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Bar-sur-Loup Provence France

Teens and reading genre fiction

Recently within my circle of contacts a couple threads have popped up on the question of getting kids to read more. This is sort of a classic question, posed by authors and academics as if it was some sort of cry in the wilderness (Potter-san notwithstanding). Richard Dansky had a particularly interesting question on developing a list of genre recommendations based on what kind of games kids like to play.
That one really intrigues me, as it is a very pragmatic approach to getting kids interested in books. It seems better than asking the local English teacher who would probably reply: "You like First Person Shooters? You should read Cooper's Leatherstocking series. You like fantasy games? Gosh, there are a lot of fantastic elements in Love in the Time of Cholera."
Richard started with a few, and more have been added, and hopefully we'll end up with a lot of good ideas.
The other interesting thread was started by Cat Rambo here, and a lot of good comments were added by readers.
This is important to culture in general, I think, and will continue to be so until that improbable day in the future when game writers are nominated for Pulitzers, Nobels, and Bookers. As the game media takes over more and more of mass culture, and as generations grow up using that as their first window into art and writing, the question can only gain in pertinence.


Interesting discussions going on there. Now I'll have to think about how I got my son started on reading in the genre I love.

Right now, he's in the Donald Duck phase. (not exactly genre, but okay. At least he's reading. lol)

He loves non-fiction & fact books.

The other day, he told me that he was done with reading all that fantasy and weird stuff because he had read a lot already, and he thought it was time for him to focus on what's really going on in life stuff.

He's funny. He did have a phase where everything fantastic was great. So, we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the first book of The Narnia Chronicles and such. Then, he told me his classmates don't know these stories. Which is probably why he decided to just go read fact books.

Now that I've written that, I realize it isn't so much that he doesn't enjoy reading the fantastic, but it's probably like the time when I was encouraging him to speak English and he said: "but mom, no one understands me."
VERY interesting, because my son (now 9) read only fact and science and nature stuff for years -- with the exception of magazines about the World Cup.

It is only in the last two months that he has started reading avidly and it is all genre stuff. Interestingly enough the book that got him going was the Spiderwick Chronicles (though it might have helped that I read The Hobbit aloud to him and his sister).

What, no WGA awards?

True, games don't get nominated for Pulitzers, but then books don't get nominated for WGA awards either. Maybe the recognition you're looking for is closer than you think...?
Bar-sur-Loup Provence France

December 2011

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