I'm 3 days past my 65th Birthday so my love of reading probably started because there were no distractions as Television and Computers. I rapidly exhausted the children's section of the Village Library (installed in the Church hall) and managed to get permission to borrow from the Adult section. I read Dracula and Lord of the Flies at a very early age and quite a bit of E.A. Poe; but it is then that I had my first taste of SF. It was 'Slan' by Voght and I was hooked. At Grammar school English was taught as two subjects. Language and Literature and I found the former no problem having mastered spelling and punctuation and clauses etc at Primary School. however Literature was another matter. My teachers would insist on setting homework that you had to read and memorise and my memory refuses to function that way. I even failed at Shakespeare and I quite enjoyed reading his work; just didn't like answering questions about it!
My first experience with sci-fi was a required reading in 10th grade. 'Player Piano' by kurt vonnegut and 'Brave New World' by aldous huxley. I so disliked those stories and what we were required to do with them [compare and define the symbolism] I just didn't understand what everyone else [namely the teacher] got out of these stories. So I was more than a little annoyed since I really couldn't picture what the teacher said we should see. The really strange thing is I loved sci-fi in grade school. The first I read was titled 'First to The Moon'. But of course my saving grace was that I loved animals and the Black Stallion series and the Big Red series were loved by me till the pages were ragged. I started reading Mother Goose to my daughter when she was 6 months old. We read small volumes of poetry together when she was older. Other stories too, nightly reading before bedtime was a habit. But I take pride in the fact that she wrote and published a poem at the age of 10. I believe reading with children is the single greatest gift we can give children. In the 7th grade I had an art teacher who wouldn't start projects on friday and so she would read a couple of chapters of a book called 'Firequest' about teenagers in a neanderthal clan. Everyone in our class loved Friday because of that, even kids who were normally bad students. It was a wonderful gift and to this day I wish I could thank her for it. [smiling at ya] Also.... Janny here is a great big E-N-T-H-U-S-I-A-S-M holler from the bottom of my lungs!!!!! I don't alway post it but I check this board regularly to make sure I don't miss a thing. They have a writer's conference here on the Peninsula every couple of years and here's hoping you come to it one day. I am hoping to start a sci-fi and fantasy book club here on the peninsula but I feel kingh of foolish and shy about it. [I don't know why] A starting to be well known author of sci-fi lives here on the peninsula [Chris Bunch]. My brother installed his HVAC system and was given a signed book by him. My brother gave it to me not even knowing what he was giving away!!. But that's OK, I'll keep it for him. [smiling at ya again]
Shakespeare can be a wonderful experience for kids in high school. AFTER they are hooked on reading. Get them hooked, first.
I found, at that age, Shakespeare was a struggle - until! - I saw it acted - the great actors brought it alive. What had been difficult if not incomprehensible on the page LIVED on the stage.
so without a great teacher or a great actor, it may be difficult for some? Many? kids to access at that age. One or two kids in the class were able enough to read sections aloud - and if they "got" it, they could read it and make it real for some of the rest of us.
After I realized there were nuggets to be mined, in those difficult wierd sentences - I went out to the used book shop and bought more on my OWN. Those books are still here on the shelf today.
Back in 9th grade, we thought Mercutio was COOL. But in the story, he dies! What a letdown! We wanted more of HIM, not the downer stuff of "the protagonist's" monumental, circling angst.
It is very much a personal angle, what to read at that age. I applaud a schooling that gives kids a chance to CHOOSE, and the opportunity to compare what others have chosen. That opens windows! that reading corner sounds very very neat.
What did happen to Harradene? Wow. Interesting...do you really think he could have done his changed life course in Etarra??? I'd imagine he'd be elsewhere, if I run that bit of motivation forward from the moment of his retirement....
First, my kudos to Janny: as I hear more and more about how SF is going, I find myself getting more and more excited.
I lent my (hardcover) copy of CotM to the DM of my gaming group, and he was quite taken with it: I lent him my (again, hardcover) copy of "SoM"; he insisted on buying his own copy and re-reading CotM before moving on to Book 2, after I told him to try to absorb all the details he could, since you never know what tangents will be touchd upon in the later books.
To touch on the topic of books in general:
I agree that Shakepseare isn't necessarily appropriate for most HS students: at that age, the language is defnietly a HUGE barrier, and they shoudl try to encourage people to read things that make them WANT to read and think. (Not that I'm opposed to challeging students: quite the opposite! But you can challenge students without alienating them.)
Interestingly, I will say that my favorite book of all time is an unlikely one: Shel Silversteins "The Giving Tree": I defy anyone to read it and NOT tear up.
Of course, I love the classics (currently re-reading "Dr. Zhivago" for fun), and we have a book club that makes me expand my horizons on a monthly basis. (We just discussed "Perfume" by David Susskind: very well-done, intensely disturbing, but thought-provoking at the same time!)
Of coure, I'm also a big fantasty/ sci-fi buff, as well (needless to say!!)
Wow, I think The Black was among my first set of books too. I got heavily into all animal stories as my first books and devoured every one I found in the school library!
I loathe the way schools and teachers and some libraries deal with kids. Like Janny, I constantly ran up against limits for kids - books that I wanted to read but I was 'too young', or the sheer number of books I wanted to check out because 'kids can't possibly read that many'. Despite such obstacles, I got around them by going to the public library with an understanding parent who got things done! I was and still am an avid book addict, but I feel sorry for kids who are not and show a tentative interest in something and then get slapped down.
I also thought every book I was forced to read was stupid, or if I was remotely interested in it, the teacher ruined the experience by pointing out all the foreshadowing and dissecting the stories (or poems) to death. The thing that got me hating poetry was a teacher who insisted that this cool thunderstorm poem really reflected the author's stormy relation with his wife *rolls eyes*.
On the other hand, one summer I got a list of recommended books and read a few and fell in love with Flowers for Algeron and Lord of the Flies. What a difference choice makes over forced reading with limited time constraints.
I think Shakespear would be better received if it was modernized - keep the story but update the language, the insults, the humor. The stories are really good, but the language poses a huge barrier to enjoying them. Later, students can get exposed to the original, but by that time they know the story and (hopefully) like it.
Finally, it really irks me that all the 'List' books were from the same genre (fiction) with Brave New World the only representative of science fiction allowed. There are many other great books out there, well written, that are in other genres that might serve to interest students who are not big fans of classic fiction. Isaac Asimov created an entire universe with his Foundation series that delves into very interesting social issues that occur with advanced technological societies. Why isn't that set of books in 'The List'? (Yes HJ, I thought that was the coolest ending) There are many cool fantasy books too that could be used to instruct.
My feeling is the more variety and choice you give kids, the more they will find something to interest them.
Kitsune - oooh, really neat! You brought in another reader!
Oh, and status: halfway thru main 13 of Stormed Fortress, with the next scene past this one the first stage door opener into the ending sequence.
Going through the whole reading exercise (father daughter interaction) every night with my daughter who is in pre-school. Its great to see that she has developed a love for reading, its the only way that she will go to bed ;-)
Its a bit early yet to start her on WOLAS but Roald Dahl is certainly getting a start over and over again..... at least she likes to listen whilst I read to her. Some of the early childhood books are really good though. Janny have you written any children books?
personally my greatest reading related moment was in year 4 when at the tender age of about 10 i was reading the belgariad by david eddings, the riftwar saga by raymond e. feist and some brian jaques etc etc. anyhoo one of the teachers at my school accosted my mother and informed her that the "material your daughter is reading is unsuitable for her age group." when i heard that i laughed so hard i strained my stomach muscles. it was almsot as if they didn't want me to be reading advanced materials, granted maybe the material wasn't g rated but it really is ridiculous.
oh and i read cycle of fire when i was in my first year of highschool and i absolutely loved it thank you
A good book is a faithful friend that will never let you down. My parents encouraged me to read as a child (I was hyperactive but a good book meant I was quiet...!) and I have a small library in my flat.
I have read Shakespeare for pleasure from a young age and never had any problems with the language - Chaucer was more of a challenge in the original fourteenth-century dialect he used but equally good fun when you get into it.
Decent movie versions of great books can bring a story to life and inspire you to read the book so you get the WHOLE story.
I invariably have several books on the go at once - one for the journey to/from work, one or two by the bed and at least one in the lounge. I have problems understanding people who don't WANT to read.... a friend of mine is dyslexic but loves reading so people who can read but don't seem like aliens to me.
I am very much looking forward to Stormed Fortress coming out - Traitor's Knot had me in tears at various points and the more I read and re-read WOLAS the more I get out of it.
Thank you for these wonderful books, Janny, and please keep up the good work!
To answer: yes, I did write some kids books, none published, though. That could change someday...
Sophie and Deborah -- thanks! ;)
I know this has nothing to do with the status of the book which I am so excited for but has anyone read Charles Dickens? I tried to read the pickwick papers and bleak house couldn't get into either at all but I loved the drama of Bleak house they showed on uk tv a few months ago.
Also Janny I've been wanting to read all your other works but had trouble getting hold of them except Ride to Hell's Chasm finally Amazon has them all and I am on a book shopping spree which will keep me occupied for a while.
It's funny. I'm the middle child of three, and I'm the only one in my family who actually reads.
My older sister and younger brother take after after my mom, who's much more "grounded in reality", whereas I take after my dad, who basically encouraged my free-spiritedness from an early age-- we were always reading togther, or off to movies together. (One of my fondest memories of childhood is watching "Clash of the Titans" with my dad on a rainy Sunday afternoon!)
And now? I'm blessed to have a circle of friends who appreciate erudite fiction. Honestly, I've found that most people who play RPG's [or at least D+D] tend to gravitate towards epic fiction nnaturally, such as "Songs of Fire and Ice", "Wheel of Time", "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn", and of course WoLaS!
And Janny- Bringing in new readers? It's the least I can do!!
My friend and I have actually has some interesting discourse about the series so far, though I find I have to hold back a bit for fear of spoilering him!
He immediately intuited, a few chapters into CotM, that the history of the world (the Fellowship, the Paravians, etc.) would play a major role in the series proper. (he has NO idea, though!!)
He also caught some nuances that -I- never even caught. (Now, I have to go re-read the series again!)
Status, as promised: 868 manuscript pages. I am ready to begin the last scene of 13 main....
Kitsune - ah, different views will indeed see a different take...share as you like!
Status: I am doing the tune up to the complete draft of main chapter 13 - and formulating the kick off of 13a. Progress!
Mrs Wurts...I am in awe! I am overwhelmed! Your work is exquisite, your stories captivating! Thank you, I am looking forward to devouring Stormed Fortress!!!
Along with the rest of us, Murmur!
Keep going Janny. x x x
What HJ said!
I'm with the three above.
Welcome here, Murmur -