Awhile back, I made the flip obversation on Goodreads, that I think our reading and understanding of books—especially those in the young adult category—is often very influenced by the generation whose culture with which we most identify.
I gave the example of how often I come across reviews of books I’ve read where the reviewer is very critical of what she reads as “slut shaming” in the novel (check out the reviews of Fracture, for example). And, honestly, it’s not something I particularly notice (I’m at the tail end of Generation X)—and I’ve got a couple of women’s studies degrees. (I’m not saying it’s not relevant, it’s just not on my radar, because that was a big issue long after I was solidly in Grownupland.)
Condom usage (or lack thereof) is another time this division seems to show up. When I read a novel and there’s sex and there’s no condom, I freak the hell out, because I grew up in the 80s/90s where AIDS was an automatic death sentence and well before teen pregnancy was glamorized with all this Teen Mom malarky. I’ve been told by people older than me that they don’t care for mention of condom usage because they think it’s “disruptive” or “jarring.” (Their argument is that the condom usage is implied.) And I’m all, “Dying is disruptive!” And, now, interestingly, I’ve heard the same from people in their 20s on this topic. (Which boggles my mind, but that’s another subject.)
My mom (60s) has very different reactions to things than I do, which I always think is fascinating. And, when we got into this discussion on Goodreads, folks in their 20s had very different thoughts that I. Obviously, a lot of that is just different tastes and other things such as geography, but I think generational contexts are enormous.
So… where am I going with all this?
Laura and I have been talking on and off about getting together a group of people of different generations to read the same book and share their reactions. We’ve already “recruited” some friends and family, ranging from 16 to 66, but thought it would be worth putting the call out for others who are may be interested in reading along with us.
The book we’ve selected is Story of Girl by Sara Zarr (this was suggested by several commenters on that thread as a good one for discussion). If you’d like to readalong with us, fill out the form below. We’re asking folks to read Story of a Girl by mid-June and respond to a few questions about the book we’ll send out around June 15. We’ll compile everything into a post (or maybe several, depending on the responses). If you prefer, we’ll keep your responses anonymous.
Story of a Girl is super-cheap on Amazon at the moment (less than $7 for the hardback) and since it won a ton of awards, it’s pretty easy to find at libraries and in used bookstores.
If this is something that ends up being interesting for folks, we’ll consider making it a quarterly feature.
In other news…
I finally got around to replacing our banner image with one that matches the rest of the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves design (the old one was a placeholder from my original design concept that I scrapped). Yes, those are my real glasses in the photo. And my shelf of favorite books, rainbow-style. :)