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July 26, 2006

Comments

Jordan

Though I do think it's necessary for teens/kids/people-in-general to at least /try/ to read the classics (I love classics), I don't think there's any problem with reading all the recent stuff out there. I mean, that's what it's there for, isn't it? And besides, if all everyone ever read were the "classics," this world probably wouldn't have advanced very far past the time that writing itself was invented. Some people are just so closed-minded these days. It's like whoever wrote that article /wants/ kids to hate reading. That's what happens when you force books on people they don't want to read. Let kids /want/ to read the classics, and if they don't want to read them, it's their loss.

Dang that was a long rant...
For anyone who didn't want to read all that, my point is that I totally agree with Shannon...

SJM

Now, I must say, I adore the Wind in the Willows, and did so as a child too (I think because my dad read it aloud to us -- I will admit not all chapters of it were equally entertaining to my childhood self. But the bulk...). And generally speaking I prided myself as a kid on not reading "those Sweet Valley books." BUT...

As Shannon said, I don't think it would hurt to include classics on the list too. In fact, the fact that its a summer reading list, no tests, supposed to be fun, etc, might actually make it more likely that some kids would read them, because, naturally, ANYTHING is more fun to read when you don't have to take a test on it. And getting the name out there in a positive context (along with more "fun" books, the type not likely to be assigned reading in school) would be a good thing, too. Have some faith in kids' abilities and a wide spread of interests, and include a wide range.

It IS clear that the author of this article has an attitude of snootiness. I haven't read any of the ones listed, but it's awfully unfair to judge just about any book by a one sentence summary. Yes, I know, as a writer I should be able to do a short summary of my book and all, mmhm, good rule of thumb, but c'mon. Any book (and sometimes it seems particularly fantasy/scifi, so dear to my heart) suffers when you have to "tell what happens" in a sentence. "A girl and her older brother grow up in 1930s Alabama, with a recluse down the street." "Two hobbits and their friends attempt to destroy the One Ring and save the world." "Four sisters growing up in 1860s New England learn a lot about life, and don't marry who you'd expect."

Sounds dumb, right? (What a terrifying thought, as a potential author: "Submit my beloved novel to synopsis? NOOOOOO!") So I think I might actually try reading some of those listed books, since the librarians likely have, while the WSJ clearly has not.

P.S. Good luck with the move, Shannon...

Mads

Cereal Box Books????????????
Are you kidding me?
That makes me so mad. All the books that they condemed are ones I personally enjoyed. Janette Rallison is on my top 5 list of authors.
ARG!!!!
I agree with Shannon completely on this one. Yes, they may have a point, maybe they should have one or two of the 'classics' up there, but give the kids a wide variety. It's no fun to be told to open up your imagination! (we got enough of that from Barney ;o)) What I don't get is why those 'classics' are supposed to make you smarter and really make you think. That's what everyone says anyway. All stories have at least some kind of message in them, if you look hard enough. Again, your definition of a good book might not be someone elses'.

When my sister was in 3rd grade she read everything. She had Harry Potter one done by 1st grade. And then when she went into 4th, our school district got this new program called '100 book challenge'. It was designed for the not so great readers in the school, but everyone had to do it. So, based on your level of reading, you were given a color and with that color came a book. Then for homework that night you would have to read 20 minutes and then you got a 'line'. Once you get 100 lines you get a medal and so on. It seemed like a good idea, but what about the kids like Grace (my sister)? She knows how to read independently, and keeps up woth it. Grace was reading the easiest books and so bored! She would move up a color but it was still too easy. They didn't let the kids pick the books either. It was a very poorly devised plan, because they didn't think that maybe this would turn kids off from reading. Since, every night they would HAVE to read for twenty minutes and it's not even their choice. It just doesn't seem very fair. (I might also add that now my youngest sister Frances now has to go through with this. Grace is now in going into 6th grade and is now currently home-schooled, but I perosnally think that the program changed her. She read really easy books, and won't take any from me. I know that it's alright to read books for younger kids sometimes, but she won't even bother to take the Goose Girl for a run. How thrilled I was the oher day when she picked up Stargirl!)

So this might be related a little bit to the subject at hand. Why make kids read what they don't want to? Do they honestly think for one second this is going to turn kids onto reading?

Okay, all done. And thank you very much Shannon for this blog entry. That was fun to write.

Shelley

Oh Shannon I'm so with you! Customers come into the bookstore and tell me "My son's not really a reader - he only reads sports books." But that IS reading! And it's even sadder to me when adults come into the store and proclaim themselves as not "readers" because they didn't enjoy Anna Karenina or Great Expectations. I love that there are books for any kind of reading, reason and person! It's part of the great world of literature! As long as kids are reading, it's reading. Whoa, better get off my soap box! Anyway, just saying a large and resounding Amen!

Megan

Wow! That article was very.... I don't even know how to describe it. I mean, the author makes a good point: kids should try to read classics. Because some of the classics are really good. Actually, I've been wanting to pick up one of Jane Austen's books and see what they're like. But in my opinion, I think that if kids are reading at all, it's a good thing.

And yes, I'm including cereal boxes. lol...

Anyway, I read one of the books mentioned, Tangerine (for reading class, I might add) and it was really, really good. And then I read this article that says the book is just fluff. Who cares? Some fluffy books are actually pretty good. Kids should be able to read what they want. And it's hard to read classics, because they use a lot of big words and the time period is different, so it's hard to relate.

Ok, I'm done with my ranting!

Erin

I agree with what SJM said. And when my teacher read The Wind in the Willows aloud to my 3rd grade class I fell in love with it. And my brother equally enjoyed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

I know what your point is though, and I agree with it for the most part.

Sam fr Australia

We have been having similar discussions in my English curriculum class at Uni this year and our English teacher has been very vocal about us getting out and reading current YA books to see what kids are reading.

Personally, I dislike most of the 'classics' especially Shakespeare... I studied Macbeth in high school and when I got to Uni had to study Hamlet and The Winter's Tale. I do admire the works but found them difficult to read, follow and conmprehend. I tried reading Lord of the Rings... failed the first book and slogged through the secons (it was far too dense for me... I enjoyed the movies much better).
The kids of today aren't from the same times as these texts were written and the texts aren't as relevent to their lives. Yes, the themes (love, jealousy, tradgedy, betrayal) are universal but there are just as many modern texts that have well-written stories and themes, morals and values. The language is not difficult and many of the books use language (even slang) that the kids understand... which can only help encourage them to read!

If I can get away with it as a teacher (I want to teach grade 8-10) my students will study only a little of Shakespeare... probably comparing the plays with the film adaptations of today.

marki

i think that everyone ahs different things they like to read and we shouldn't make kids read things unless it is really good like the goose girl!! haha... but really people need to read because they want to read not because they are forced to. we had to do lit circles for english class and some kids hated their books. luckily i got the book i wanted and the others who didn't were ald enought odeal with it. but making little kids in elementary kids read books with words they don't understand?? i mean come on!!!! and i for one like reading a little fluff now and then... it makes a nice break. and some of them are fun to read over andover again...
basically i think that if a kid would like to read a classic more power to them but we shouldn't force at all!!!

tink

While I agree with what has been said, I do have to defend the author of the article. I think that if we try to "dumb down" what we are offering children (and ourselves) they will never strive to read above their level. My great-grandmother taught me how to read at an amazingly young age. She encouraged me to read ANYTHING I could get my hands on. Together we read things that could be considered "fluffy" as well as diving into Shakespeare. I think that the author makes a good point in the fact that we shouldn't be offering kids such a limited reading sphere. Although I don't agree that shoving classics down their throats is the way to go either, I don't think that we should limit them out of fear. Fear that they won't like to read after one bad book or that if we make it too hard they won't try it again.

Fear shouldn't be a motivator.

Mads

I forgot to add in my comment that kids don't want to read if they are told to. If The Goose Girl was a summer reading book, it would automatically put this little flag up in the brain saying, "Whoa, this is for school. I have to read it. There has to be some weird thing with it." It is just what comes naturally. Like this year for school I had to read the Alchemist. Good book. But a the while I was thinking subconciously, 'this is for school. I could be reading something else.' And that may be part of the problem with getting kids to read in school, because their teachers are making them, however good the book may be.

Jen Robinson

I thought that the Wall Street Journal article was one of the most snooty, condescending things I've ever seen. I completely agree with Shannon. A sentence like (from the article) "But books like "The Secret Garden" or "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" would surely inspire them more" is completely ridiculous. I love "The Secret Garden", don't get me wrong. But to say that every kid will be more inspired by that than by some newer book that speaks to details of the child's life... that's absurd. There are children's books now that tackle so many different perspectives, things left untouched by the classics because they weren't talked about in public 100 years ago (alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, mental illness). I'm definitely of the school that says that for kids to read anything is better than for them to read nothing. And it's the worst thing for a kid to end up hating to read because of being forced to read something too difficult or dry or inaccessible. Thanks for the opportunity for this mini-rant.

lindsay

I agree with a lot of what has been said but I also wanted to add that as a kid, I mostly read fluffy horribly written books. But that's what got me into reading. When you're younger and not a reader, most kids just want a fun read. I know I did. Let kids read what they want. As they get older, if reading has always been encouraged, maybe they will become lifelong readers. Now, at 19, I still read fluff, but I also appreciate good literature, but I don't think I would read as much as I do now if I didn't read lots of crap when I was younger.

My point is, let kids read whatever they want. If they're reading anything, good. Hopefully when they get older they'll read some of the classics or different kinds of books.

Lauren A.

I love how you bring these things up for debate because it is really nice to hear your opinion and the opinions of your readers/blog-followers about these modern issues. No, I don't think an author must be dead or a book must be 100 years old to be considered important.

Also, I know this is really off topic, but I just have a question about River Secrets. I followed a link from Neil Gaiman's U.S. Coraline site to the Bloomsbury U.K. site to read his bio, and when I finished reading about him, I scrolled down the list of authors to the Shannon Hale page, and I noticed something strange. Under the list of your books it listed River Secrets as River Secret and the picture of the cover also read River Secret. Is that a typo or is the book being published under that slightly different name for the U.K. edition?

Laura

Going to the Wall Street Journal for advice on reading is like going to the librarian for advice on investing in the stock market.

Robin Powell

Dear Shannon,
I'm a mom of 2, my son is currently in college and my daughter is staring it squarely in the face.

I am also a home educator, it was I who taught the kids to read. I watched my son put his head down and cry at the mere thought of reading and when it came time for his little sister ..well, she didn't cry, she just refused!

I was certain I was doing something wrong. Then, someone wrote a book...{gasp} and it wasn't a "classic"! The Animorph series turned my sobbing son into an avid reader. One with a voracious appetite for books. He read the entire series and was saddened at its end. He's read All the Harry Potter books and then...the classics - Beowulf, 1984 and others - including The Elegant Universe.
My daughter found the Thoroughbred series and started on a reading journey that has turned her bedroom and our hall into a library. She's read all of your books & loved every one of them! She reads everything from Pride and Prejudice to Her most recent
adventure, Water for Elephants.
Every year she keeps a book list starting on January 1st. I'm estimating that so far this year she has read 50 books.

How odd that these 2 people started with something so trivial, so apparently useless (according to the WSJ) and Now they are well read
individuals. Reading fires the imagination and takes us on journeys far and wide. My son used to say "why take a vacation? Read a book - be in a different land or time and truly get away from it all!"
Only an idiot would be so shallow as to say that only the classics are worthwhile. They weren't always classic - some were even banned in their own time! Any book that is truly enjoyed, devoured and savored is worthwhile!!!
I thank God for the "fluff" my kids fell for - if it had come down to simply reading the golden oldies. They would not be where/who they are today.

I'd wager that the writer of that ghastly article has NEVER experienced a genuinely good read!!

Julie

I was raised in Vancouver, Canada, and we never had summer reading assigned to us, not even in highschool! Our History 12 teacher recommended some books we MIGHT like to read to help us for hte year, but nothing was ever obliged. I was a voracious reader and I read all summer anyway. Needless to say, I read a lot of fluff, but not just fluff. Why should there be lists of required summer reading books. If your parents are involved in your life, they're likely to encourage you to read anyway.

MotherReader

From the article: That such books might keep kids reading is a meager defense. If that's the point, asks Mary Burgess, a professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, "Why not have them read cereal boxes?"

First of all, let's not knock cereal boxes. On the back of Froot Loops the kids can find a great way to make a layered art piece using just a glass jar and Froot Loops. Quality stuff out there.

Second of all, umm, keeping kids reading is kind of the, umm, point. And summer reading maybe could be, umm, fun. And maybe libraries might have kind of, umm, thought of this and made the best decision.

Third of all, I'll bet that many library systems are like mine and pick NEW books for their summer reading lists, thereby excluding classics. Our goal in summer reading is to present a variety of books that the kids may not know about yet. There are many sources to list the classics. Their parents and teachers will know many classics.But the summer reading lists give our library system the opportunity to present newer books that the teachers and parents don't know about yet. And, yes, some are lighter reading. But some are not. The point being that the kids can choose what appeals to them.

So, how IN DEPTH of the WSJ to only list the fluff pieces of the lists like "If We Kiss," and not Mal Peet's "Keeper" or Rinaldi's "Sarah's Ground," which are on the same summer reading list. Nice reporting WSJ.

Kim

I am an avid reader, but my oldest child doesn't want to read anything I suggest. He is reading a cereal box as I type this. It may be the most reading I can get him to do today without a fight. It's not "Wind in the Willows," but at least its something.

Laura

I wonder if anyone has ever thought of serializing stories on cereal boxes.

Or would that be cerealizing?

Mads

Laura-
We could go into business together! :o)
Mads

Kate

As a children's librarian in a public library, we get this argument frequently from parents! A lot of parents want their kids to read "good" literature (i.e. the classics), but don't understand why kids seem to gravitate towards 'lighter, fluffier" books. The answer to me seems simple: They're fun! Kids enjoy reading them! Isn't that the point?

Not that I'm ready to dismiss the classics. There is a ton of great, classical children's lit out there that can still resonate with kids today. HOWEVER, as Shannon pointed out, a lot of it is inaccessible for kids because of their style or historical context.

Nevertheless, I really think the issue comes down to the power of choice for kids. Kids definitely want to direct their own reading and often resent adults who impose. Not that we can't suggest things that we loved as children, but I can't tell you how often I hear parents saying "Oh you will love this one. I loved it when I was your age!" and see kids' faces just fall. Kids want to be the one to choose what they like! Which makes sense, as kids don't have many choices that they get to decide on their own. So it's a power issue too.

I've found that it's ok to suggest titles, but the minute you tell a kid how to feel about a book, you've lost them.

Sorry for the long post, but just some food for thought.

hwalk

I read a similiar article that said that people should start out reading the classics before they move on to more contemporary stuff and I thng that philosophy is the dumbest in the world.

I hated classics until I was in ninth grade. I read Secret Garden and enjoyed it, but my true love was in young adult fantasy. Luckily, no one tried to make me read anything else as a kid and I kept onto my love of reading because I was able to read what I wanted to.

And when I was older, I turned to classics and was able to understand and appreciate them, and even love them. But only because they were introduced to me at a later age.

Nunnya business

That is ridiculous! Did the writer of this article ever read Tangerine? It's great!

You can't hand a fourteen year old boy a classic and expect them to like it! Why don't you just give them a book in latin! They will get as much if not more from it! But you can't give them a fluff book either.

I suggest a midddle ground. Like a cearal box! j/k!

Give them a good book with substance but without being overwhelming. Like the Bartimaeus Trilogy! Or the Bayern books!

I took honors English for the first time last year and let me tell you it was not easy! They kept shoving classics infront of our noses! I couldn't breath! I considered dropping out! It made me wonder why I wanted to be an english teacher.

So I say if it will keep kids reading Let them read what they want! I agree we should try to get kids to read classics but don't kill a childs love of reading by forcing classics on them!

Did I use enough exclamation points?!?!?!?!?

P.S. Just like Jordan if you didn't want to read all that, I agree with Shannon IT'S SUMMER FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

Nunnya business

P.P.S. I tried to read "The Secret Garden" once. Couldn't do it. There was no magic!

However I do love "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Nunnya business

For those who wanted to read the first chapeters of my manuscript you can find it at,

www.freewebs.com/kaytan72

Jenna

I think the idea about cerealizing was very clever, but the only problem would be that one would have to wait, like, a month for the next segment, or they would have more cereal than they could eat...and it would be bad enough to have to wait a whole day for the next bit in the newspaper. I also know the "I have to read this" feeling from school. I don't have anything against books set in a more modern era (Artemis Fowl, anybody? I led many people to doubt my sanity when I began laughing out loud at the end of book 3...), but most books I've seen that are "real life" about teenagers are incredibly boring and predictable.

marki

okay very off topic but i have to ask!!! so a long while ago you posted a snippet of River Secrets. i printed it out and was reading it. after reading the first chapter i have to ask Shannon if they are having this discussion right after the first chapter!!!
Ella Enchanted is on my top ten books list........ amazing!!!!!!one of the books that got me reading!!!

Nunnya business

Thanks for the advice on Kaytan Jenna!

Sam fr Australia

Speaking of serials... Matthew Reilly published his entire novel Hover Car Racer on the internet for FREE in serial form (before it waspublished as a book).

His thinking was to reach out to readers who wouldn't normally read his books... (if you haven't read his books, they are like reading a very fast action movie with maps and pictures) and Hover Car Racer was the first book of his that was just as suitable for teens as for an adult audience. It was very popular online and also released in hardcover and paperback here. I actually gave my paperback away to a student on prac who couldn't find anything to read. He loved the graphic maps of the courses at the start of each race and the pictures of the hover cars (and colour maps) in the centre section.

Books like this have far more appeal for beginner readers than Shakepeare, Dickens or the classics... reading should be for a lifetime and there is plenty of time to get to the classics.

Anon

1. Dickens, Shakespeare, etc. are awesome anway.
2. Summer reading books should challenge you, not put you to sleep.
3. However, keeping your feet in the mud when reading dickens is important, as I did when I read Tale of 2 cities

Sarah

I really agree! I can understand that diversity in books is great and I think that WSJA are right in thinking that people shouldn't be making kids read only the more tipically 'teenage' books. There are a lot of books out there but, like you said, the ones mentioned are hard work for kids these days. Because of there more complicated style they're very difficult to read, even if they are 'mentally fulfilling'. It's good to read a variety of differnt books and, on the 'tipically teenage' books defence, i think they are often light releif and fun to read. They also can help the youth of today with the problems that they might experience every day and can even be beneficial in some ways.So, there you go-

shannon hale

So much talk about this article! I love ALL your brilliant and thoughtful comments. A friend sent me this link to a blogger who interviews the (misquoted) professor from the article. At the bottom there are more links to fellow irate bloggers responding to the WSJ, if you're interested in seeing what others are saying. (I'm the alleged "Sharon Hale")
http://acampora.livejournal.com/12349.html

Little Willow

To each his or her own - that's why there are many genres out there! In order to get a kid excited about reading, it's extremely important to find out what kind of book he or she likes - what hobbies - what favorite movies - put something in his or her hands that will BE READ.

Quality is important, of course. It's a matter of both engaging and challenging the reader - something interesting and well-written - no matter what the age or genre.

The Secret Garden is fantastic!

Jas fr Aus

I miss summer :( Winter in Melbourne is COLD!
(sorry I know this is rather off topic, but talking about summer reading and all got me missing warm weather...)

Jaya Lakshmi

This reminds me of when I was in fifth grade and we had a reading contest: we had to read at least four sunshine state reading books, take an AR test on them, and we'd get an ice cream sundae. I'll try my best not ot be arrogant, but I read more than the required books and got to put as many toppings on my sundae as I wanted. But I wasn't bored; this was how I became a fan of the Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen and discovered Pam Munoz Ryan.
Coincidentally, today I read a bit of this manga magazine called Shoujo Beat. (Manga is a type of Japanese comic. Shoujo is Japanese for "girl".) A review of the magazine said that it had different genres of manga, including sports, action, romance, and comedy. This magazine is targetted at girls. I admit it's a well-executed idea, but I could do without the blue tone....
As for classics, it takes me longer to finish some than it takes for me to read fantasy novels. I'm still stuck on the first chapter of Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott and The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. For kids I'd recommend classics such as Watership Down by Richard Adams, which is understandable. FOr older readers who like sci-fi and adventure I recommend anything by RObert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Only read The Deerslayer by James Fenimoore Cooper if you're willing to sacrifice weeks of your time.

Jenna

Ooh...I know what that's like. Ivanhoe is definitely hard to read. Midparagraph I will merely be recognizing words and not comprehending a bit of it. Some things are a little too...I don't know what, but that's the only real downside I see to classics.

Nora

Jaya Lakshmi,
I am in the same boat with Ivanhoe. I like the classics, I read Pride and Prejudice this spring I loved it, but it took me longer then the other books I read do. The hard part about some of the classics is that the way they are written is much harder to understand. I loved reading watership down. I think I read it last year, that one is fun and easier to understand.
You know whats fun to do if you read alot is to make a list at the start of January and count how many books you read through the year!
Good luck on your reading everybody!

Rujie

I must say that perhaps WSJ has some of it right, but they have more of it wrong. I have read many classics (Count of Monte Cristo, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Secret Garden, ect...)and I've loved them, but I would hate it if I never got to read all of the "fluff." I don't care if it's so unrealistic or completely silly like some of the books I read, but it's not fair at all to say that it's uninspirational. I for one know that if I had classics shoved into my hands every week, I would stop reading all together. Now I have an AMAZING English teacher who is wonderful. Anyone cas ask her for good book ideas, and she always has the best ones. The best thing is that they're of all different levels and she seems to know most people's tastes. She was acually the one who suggested the Goose Girl to me, and look where I am now! What I love though is that she always suggests books, and never makes us read anything.
Anywho- my point of all this is that I agree totally and completely with Shannon. Kids should be allowed to read whatever they want.

Janette Rallison

Shannon, have I told you lately how much more I like you than, say, the Wall Street Journal? Thanks for your great thoughts on their awful article.

I have to admit when I first read it and saw the title of my book--All's Fair in Love, War, and High school--listed as the first literary loser, it kind of freaked me out. For about a half an hour I made nothing but squeaky noises as my children hovered around me poised to call 911 just in case I stopped breathing altogether.

But I'm much better now.

When my husband got home from work and I told him about the article, I had to mention that hey, at least I got top billing amongst the cereal box writers.

I could go on and on about the things I disagreed with, but everyone else has said it so well. Kids don't need to choose between the classics and fun literature. They can read both. Really. There are no rules preventing it.

Thanks for the support.

Janette Rallison

Nunnya business

I had no idea other authors would post.

That's pretty cool.

All of you are talking about how great secret garden is. Now I have to go check it out from the library again just to make sure that we are talking about the same book.
Who knows? Maybe 8th grade was too young to appriciate this "literary masterpiece"?

Nunnya business

P.S. Janette,

Are you aware that none of the links on your site work? (At least not for me. I can't speak for the rest of you.)

*clicks furiously*

marki

Yeah Jannete none of the links work for me either!!! you might want to check that out so i can check your site out!!!
Hurry!!!

Stacy Whitman

I think this article is setting up a false dichotomy: "classics" and "fluff." All the good writers died a hundred years ago, they're saying, and nothing can be said today that wasn't said so much better back then.

That's simply untrue. Very books like Tangerine actually get into some deep issues, without getting preaching or intentionally "inspiring," and they're just plain good reads. And even if it is "fluff," it creates a sense of security in a child that gives them the feeling of success--which helps them to actually want to read more.

I haven't read the LJ Shannon linked to yet, but I imagine the professor was misquoted in her "They put kids in a real comfort zone." A comfort zone for new readers is a *good* thing. It gives them practice.

If you don't have the basics of reading down yet, are you really even concentrating on the depth of the story? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Either way, there's a lot of depth out there in contemporary literature to plumb.

--Says the editor who in fourth grade read Shakespeare as often as she read the Trixie Belden series, over and over and over.

shannon hale

Just to brag, I've dined with Janette on THREE occassions and not only is she funny and insightful, but she's darn good company and incredibly cool and is the mother of five kids and knows quite a bit about kids and books and the undeniable joy of reading for fun.

Laura

Janette: It seems to me that having your book condemned by the Wall Street Journal will help sales more than just about anything.

Besides being banned. You can always hope for that.

Mads

Shannon-
it's so fun to brag isn't it? You are very lucky. One of the reasons I loved Janette Rallison's books are because of all the blonds... love it!

Again: isn't it funny that we are using the first name thing again?

Jaya Lakshmi

This must be the first time another author besides Shannon has posted on this blog. Maybe I'll get lucky with my novel and be the second.
There are books that I consider fluff, but I only tell their names to my family. I don't like romance for some reason; here's a review I wrote of a romance manga ("comic book") http://www.thecomicbookguy.com/fruitsbasket2.html
Apologies to all romance fans for my opinion, but I prefer reading about a princess trying to escape bloodthirsty soldiers (The Goose Girl) than about people kissing.

Janette Rallison

Yes, it's been fun to hang out with Shannon at conventions. She definitely wins the prize for proudest mom--you should have seen her whip out her pictures of her sweet little guy at the Scholastic dinner. And she's one of my all time favorite authors. (I dare say I like her books better than many of the classics.) One day I'll convince her to come over to the fluff side of literature.

For those who asked, I'm having my website revamped. Hopefully it will be running by August 15th. (So I can write some stinging blog about the WSJ reviewing books based solely on one line blurbs. Do you think they review their financial information the same way?)

Or maybe I'll just quote you all since you made such good points.

Oh, and I use so many blonds in my books, I suppose, because that way all of my high school friends who happen to read my books won't realize I'm really writing about me. See, writing blond characters is like being incognito.

Luli

Shannon Hale write fluff? Never!

Now, remind me what Austenland is about...

Nora

Luli-
Austenland is a contemporary, women's fiction novel about Jane, a thirty-something woman who spends three weeks in an immersive Jane Austen experience trying to kick her Pride & Prejudice habit. I found Shannons post about it in March 2006. Hope that helps!

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