starting Abhorsen discussion

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Sat Apr 26 04:59:10 EDT 2003

On Wed, 23 Apr 2003 20:55:28 +0000, margaret_ball at wrote:

>Quoting Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at> on Wed, 23 Apr 2003

>> I do know exactly what
>> you mean--there's something about such a book that
>> makes it stand out, but I
>> don't know if I could identify it without resorting
>> to crass snobbery.
>Oh, go ahead and give it a shot. Surely nobody on this list objects to
>a bit of crass snobbery within reason?

Yes, but it's an addiction I'm trying to wean myself from....

I was thinking of things like:
--Very long series (i.e. Magic Tree House, Bailey School Kids, etc.)
--Marketable spinoffs, like with the American Girls catalog--anyone else get
these?  I'm on the Mailing List from Hell
--Low-quality prose with lots of the things you're not supposed to do, like
adverbials and whatever it's called when you use any verb but "said"..."said
bookisms"?  It's nearly three in the morning and my brain's reverted to
swiss cheese
--Lots of similarities in subject to other successful series (a million
_Goosebumps_ clones, etc.) (and this is how you can tell that Junie B. Jones
is NOT a mass market product)
--Stupid cheesy premise--if you ever find any kids' books called "Jewel
Kingdom," cover your eyes and run, RUN, in the opposite direction screaming
"Unclean! Unclean!"  And for heaven's sake DON'T watch the video unless you
need to shed some of those pesky IQ points.

They do work.  Kids love 'em.  But I have yet to be convinced that the
prevailing wisdom is true, that such books will eventually lead them to
become Real Readers.  I sincerely doubt that a steady diet of poor fiction
will give them the skills necessary to interpret even moderately complex


I feel much better now for indulging just a little in that vice.

(Yes, that was the gentle, non-scathing, mildly snobbish version.  Earlier
tonight it would have been the one with epithets like "steaming pile of
monkey crap," so isn't it a good thing I spent the entire evening playing
Picture Logic on my PDA instead of replying to email?)

(Jacob's upstairs reading _The Merlin Conspiracy_ right now, which gives him
the moral right not to be chivvied off to bed in the usual fashion.  Did we
say we would discuss starting the 22nd?  I'm not in any hurry if we need to
wait a bit longer, but perhaps we should have a roll call again.)

Melissa Proffitt

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