Thursday, January 19, 2006

Don't Steal this Book!
(But don't pay for it either)

After reading Swallows and Amazons, the next book I happened to pick up was Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton. Do you remember S.E. Hinton? She wrote all those odd angsty teen novels in the 80’s that all seemed to be set in some kind of twilight 1950s meets the 1980s time period but that my just be my 1980s mind. Remember how the 80’s had that weird heavy 50s influence? I think that’s why I feel like her books have an ambiguious time even if they really don’t. Anyway, my personal favorite was always Tex but I think most people think of The Outsiders when they think of S.E. Hinton. I guess I was always a little fascinated with her books because they were about tough boys who did tough boy things. That was actually kind of unusual at the time, for me anyway. I was an avid reader but before her books I don’t remember coming across contemporary teen type novels that centered around boys nearly as much as they did around girls. I was also fascinated by the idea that a young woman wrote these books because they seemed so macho. Certainly I knew that writing was about imagination but somehow these books always seemed so very boy.

I don’t know how much I loved her books, I remember reading them and enjoying them just fine at the time. I probably read them more than once because that was just what I did. But when I saw this adult novel on the shelf I was really curious. I should have known better. I bought the R. L. Stein adult novel just to see what he could do. Turns out he couldn’t do much, and I’m thinking that S.E. Hinton had the same problem. I guess all I really wanted to do here was to say…don’t feel sentimental when you see Hawkes Harbor on the shelf at the book store. It’s not worth it.

I do have a friend who is a published and well respected YA author and I think I need to ask her about the urge to write an “adult” novel. Are there any that are good? Terry Pratchett has done the opposite and written adult novels and then suplemented them with YA novels that are brilliant. Clive Barker did ok with that too, I think. I’ve never read the Judy Blume adult novels…and I can’t think of anyone else off the top of my head, although I am sure there are tons.

What was my point here? Oh, Hawkes Harbor, not so good. I think I will finally sit down and read The Scar next. I know that even if I don’t love it, I will respect it. Sort of. Somday I’m gonna beat China Mieville up because he just pisses me off. It’s jealousy I know but still…he’s good looking, talented and far too smart. And he’s younger than me. Jerk.

And I continue to read The American Way of Death Revisited (I carry it in my purse and read a few pages when I get a chance). I am starting to believe that this is one of the most important books I have ever read and I urge everyone who may ever die to read it. Aside from being informative, it’s extremely well written and entertaining. Also, I just started reading a book/zine that I picked up at Microcosm Publishing called 400 Words and I am enjoying it immensely.


Jodi said...

I didn't even read all of Hinton's books, but did read The Outsiders several times. I really respect how well-read you are. I keep thinking I'm trying to improve in that arena while my stack of unread books grows higher.

And I just bought a People magazine.

Good for you! Thank you for inspiring me to close the lap top (yeah, right!), turn off the tv, and READ!!!

(I'll let you know if any those 3 things actually happen!)

Jodi said...

Oh yeah, I watched a lot of tv, did some more stuff on the lap tap, AND took a nap! Didn't even make it through the People magazine yet. Damn, I feel my brain liquefying as I type this!