Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Blog on Girls & Boys Reading

The Books for Kids Blog, by a retired school librarian, blogs boys' reading & girls' reading. The first configures reading according to the performative masculinity thesis (that masculinity is inescapably unstable & insecure, and requires males to constantly perform to confirm masculinity.) The second invokes the 'princess' craze among YA girls (e.g. Ella Enchanted) and supports the 'plucky young woman' trope.
  1. Making It As a Modern Male: Y[oung] A[dult] Novels and the Teen Boys
    Many social commentators have lamented the "lost" generation of American boys, growing up in a time in which girls have garnered a lot of attention in the public mind. Although teenage boys are considered a hard sell for fiction writers, guys probably stand in greater need of the vicarious experience offered in novels than do girls, since boys often find their life experience in riskier behaviors and since they are thought to be less comfortable with sharing personal events and feelings with each other.
  2. Another Plucky Princess....
    Here's another royal romp to add to my earlier list of "Princess Stories That Won't Shrink Ze Brain." It's Kate Coombs' 2006 title The Runaway Princess. This one really is a romp, as fifteen-year-old princess no-wannabe Meg refuses to be the bait her slightly greedy father King Stromgard dangles before a gaggle of princes who fill the Kingdom of Greve to win her hand The princes straggle forth to slay a dragon, return his hoard, banish a witch, and capture a bandit, while the unwilling Meg is sequestered in a tower complete with embroidery kits. Meg, of course, readily escapes the tower, befriends the witch (with her own army of bewitched frog princes), adopts the dragon (he's just a baby), and captures the aid of the Bandit Queen (and the romantic interest of her brother "Prince" Bain.) Meg is no Ella, but she's a fun gal to spend a few hours with.

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