Bad books aren’t worth talking about. Good books, however, should stand up and be recognized.
To that end, I invented a new thing that I’m going to act like I’ve been doing for ages: The Librarian Avengers Stomp of Approval.
As you know, Librarian Avengers stomp around quite a bit, railing against things and waving our arms around.
In this case, we’re stomping in approval of Lizzie Skurnick’s new book Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading.
Shelf Discovery is a compilation of Ms. Skurnick’s excellent Fine Lines posts on Jezebel, in which she lovingly scrutinizes Young Adult books read by bookish girls of the X/y/whatever generation.
I’m always surprised to find such quality writing just floating around on the web for anyone to read, and I’m glad there is finally a dead tree version available as well.
If I suffered from Pageant-Mom syndrome and wanted to create an exact replica of myself from the raw material of some random pre-teen girl, I would begin my narcissistic experiment in literary manipulation by having her read all of the books celebrated in Shelf Discovery.
Which is all to say that I love this book and you should too. So, yay.
Stomp stomp stomp stomp.
I want to talk about YA books for girls in the 1980s. Books like Anastasia Ask Your Analyst, and The Girl with the Silver Eyes.
Besides PBS and the Thundercats, these books were pretty much the only media I had available during my nerdy nerdy youth. And since I hadn’t been sentient for too long, so they had a disproportionate impact on my social development.
I wasn’t alone. The fine ladies at Jezebel (One of those Gawker media blogs. I’m usually against ’em. This one, however doesn’t suck.) do a recurring feature called Fine Lines, which is UNCANNY in its ability to suss out YA books from my misspent youth.
I checked out an average of 14 books a week from two different local libraries, thanks to my geek parents. Most of the books I read were comic anthologies like Peanuts, Bloom County, Garfield and (odd for a 12 year old) Doonesbury. However, the books that really got through were the ones like Island of the Blue Dolphins, or From the mixed up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankeweiler.
Fine Lines has them all, lovingly glossed and tinted with a healthy dose of grown-up lady perspective. Go. Go now. Read and remember. You were not alone.