Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Weetzie Bat" by Francesca Lia Block

I honestly really enjoyed this book. I particularly enjoyed the way that the book rolls with quick descriptors of what the characters are doing, what's they're eating, the colours of the sky, their car, their clothes. Yet it doesn't go into extreme details about anything in particular and it keeps the pace up. I easily read this book and I know that some teens will appreciate how quickly it can be read and without much difficulty, I suspect. It gives a vivid stamp of a scene that gives the book a dreamy atmosphere.

As for the content and censorship issues, I personally don't understand why people in general really get riled up about content that they don't like. I think today I'll leave it at that. I personally like how this book portrayed how families meld together and become blended. Though probably not so magically and dramatically, families do exist that are not the typical nuclear family. These types of families exist to some extent and it does not stop the family from being full of love. The book also hints that someone has AIDS, and homosexuality is largely accepted, and characters discuss that the world is too damaged to bring children into, yet the world is beautiful and love exists, and it is an urban fairytale, so it's going to be ok in the end.

Feb. 16th 2011 Readings

Library materials and services for teen girls By Katie O'Dell
We had to read the first 6 pages and I found the section interesting. I was never into Nancy Drew books when I was younger, no matter how much this girl in my class was obsessed with them. Later on, my grandmother was the one who bought me my books. For awhile though, she keep buying me teen magazines, which never interested me beyond "oh, look what I can't afford or even buy in this town..." I had to say that if she's going to buy me a 12ish dollar magazine every week or so, could she please buy me a paperback Anne Rice, or Margaret Atwood, or etc. ?

Fifty ways to promote teen reading in your school library.

12. Use the lure of the forbidden. Tell them a book is banned or controversial, or just give them some of the crazy details (for example, boyfriend is on crack and parents are abusive) and a questioning "Are you up to the challenge?" look.
(One summer when I was a teenager I went to Maine beach and I found a copy of Lord of the Flies in a bookstore, and, no kidding, there was a bookmark that had "banned" on it with a circle with a slash through it sticking out of it. I had heard of the book before, but that "banned" bookmark, which I kept, sold me. Why? Because I was rebellious, and had to get my grandma to tell the store clerk that I could have it and that made me feel cool, yo.)
I am particularly interested in the points that discuss how to promote books in libraries, such as putting graphic novels in the front and having books near the computer stations. I also think that having your students pick books and run a blog (43 and 44) is much more effective than only you selecting books, unless you are really knowledgeable about teen reading trends. But even then, tastes are diverse and subjective so I think you'd be surprised anyway.   

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Judy Blume's "Forever..." (spoilers)

What I really liked was that the novel wasn't preachy about sex, in the way that some novels are. The issue of sex isn't a moral one, and as it was written in 1975 I feel that the moral issue surrounding sex is still (largely) gone. I read some criticism that the book has, and it's fairly interesting. I never read this book as a young adult, but I read Chuck Palahniuk and I see some of his novels as much "worse," though his books don't deal with Young Adults. Is that supposed to be the difference here?

Anyway, I particularly liked the character Erica, and she had Kath present an interesting notion about sex: is it a physical act or a romantic one? I think it is a good thing to make young readers think about. Especially because one character becomes pregnant and becomes almost a warning not that you shouldn't have sex, but that you should use protection, and actually know who the father is. The character who actually gets pregnant also has the desire to deliver the baby, despite not being able to take care of the baby. She wanted the "experience" of having a child. Personally, I feel like this was an unrealistic romantic idea she had, yet I feel that she herself believes that the act is a physical experience because she has intercourse with so many men that she doesn't know who the father is.  From the beginning I felt that this character had a stigma about her, and I knew that something weird was going to happen.

Other than that, I found the book to be a very quick read, and that says a lot because I am a very slow reader. The book took me perhaps two hours to read. Maybe two and a half? But there is a lot to consider in the novel, though the pace moves fairly quickly. How to explain it? Thought provoking issues were raised, we listened to the characters talk it out a bit, mostly summarized by the narrator, we read her thoughts, etc. but the plot and the pace doesn't stop. It's not like a Jane Austen novel where there are epically boring parts (sorry Austen fans). It really reminded me of high school where you just "keep going," day in, day out, and new stuff happened and developed everyday. Big decisions were made on a whim by some people, but if you're really trying to make a decision and you're thinking about it, you're still swept away by the everyday tide.

On a side note of Judy Blume and Chuck Palahniuk, I found this on Wikipedia: "Damned is an upcoming novel by Chuck Palahniuk, which is scheduled to be published on October 18, 2011. The plot concerns Madison, an eleven year old girl who finds herself in Hell, unsure of why she will be there for all eternity, but tries to make the best of it. It is based on the structure of Judy Blume novels, particularly Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." Epic, or, epic, right?