Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Who Reads Your Books and Why? Or, Maybe the Question Should Be, Does Anyone Keep Them?

Events this past weekend sent me thinking about books and who reads them and why. Then my skippy little mind jumped to children's lit and then about books in general. There are men's books and woman's books and, occasionally, people books that everyone reads. Alexander McCall Smith comes to mind here, but there are others, especially in the mystery genre. I'm sure you could add ten or a hundred to a growing list but would anyone keep them?

This whole train of thought came about when I started sorting through my crammed bookshelves on Saturday and gave up. One reason was I discovered Alan Garner's fantasy, The Moon of Comrath, book two in the Alderley Trilogy, shoved in back of the "S"s. 

Second reason, I sat down and re-read the book. [It's only around 150 pages. My copy of the book is an Ace dated 1963.] 

Third reason, the web caught me with amazing tid-bits of author information, like there was such a thing as an Alderley Trilogy when I went to search if Garner was still alive. Someone's even posted pictures of the location where the story happens. I told myself I wasn't wasting my time since I was gathering background material for my blog.

You can *snigger* if you wish.

Then I looked in a book store yesterday, it seemed like children's lit is getting short shrift. Oh, there's loads of YA sitting around, but new books for 10-12 year-olds seem to be scarce on the bookshelves, especially an assortment of stand alones. Many of the titles even were in existence when my kids were of the age or, worse, when I was a kid. [Yeah, it nice that classics remain in print, but new writers need distribution among the general public, too, besides Scholastic and the library.]

My other impression was the preponderance of runs of single series, mostly appealing to either boys or girls and few that appealed to both, like Harry Potter. Seems to me that there used to be a lot more books that sported a team of boy and girls caught in an adventure. Often this came as a brother and sister or a group of siblings teaming together to solve a problem, each adding their own insights and strengths. Alan Garner's The Moon of Comrath is one of the classic examples of this kind of kid's book, even though it's the middle of a trilogy now.

In my opinion, The Moon of Conrath -- when the Wild Hunt takes to the skies because two kids light a fire in the wrong place at the wrong time -- is one of the better diggings into British folklore to create an absorbing children's story. Yeah I have Cooper and Alexander and others. What's significant: I still have them. Not many authors can be so lucky to have fans who keep their books for years. I give the book 5*****.

I'm stopping here even though I can think of more than a few qualifications and exceptions to my generalizations. But I'm going to keep thinking about the issue. Why? Because I'm thinking of turning the three middle grade novels fermenting in my computer into young adult ... provided I can get the backlog of new stuff written up. The frightening part is I'm not even thinking about the Far Isles Half-Elven stuff which I'm currently revising.

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So what did I accomplish last week. Precious little.
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