Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Attack of the Wall Street Journal

Those of you who aren't avid Wall Street Journal readers may have missed the article they ran on July 7th called, Literary Losers.

Now normally you'd have to read a book before you can review it effectively, but those folks at the WSJ are so erudite they managed to review an entire list of recommended summer reading novels while only reading the one sentence description blurbs. Not surprisingly, they found the whole list lacking. It was formula fiction. It was no better than the back of cereal boxes, and All's Fair in Love, War, and High School was obviously trash because it was about a cheerleader.

Everyone knows cheerleaders aren't actual people.

Children, the article urged, should only read the classics.

Thus proving that no one at the Wall Street Journal has children. Hello, there is a reason why you never see kids fighting over Ivanhoe. And just because something was written 75 years ago doesn't make it better than the stuff that's rolling off the presses now. Today's authors have a lot of advantages that help make our writing better. We've got computers, we've got tons of books on writing, and we've got editors that cut all the three paragraph descriptions of purple tinted mountains.

Admittedly there are some great classics. My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. I also love Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh, great children's classics. But I know that if you gave children nothing but classics to read, you would not have a generation of literate and well refined kids. You would have a generation of kids that hated reading.

Let kids read what they want. After they discover a love of books in all their varieties, they'll love the classics too. But they'll still love the newer stuff and that's fine. Today's cereal-box fiction is tomorrow's classic.

4 comments:

just.mads said...

Here here, I was annoyed by that too. I had first read it on Shannon Hale's blog, and ever snince have fund it insulting and rude. Cereal boxes-- bah!

Anonymous said...

Yeah,grown-ups should let us read what we want.My English teacher made us read Charles Dickens's classics and I fell asleep half the time she gave her talk.I love your books though,Mrs.Rallison.I can totally relate to some of your characters in Life,Love,and the Pursuit of Free Throws.I have a best friend who's on the Basketball A team,has perfect surfer girl hair and can talk to any guy she wants while lifting her shoulders back and tossing her hair.I like this guy named Tylor,and she can talk to him whenever.What I want is always so easy for her.Tylor has this gorgeous girlfriend,Victoria who's so popular so I can really connect them with Ethan and Ashley.My best friend always goes on about how the regionals are coming up and I can make it without even thinking just because "it happens".We both play the violin and she says I get anything and everything I want all because I can play one of Mozart's pieces in my sleep.She's like Josie and Cami combined,and I'm just dorky Caroline without her weird physicness.I'm sorry if I bored you to death with my cheesy teenage talk and how I seem to think the world revolves around me and my school, but it's not our fault,we're teenagers.We get zits and talk more than we think,it's what we do.And I also have bad grammar when it comes to typing.But,my point is,I love your books! We can really relate to them and they're funny too.You're a great writer and I hope you can win one of those newberry medals so you can become famous and a lot of people will see that teen books are worth reading and not a waste of time and that a lot of people will buy your books.I think you should talk to the designer of the covers for your books.Make the side where the title is bright pink,girls are attracted to pink books.(not because girls like the color pink,because it just catches our eyes)And for some strange reason,so are guys.Apparently,they want to figure out the mistery of girls more than we thought.

Janette Rallison said...

Take heart, things really do get better once high school ends, so don't let it get you down!

Janette (who is still figuring out how to use this blog thing . . .)

Lauren said...

I totally agree with this blog! I mean, my friend is so into reading all these classics, but I'm not. I like to read your sort of books that are fun and relate to me. Plus, I can understand the language they speak, unlike Romeo and Juillete. I mean, come on! I could REALLY RELATE to your book, Fame, Glory, and other things on my To-Do List. You see, I'm an actress and that book taught me a lot. Plus, I have a similar situation to Jessica's... just without the whole I know a famous guy who likes me and his parents are divorced thing. THOUGH I WISH! But, you know...I just wanted to say that I couldn't put that book down! I book-marked my favorite pages and read them almost every night. Also, I love the humor. I laugh out loud every time I read them...sometimes I get odd stares. -laughs- Thanks for being such a great writer! (and person!)