Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Boys & Reading

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 29 Jul 2009

  • Next message: prosperena: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Boys & Reading"

    I read every single one of Burroughs' books that I could lay hands on. His story from the perspective of the Roman emperor Caligula's personal body slave (I AM A BARBARIAN) is actually pretty hard-boiled. Might have been his best book. I also devoured Robert E. Howard's work, Hammett, Chandler, etc., and Dumas' stuff as well.


    On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 1:22 PM, Kevin Burton Smith <> wrote:

    > Patrick wrote:
    > > I suppose that the list of 20 books for boys in this article, like
    > > any list of 20 anythings anywhere, is about selling new stuff rather
    > > than tried and true stuff. In my experience TARZAN OF THE APES & A
    > > PRINCESS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs swallowed my life whole
    > > when I was 13. Dumas' 3 MUSKETEERS & THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, I
    > > just loved that stuff. It was then, too, I first read Conan Doyle,
    > > Dashiel Hammett and Ian Fleming who also rocked my world.
    > My reading history is very similar. I'd add in the Hardy Boys, The
    > Three Investigators, William Campbell Gault's hot rod books, MY SIDE
    > OF THE MOUNTAIN and a few others, plus a lot of comic books, but it's
    > interesting how, somehow, so many of us gravitated to the xact same
    > books.
    > I know I'm not supposed to like Robert Parker (or anyone else who
    > sells too many books to be considered "cool") but I thought his recent
    > CHASING THE BEAR, a Spenser novel specifically aimed at young boys,
    > was actually pretty good. It probably would have made a big impression
    > on me at the time, revolving as it does around questions of courage
    > and honour and love and how to be a man.
    > Hell, it made a decent-sized impression on me when I read it a few
    > weeks ago.
    > Or maybe I'm still not finished growing up.
    > According to a ALA report in PW a few months ago, reading has
    > increased in most demographic groups, particularly among the young,
    > but some of the methodology has been called into question. Seems
    > they're counting online fiction as well as books.
    > and Mario wrote:
    > > I quote from a conversation overheard at a bookstore, between two
    > > teenagers. "You know, life here is so fucking boring that I just
    > > pick up books and read them". The other one: "Yeah, books are the
    > > shit."
    > Sounds like half my customers some days. After all, books ARE the
    > shit. Though it'll probably never fly as a corporate slogan.
    > > Lots of things go on that are not caught by "averages" or other
    > > quantification mechanisms. And let's not forget that a good book can
    > > make a reader for life. Schools don't really make readers except in
    > > the most mechanical sense.
    > Not necessarily so. A good teacher can make a real difference. Every
    > now and then, someone suddenly gets blind-sided by a book and
    > becomes... A READER!
    > It's one of the joys of book selling (and, I presume, teaching):
    > turning on someone to a good book.
    > Kevin Burton Smith
    > Editor/Founder
    > The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    > "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

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