Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fricassee

Is it me, or has the energy been particularly high during this Secret Agent round?

I love it.

You may have noticed my attempt to get through the list and leave critiques this time. At this writing, I've only gotten through the first 15 or so and it's not looking promising...but I did try! So many of you have left excellent, helpful feedback, as always.

Since we're swimming happily in children's literature this week, tell me your thoughts on its future. Are you of the "Books Are Dying" camp, fearing that in another two decades no child will know what a real book looks like? Or are you of the "Books Will Never Die" camp? What about content/subject matter? Is today's YA taking it "too far" with adult themes? What, exactly, does MG mean, anyway? And what about picture books -- an extremely hard sell in today's market? (Perhaps if they stopped publishing all the mamby-pampy rot I've seen on the library shelves, it wouldn't be so difficult...?)

Let's talk kidlit -- a subject near and dear to my heart!

And of course I'll see you on Monday for our big unveiling and the announcing of winners!


  1. Books will never die! Ask my beta readers who hate reading my stories on the computer! Ask my eyes that burn and swell when I edit! Ask the sun who makes a computer screen impossible to read outside! LONG LIVE THE PAPER BOOKS!!

    YA should avoid graphic sex! PC Cast I refuse to buy another book of yours. My girls don't even want to read it!But YA stands for Young Adult, maybe a rating system would be in order so we can pick out what is okay for us. You know Adult Language, Violence, Sexual Content!

  2. Heaven forbid! Perish the thought! And all those other cliches.

    I couldn't agree with you more about the quality of PBs I've seen lately. Especially the rhyming ones, which I love to do. I don't understand why the quality has evaporated in this area, but it saddens me.

  3. Considering the sheer volume of books my daughters have collected and read and re-read, I do not believe books will ever die.

    Yes, I use a Kindle - and often read online (work expects it) but "paper and board" books have their own kind of magic.

  4. Books will be reborn, always.

    As a kid I was a mega reader. Francine Pascal, Ann A. Martin, Raul Dahl, Beverly Cleary, anything fantasy, all the classic British writers, and so on.

    Things that appealed to me were characters I could identify with that had adventures that I thought maybe I could have or ones that I'd love to go on through their eyes.

    Nowadays it's sad that people produce (and kids eat up) so much that lets them fantasize about being adults and that's about it. Where's the imagination?

    Plus, it's only leading to a world of disappointment.

    I'm not in la-la land about sheltering kids, but if writers and the publishing world (AND parents and kids) don't get it together, we're going to drive people away from reading because there'll be little left of the escapism, adventure, imagination and curiosity in what's put out on the shelves at the rate things are going.

  5. I'm doing my part to keep books alive.

    Whenever I take my boys to the toy store or wal-mart, we go to the book store. At the book store, they each get to pick out one book. (Hey, they only get one small toy, too.) We make certain that the new books get read that night.

    Books are highly popular in my house. The boys know even at 5 and 4 that they can talk me into going to the bookstore any day of the week. Often we don't even make it to the toy store.

  6. I don't have a Kindle, but I do listen to a lot of talking books while exercising. If anything though, I've been reading *more* actual books since I started doing this, so I can't say that using one medium has infringed on the other for me.

    Who knows what the future will bring, but I can't see printed books being totally phased out in the foreseeable future. But, I can imagine a 'Jetson's' kind of world where electronic readers become the norm, both in schools and reading for pleasure. Given the rate of progress we've seen in this past century and the adaptability of humans, I don't see it as altogether bad. Isn't it all still 'reading'?

    Imagine if we were all still penning our oeuvres with a quill instead of tapping them out on our 'puters, delete key at the ready, cutting and pasting our manuscripts into shape? I can't imagine being quite as productive, personally, if I had to write 'old school'. And imagine how many fewer published books there would be if every single one of us were in our hidey-holes, scratching out our stories, sending them by pony express to publishers and waiting for our yearly rejection letter.


    Bring on progress, I say!

    Maybe, as this new medium gains more favour it will actually mean lower production costs to publishers, even more books being published, more opportunities for new authors and more choices for readers.

    If this last century taught us anything it was that Technology = More books.

    I wonder how that will play itself out in the next century...

  7. Books will never die--but we should embrace e-books and help them see the light of day--with cheaper ebook downloads and more economical ebook readers.

    And you can never push anything too far :) Especially in a capitalist society that is based on consumerism, not censorship.

  8. And slightly more on topic of children's lit, I think the market is quite self-regulating and people will buy what appeals to them.

    Edgy YA, celebrity picture books, series, fantasy, adventure, it all has a place in the market and I want to believe that the cream has a way of rising to the top.

    What I'd like to see more of is exciting 'emerging readers' chapter books for boys, written at an appropriate grade level and less edgy YA or tween books for those 10-12 year old precocious readers who are looking for more challenging reads, but without the more 'adult' content.


  9. I write and edit on the computer. I read blogs. I don't want to read my books on here too. I love books. I love to read. I have way more books than I have shelf space for them.
    I usually read at least three novels a week, and more often than not, I own the books.

    And Anon, I'd love to see some sort of rating on YA books. I won't let my daughter read anything that I don't know is okay for her. And she too reads all the time.

    I know at our library, where I sit on the board, we aren't allowed by law to label the books in anyway other than by genre. As of now, we can't say if the book has sexual content, language, or violence. I don't understand why, we can label movies with such, why not books?

    Anyway, LONG LIVE THE PAPER BOOK! Hard cover or soft.

  10. I'd say wow! There's a big turnout on comments there. I haven't had the time to go through any of them, unfortunately. It's been a busy and stressful week.

    I don't think books will ever die. They've been around forever. I think it's silly to think the printed word will go away.

    I think the Kindle is great! But it's not the end of paper, for crying out loud.

    Thanks for great thoughts, Authoress! This site is thriving!

  11. Books definitely will never die!

    I'm all for book ratings on EVERY book. I'm fed up of having to put books down cos I don't like the content. They should be rated like films, perhaps? But not necessarily age restricted, because people mature at differenta ages :)

  12. BTW, I do have a Kindle.

    ~Near instant reading
    ~Slightly cheaper for new books, much cheaper for older books
    ~I can read so much more quickly on that thing.
    ~Notes and highlights are searchable...that's a dream for me.

    ~Can't share books
    ~If I read a book I want to throw across the room I can't :( Sadly had my first experience with that when I read book #2 of Twilight saga.

    With the re-intro of the Sony reader (and another thing out there called the Cybook), I won't be surprised if a huge chunk of reading goes digital within the decade (at present it's about 1% or so of market share). Costs need to drop and the mental stigma against it needs to go away.

    Plus, it's only a matter of time before someone mass markets that idea Tom Hanks' character had in soon as kids are weened from paper, we'll see the book mostly reborn.

  13. Yeah - Nice job on everyone (writers and critters).

    And thank you Authoress for hosting SA. I'm a bystander this time, but have been enjoying analyzing the SA's responses and guessing who she (I noticed she called herself 'queen' on one of the entries... unless that was a confuse-the-guessers move) is. ;]

    No. Books aren't dying. I do think they are evolving though. I just hope it doesn't leave writers and agents at a loss....

    YA is 12+ or teen fiction, right? Most kids who are 14+ are getting interested and curious in adult topics. They are curious about other teens "first times" and so forth. I remember I was about that age when I started reading more 'adult' books. The nice thing about the YA books today (the Vampire Academy books for example) is they bridge that gap.

    Middle grade to me is more like 9-11, and they are geared towards those kids who are starting to expand their horizons and develop their individuality and identity.

    Picture books... I don't know. :) My mom never bothered with them when I was younger. She bought me storybooks - which honestly I preferred. The more stories and thicker the book, the better - because it took me longer to finish the book.

    I am shocked by how expensive picture books are....

  14. I think one of the issues with paper versus electronic books is price. Paper books can never get cheaper than the postage it takes to send them even if all other variable costs can be minimised. Electronic books have no lower limit for price. When faced with the price differential between paper and electronic where electronic is, for example, half of the price of paper people may be willing to sacrifice the experience of reading paper.

    Plus each generation is more comfortable reading on screen. I think I'm generation Y and I'm very comfortable with it. I prefer books to my computer only because I get distracted on my computer. Also as more and more academic material goes electronic, even teaching materials will be on computers or such devices and so it may be unrealistic for future generations to have that same connection to paper books.

  15. I have been a high school English teacher for twenty years and up until this year, from observing my students, I would have been in the camp that books were dying. But this year I have tons of kids actually pull out a book when they finish an assignment (yeah--they still textmessage too under their desks where they think I can't see them) but they really do read. I have had a real laugh this year at how many of my 18-year-old boys are reading the Twilight series. I must admit that at first I thought they were trying to get away with something--their girlfriends had read it and instead of actually reading it themselves they would just get a summary from them before taking the Accelerated Reader test. Until one day during a sustained silent reading session I had one boy reading Twilight totally flip out (a boy who is signed up to be in the Marines next year I'd like to add)--I guess the girl sitting behind him was whispering the ending of the book to him and he was only half way through. Anyway sorry for being long winded--but to all the people struggling to write children's lit--there's hope--Plod on I say.

  16. Books dying? *faints*

    I stare at a computer screen 9 hours a day for my job. Then another 1-2 hours a day for writing (if I'm lucky). The thought of reading anything for leisure on a screen makes me want to cry.

    As for pushing too far, I'm not sure. I don't work directly with teens anymore, but they can handle a lot. I'm not opposed to a rating system but it all depends on how it was done. And I would never want a system that prohibited certain topics from being published in a YA/MG/whatever book.

    Thanks again to Authoress for putting all this together, btw! And all the wonderful critters!

  17. I think the Kindle, etc, will do well for convenience, but I think real readers will always love the touch, feel, and smell of a real live paper book.

    My daughter is a crazy overboard reader, she'll have 3-4 books going at one time. She's always done that, she's 14 now and reads the heavyweight stuff and therefore I asked her if she wanted a Kindle simply for space reasons. She got 10 books for Christmas and a Barnes & Noble gift card. She's running out of shelf room. Economically, it would work for her. She's not interested. She likes reading the printed paper page. So I think die-hards like that will never cross over.

  18. As always I'm enjoying your e-mails.

    You bring up an interesting subject matter. Will young readers disappear or will they become book buyers of the future? Parents wail against societal developments, while all along those same parents are the main culprits for most of those ills.

    Just as in the past, when the TV became a convenient and lazy baby sitter, the same lazy parenting is happening with the Internet and electronic gaming. The human mind enters the world basically as a blank slate, completely dependent on what will be fed into it, determining the development and basic character of the child into adulthood, especially during the first seven years, when most experiences will be firmly rooted into the sub-conscience. Who do we blame if the wrong programs are absorbed?

    My daughter was read to since she was a few month' old baby, lying on my chest and listening to my voice. This tradition was continued with my grandchildren, from three to ten years old. They own more books than games and have many "favorite" books.

    Parents are the most important program feeders, either good or bad and the results can be placed squarely on their shoulders. Off course, there will always be outside influences that will cause undesirable results, but if the child has a firmly rooted base to work from, it has a much better chance to withstand those influences.

    To solve this problem, (and I'm saying this with a sarcastic smile), each couple should be forced to graduate from a two year parent school, before being allowed to have children. This, off course, would create a monumental howl throughout our confused society. In the meantime we all complain about what's wrong, while the solution is staring us right in the face.

    Have a wonderful day.

  19. Well, I'm a teen writer and reader, and I personally prefer it when more mature themes come in. Some kids can handle it; others can't. But chances are the ones too immature to handle that subject matter aren't looking for it. Now, the line between maturity and vulgarity...? That's a finer line in writing. I'll read White Oleander but not some of this sexaholic-graphic crap some writers put out for teens. I guess it depends on how much it contributes to the plot- if characters are just making out for no reason, then ANY book becomes unnattractive. So it depends on the writer's maturity, too.
    Personally, I like both mediums. I love having books so I can grab them off the shelf. But sometimes, when I can't find the print edition in a store near me, I like to look online for books, too. You know how long I've been waiting for Toni Morrison to put her stuff online???

  20. Hey, you put on the contest. You shouldn't be required to give crits to all comers on top of that.

    Thanks for this fun and educational contest. And thanks, of course, to the secret agent as well. This agent did a great job, I thought, of giving us things to work on and doing it all in an encouraging way.

    Regarding books: good stories will always sell. Whether they are paper or screen doesn't matter much. I do love the smell of books. I love to line them up on my shelves. But if we go to screen I'll still love good stories.

    In this economy I think we'll see more encouraging books and a move away from all the dark stuff.

    I don't want to see books rated. I think we should read a bunch and we should read critically and we should teach our kids to do the same.

    I am never going to read the Gossip Girls unless I have to write a review for them or something. And my kids won't read them while they live with me. So who needs a rating system? I'd so much rather rely on reviews.

    Yes, I think many of today's YA books go too far with the sex. It's not that I think teens are too young to read about sex, it's that I think the sex written about makes teens think everyone is doing it and it's normal and good. I don't think it's a balanced picture of the stress sex puts on teens.

  21. So Sally,
    Why not have a rating system so you know what you're getting before you buy it? My family doesn't wait for someone else's review. We read too fast for that, and pretty much scoop up every YA book as it hits the market. If I had listened to my peers we wouldn't have read Harry Potter. HELLLOOOO. Seriously, dumb way to judge a book. Just give me PG-13 for SC or something.

  22. Books will never die as long as we keep writing, lets face it, how many books do we all buy? I think writers buy more books than anyone. I do. My shelves are full of great quality children’s books. I have a relative that couldn’t read until she was an adult, now she’s reading all the children’s books she can and enjoying them. She loves to receive them as gifts for Christmas and birthdays. She didn’t realise that children’s chapter books were so entertaining.

    I usually buy books for all the children in our family.

    Helen Boudreau, that’s great that there’s a demand for boy’s chapter books. I’m writing a chapter book for boys aged nine to twelve. It’s about the mischievous antics of three dare devil cousins, aged nine to eleven. With all the help of here, I’m sure I’ll get it out there.

    It is a luxury to sit and read a book. I spend too much time on my computer, writing and editing that I don’t get enough time to read. I’m going to make sure to do more of that this year. I started writing seriously a few years ago and I hardly ever watch the TV anymore and I never read magazines or newspapers for that matter. It’s only books that I crave.

    Long live Books. I have to go write now and hand feed my very sick little guinea pig. (Prayers are welcome; he’s a star in one of my many chapter books.)

  23. I completely agree with Jarucia. I was a total bookworm all through middle school and high school. The stories I read took me away from normal daily junk - it was great! And, its exactly why I read fantasy and why I write it now.

    Our family loves books - we buy lots. I refuse to get a Kindle or anything like it. Like others, I work all day in front of a computer screen, write most the night on it and don't want to read for pleasure in front of one too.

  24. I have to agree with Helene when she said (basically) that it doesn't really matter what format the books take, but that they are being read. If someone wants to read a wonderful novel on an e-reader, then so be it. If you prefer to curl up with a good physical book in your hands, go for it.

    What matters is that the stories -- the words! -- are being read. And the more people read, the more they want to read (and the more books will need to be published in any and every format).

  25. You asked a question that I have strong feelings about. Yes, many YA books, so designated, deal with sensitive issues in an irresponsible way. Issues that kids face today can and maybe should be dealt with in YA books, but in a different way than would be presented to adults.

    We've all read about how different the teenage brain is than an adult's. They often can not see consequences to decisions facing them. They often listen to the most heard or most loud voice. They often look for answers from their peers rather than adults. Knowing that, I believe YA authors (myself included) need to clearly spell out long term consequences of some of the actions routinely carried out by youth today. I don't mean your use your story as a lecture platform, but I do mean not giving in to the temptation to write to the lowest common denominator.

    I feel strongly that the seeds of addiction, divorce, unwanted pregnancy, mental illness, and suicide are sown in the seeds of actions we often portray carelessly, as if they were a given thing - everyone's doing it, it must be OK. The author who broaches teen drinking, sleeping around, drug use, beer parties, abuse etc, needs to be prepared to show long term effects of those actions - not glorify them.

    As a mother who is constantly buying YA novels for my teenagers, and a teacher who is often recommending the same, I don't buy or recommend books that contain swearing or the above mentioned subjects treated irresponsibly.

  26. As for children reading, like the generations before us, we must adapt to the ones after us. Today’s kids My Space, Facebook, Blog, Twitter, and text. They are tech-savvy and eco-conscious. They are comfortable reading from screens. It’s economical, easy, and environmentally friendly -- and filled with opportunities.

    Opportunities for schools -- think of how public and inner city schools (and college students) would benefit from e-readers. School books are ridiculously expensive (short runs, I know), but an e-book would be a fraction of the hard cover cost. Even though the current e-readers are designed as hand-held, a school version can’t be that far behind (Kindle already has one in the works). Kids can take multiple books with them wherever they go -- after-school care, waiting rooms, road trips, vacations, friend’s houses. If they finish one, they’ve got a dozen others right in their hands. Small children can already read on e-devices like Leap Frog -- isn’t the e-reader just the next step up?

    Opportunities for writers -- e-books cost less for readers to purchase. Instead of buying the latest hardcover for $25.95, you can download it for $9.99. That’s almost a third of the cost -- which equates to triple the sales. Readers won’t spend less money, they’ll buy more books. Publishing houses can offer e-book contracts to writers they may not have signed in a press-only world, which puts more authors in circulation. There are hundreds (thousands?) of e-books available for a dollar; as a reader, wouldn’t you give a few of those authors a shot? Shouldn’t we as writers be supporting this new avenue?

    Opportunities for publishing -- the publishing industry is ripe for revision. The digital revolution didn’t ruin the music industry, it revived it. When was the last time you walked into a record shop and bought a CD? How many songs are on your ipod? Consider the diversity -- because the music is cheaper this way, listeners download songs from multiple genres. Greater exposure = more fans. You can even download short stories much like you can a single song, and you can buy a book anywhere (read an article about a book, boom, download it; at the airport or subway and need something to read, just download it). Doesn’t this new platform benefit everyone -- agents, authors, publishers and readers? Especially since publishers won’t have to rely solely on their best-selling authors to put out their next book (which may or may not be mamby-pamby rot, but they publish it anyway). I hate that.

    Opportunities for the environment -- let’s face it, books take a lot of paper. I’m not in favor of discontinuing printed books, but the system is severely broken. Isn’t it more responsible to read digitally? I’m sure there are others who can make this argument more strongly than I, but when I read about the warehouses stacked with hundreds of thousands of books (in returns), it seems like such a waste.

    I don’t have an e-reader and I never gave this topic serious thought until now. But things are changing. What are we waiting for?

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  28. The type of kids who are getting into junk like that aren't doing so because they've read about it in books.

    They are getting it the regular way - human interaction. Peer pressure. :]

    The Young Adult books might address a variety of topics (which the kids ARE exposed to in real life) but they do have boundaries unlike Adult books.

    If the young adult books are too naive and childish for teenagers, they might make that jump directly to adult books which do not present any consequences or boundaries.

    Most teens, when I was growing up, did exactly that. They went from the sweet hand-holding you'd find in MG books and right to the adult rompers that they either read at the library or borrowed from their friends.

    I'll be perfectly honest. Growing up - I saw the long term effects of drugs, alcohol, etc... around me, or on TV.

    Take former teen icons like Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan - or Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. Sit down with your teens and show them the 'after' pictures or list off all the crap which those girls are going through because of their lifestyles.

    I picked up books to get away from all of that. I was never dopey enough to believe that the 'idealized' romances in books could ever happen in real life.

    Take Pride and Prejudice, for example. In real life, Elizabeth Bennet would never have gotten the guy. In real life, Jane Austin didn't get the guy.

    Would that book have been as iconic and loved as it is now, if it were presented realistically?


    I believe that I was trying to say two or three things.

    1. Don't write down to teenaged readers. They are not little kids who need to be swaddled and protected from the big bad world.

    2. Don't preach. No heavy-handedness with the 'consequences' stuff. As in don't set up characters and situations just to prove a point you believe in: for example, giving your gay guy AIDS. Or the opposite point - creating a religious person just so they can persecute the gay main character.

  29. My first reaction is always "Books will never die!"
    But the more I think about it, they may not die, but they will certainly evolve.
    Newspapers are seeing that. Who thinks there will still be printed newspapers in 50 years? I don't.

    Somehow, books seem different. Maybe because they are entertainment, and they have a certain appeal, the way movie theaters do. Remember when video stores were going to make movie theaters obsolete? They're still around, even though you can see movies without ever going to an actual "brick and mortar" theater.

    As far as books aimed directly at children, by the time I was reading Middle Grade novels, I was also reading standard fiction. Written for adults. And everything in between. Again, there is something different about reading vs. watching.

    I love picture books. Before I had a kid, I bought them just for the art. And I will probably continue to do so long after I have any preschool kids around.

  30. Hey, Anon, if your peers didn't like Harry Potter, perhaps you need to find smarter peers. HELLLOOO.


    I agree with Lorraine on showing effects and writing responsibly. I also agree with Megs on not preaching. And I agree with Charlie Babbit on e-readers.

    I'd add that if we go to a rating system for books, that will dictate where books are placed in stores and libraries and who can buy them. I don't want my books rated so some children can't read them and I don't think I need to rate other people's books. I believe people are equal but ideas are not and that if we give shelf space to all ideologies we're better off than if we allow the majority to decide what should and shouldn't be given space. Frankly, I don't want the religious right rating my books (should the Good Lord ever see fit to have me published) any more than I want the liberal left rating them.

    I do think that graphic sex and violence should only be checked out of school libraries with parental permission (for crying out loud you can't get an aspirin at school, I don't think you should get a graphic rape scene) but other than that I want no ratings.

    I also would add to the preaching part brought up by Meg, that it is possible to show consequences without preaching.

    And I'd add to the e-reader conversation to say that it is great to be able to search the texts of your favorite novels.

  31. "Hey, Anon, if your peers didn't like Harry Potter, perhaps you need to find smarter peers. HELLLOOO."

    The Catholic church had an issue with Harry Potter. They were concerned about devil worship. And it was pretty much the point they weren't very smart having a issue with. Honestly, how are you going to know if your peer is right until you read a book yourself? Few people have the same exact tastes in what they are looking for!

    "Frankly, I don't want the religious right rating my books (should the Good Lord ever see fit to have me published) any more than I want the liberal left rating them."

    Just curious, Sally, do you think the religeous right rate the movies or tv shows? Do you have problems getting a hold of the movies you want to watch?

    You have some crazy ideas about the effects of a rating system. Most concerned parents I know, and the tweens I know would benefit from a rating system. As it is now, my thirteen year old daughter and niece have to wait for someone else to read their books first. A rating system would end that. I don't see movies, unless they are rated X seperated, why is it you think books would be?
    As for the teens looking for the more graphic stuff it helps them also. They would know what to expect from each book. As for your school library comment, wouldn't it be easier on the school to know what a book contained if you want parental permission for certain content?

    I find your comments very contradictory, and rambling.

  32. Time for a glass of nice, refreshing fruit tea on ice. No, I insist.

    And before this turns into a ratings/no ratings debate, ponder this:

    Regardless of whether something (movie, book, etc.) is rated, we must remember that the rating is someone else's opinions. People -- parents in particular -- should never rely on other people's opinions.

    If I'm not mistaken, Shrek is rated G (or is it PG?). And Shrek is loaded with sexual innuendo and, IMO, humor that is unacceptable for the young children to whom the movie was mainly marketed.

    A responsible parent will view a movie BEFORE decided whether Junior is allowed to see it.

    A responsible parent will read a book BEFORE Junior is allowed to read it.

    Rating or no. Reviewed or no. Only the individual knows what feels right to him. And that's where the choice should lie.

    Not sure about the content of a book? Reviews seem to contradict each other? Your friends are split down the middle? Read. The. Book.

    Then decide "yea" or "nay" for the youngster in your life.

  33. Authoress,

    Your comments are funny. I know very few parents that have time to sensor, or even want to for that matter, every single thing their child comes in contact with. Believe it or not my kids sensor their own exposures by their own choice (ages 13 and 17 in case your wondering). A responsible parent has faith in their child once they are old enough, that they may good choices. And at the very least a child, or teen in this case, should have the opportunity to.

    Shrek is rated PG for mild language and crude humor.

    Shrek 2 is PG for crude humor, a breif substance reference and some suggestive content.

    Now, Honey, was that so difficult.

    By the way I found nothing worth sensoring from my child in Shrek, and it was hilarious. On the other hand I would have problems with sexual content.

    It's pretty obvious you do not have kids old enough to have this type of concern, if you have children at all. I can tell you there is absolutely no way on God's green earth to watch and read everything your child comes in contact with, unless maybe you lock them in a concrete walled room.

    And yes someone looks at every movie and rates whether or not there are cuss words, nudity, violence, sexual content. I'm sorry but both of my daughters were appalled when they read about a vampire sucking blood from the inside of another vampire guy's thigh as if getting a BJ, a book that appeared just like every other YA paranormal. How tough would it be to put strong SC on the book so my thirteen year old daughter didn't pick it up thinking she was getting a book like Twilight? AND YES Breaking Dawn had some SC in it, but it was not explicit like that book had.

    And if you want to go beyond the idea of a rating system just being for children, I would like to have one for my own purposes. Because frankly, there have been books I've waisted my money on because they were so raunchy.

    So how about the single dads raising daughters,are they irresponsible for not reading their daughters books? NICE, that's funny. And I hate tea.

  34. In support of goldchevy... Books are back! When I became a high school counselor thirteen years ago very few teens seemed to be reading for pleasure. In the last... maybe... five years the trend has reversed. This year they are walking down the hallways reading, sitting in the cafeteria reading, reading in the gym, reading before and after school... it's amazing. And it's not only the AP/Honors kids, the kids whose parents went to college and buy them books and read with them--it's all of the kids. Boys and girls; black, white, Hmong and hispanic and everyone in between. My creative writing club has grown from five to twenty-five active writers, and I know of many more. Can I explain why all of this great stuff is happening? Heck, no. But I'm thrilled none the less.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

  35. I agree with Authoress all the way.

  36. I would personally rather have my books, just like my music, tell me what kind of stuff it had in it, rather then have my mom read every book I read, and decide whether or not I could read it.

  37. Anon, it's been swell. If you can bear with a bit more of my rambling...

    I'm with Authoress on this one. Only I do read the reviews and I have certain reviewers I trust.

    Ratings mean nothing to me. My kids watch R movies and play M video games. If the books were rated it would just tell them which ones to ignore--all the G-rated ones.

    Do I think the religious right rates the movies? No. But I think that people from both sides of the aisle rate the movies. And I think their criteria change with time. PGs now have nudity in them. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case when I was a kid thirty-five years ago. Besides that I just don't agree with the ratings. Some of the PGs are worse than the R movies, IMO. They're the "middle school crude sex jokes" mentality movies. Yes the Shrek movies were full of it, but being cartoons they weren't quite as offensive as others. Most movies aimed at middle graders are disgusting.

    Anyway, in my house, ratings don't mean a thing. I go by reviews. And I don't want books rated because I don't want MY books rated, if I ever get published. I'd rather have them reviewed. I'd rather have someone interact with what I wrote, so thinking people can read and make informed decisions rather than just seeing a letter stamped on the cover and figuring a book is bad because it has sex or cursing or violence in it. These things are not always bad. It all depends on how they're handled.

    I hate to see works--books or movies--that writers spent a long time thinking through and producing, given a letter and being ignored by thousands of people who have no idea what the work is about.

    If we are going to rate books this would be the system I'd like to see:

    CC--commercial crap or cookie cutter
    ME--mindless entertainment
    FC-forgettable characters
    PP--plodding plot
    TT-thoughtful themes
    GV-gorgeous voice
    UC-unforgettable characters
    FT-fresh twist

    I wouldn't mind people rated books this way for me. As to the content, I'd rather decide on that for myself.

    Thanks for the tea, Authoress. It cooled me right down. (Not when I drank it, but when Anonymous threw hers on me. heh heh)

  38. Sally and Sarah,

    I bear you no ill will. I just have to say you appear to have a lot more free time than I do. If a movie is marked R or PG-13, then I will sensor it for my child. My daughter has also watched R movies after I have decided whether or not she can handle it. That rating helps me decide whether or not I should pay attention. I work a forty hour week, and then put any free time into my writing. My daughters go through up to 6 books a week between them (600,000 words or more). I can't keep up with that and I don't know anyone else who can (therefore relying on someone else's opinion is not an option). I don't feel I am an irresponsible mother, just a busy one. I wish I had the luxary of sitting on my duff and reading all day like some people do (no one that I know personally.) Nor do I know anybody that reads as fast as my daughters do. If their books were rated then that would be a sign for me to read one if it had an R rating, or at the least letting my oldest daughter approve it for the younger one. As it is now I order books from Amazon and they fight over who gets what first. Trust me it is not pleasant for the younger one to get something nasty. I also can tell you an R for mild sexual content or language rating would not deter me from buying a book, it would only clue me in that someone else needs read it first. My own writing would get PG-13 at the very least, possibly even R for mild sexual content and language. An R rating is only going to make sure that it ends up in the hands of someone who wants to read it. In turn it will make the book industry stronger by making sure they are not getting a hold of crap they don't want. The economy is in a slump and our readers are going to be pickier about what they buy; let's make sure they get what they are looking for. I a not so selfish that I would want an immature mind to buy my book and then get shocked. There are more thing important out there, such as moral standards.

    I am truly sorry you saw me as wicked enough to throw tea in your face. I would never do such a thing, however I will most definitely stand up for what I believe in.

    PS I really don't like tea, I prefer a diet soda.

  39. Anonymous, the remark about your throwing tea at me was a remark about your tone of arguing. I don't care if you don't agree with me or not on the topic of ratings, but when you say things like "heeelllooo" and "I find your comments rambling" you should know that you are going to offend some people. I find it offensive when you act like I'm stupid. Knowing you think I'm an idiot does not make me want to hear you and give your arguments a fair shake.

    This last post of yours was very nice. Thank you for saying what you believe without saying I'm an idiot.

    I really appreciate that. And it makes me feel much friendlier toward you.