Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Some posts were just not meant to be...

I truly believe that a person should know when to just give up. This is one of those times.

I wrote a lovely post about a list of most popular YA novels that was assembled by National Public Radio after voting by over 75,000 readers. Within that post, I linked to both the final list of 100 books and series and the list of 235 finalists that readers were then invited to vote on.

In an attempt to get the links to work after they didn't do so initially, I managed to make the whole blog post disappear.

It's been a long day. The post is staying disappeared, at least for the time being. So, if you saw it in the few minutes it was up before I discovered that the links didn't work, that's what happened to it.

These things happen.

With any luck the next post I put up will behave itself better than that one did.


C. L. Hanson said...

I don't know why it didn't appear on you blog, but it showed up in my RSS reader.

C. L. Hanson said...

National Public Radio here in the United States has come up with a list of "100 Best Ever Teen Novels". They asked for nominations, had a panel of experts cut the list down to 235 finalists, and then opened the list to voting to come up with the list of 100.

Among the criteria used by the panel to narrow the nominations down to the 235 books to be voted on were the popularity of each book, determined by the number of nominations it got, how well the book fits into the YA category (which includes readers aged 12 through 18), the theme of each book, the age of the main characters, the book's reading level, and whether teens "claim" the book by reading it voluntarily.

It is an interesting list, but I think the title of it is a little misleading, in that there are well over 100 novels represented. Over a third of the entries on the list are identified as trilogies or series, including the top two, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series and Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games Series. J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of The Rings trilogy placed seventh on the list. So, just in the top seven, there are ten more books than that represented. But, I suppose, at a time when nearly every author seems to be writing series, this is a minor quibble.

C. L. Hanson said...

I should also admit, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I am far from the target audience for YA writers. Additionally, I didn't even read a lot of YA literature when I was in the YA demographic. I'd moved on to reading mostly adult books by the time I was in my first years of elementary school, having been reading since the time I was three years old. So, I might not even be entitled to an opinion on this list on that basis. But since I have read some of the books on the list, and because I love books, I'm claiming the right to comment.

I was surprised, first of all, that Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game was not on the list. From everything I've heard from people who know about these things - writers, teachers, and readers, primarily - this is an immensely popular book among YA readers. I've read it at least a couple of times, and although I have serious issues with Card on a number of levels, I think Ender's Game is a fabulous book. Of course, what I got from the book might not be what YA readers get from it or what Card intended. But, since every reader gets something different from every book they read than any other reader, I don't think that is a big deal.

In a blog post linked in the story that accompanies the announcement of the final list of winners, the reason for leaving Ender's Game off the list of finalists to be voted on is that "the book's violence isn't appropriate for young readers." I find this a bit disingenuous, especially considering the inclusion of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series (it came in at number 27 on the final list of 100). I've only read the first book in that series, but just from what is in that first volume, I would question whether some of the themes in that book are appropriate for young readers. Yet it was left in contention.

C. L. Hanson said...

My biggest question regarding the list is this: Who is John Green? This question is followed closely by: Who is Sarah Dessen and who is Tamora Pierce? I've heard of Tamora Pierce because her name has turned up on lists of award nominees I've reported on, and I've heard John Green's name mentioned by younger readers I know. But I had never heard of Sarah Dessen before seeing her name on this list four times. I guess I'm going to have to do some research.

Despite my inexperience with YA novels in general, I have read a few of the books on the list. I even read a few of them when I was a young adult. I was pleasantly surprised to find S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders at number 13 on the list. I first read it in junior high, I guess, because everyone else was reading it, and I liked it enough to re-read it several times. I am happy, too, to see the late Ray Bradbury on the list twice. His work was one of my gateways into science fiction and fantasy, and if I had my way, he would be required reading for everyone.

On the other hand, I was astonished to see Go Ask Alice on the list (at number 35). Billed as written by "Anonymous", it was purported to be the real journal of a real girl who had ended up dead of a drug overdose. It has been around since 1971, which was when I read it, but it turned out to have been produced by a psychologist, Beatrice Sparks, who seems to have made something of a career of producing similar books of dubious authenticity. To be very honest, I thought it was a stupid book when I read it and I'm surprised that today's young readers are still buying into it.

C. L. Hanson said...

Another book that I read as a young reader, because it was assigned to me in an English class in eighth or ninth grade, is Flowers for Algernon (at number 23 on the list), by Daniel Keyes. I still come across people who love this book, so I'm not really surprised to find that it made the list. However, I have to admit that I found it more than a little disturbing. There is no way I would ever read it again.

And then there is Catcher in the Rye (at number 6 on the list), by J. D. Salinger. Published in 1951, this book has been a favorite of English instructors for decades. I was assigned to read it by my eighth grade English teacher, and then again in two or three different university classes. I hated it when I read it the first time and hated it more every time I had to read it. I really don't understand its appeal.

There are several titles on the list that sound interesting enough to me that I might seek them out to read them. And that, I think, is the ultimate value of lists like this. There are always debates over which books should and shouldn't be on them, and which books that did not make the list should have done so. But they also bring attention to titles that readers might not come across otherwise. If just one reader finds one book that they love and might not have read otherwise, all the list-making is worth it.

jana said...

The post was in my RSS feed. Do you want me to cut/paste and send it to you? Or did you find it?

littlemissattitude said...

Thank you, C.L. and Jana. I've been kind of busy and didn't see your comments until just now. The post has never turned up here, but I'm assuming that since you both saw it, everyone else did as well. One of those mysteries of cyberspace, I suppose.

And thanks, for the offer, Jana, but C.L. has put it up here in parts, so I've got it now. Thanks for the effort, C. L. I appreciate it.