Thursday, October 25, 2007

Addicted to reading.

I was blog-hopping during detention a couple of days ago, and I came across a book challenge. Young Adult novels reading challenge
Hopefully this link will work. It's my first try. Scott showed me how to use HTML ten minutes ago.

Basically, all you have to do is read 12 Young Adult novels over 2008. I really like this genre, and not because I'm an English teacher of Young Adults. (At least, that's what they say they are, but sometimes I take the liberty of doubting it.) I enjoy that these books tend to deal with some challenging themes, and they stick to the point, which can't be said for other genres. The plot has to grab, otherwise kids won't persevere, so it forces the author to be less self indulgent. I realise I'm speaking in massive generalisations here, so don't leave comments saying I'm an idiot. (But feel free to leave comments about anything else!!) Also, next year I'll be looking for new texts for our ESL kids, so doing this challenge will be like a tax deduction for the mind. Work + Fun = a happy me.

Another reason I'm happy to take part in this is that these books are going to be a part of our kids' lives. They'll be shaping their literary memories and forming part of their view of the world. I still have incredibly clear memories of the books I loved as a child.

The 'Little House' books still stay with me today. I even named one of my dogs Laura. When I'm being frugal I channel Ma Ingalls.... what would she do?

And what about 'Go Ask Alice'? My cousin and I read that book together over the summer holiday I spent at her house while Mum and Dad were in Europe. I read a page aloud, then she'd read a page.... I'm sure that book is one of the reasons why I steered clear of drugs. (Scared the bejeebers out of me!)

I read the 'Anne of Green Gables' books over and over again in my early teen years. Who wasn't captivated by the little red haired orphan and her imagination? Remember her walk through the haunted woods? Remember the reenactment of 'The Lady of Shallott'? The puffed sleeves she coveted?

Later on when I was 16 or so I graduated to Georgette Heyer. I own the complete set of her works. I have them parked on the bottom bookshelf in my lounge room, partially hidden behind a chair. (Well.... they're not exactly literary boasting material. But I love them nonetheless.) 'These Old Shades'... top read. I just loved Leonie. Sophie, Hero, Ancilla and all of the others were just fabulous. Heyer was also funny. Every now and then there's a dry line that's hysterical. And the interesting thing is that even though my literary tastes have moved on over the past twenty years, I find that if I'm particularly stressed, then I'll gravitate to reading one. I know what's going to happen after reading each one hundreds of times in my youth, so it must be somehow soothing to switch off and just let my eyes run over the pages full of muslin clad, high-spirited heroines and their cleft-chinned men who can control a team of highly strung horses with one flick of their wrists. (sigh! They don't make them like that anymore...)

The 'Silver Brumby' books by Elyne Mitchell are also fantastic. Following these horses through the bush, watching the generations grow and move on, watching Thowra become more and more of a legend the longer time went on... fabulous stuff. Although they are about horses, these are no Pony Club books with spoilt little missies whingeing about missing a jump at the last gymkhana. These horses are wild brumbies....

When I was a SAHM in the depths of nappies, poverty and a bad marriage, the kid next door introduced me to the 'Tomorrow When the War Began' series by John Marsden. Hands down one of the best series I've ever read, either for Young Adults or for those of us more Geriatrically Challenged. I gobbled down the books that were written, and then haunted the bookshops waiting for the next one to come out. By this stage I didn't classify as a 'Young Adult' type of reader. I was 33 and had three-and-a-half kids. These books have a wonderful plotline (what if Australia was invaded? What would happen? A group of teenagers from the bush escape the initial round-up of Aussies. What do they do now??) I love them. Even Jack has started reading them, and he's no reader.

So bring on the challenge!! I'm looking forward to it. It's taking my mind of the looming pressure of having to start my NaNoWriMo novel. Scott's upped the ante by bringing genre into it. (I'd be happy to have a singlecharacter, let alone a whole genre.)
Maybe I'll make mine a Young Adult one.....

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not only genre, but setting and atmosphere, tone, and point of view!
Good to know you're a fast learner (with the HTML)Frogdancer. Signed NOT Scott

lightening said...

Gosh - I have no idea what novels I read during my youth. They must have been really significant. The only ones I can remember are the Flowers in the Attic series and they were horrific!!!

You've done well with your links - you're a step ahead of me with your list of blogs. Love your comments about each one. I'll have to make my way through that list sometime. I'm sure it will be interesting reading.

As for the whole nanowrimo thing...I have actually started making notes!!!! About 3 pages worth (although I did skip a LOT of lines). Like I'm actually serious about this or something. I didn't do that the last 2 times. How strange....

But I'm still not so sure about the whole genre thing.... the word doesn't even sound like it belongs in the English language!!!! :-) I might see if it fits in any particular genre by the time it's finished. LOL.

Kris said...

I've come here via your comment on Muppinstuff ...

Reading your list jolted me back - Laura Ingalls Wilder; Anne (and especiallly the divine Gilbert Blythe); and Heyer! I read all of my grandmother's over and over and maybe they're not literature but I picked up a lot of social history from them, as from Jean Plaidy. And yes, I still return when things get tought. Another favourite was Joan Aiken, though maybe she's in a dark children's genre rather than young adults.

Lightening - I read Flowers in the Attic until my mum stopped me, claiming I was looking at her funny.

Frogdancer said...

Scott....
you're evil and must be stopped.

Lightening... Flowers in the attic... I think that for people of our vintage it was a rite of passage.

Kris... Jean Plaidy!!!! Oh my God! I haven't thought about her in years, but she's responsible for my love of English history. I devoured all of her books that I could lay my hands on. Her trilogy about Catherine de Medici was unbelievable. (I was actually reading one of her books about Elizabeth 1 when my dog got run over.... I've never been able to reread it, but that's not her fault.) Mary Queen of Scots, Charles 2nd, in fact everything she wrote about.... I'm going to check if the school library has any ... in the holidays a bit of Plaidy might go down a treat.

Frogdancer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacey (Sheeps Clothing) said...

I loved, loved, loved the Silver Brumby series. I was a typical horse mad girl and read all the usual girl gets horse books, but these were my favourites as the horses were the star. I also loved the descriptions of the high country. Beautiful!
The young adult books that I remember most are the Judy Bloom (might have mispelt this) books. Taught me lots that my Mum was too embarrassed to detail.....

lightening said...

Vintage? VINTAGE???? Now THAT makes me feel like an OLD lady. ROFLOL. :-) But yes, EVERYBODY who was ANYBODY read them. Which is why I did....not that I was ever a "follower" or anything....

M said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I, too, am keen on the young adult genre. Most recent read: "10 Things I Hate about Me" set in Sydney's West.

I was a Trixie Belden fan in my tweens and now my daughter is. She keeps saying "remember this character" but I can hardly remember them now.

Suse said...

My Son #1 is loving marsden's when the war began series. I think I wrote that on my blog a week or so ago, now that I type it again!

Frogdancer said...

I think Marsden's series should be required reading for boys. Maybe not some of his other ones.... the man can get very very dark.... but these ones gallop along and are fantastic.