Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Shelves full of books but nothing to read!" - A ReadItDaddy Editorial

The key to a successful marriage is knowing your boundaries. At no time is this more clearly defined than when loving husband turns to loving wife and says "Don't you get tired of reading that stuff? Why don't you try this instead?"

My wife is a kindle fan whereas I never get on with e-books - and she often finds herself mulling over the top 100 books in the free / paid for category, mumbling a mantra along these lines...

"Smut, soppy love story, smut, smut, biography, smut, smut, soppy love story, career girl puts love first, murder, horror, murder, soppy love story, and back to smut"

I sympathise. Looking at the Kindle Top Ten (and bearing in mind that my wife absolutely DOES NOT DO Science Fiction or Fantasy) it's slim pickings for someone who wants a little more from their reading material than - well smut!

"So what has this got to do with children's books?" I hear you ask. Well, here's a thing. Charlotte's book choices at the current Middle Grade stage of her reading journey is absolutely chock full of diversity, choice and now - more than ever before - a final nail in the coffin of those bloody awful "Books for Girls / Books for Boys" old fashioned marketing snake-oil tactics that really get everyone's back up.

But I'm now worried, because it feels like once she passes the excellent choices of YA, is she going to be repeating the same mantra my wife does once she gets to adult books?

Where does the path career off the edge of a cliff into the abyss of seemingly terrible cookie-cutter women's fiction choices that the chart suggests are popular?

These musings raise another point that I will admit to being horribly guilty of. Do we, as parents, interfere way too much in what our children's reading direction will be? I naturally love the idea that I'd be able to swap anecdotes about books I have loved and still love with Charlotte one day when she's older. I'm sure my wife feels the same way, but should we just back the heck up a tad and cross that bridge when it comes to it? Does parental influence cross over into - well - being pushy and interfering?

Secretly I sometimes wish my wife would pick up a copy of Watchmen and be as gripped by it as I was when I first read it. Or V for Vendetta. Or the splendour of the very first Rendezvous with Rama book as Cmdr Cook opens his eyes on the vastness of the inside of Rama when the lights first go on. Does my wife similarly wish I'd find some love for Laura and want to laugh, cry and cheer as she finds the perfect man?

The key to a successful marriage is knowing your boundaries. The other key is knowing (and being happy with) your own choices when it comes to literary material :)

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