Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In the Weeds (or Discard Me Not!)

Tip of the Day: Stay tuned for my guest post on author Melissa Walker's blog on what YA covers/titles get teens to check them out. Meanwhile, read her entertaining new beach read, LOVESTRUCK SUMMER about love in the Austin music scene!

I'm out of room in the K-Ps in my YA Fiction shelves. What does that mean? Weeding time!

What is interesting to see is which authors who have inches and inches of shelf space (read: lots and lots of books) are still being read despite their beat up pages, outdated cover art, and "old" stories. In other words, books I can't/won't weed bc they are still being checked out.

The authors I've noticed this week who fit the bill?

1) Ursula LeGuin (probably comes as no surprise; her Earthsea books are still on school reading lists)
2) Madeleine L'Engel (is it her timeless fantasies that make her forever read?)
3) Robin McKinley (I've never read any of these books but many others certainly are)
4) John Marsden (really? I didn't know he'd even been around that long)
5) Joan Lowery Nixon (I read her thrillers in middle school)
6) Gary Paulsen (HATCHET readers seem to take to his other books as well)
7) Richard Peck (is it because he's an award winner?)

In other news, there are authors who USED to have always-read books, but who now are finally experiencing recent reading lags (no check-outs on some of their titles since 2006/2007 -- this doesn't mean ALL their titles, just more than ever before):

1) Lurlene McDaniel (are her baby-down-a-well-with-cancer tales finally too depressing for today's teens, or merely too realistic to handle?)
2) Cynthia Voigt (I think newer books that cover similar tales of teen angst are replacing her more dated stories -- though I still love me some CV)

What makes some MG/YA novels timeless/classic and others not-so-much? Is it word-of-mouth through the generations? School reading assignments? Or just great stories that have never been retold in quite as solid a way?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Summer said...

awww... it sounds like a sad job, pulling books. Even if nobody is checking them out.

Kate Fall said...

I can't believe I haven't read any of those authors. Well, I probably had to read Richard Peck or Gary Paulsen in school, but I don't think it was voluntary. Or maybe it was Paul Zindel ... definitely one of those "we'll make boys like to read, see if we don't" initiatives. Which somehow seemed to involve fishing yarns or grim survival stories.

Now that I'm older, HATCHET sounds pretty awesome, actually, but as a girl I probably reacted to it the way boys reacted to LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what makes a book classic. A good, gripping story. (That sounds obvious, though, doesn't it?)

At my library, I notice that M.E. Kerr, Rosemary Wells, and Lois Duncan still have shelf space, and there's a book or two by Ellen Conford--all of them authors I read as a young adult myself. I'm sad that more books from my own YA days aren't there, but then there's so much new stuff that's good!

DeenaML said...

Summer -- it IS sad! Part of me is happy to have room for the new books, and the weeded books do go into our booksales so teens buy them and take them home. BUT, yes, the thought of having YOUR book being removed.... :(

Kate -- I actually loved HATCHET as a kid, but not so much Paul Zindel. :)

Jenn -- Lois Duncan has tons of shelf space still at my lib, too! And her books are STILL on the school summer reading lists! Amazing! I LOVED her (and Ellen Conford!) as a tween.

Emily Marshall said...

This is really interesting. Weeding is so hard, and I'm not sure what makes some classics go out. It depends on the library too, because I don't think these books/authors are popular at our library, where commercial authors rein supreme.