In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Death and renewal

Dear Annie,

I haven't read Virgin Suicides either.   I feel nervous about suicide books in the same way you feel about anorexia books.  No matter how awful the suicide, I fear that some teenagers are particularly vulnerable to seeing it as an attractive choice.  You talked about "anorexia porn"; I have the same worries over a romantic vision of suicide.

The idea of dying young -- by whatever means -- is hugely attractive in YA.  As one comes to terms with one's own mortality, reading about those who don't make it becomes wildly interesting.  So that's one reason The Fault in Our Stars, about teenagers with cancer, is so popular.  I haven't finished reading it, but it's also a really good, well-written book.  There's one other element which contributes to its wild popularity.  John Green, the author, is a master of social marketing.  When he twittered the title of the book last summer (more than six months before its publication date), The Fault in Our Stars became an online bestseller.  He and his brother Hank have a video blog which (I confess) can get a little addictive.  Here's his entry the day the book was published.

Back in January I wrote about the store going through an expansion.  The first step was re-carpeting the whole space.  Then we knocked down some walls and spread out into the retail space next door.  And on Monday, the book section finally got its new shelving.  So right now the floor is littered with piles of books waiting to go onto different shelves.  Sports books are moving into the space previously occupied by mysteries, but I can't move mysteries until I shuffle early chapter books to the right, but first teen & adult books have to move -- to the current location of the sports section.  So stuff ends up on the floor, even though there's more space.  The only area that's just about finished is a lovely new Star Wars, fine arts and gift book section in the alcove that used to house Play Doh (which has moved into the new space).  I'll post photos once it's all in order.

We talked about the teen & adult section two weeks ago in the context of adult books for the YA audience.  I've just found a blog within the School Library Journal called "Adult Books 4 Teens."  It seems to deal mostly with new books, but I'm keeping an eye on it.

Have a lovely time on your spring break.



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