Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Difficult Choices

It doesn't seem right that I would spend money on fluff like David Van Etten's Likely Story #2, All That Glitters, but I did, and it was a good choice. Why would the continuing story of a girl whose mother is a soap opera star, and who gets a chance to write and produce her own soap opera be a good choice? I have a large female readership that likes fluffy, amusing books. These girls will often read two books a day, and it is difficult to fill their demands. The writing in this series is facile, the characters well-developed, the setting exotic, and the entire package a whole lot of guilty fun. Would I want an entire library of such books? No. But I need a lot of them.

Fantasy, however, is a different story. I have fewer fans, but the ones I have are extremely discerning. The customer base for titles over 200 pages is comprised of 8th graders, who want more mature characters. Students who need to read fantasy to fulfill requirements want fantasy that is very fast-paced. Not all fantasy books (or other books for that matter) that are published strike me as books that balance what my students seek. I can't buy everything. I need to choose.

Sam Llewellyn was kind enough to comment politely on my review of his book, Lyonesse: The Well Between the Worlds, that was not positive. The sequel to this book, Darksolstice, comes out in the spring of 2010. I will take a look at it, and depending on my library's needs at the time, may decide to purchase both books. I may not. Occasionally, I do wake up on the wrong side of the bed, but I try to couch my appraisals of books in terms of what my school needs and my personal preferences. (The Warriors series is hugely popular in my school, and I still find the books personally very, very painful to read.) Lyonesse certainly got very nice reviews from Booklist, Horn Book, Publisher's Weekly, and many other mainstream reviewers which librarians consult. Those certainly influence far more purchases than this small blog. I wish Mr. Llewellyn the best, and am trying to track down copies of his book, Little Darlings, that does look like something that my students would like.

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