[DWJ] Newly discovered books

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Mon Aug 6 10:48:51 EDT 2007

I can think of several good issue books. Jacqueline Wilson's books are
almost exclusively issue books, and I think many of them are good
nonetheless. Ditto Judy Blume.

The issue in "The Ogre Downstairs" would be getting along with a new
stepfather. I'm sure I've seen it described as such; very unnappetizing.
The issue in "Wilkin's Tooth" is indeed a more general issue of stereotypes
and tolerance. It starts out with the black kids, the crippled girl, etc. (I
have got to reread the book now!) and takes a while before they're all
acknowledging each other as actual people.

-----Original Message-----
From: dwj-bounces at suberic.net [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net]On Behalf Of
Charles Butler
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2007 5:32 PM
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
Subject: Re: [DWJ] Newly discovered books

Is "issue book" always and necessarily a pejorative term, I wonder? Does it
always carry an implication of two-dimensionality and reductiveness? Can
anybody recommend a book which they would describe as an issue book AND a
great book? Would Aimee be happy to hear *Uglies* so described, for example?

Also... although I'm sure it's true that some authors sit down and think,
"No one's done an issue book recently about X, so why don't I fill the gap
in the market?" I'm doubtful that they all start this way. Did Scott
Westerfield, for example, begin with the issue of body image and build a
story to illustrate the issue? Perhaps - but I doubt it was quite as neat as
that. Books take quite a time to write, and sometimes the "issues" occur to
the author during that process, or even at the stage of revision. I suspect
that whether a book is labelled an issues book depends on a number of
factors, including the way it came into being, the way it's published and
marketed, the way (if applicable) it's taught, whether or not the critic
happens to like it, and what its author has to say about it, as well as more
intrinsic factors such as its multi-facetedness, subtlety, etc.


Website: www.charlesbutler.co.uk
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