Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lad Lit: boys and reading

Here is a blog by a retired Elementary-School Librarian with a post on Young Adult Novels and the Teen Boy -- set, by the first half of its title (Making It As a Modern Male), in terms of masculinity as performative and in terms of the effect of a type of literature set according to sex: one of the premises of "lad-lit" studies.
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.
Article via

PS: The blog also has this post on girls' reading -- here, the 'princess' reading craze (e.g. Ella Enchanted.) Note how the heroine's character is written in the "Flora Poste" mould....

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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