Monday, December 19, 2011

reciting our favorite poems above the jangling vocals

One of my favorite things has to be getting letters from readers.

Here is one of the best letters I received this past year. Well, I will paraphrase it. It went something like this:

Dear Mr. Smith,
I just got a copy of Stick for my Kindle. I am sure you have probably been told this already, but there are some major formatting errors in this first Kindle version of your novel. Some of the words are out of alignment with the text, and some pages contain passages that are right-justified. I just thought I'd let you know. It is a very good book, though.


I was thinking about letters just this morning, as a mater of fact. In the past 24 hours, I received a letter from a boy in high school in one pat of the country, who had some really insightful things to say about The Marbury Lens and Passenger. Really, this was one of the smartest letters I've ever received about The Marbury Lens. This kid totally caught on to something that very few people have dared to suggest.

At the same time, I got another letter from a boy in high school in a totally different part of the country who had some serious questions and praise for Stick. It was also a terrific and insightful letter.

As a matter of fact, I've gotten a lot of letters like these in the past year or so since The Marbury Lens came out.

I know... I don't really put letters up here on the blog because I'm not sure that it would be fair to the writers, and most of them are very personal.

But as I was thinking about letters this morning, it dawned on me that the vast majority of letters that I receive are from guys (maybe 90%)... and most of those are from guys in high school.

More proof that boys do read, and they think about what they read, too.

Sure, the stories I write and the content of my novels tend to emphasize strong male characters and the whole "guy" experience, but the voices I hear coming through from these letters speak loudly to counter the loudmouthed myth that boys do not read and cannot connect to or process literature.

Because, honestly, I got two of the smartest and most well-thought-out letters from boys in high school about two different books in just the past 24 hours, and that's always a nice way to ease out of a pretty good year.

2012 is coming soon.

Jack and his friends will be back.

I'm sure there will be lots to talk about then, too.