Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Readings from a Reluctant Reader

Tip of the Day: want to have some fun? Find old copies of books you read in middle school and re-read to see how different you feel about them now!

Many people can identify books that changed their lives, or books they read as teens that made them want to be a writer. I don't have any of those.

Growing up I loved to read, and devoured books like the Babysitters Club, Boxcar Children, Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. But then I hit high school and that all changed. For English class we were given stuff like Beowulf, The Scarlett Letter, and The Canterbury Tales.

Not that there was anything really bad about these books, but they didn't exactly make me long to cozy up next to a crackling fire and read them. I really wanted to keep reading about romance with the Wakefield Twins, what mysteries Nancy would unexpectedly find, and completely unrealistic plots that really entertained me. I didn't want to try to determine what passages like this meant:

"The miller is a lout, as you're aware;
So was the reeve, and so were many more.
They both told bawdy stories. Then beware,
And do not lay upon me all the blame,
Or take in earnest what is meant in fun."
My brain, my brain. I like to use it, but when reading it likes enjoyment and to relax. Which is why I probably read Sweet Valley High books for a little too long, then stopped reading completely, and why when I finally realized not everyone has to read books like you did for AP English, I started to enjoy reading again. And yes, it may have taken me several years after college to come to that conclusion, but at least I discovered it before it was too late.

Had I known about awesome books like these when I was in High School, I think I would have been doing more than checking out home-decorating books, fashion magazines, movies, and music during my semi-regular visits to the library.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


DeenaML said...

Oh yes, I was so into SVH in jr high. LOVED them. I SO wish though that there had been YA books then like there are now as well.

Kate Fall said...

YA books were so hard to find when we were teens. I went straight from the Boxcar Children (I loved them too) to Stephen King and mushy stories about Elizabeth I. The attitude was that we were reading Catcher in the Rye in school, wasn't that enough? I think a lot of people stopped reading because they couldn't find delicious looking books like the covers you posted.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Yeah, there just weren't any books that interested me as a teen. I was a huge reader up until high school and then it just stopped, except for school stuff.

Christina Farley said...

Actually, I did this a few months ago. Halarious!

The thing I've found is there is so more out there for teens now. And the quality is way better.

But don't worry. I'm making up for it now. Reading them all!

Julia at Orca said...

Ha ha.. I totally forgot about those books and then when I saw the covers it all came rushing back to me. Yup.. from Archie comics to those. And to think I ended up working in publishing..