's Dark Tower series, but I'm not seeing that this year.

I'm also seeing teen boys reading more books with female protagonists. And not seeming particularly worried about anyone knowing it.

Now, I guess it shouldn't be any surprise that students who signed up for YA lit are reading...YA Lit, though some of them primarily signed up for the Speculative Fiction class that I'm teaching in the 9 week term following the YA Lit class. And, it includes my sophomore English class.

We heard more complaints about classes and teachers that do not allow YA books on the curriculum, and honestly, those are mostly AP classes.

I am pleased/thrilled/ecstatic to spend my days among teens who love to read. And that is awesome enough to make the appalling thing a little...a little less appalling.


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Blogger Elissa J. Hoole said...

My feeling has always been that the teen boys I teach seem to talk among themselves less about the books they're reading than girls do--so while girls pass a book around from hand to hand, gushing about how awesome it is, the boys are much more likely to read what adults recommend to them (or the books their dad has on his shelves, as is sometimes the case). This is why booklists, booktalks, and awesome librarians have such an impact. Especially reluctant readers! Wow, do they LOVE the YA on my shelves. I can't hand it out fast enough.

February 22, 2011 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger bethany griffin said...

Elissa, I have boys in my YA lit class who are reading a book every other day! It's amazing.

February 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still saddened by the fight club remark.

Can't you lie and say it's YA? It's nice and thin...

*sets off to corrupt Bethany's class*

February 22, 2011 at 8:13 PM  
Blogger amy said...

I wonder what your kids would say the difference is between YA and "adult" books -- especially the one who said adult books should all be turned into movies.

February 22, 2011 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger bethany griffin said...

Cat, I was thinking of bringing him a copy, I mean they are allowed to read adult books once he's read his 3 for YA Lit, and I know he's read Little Brother and Living Dead Girl already.

February 23, 2011 at 4:17 AM  
Blogger bethany griffin said...

Well, understand that was a freshman, and the freshman perspective is fairly different from juniors and seniors and even sophomores (they're stepping away from 3 years in middle school and have had less than a whole year in high school).

The differences we discusses are- usually faster paced, heavier on dialogue, and shorter, with the understanding that there are long YA books (the book thief) but there are even longer adult books (unabridged The Stand). Our investigation would lead us to believe that there is about a 100 page difference between the average YA novel and the average adult novel.

February 23, 2011 at 4:25 AM  

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