Want a good scare?

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu May 17 02:28:07 EDT 2001


On Tue, 15 May 2001 18:48:23 -0400 (EDT), deborah wrote:

>On Tue, 15 May 2001, Melissa Proffitt wrote:
>
>|Check this out:
>|
>|http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23370-2001May13.html
>|
>|It's talking about Americans, but I wonder how other countries stack up when
>|it comes to reading.  Now go find someone to give a DWJ book to.  You could
>|be saving a life.  :)
>
>Frighteningly, the aricle defines "voracious readers" as those
>"reading more than a book a week".  What am I, then?

Yeah, that was probably the scariest sentence in the whole thing.  You only
have to read one book a week to be voracious?  Wow.  I don't know--what's
bigger than "voracious"?

>Sadly, I'm not sure if I'd start non-readers on DWJ.

This was my ObDWJ.  :)

>  What do
>people think?  Id say that clearly you don't give _Hexwood_ or
>any of the really tangled tales to a non-reader, or any of the
>really meta-literary books such as _Homeward Bounders_, but what
>about, say, _Howl's_?

It would depend on the age.  If it's a fairly young person, then I'd give
them _Howl's_ or any of the Chrestomanci books or so forth.  But older
readers--no.  We had a concerned father over here a few days ago whose
oldest daughter is definitely aliterate, and I suggested _The Only Alien on
the Planet_ by Kristen Randle, which I think is a good choice for reluctant
teen (non)readers.  I think it's important to focus not only on quality, but
on content; if someone sees no point in reading, the first step is to make
that point clear, make reading relevant, and that means finding books whose
subject matter is interesting to the reader.  Books about sports for
football players; books about dancing for dancers; books about horses for
almost every girl aged 10 to 15....  Most fantasy may just be too weird to
strike that spark--too obviously Other, but then I'm assuming that someone
who is aliterate is mainly tuned in to mainstream culture, and that could be
an incorrect assumption.

On the other hand, I know of no fantasy and/or science fiction fans who are
NOT avid readers.  Movies and TV have not replaced books as the gateway to
these interests.  I wonder how likely it is that an aliterate is an
undiscovered SF fan?

>My undergrads (readers, but non-fantasy readers) hated Power of
>Three.  It confused them.
>
>They loved Harry Potter.
>
>To be fair, they also loved The Giver.  But they disliked The
>Golden Compass.  I almost cried.

That's a surprise.  I thought Pullman was running a good second to Harry
Potter for general appeal these days.

Melissa Proffitt
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