?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Motherhood has left me without time to do a lot of things, but reading books isn't one of them. Marauder Junior is breastfed and usually eats with her eyes closed or with her arm thrown over her face, so she doesn't particularly care if I'm reading a book while she's eating. I prop up the book on a little stand in front of me (I feed her sitting on the floor a lot) and only need one hand to turn the page. I've been reading a lot of non-fiction, young-adult books I read as a kid, and young-adult books I never read as a kid. Marauder Junior and I go to the library at least once a week, where we get more books for me and more board books for her.

When I was a kid, my mom wouldn't let me give away any of my books, even ones I said I didn't even like all that much or was tired of. She said a lot of them were classics and if I had my own kids I'd just have to re-buy them anyway. For the last several years I've been glad she didn't let me get rid of any books, but now I'm extremely glad she didn't, because in the time that I've been out of the loop when it comes to children's and young-adult books, a bunch of them have gotten "modernized text," as the blurb on one back cover put it. As in, Margaret (of Are You There, God? fame) now uses tampons instead of belted pads and Sheila Tubman (Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great) duplicates the camp newspaper on the photocopier, not the mimeograph machine. The reissued Baby-Sitters Club books have "headphones" where they originally had Walkmans. Boo. And. Hiss.

I'm not sure what the "modernized text" in one of my new library books, Lois Duncan's Don't Look Behind You is, because I've never read the original from 1989. But whatever the changes are, they bug me. They bug me because reading books from decades past is how I learned about little things in contemporary history like belted menstrual pads and mimeograph machines, and they bug me because I suspect that behind this whole "modernized text" thing is a belief that kids will only care about characters whose world closely resembles their own.

Anyone who writes contemporary fiction has to accept that whatever they write is going to be historical fiction someday. When Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, Mr. March being a Civil War chaplain was contemporary. Publishers in later years didn't decide he had to be a chaplain in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan in order for readers to like the book. I've never actually read Little Women, but I know that part of what fans like about it is the historical aspect, and part of what I like about books from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s or 1990s is the historical/nostalgic aspect. C. S. Lewis didn't have to explain why Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy were sent to the Professor's house "because of the air-raids" at the time he wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Now kids have to find out what the air-raids were and why a bunch of London siblings would be sent to the country because of them. And that's okay. It teaches them something about WWII, and the 1940s setting of the book shows them that kids from the last century had sibling rivalries and got bored just like modern kids, even if they tried to patch up sibling rivalries by asking their sisters to "make it pax" and even if they fought their boredom by playing hide-and-seek instead of playing games on their iPhones.

Still having all my old books means Marauder Junior can read the original text. I wonder how far publishers are intending to go with this "modernized text" thing - will Sheila running off the camp newspaper on the photocopier eventually turn into Sheila texting everyone the link to the camp blog? Maybe eventually they're realize the futility of trying to keep books modern and they'll just leave them alone. I hope, anyway.

Tags:

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
aome
Jan. 22nd, 2015 04:51 pm (UTC)
At least the classic Nancy Drews remain as they are, although I have to point out to Two, as I'm reading aloud, that "this was back when you didn't have to go through airport security" or "this was before cell phones so you used pay phones" or whatever. He was noticing that "All the cars are sedans. Sedans, sedans, sedans!" I had to explain that most cars in that era WERE sedans. :-P

I actually don't mind that "Are You There, God?" changed to sticky pads rather than belted pads (that was the most recent edition I read); part of what "Are You There, God?" is about is being really relevant to today's tween girls and what they're experiencing, and I think it helps not to yank them out of the story by having belted pads. But, yeah, other things - sometimes becoming "historical" is just fine, thx.

What is Marauder Jr up to, developmentally, these days? :D
marauderthesn
Jan. 29th, 2015 04:23 pm (UTC)
She's figured out how to put her pacifier back in her mouth and she rolled over from her stomach to her back the other day. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

Sailors
marauderthesn
Marauder The Slash Nymph, NEW MOM
All Marauder's Fics, Ever

Latest Month

June 2016
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Golly Kim