Thursday, June 11, 2009


I'm trying my hardest to be nice. I haven't taken my pain meds, and every time I get tempted to cross the line (which, for Drew, is about as far away from my keyboard as Patagonia), I promise to wheel my desk chair across my broken foot.

Yes. It's still broken.

Again, probably entirely symptomatic of my pronounced attention deficit, I once again became captivated by the bookshelf in the background of Keith Olbermann's first guest yesterday. This time, it was a criminologist, and the guy had a real bookshelf, with real books on it. A manly-looking bookshelf, too, for 2 principal reasons: 1) No RDCBs, and 2) It was messy.

Drew noticed two books clearly. First, of course, was a Webster's Dictionary. And nearby was a copy of Clive Cussler's Inca Gold. Slowly but surely, literary man begins to walk upright.

Hey. I own a copy of Inca Gold, and, yes, I read it, too. Clive, if you're out there, be sure to read in the path of falling objects. The car in it -- a 1940 Lincoln Cabriolet convertible, V-12 -- I have one. It can be yours for a song, bud.


Just don't go letting Dirk Pitt drive it down some semi-active lava tube.

And, speaking of getting serious, here we go, from Blogger XY's universe. Yesterday, I got a message from a friend of mine (who happens to be married to one of my all-time hero greatest MLB slugger hall-of-fame ballplayers EVER) who'd stopped by and read my the little black hole... blog from a couple days ago. They have two teen daughters, and she asked me if I could make any recommendations for books for them.

I'll get to my recommendations in, as usual, a roundabout way, but let me make clear that I, too, am the father of a near-teen (12-year-old) girl, and I like her to read the good stuff, too. See, Blogger XY is like that. He embraces the fact that there are 2 genders in his universe.

But, and without naming names, if you look through the wasteland of YA bookbloggers, YA librarian blogs, YA reviewer blogs... and just LOOK at them first. Don't read them. Look. (Kind of like Drew, beer in hand, looking at the bookshelves behind Keith Olbermann's guests)

Okay. Here's where I'm wincing in pain and rolling my chair across my broken foot. I can't help myself. Visually, the majority of those sites look like a cross between the decor you'd find (I'm told) in cheap whorehouses and the bathrooms in rooms-by-the-hour motels. Not to mention the fact that these sites also promote, review, and list for summer reading books that include vapid how-to-hook-up-with-boys-on-the-beach novels.

Lots of stuff is wrong with that, obviously. As a father, I don't want my girl reading that crap, no matter how clever it may be, and getting the idea that a valuable life equals hooking up with boys. Second, when's this all going to start to break down? Boys are already getting discounted in schools as it is. Their needs are not being met in standardized approaches to literacy and language arts, and, collectively, society -- and boys -- are buying in to the myth that boys don't read, that reading is only for girls, so why should bookbloggers, reviewers, or YA librarians post anything other than girl stuff on the web?

Then the problem snowballs.

Bloggers, librarians, reviewers: you have certain responsibilities.

Responsibility 1: Protect the language. Damn! That chair hurts on my foot. I can't tell you how many I-want-to-be-a-writer-so-I-am-going-to-review-YA-books-oh-yippee! blogs are entirely illiterate crap. But these bloggers get sent ARCs to review. Uh... maybe they should receive a gift of some English courses so they can learn the difference between then/than; your/you're; and how you probably shouldn't begin a post with a phrase like, "If your a author... "

Oh! And then there's the MURDERING of the apostrophe. Apostrophes, you morons, are not for pluralization.
(Apostrophe's, you moron's...)

Responsibility 2: Protect diversity. The universe is NOT 95% girl. Put a little effort into your goddamned (ow. chair.) avocations and at least think about boys who read.

Remember, too, and I have cited studies that show this on previous blog posts, that girls have no problem reading novels with male protagonists, while boys will generally not read one with a female protagonist.


Okay. So, I'm not going to give the entire list I rolled out for girl book recommendations to my friend. But there are no I-am-going-to-invest-my-self-worth-in-a-mission-to-hook-up-with-boys-this-summer-while-my-clueless-parents-ignore-my-slutty-friends titles on the list. I will tell you two of them, though.

Great, great books for girls:

Absolutely Maybe, Lisa Yee
Home of the Brave, Katherine Applegate

My friend went out to get them both last night.