Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘ya’

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YA We Love: Der Struwwelpeter

This summer some dear family friends gave us a few antique German children’s books for our son. They included a huge and heavy tome of Wilhelm Busch’s work for children – author of the savagely funny and come-uppance-heavy Max and Mortiz (look it up, it’s worth it) – and a curious little volume of (what do I call them?) morality tales for children called Der Struwwelpeter, which roughly translates from the German as “Shaggy Peter.” I’d seen a copy on my husband’s grandmother’s shelf, and even the cover illustration–fingernails like tentacles and ominous scissors–creeped me out a bit. Heinrich Hoffman […]


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YA We Love: Five Children and It

My desk totem is a hundred-year-old children’s book. As a child, I knew its magic was true—the characters were too sharp not to be real. “What on earth is it?” Jane said. “Shall we take it home?” The thing turned its long eyes to look at her, and said: “Does she always talk such nonsense, or is it only the rubbish on her head that makes her silly?” It looked scornfully at Jane’s hat as it spoke. Meet the Psammead, a creature with stem-like eyes, found by five siblings on a country escape from London’s grit. It grants wishes by […]


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YA We Love: Are You There God? It's me, Forrest.

Summers, my dad took his two weeks’ vacation from the bank and drove our family southeast through corn and tobacco fields to Emerald Isle, North Carolina. We stayed on the sound-side of the island, in a small cottage on stilts, and each morning we hauled our chairs, coolers, and my mom’s heavy beach bag through a vacant lot, spiked with sandspurs, to the ocean. While dad unfolded our chairs and cracked open his day’s first beer, mom rummaged through her bag and passed out library books she’d picked for the family. I remember entire vacations spent reading, moving only with […]


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"You can’t take an adult seriously when he’s debating you over why Twilight vampires are O.K. with sunlight."

What to make of Joel Stein? He’s a humor writer who (sometimes) makes serious points, and as a result, his readers sometimes miss the argument beneath the humor, or miss the humor on top of the argument. His latest essay, “Adults Should Read Adult Books,” in the New York Times, is causing quite a kerfuffle: I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace […]


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How old is too old for YA*?

That’s what Pamela Paul wants to know in her recent New York Times essay. Observes Paul: But big type and short, plot-driven chapters aside, the erosion of age-­determined book categories, initiated by Harry Potter, has been hastened along by an influx of crossover authors like Stephenie Meyer and interlopers like Sherman Alexie, James Patterson, Francine Prose, Carl Hiaasen and John Grisham, to name just a few stars from across the spectrum of adult fiction who have turned to writing Y.A. According to surveys by the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry, 47 percent of 18- to 24-year-old women […]




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