A very small sample from this year...
Well, 2011 was an interesting year. I got an iPad, with all that that implies, I started writing again, I completed NaNoWriMo, work got a bit more difficult and challenging, and DC Comics rebooted their universe again. All of that had an impact on how I read and what I read, and not all of it was good.
In this year in review podcast, I’ll talk about what went well in 2011 and what could have gone better. What I enjoyed and what I struggled with, just like everyone else in the world. On balance, I think 2011 went well for me – I hope it did well for you too. And if it didn’t, well… there’s always 2012.
At least, assuming the Mayans were wrong.
Happy New Year!
(Technorati claim – T3BBTZPCZ37P )
A lot of the books I really love have something to do with the end of the world. Whether it’s the great plague of The Stand or nuclear holocaust in Swan Song, zombies like in World War Z or flesh-eating plants like in Day of the Triffids, or even irreverent humor like in Good Omens, I love to see the world come to an end, if only to see what comes next.
But what is it about these books that makes them so interesting? And not just books, either – there have been plenty of movies and TV shows that use the end of the world as a plot point, and they’re hugely popular.
What does the End of the World tell us about ourselves and our society? What is it about the end of the world that we find so appealing?
Maybe they have something to say about our relationship with the Eternal and out faith in a God that may one day decide He’s had enough. Perhaps it’s a desire to just start over from scratch and make a new world without making the mistakes of the old. Maybe we feel special, like the rules don’t apply to us. Or maybe we just want to see the world burn.
Whatever the reason, these stories will remain popular for a good long time. Let me know what you think!
The adventures of Huckleberry Finn
A Diary of a Young Girl
To Kill a Mockingbird
Catcher in the Rye
Lord of the Rings
These are just a few books that the American Library Association has reported as being banned or challenged in American libraries, and the list grows longer every year. Sometimes it’s because it offends someone’s religious sensibilities – like Harry Potter – and other times because it offends their moral sensibilities – And Tango Makes Three for example. And then there are those that make you think banning books isn’t so bad after all – Twilight is on the list – before you shake it off and think about how it does no good for anyone.
Ban a book and its sales will surely rise in the resulting media firestorm. Tell kids that a certain book is forbidden, and the first thing they’ll do is go get it. And even if you somehow manage to keep them cloistered from all the Bad Books out there, sooner or later they’ll find out what you were trying to hold back from them. When that happens, they will not think fondly of you.
Last week was Banned Books Week – but really it should be every week. Give the episode a listen and come join the conversation!
The American Library Association’s Banned Books Week page
Everybody has a guilty pleasure book. It might be one author or a specific series or even a whole genre – that book you don’t want to be seen reading. The book you know your high school English teacher would scold you for wasting your time with. The book you feel stupid talking about at parties because you know they’re going to say, “Really? That’s an interesting choice. I enjoy reading James Joyce in my free time and have first editions of the collected works of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez in every room of my home,” after which they all laugh at you until you run out of the party in shame and swear never to read another word of anything fun as long as you live. For example.
You didn't know about Twain's little-known short story, "A Connecticut Yankee in a 30th Century Court?" It's fascinating, really....
But should it really be that way? Why do we let the bestseller lists and “Best Books of ALL TIME” lists or some knucklehead with a podcast tell us what we should read and what we should like? In this edition of Lost in the Stacks, we explore the idea of Guilty Pleasure Reading and whether or not the concept should even exist. Share your guilty pleasures with us and stand up for your tastes in reading!
Obama’s Book Club
NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy
The Guardian’s Best Books
Time Magazine’s Top 100 Novels
The Telegraph: Top 100 Books
New York Times Bestseller List
The Comics Code Authority on Wikipedia
Filed under classics, comic books, criticism, culture, fantasy, fiction, Lost in the Stacks, reading, reviewing, science fiction, society
Welcome to the 21st century, all. Electronic books, whether you love them or hate them, are here to stay, and as with any change in medium this drastic, we have to figure out which one is better. In the immortal words of… an immortal, “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!”
This inconsistency in format bothers me more than you will ever know....
Well, no, not really. But readers still have to figure out what our relationship is with these newfangled electronic things. What are their benefits? What are their drawbacks? How can I relate to them? What do they tell the world about me, and what do they tell me about myself? There’s a lot more involved in this discussion than simple cost-benefit analysis. There are feelings and memories and senses, which can cause us to make decisions about the medium that aren’t necessarily rational.
Today we’re going to pick it apart, look at the two sides and come to a conclusion. Or my conclusion, at least. Your mileage may vary.
How do you feel about the issue? Are you a dead-tree traditionalist, or are you a post-modern experimenter? How do you make your decisions on which format to buy? Leave your opinion in the comments, and let’s continue the discussion!
Marissa, a listener in the U.S., asks: “Is young adult fic something that adults should be reading too?”
An excellent question, Marissa, and thank you for giving me a topic for this month’s episode of “Lost in the Stacks.” The is the kind of listener interaction that keeps me going….
Just a few from my collection....
Young adult fiction is big business for writers and publishers these days – kids are reading more than ever, and a lot of them have money just itching to be spent. This is one way to not only get young people interested in reading, but to challenge their minds and opinions on the issues that they face in their lives – divorce, abuse, loneliness, the search for meaning, love and friendship. There are so many topics that apply to young readers that the value of young adult literature for teenagers is almost a given.
But what about adults? Why are there communities of adults who enjoy YA literature, and should they be enjoying it? What does this kind of writing bring to the adult reader that more “grown-up” literature can’t?
For my take on it, take a listen to this month’s episode. If you have thoughts on the topic, I would love to hear them – that’s what the comments section is for, after all!
- Ernie Bond, The History of YA Literature; Salisbury University
- Michael Cart, The Value of Young Adult Literature; Young Adult Library Services Association, ALA.org, January 2008
- Forever Young Adult
- Cecelia Goodnow, Teens Buying Books at Fastest Rate in Decades; SeattlePI, 7 March 2007
- Industry Statistics 2009; The Association of American Publishers
- The Invention of the Teenager; U.S. History.org
- The Newbery Medal Home Page; The Association for Library Service to Children, ALA.org
- Jamie Reno, Generation R (R Is for Reader); Newsweek.com, 14 May, 2008
- Young-adult fiction; Wikipedia
Let me tell you about a good book I read. How much time do you have?
Here’s something new for you all – Lost in the Stacks, a companion podcast to the Labyrinth Library.
A few people in the listener survey said that they would like to hear more on general book and reading topics, and this is something that had been sitting in my head for a while, so here it is! The plan is to do this monthly, in the last weekend of the month, and hit topics that cover reading in general rather than focusing on one book.
To listen to the podcast, you can either download it directly by clicking the link, or subscribe in iTunes, in which case it will be delivered right to you.
To start us off, we’ll be talking about “Reading Evangelism,” or how to get other people to share what you love. How can you do it without coming off like a snob or a pedant or, *shudder* a high school English teacher? What I think it comes down to is the right mix of passion and understanding.
You love what you love, and there should never be any shame in that. Whether you love gardening or reading or collecting antebellum mustache combs, you should own your passions and be willing to share them with others. At the same time, you need to understand that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to convert everyone to your side. More’s the pity.
In this episode, I talk about my experience as a teacher of high school English and what I learned about trying to encourage others to read. I hope you’ll join in the conversation and we can all learn a little bit more about how to convince people to join us in our madness.