Countdown to Marathon's End and Books for Young Readers

The 51 Day Marathon Ends Tomorrow! I struggled slightly at the start, but ever since our wild and crazy writers' house party (dangerous too; at least two of us nearly suffered real-time injuries and one of us did!) I've been on a sweep, a roll, a grand roller coaster ride, and... No, somehow, I'm still not quite near completing the book, though I'm already at c. 60,000 words. I have at least 10-15 scenes more to write but keep getting sidetracked with more romantic episodes that may or may not make it into the final MS.

For bits and pieces of Out of the Water to read, go here.

If you're following Kait's serialisation of Forsaken by Shadow, go here.

I subscribe to the Pandora newsletter; this amazing bookstore has at least two branches in Istanbul, but ships books all over the world at very reasonable rates. Their stock is continuously expanding and covers both Turkish and English books.
In a recent newsletter, I noted the following in the Books for Ages 11-14 Section:

Anna Karenina - Tolstoy, Lev
Büyük Umutlar [Great Expectations] - Dickens, Charles
Madame Bovary - Flaubert, Gustave
Tess - Hardy, Thomas
Vahşetin Çağrısı [The Call of the Wild] - London, Jack

I read Great Expectations at 13, and am reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles now. Haven’t read the others yet, but I’m curious – when was the last time you saw all of those books marketed to 11 year olds here in North America?
Are we lowering our standards? Expecting less from young readers, with all our emphasis on MG and YA themes and language? Putting too many labels on our work?

What do you think?


Anonymous said…
Thanks for the pimpage! :D
Anonymous said…
I teach 8th grade Language Arts and am horrified at my district's "approved 8th grade reading list." It has books much more suitable for 6th graders--THE GIVER and THE CROSSING, by Gary Paulsen. I do think we're lowering the bar--with that being said, I remember reading Upton Sinclair's THE JUNGLE in 8th grade. A great book I remember to this day, although if I needed to "teach" it to my students, I might kill myself. They'd find it boring, or stupid and boring, or dumb and boring. In lieu of the standard classics, I seek out more engaging novels. Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is an absolute favorite with my students. I think it boils down to knowing your group of students, their abilities, and how you set up the novel. If the teacher finds it fun, students find it more willing to give it a shot.
Deniz Bevan said…
I agree Chris, it's all in how the teacher presents the material.
It's funny to think of reading Agatha Christie at school - I read them all on my own, but can't imagine what sorts of discussions they might spark in a classroom!

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