Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Boys & Reading

Date: 29 Jul 2009

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    Well, my young adult years are so far back I've been having difficulty remembering what I read, let alone what made an impression on me in those olden days. I do remember digging into some Russian political histories, make of that what you will. What knocked me out was reading Faulkner's "The Reivers" and this was well before the movie came out, which I enjoyed as well. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Twain. Don't think I read Huck Finn until university, but Tom Sawyer got a good going over. Not noir or hardboil but definitely things not as they appear or were supposed to be. Stevenson's "Treasure Island" and maybe "Kidnapped." There's crime there. About the only school-assigned book that I can remember, other than the familiar Shakespeare (R&J, Macbeth, Hamlet, Shylock, Caesar) is Dickins' "Tale of Two Cities." Must have liked it or I wouldn't have remembered it.

    But I easily recall Wicked Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Sam & Dave, The Temps, The Tops, The Turtles, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Booker T & the MGs, even "Little" Stevie Wonder (Fingertips pt.1&2) like lunch (tomato sandwich on whole wheat.)

    Clap your hands just a little bit louder, Kerry

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Brian Thornton
      Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 5:36 PM
      Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: 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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