Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bits & Bobs: YA and Fairy Tale mostly

It's getting a little frantic as I prepare to take flatulent ogres and mischievous cats to Italy while at the same time planning ahead for a semester's worth of beasts, fairy godmothers and poisoned apples. In between, of course, tying up the first half of the year's academic activities.

And yes, I'll admit that I was distracted briefly in planning what to wear while lounging about and eating in gelati in Tuscany.

Still, a few things have come my way that I wish to share.

Friend and colleague, Patrick Spedding, just blogged about a survey into e-book reader use (blog post). It seemed to suggest that most people are ashamed of their YA reading. I did remark to Patrick that I saw plenty of evidence of readers tweeting, blogging, facebooking etc their YA reading, so I wasn't entirely convinced people are that ashamed of it. Of course, this may have a great deal to do with the circles in which I move. I do think, though, that there is something to the act of being seen to read versus discussing your reading. In discussion you can, of course, add caveats and explain and defend your choices. In being seen to read a book, people can make judgements without knowing you, your motivations, your interests, your education. They judge you simply on what you are reading in that moment. The freedom of e-book readers is that we don't have to be judged by something as simple as the cover on our book. Mind, things are changing. I love Felicia Day's 'Vaginal Fantasy Hangout' concept. It's okay to read these books. Reading is good. All kinds of reading.

This i09 link to a short clip about Snow White in Hollywood is simply gold.

And I have been continuing my fairy tale heroine hat series. So here is Viola.

Just a quick word - it may seem odd to give names to knitted items. Some readers may be perplexed. It's a habit that I picked up courtesy of Ravelry. Ravelry is one of the awesome examples of what social networking can achieve. Knitters, crocheters, spinners and dyers of yarn all meet on Ravelry to share information about the craft. We also log our projects and... yes... give them names. So, while Viola is actually a pattern by Ysolda Teague called Rose Red (yes, another fairy tale name - Ysolda is fairy tale influenced), I obviously didn't knit the hat in red, but in a very pretty Vintage Purls' lavender called Christabella, so I chose another name to distinguish my project.

The pattern looked a little baroque and Renaissance inspired to me, so I named the hat after my favourite of all fairy tale heroines, Viola. She's a close cousin of Beatrice of Much Ado fame. She's a working girl, the daughter of a merchant, and she greets the Prince, "Good morning, son of the king. I know more than you do, hey!" This is also the story from which my apparent fascination for flatulent ogres grew.

Incidentally, I've been reading Ruth Bottigheimer's Fairy Tales Framed. Is it bad that I was delighted to see a 1780 essay by Luigi Serio entitled "The Fart. Response to On the Neapolitan Dialect"?

Soon I will be updating with more information about the Fairy Tale Salon that runs next month. We're just finalising a programme and discussing cupcake options.


Patrick Spedding said...

Thanks for the link Rebecca.

Someone I mentioned this to today did remind me that there are "adult" and "Children's editions of Harry Potter, Hunger Games etc. Presumably these exist precisely because of the anxiety some adults (and it must be quite a few) feel about reading YA fiction.

(This prompted someone else to muse on whether the language differed between the two editions. Perhaps some MA15+ words are sprinkled throughout the text … Occasional Course Language? Nudity? Adult themes?)

Anyway, since both adult and Children's editions of The Hunger Games were in the top 10 best sellers last week, you have to assume that a *very large* number of readers are opting for the Adult editions.


Doc-in-Boots said...

The covers have always been an interesting aspect. As far as I know, there are no differences in the text inside that cover (at least for Harry Potter - but I haven't heard of differences for the Hunger Games). I wonder, though, how much is driven by marketing, how much by actual readers? Most adults I know bought the children's covers of Harry Potter. I wouldn't be surprised if children were more likely to buy the adult covers. People simply cho0se based on their own aesthetic preference, rather than their age? It'd be a fascinating research project!