Recommending books

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Sat Jun 22 14:42:14 EDT 2002


On Sat, 22 Jun 2002 19:06:50 +0100, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

>>On Thu, 20 Jun 2002 17:59:10 +0100, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:
>>
>>>There was one of these discussions back in '99, and I pulled together
>>>a lot of the posts in the thread to send to Bodil, which is still
>>>here.  I could post this if you'd like, Melissa, but it may be more
>>>fun to get new recs and then see the old ones?  Whatever you'd
>>>prefer...
>>
>>I'm glad you've still got it.  I think it would be fun to compare the new
>>list to the old, since we've had some new members join since then.
>
>Yeah, there are *always* advantages to be found to being untidy! :)

I try to look for the advantages so I won't have to change my habits.
("Look, everyone, it's that enormous diamond I lost fifteen years ago! Just
in time to save the farm!  Isn't it good I'm so untidy?")

>>And thanks, everyone, for some interesting discussions!  I'm going to
>>compile the recommendation list in a few days and see what we've got.
>
>I'll wait for a few days and then send it, ok?

Yes, to give everyone time to put in a few more recs.  My DWJ folder is
brimming with unmarked posts because I haven't had time to transcribe it
all.

>>Of all these recommendations, are there *any* that you would hesitate to
>>recommend to a boy? a girl? and why?
>
>Hmmm.  Mostly the ones I would definitely not recommend for a boy are 
>ones nobody in our house liked that much anyway (Tamora Pierce comes 
>immediately mind - apologies to fans).  But then there are others 
>that we do love - this is what I was thinking of with the Sherwood 
>Smith - which I'd never recommend to a boy I didn't know that well. 
>Which is the situation I was picturing from your post, Melissa - 
>granny walks in with kid who likes Harry Potter and that's pretty 
>much all you know about his tastes.  So I guess it's nothing more 
>interesting than playing it a lot safer about things like female 
>protagonist for male reader, romantic element, etc.  Not that I'd 
>believe all boys would automatically reject a book just on that basis.

Exactly.  I make a hobby out of discovering "perfect" books for friends,
because I know what they like.  (Just gave someone my copies of Megan Whalen
Turner's books and she LOVED them and is buying her own.  And she doesn't
buy a lot of books.  Do I know my friends or what?)  But the real point of
this exercise is twofold:  first, I have to have a list because my brain
goes blank when I'm put on the spot, so I want a big broad general list that
I can consult and tailor to the person's interests.  Second, I intend to ask
the library if they want my list to hand out to people, and therefore the
final list must be as generic as possible, for people of all tastes whose
only common characteristic is a love for Harry Potter or DWJ or Lloyd
Alexander.  If there is a book that it is virtually certain a boy or a girl
will not like, I don't want to take the chance that *that* is the next book
they read, and they get turned off on the whole concept.

I don't think I mentioned that the OTHER time I was present when a kid asked
about such stuff, the librarian *did* direct him to Alexander, but for some
reason didn't show him what order the series came in--she just walked off
and left the poor kid.  I was busy with a pile of books and not sure whether
he would be embarrassed by my approaching him--I can't explain it, he just
had this look about him.  Then I lost my chance.  So I decided I wasn't
going to let it happen again, if the opportunity presented itself.

>I will further defend myself by backing this up with reference to 
>DWJ's comments that "no boy would be seen dead reading a book whose 
>hero was a girl.'  In 1970, which is probably virtually Stone Age to 
>some of you, but still...

It was the common wisdom in my YA lit class.  Which is why I want to know if
there's still any truth to it.

Melissa Proffitt
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