One-Minute Book Reviews

August 1, 2008

What Books for Adults Would You Recommend to Teenagers – August Meeting of Ruthless Book Club

Filed under: Ruthless Book Club,Young Adult — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:12 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about the increasing crossover between books for the adult and young adult (YA) markets, typically defined as ages 13 and up. More people in each group seem to reading books written for the other.

This crossover is occurring partly because the young-adult market has exploded and offers many more books that might appeal to adults than it did a generation ago. At the same time, as cultural literacy has declined, books for adults have gotten dumber. A lot of them would suit adolescents better than people who haven’t been carded since the Clinton administration. So the adult and young-adult markets are meeting in the middle: The average bestseller is pitched to an 11- or 12-year-old, to judge by the calculations of authors’ writing levels that that I’ve done using the Microsoft Word readability statistics. Still another reason for the crossover might be that parents are more involved with homework than they used do, so they’re dipping the books their children bring home and finding that they like them.

So here this month’s question: What books for adults have you read that you would recommend to teenagers and vice versa? One of the best recent examples I can think of is The Red Leather Diary, a journal kept in the 1930s by a woman now in her 90s whom the journalist Lily Koppel tracked down and interviewed. This adult book would no doubt appeal to many teenagers, too.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.twitter.com/janiceharayda

July 27, 2008

Only a Few Days Left to Talk About ‘The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher’ and Other Books at the July Meeting of the One-Minute Book Reviews Online Book Club

Filed under: Ruthless Book Club — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:33 am
Tags: , , ,

We’ve been talking about The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher and other books you might want to take to the beach at the July meeting of the online reading group on One-Minute Book Reviews. The club has no required reading: You can “join” by leaving a comment about any book you’ve been thinking about lately at www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2008/07/01 on or before July 31. A new conversation will start on August 1.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com and www.twitter.com/janiceharayda

July 9, 2008

Julia Glass and Jonathan Lethem Are Reading ‘Netherland’ This Summer – What Are You Reading? Join the Conversation at One-Minute Book Reviews’s Online Club

Filed under: News,Ruthless Book Club — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:09 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Julia Glass and Jonathan Lethem are reading Joseph O’Neill’s novel Netherland. Or so they said in a Wall Street Journal article that also listed the summer reading of John Irving, Geraldine Brooks, Philippa Gregory, Oscar Hijuelos, Joyce Carol Oates and others www.wsj.com/article/SB121332522673370767.html.

What’s in your beach bag? If you’d like to talk about a great book or warn people away from a clinker, join the conversation at a new online book club by clicking here www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/. A review of and reading group guide to Netherland appeared on this site in separate posts on June 24 www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

July 1, 2008

July 2008 Meeting of the Ruthless Book Club — What Books Are You Taking on Vacation or Reading in a Hammock at Home?

Filed under: Ruthless Book Club — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:48 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Welcome to the second meeting of the Ruthless Book Club, the online book club with no required reading. All you have to do to join is to leave a comment on this post about a book you like (or want to warn others away from) on any day in July. The book doesn’t need to have been reviewed on this site, but it can’t be one you got for free from the author, publisher or anyone else connected to it. (That sex-education manual your parents gave you at the age of 9 is, of course, fine.) A new virtual meeting will begin August 1.

I promised that I’d get the conversation started each month. So here’s my question: How do you decide what books to take on vacation? I’ve spent hours – sometimes days – winnowing the options.

Last year I packed On Chesil Beach, but it turned out to be overrated and so lightweight I finished it on the train before I arrived at the shore. The only bookstore in my resort town sold mostly bestsellers, so I bought Lone Survivor. It had more to say than Ian McEwan’s novel but was partly a screed against journalists. Am I a masochist?

I probably had the least trouble with the vacation-reading dilemma the year I read all of the Jane Austen novels in a one-volume edition that Oxford University Press has, tragically, allowed to go out of print. I’d read a few of the novels before I left town, enough to know I’d probably like the others, and the book was compact enough to be easily portable.

So what are you taking with you this year?

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

June 26, 2008

Another Meeting of the One-Minute Book Reviews Online Book Club on Tuesday

Filed under: News,Ruthless Book Club — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 8:48 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Last night I had dinner with some of my most literary friends, and we had an interesting conversation on the subject of: Are we supposed to take seriously the reading lists in books like 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die? One of my companions — who used to be the top editor at an esteemed imprint — argued that we weren’t. He said that he thought editors published those lists to spark arguments, not to make a definite statement. And he may be right. But I suspect that whether or not editors intend it, a lot of people do take the lists seriously.

A new discussion will begin Tuesday on the online book club that started on this site on June 1 www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2008/06/01. And this might be a good topic to explore there: Did you ever buy a book because it had turned up on a lot of those “best of” lists (or even on one list)? What was your reaction?

You can also use the comments section of Tuesday’s post to bring up other books you’ve enjoyed recently (or would like to warn others away from), whether or not they’ve been reviewed on this site.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

June 5, 2008

Ha Jin, James Jones, Jane Hamilton … Now Being Discussed on the Ruthless Book Club

Filed under: Ruthless Book Club — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s not to late to join the conversation at a new guilt-free online book club

A new online book club – one with no required reading – began on June 1 on One-Minute Book Reviews. It’s a place where you can tell others about books you like or don’t like, whether or not they’ve been reviewed on this site or any other.

You can take part by leaving a comment on the June 1 post, which you can do by clicking on this link www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2008/06/01. Some of the authors who’ve been mentioned so far are Ha Jin, James Jones and Jane Hamilton.

My sense is that a lot of serious readers have strong views on books that they don’t share with others because the books don’t relate to blog posts they’ve read. So I’ve created a space where you can do that.

You can leave a comment on any day during the month and, even if no other visitor has read the book, you’ll probably get a response at least from me. A new discussion will begin on July 1.

Thanks for visiting One-Minute Book Reviews, home of the Delete Key Awards for the Year’s Worst Writing in Books and the Gusher Awards for Achievement in Hyperbole in Book Reviewing.

Jan

(c) 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

June 1, 2008

The Ruthless Book Club – June 2008 Meeting

Filed under: Ruthless Book Club — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:03 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Okay, everybody. Time to start the first meeting of the Ruthless Book Club, the reading group for people who don’t like reading groups. Did you bring the cake and coffee?

The Ruthless Book Club is a guilt-free online book club with no required reading. All you have to do to take part is to leave a brief comment about a book that’s on your mind or that another visitor has mentioned. (The book can’t be one you got for free from the publisher or anyone else with ties to the book – that’s one reason this is called the Ruthless Book Club.) You can bring up another book at the July 1 meeting.

I promised to get the discussion started, so here’s my comment:

Not long ago, I reviewed John Buchan’s classic spy novel The Thirty-Nine Steps, which Alfred Hitchcock made into one of his best movies. I hadn’t read the book sooner partly because I thought I “knew” it from the film. But Hitchcock made so many changes in the plot and other aspects of the story that I didn’t know it at all. That experience reminded me of how often movies affect our perceptions of novels. Some films keep us away from books because they’re so good, we imagine that they are definitive. Other films keep us away because they’re so bad they mislead us about whether we might enjoy the books that inspired them.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 367 other followers

%d bloggers like this: