Category Archives: Booking Through Thursday

BTT: Age Appropriate

Cover of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"

Cover of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Do you read books “meant” for other age groups? Adult books when you were a child; Young-Adult books now that you’re grown; Picture books just for kicks … You know … books not “meant” for you. Or do you pretty much stick to what’s written for people your age?

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question is one I’ve actually thought about before throughout my reading life.

As a kid, I often read books that were appropriate for where I was with my reading skills, but were not at all appropriate for me emotionally or developmentally. So I ended up reading books like Catcher in the Rye way before I was really ready for them, which spoiled me on some amazing books I could only appreciate after re-reading them. I’m trying to avoid this mistake with my own kids, because with some of my favorites, I want the introduction to go perfectly.

Now, I rarely read young adult or picture books for pleasure unless I am reading them with or for my own children. By “for,” I mean that when my kids are reading something I’m not familiar with, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, I try to read either one book in a series, or a single book, so I know what they are reading. Books have always been such a huge influence on me that I want to know what might be influencing my own kids.

I’m trying to read more YA lit because I think my students might be (or should be) reading it, and I’ve found some good examples of ones I would absolutely want my students, or some day my own children, to read. But just for pleasure? Never occurs to me.

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Not in Theaters: BTT

a souvenir from U.S.A

Image by masaaki miyara via Flickr

And–the reverse of last week’s question. Name one book that you hope never, ever, ever gets made into a movie (no matter how good that movie might be).

Oooh, this is a tough one. Tough because sometimes you can’t anticipate what terrible choices people will make (like totally miscasting Gillian Anderson as Lily Bart, let’s say).

I think, however, my final choice will be a movie that probably will never get made: The Catcher in the Rye, which has been tabooed as a result of Salinger’s tight control on all his work, and probably always will be. I don’t want to see anyone as Holden or Phoebe, I don’t want to see any of the book get excised, and I just don’t think his voice could be clearly transferred onto the big screen.

How about you?

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BTT: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

Cover of "The Amazing Adventures of Kaval...

Cover via Amazon

If you could see one book turned into the perfect movie–one that would capture everything you love, the characters, the look, the feel, the story–what book would you choose?

My answer for this is also one of my favorite novels ever: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which is beautifully written, but also has some scenes that just seem ready to leap onto the page, like the party at Rosa’s father’s house where we see her paintings for the first time and Salvador Dali almost drowns in his diving helmet. I’d love to see how they would bring the comic pages to life on the screen, maybe mixing animation and actors, and the trio of Sammy, Joe and Rosa would be parts of a lifetime for the right actors, not to mention Tracy Bacon, Rosa’s father, and Sammy and Rosa’s son.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure this will ever happen. For almost ten years now, the film has been in development hell, though some tantalizing scenes have been released. There are rumors about a version that would be released in 2012, but I’m not holding my breath until more definite details are made public.

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BTT: Visual

So … the books that you own (however many there may be) … do you display them proudly right there in plain sight for all the world to see? (At least the world that comes into your living room.)

Or do you keep them tucked away in your office or bedroom or library or closet or someplace less “public?”

One of the big selling points of our current house, for me, was that it has two living rooms, a front “parlor” and then a larger living room. We moved our piano into the newly christened “piano” room and then lined the walls with book shelves, and having most of my books together like that fulfilled a long-held dream of mine. Of course, though we have six bookcases in that room, not all of our books fit. There’s a book shelf in our bedroom that is overflowing, and two more upstairs bookshelves where our kids’ books live, as well as small piles of books scattered through the other rooms.

I am so in love with the fact that anyone walking into my house is immediately aware of what kind of readers we are (and probably, also how cluttered my house is). Reading is a central part of my core values and identity, and it’s wonderful to have that part of me right out there, where no one can miss it.

This is my Booking Through Thursday post.

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BTT: Serial

Roland standing by the Dark Tower and the Can'...

Image via Wikipedia

Series? Or stand-alone books?

Most books I read are stand-alone books, but I think that’s partly because I don’t read a lot of mystery or science fiction/fantasy, which I think are genres heavy on serialization. My favorite series of all time would be the Harry Potter books, of course, with the Anne of Green Gables books following closely behind (and sometimes tied for the lead).

I also loved Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and I think his work straddles this divide, in a way. Most of his works are stand-alone books, but the more you read of his work, especially the Castle Rock books, the more you see continuing characters and themes and the evolution of the setting. So while they are not “series” books, inhabiting that shared universe links them in a rich way that rewards the frequent reader.

This is my Booking Through Thursday post.

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BTT: Multi-Tasking

Do you multi-task when you read? Do other things like stirring things on the stove, brushing your teeth, watching television, knitting, walking, et cetera?

Or is it just me, and you sit and do nothing but focus on what you’re reading?

(Or, if you do both, why, when, and which do you prefer?)

I have always multi-tasked when reading; in fact, I’ve been notorious in my family for decades for reading while walking up and down the stairs, a habit that used to drive my mother crazy. She also hated when I tried to read at the tale, and I have to confess that I do this too often now that I’m the adult in my house. However, I don’t always multi-task; last night I spent a few hours reading a book I’ve been completely entranced by (The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, review coming soon) and there was no multi-tasking at all involved.

Why do I do it? I think that especially when I was a child or adolescent, I would disappear so completely into a book I was reading that I really had trouble breaking that spell to do such mundane things as eat or walk. There has been no greater magic in my life than books, and I have spent so much of my life a willing captive, completely immersed in other worlds, both real and fantastic. No thing has had a greater influence on me than reading.

This is my Booking Through Thursday entry.

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BTT: Cheating and Peeking

Do you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

This is something I can honestly say I NEVER do, and even more truthfully, it’s never been an attractive option to me. Students say this to me all the time, from stronger readers to weaker readers, and I’m always torn on how to respond. On the one hand, I’m thrilled they’re engaged enough to want to know what happens; on the other hand, do they understand the ending enough without having read the book, or does it dull their interest in the book if a twist or secret is revealed?

What draws people to do this? Is it excitement or impatience? I’m really curious to hear the answers to this one!

This is my Booking Through Thursday response.

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