105 Ways to Give a Book

Booklights, NYT Articles, and Listening

Today I have some cute picture book recommendations over at Booklights. Head over and add some of your favorites. To clarify: I’m focusing on picture books that are particularly cute, not referring to my own writing of recommendations as cute — though it is indeed possible that both are adorable.

I blew off the article in The New York Times about whether teens like The Catcher in the Rye, because I have come to learn that the NYT writes horrible and poorly researched articles when it comes to children’s and Young Adult literature. I used to think that they gave these assignments to interns as an initiation ritual. Now I have a new possibility in mind...
Scene: A bunch of reporters are gathered in a large room presenting ideas for articles. One woman’s idea is shot down. Guy in baseball cap — Yankees — begins a chant of “To The Jar!” As the chant picks up steam, a large glass jar is taken down from a bookshelf. The woman pulls out a slip of paper, and reads the topic aloud: “Holden Sucks, Discuss.” As the room full of people groan at the bad luck, Baseball Cap Guy shouts, “Snap!” End scene.
Anyway, I was less interested in the original article than in John Green’s analysis. I can’t say that I agree with all of it, but I like that a discussion is taking place in the comments. People talking about their ideas about reading and books — what a concept. One thing that came back to me as I read the comments is that some people were talking but not listening. It’s a thought that’s been at the back of my mind since Roger Sutton said, in terms of book blogging, “I worry that Internet 2.0 is turning us all into better talkers than listeners — that’s what will kill criticism from wherever its source.” When we’re so eager to talk that we don’t listen — or online, read with thoughtful process — then what can we do to change that?

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