Another example of the power of young adult
I visited my family in Indiana over Thanksgiving. On my flight back from
Chicago, I was upgraded to first class, seated next to a girl who
appeared to be about twelve or thirteen, traveling as an unattended
minor. As I sat down she was scribbling furiously in a notebook. She
looked up and I smiled. “Hi, there.”
“What’s pithy mean?” she responded, pencil poised to record my answer.
My mind went nearly blank; this was not the question I was expecting to
answer in the middle of a day of traveling.
“Uh, a short, compact phrase; witty?”
I must have telegraphed more confidence in my answer than I felt:
“Thanks,” she said curtly, and went back to her notebook. I pulled out
the `Specials <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specials_(novel)>`_, by
David Westerfeld; Dan and Monya had given my
`Uglies <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uglies>`_ and
`Pretties <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretties>`_ for my birthday
just before I left, and after tearing through them, I’d picked up
Specials for the trip back. My traveling companion looked up and saw
the cover, suddenly becoming animated.
“Oh my god. You’re reading Specials. That’s so awesome.”
“Yeah, I know, it sort of is,” I replied, reverting to a tone more
appropriate for gum snapping and borrowing the car than for grown men.
“Yeah, like, I read Uglies, and Pretties, and now I’m on Specials;
Uglies was great, and Pretties was OK — a bit of a slow down— but
Specials is great so far.” Capsule review.
“Totally. I totally agree. Oh my god. So cool.” I seemed to have made a
friend, making up for any issues with my vocabulary performance earlier.
“Do you have any other authors you recommend?” she asked.
I suggested Octavia
Butler, thinking to
myself, “kid, this shit is going to blow your mind.” She dutifully wrote
it down, checking the spelling as she went.
“I’m writing a story,” she offered. “Sort of science fiction; I mean,
it’s set in the future. Well, time has passed from the present; I need
the reader to understand that to get the plot.” I continued to nod in
solemn agreement and she looked down at her notebook, fingering the
pages a moment before snapping her attention back to me.
“Are you a good reader?” How does a thirty-three year old man answer
such a question?
“Uh, yeah, I think I’m OK; I like to read,” I answered.
“You know how you can tell a good reader?” She didn’t wait for my reply.
“They write down the recommendations from other good readers.” She
proceeded to give me some recommendations, which I made sure to write
down, not wanting to sully my good reader image.
I finished Specials on the flight home, and it was a fun read. But on
my traveling companion’s recommendation, I’ll be checking out the final
book in the series,
`Extras <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extras_(novel)>`_, from the
library — “it’s totally a let down.” So sayeth the good reader.
|category:||my life, reading
|tags:||fiction, reading, ya