Good Reading : August 2011
GOOD READING AUGUST 2011 43 YOUNGER READERS WOM word of mouth Iam an avid 15-year- old-reader and writer. I love words and am planning to become a wr iter and animal worker. And then I’ll move to Corfu; I recently read My Family and Other Animals – it had a huge effect on me. Books are thrilling and full of new possibilities. They’ve inspired me to wr ite and create my own worlds that people from all over the world will, hopefully, one day be able to enter, find friends in and never forget. I’ve jotted down here some of my thoughts about books for people in my age group. The YA book scene I groan when it comes to vampire books, which are so popular. There are so many books featur ing our friends with pointy teeth – and they all seem to be the same. The hype and the masses of screaming girls going crazy over the ‘Twilight’ series (and the actors in the movies made from the books) is way too much for me. I’m so over vampires – the only vampire novel I really like is Dracula. What I think of book covers Sometimes a book’s cover doesn’t tell you straight away what the book is about – and this can make you curious about the story. A g reat example is the cover of Matched by Ally Condie; it shows a woman inside what looks like a giant green soap bubble. I wanted to know what this meant, and the cover pulled me r ight into the story.The cover of The Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner shows a boy and a girl lit up by a ghostly light in an old museum, where the walls are lined with cabinets full of old fossils and a knight’s suit of ar mour stands spookily behind them – just how you might imagine an old museum would look. I also love the cover for Love, Aubrey by Suzanne La Fleur, with its curly yellow font and young girl lying on a tree branch, looking dreamily towards the sky – this cover really says a lot about the story. What I look for in a book When I see a book, I want it to be original. And I don’t want words like ‘2nite’ instead of ‘tonight’ and ‘c u’ instead of ‘see you’ – these textspeak or shorthand words seem to be creeping into books more and more these days. I want to be swept up in the first few pages, not wait for half the book to reach the climax. If I don’t enjoy a book within the first few chapters I won’t bother finishing it; there are always better books out there that I could be enjoying more. What really appeals to me are books that are written in a way that makes me feel as if I am the main character and not just a reader. And I love a book that will come back into my thoughts while I’m doing something else; I find that I want to go back into the world of that book and keep reading it. My favourite book My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell – I was totally swept up into the havoc that was the Durrell family’s life. I adored the animals and the names they were given; the puppies were called Widdle and Puke and Quasimodo was the pigeon. Gerry’s brothers Larry and Leslie were prone to sudden rages, and Spiro, the ‘looker-afterer’ of the family, was so funny. The creatures that Gerry collected – such as his pet hedgehogs, owl and magpies – roamed freely through the house. And all the way that through the mayhem, Gerry’s mother stayed calm. As soon as I finished it, I decided that I was going to live in Corfu. Here are some other books that I highly recommend: ■ The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi is about a girl who has always lived in solitude, except for a robot who helps her with everything. But one day she goes into the real world and finds that she is the only human left alive. ■ Birds, Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durrell is basically My Family and Other Animals Part 2. So it’s essential reading. ■ A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard is a moving and very sad novel about a boy who is very different and doesn’t feel loved or like he belongs anywhere. So he leaves his home and goes on the streets, where he roams and let’s his imagination have the space it needs. It will make you think and think about what is important in life. I also think it’s a great idea to contact an author if you enjoyed their book and want to tell them – even if it’s just a blog comment. There’s a good chance they’ll respond to you – which is thrilling in itself. But if you also want to become a writer, they might be able to give you a few hints and tips.You’ve got nothing to lose except the few minutes it takes to wr ite an email. Romi Foster writes a blog about books. You can check it out at http://bit.ly/ gA8sQ5. Read 15 Romi Foster the streets, where he roams and let’s his Romi Foster, a 15-year-old- reader and writer from Tasmania, writes about what it takes for a book to grab her attention.