Friday, January 12, 2007

Why new books are better than old books

First, I don't really believe this on a personal level. I collect teen fiction from the 1950s, but it's hard to get students to check out old books. I have a shelf that I set books on for students to grab quickly, and All Alone in the Universe by Lynne Rae Perkins has been sitting there for two weeks. It's not that old (1999), but there's something about it that the students don't like.

Then there's the book I read last night, David and Max by Provost. Cheesy cartoony cover art. (There is a whole day that could be spent on why Richard Cuffari's illustrations doom a book, although I personally like them.) Previous slight water damage that made the book crinkle alarmingly when I opened it. Nearly twenty years, 9 times out of the library. Could spend the whole day recommending this book, and it would still sit here. The story is perfectly good. I enjoyed it. But nothing really happened. Boy's grandfather, who lived through the Holocaust, thinks he finds a friend with whom he grew up but who was thought to have perished.

It makes me sad. Are my students just spoiled? How many books from the 1950s did I read when I was in middle school? None. Well, other than Beany Malone. And I was a huge L.M. Montgomery and Alcott fan. But I read Paula Danziger and Richard Peck and authors that were fairly new at the time. That is the way the world works, I guess. I am not an archive. I fear that if these two books aren't going to circulate here, they are going to have to be on their way to different homes where they might be more appreciated. **Sigh**

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