January 28, 2010

And did I mention that I'm reviewing children's literature now too?

So yes, the wild rumors you've been hearing are true; a friend of mine here in Chicago has convinced me to try my hand this year for the first time at writing children's literature. (For those who don't know, I was a professional writer of adult literature for a decade before starting CCLaP; I officially retired when opening the center, but am now thinking about writing again because, like every other American right now, I'm not making as much money these days as I'd like to be making, and writing children's literature sure beats Starbucks.) The only problem, though, is that I don't actually know anything about children's literature; so I'm starting this process simply by going through a whole stack of existing books that have been recommended to me, as well as reading every Newbery Award winner of the last ten years, as well as going back and reading again a selection of kids' books from my own childhood, to examine as an adult what I was so fascinated by with them in the first place.

My friends at the literary social networks know already that I've been posting write-ups of such books for around a week now, and have covered now just under ten titles; and I've already had enough of a response at those places to justify collecting up just my kid-lit reviews and starting a new blog for them, which you can find at [kidlit4adults.blogspot.com], if you're interested. And why not just post them here at CCLaP along with the adult-lit reviews? Well, partly since I'm planning on getting paying jobs within that industry myself, I just think it ethically best to separate those write-ups from the ones I do here as a "full-time" critic; plus, in this age where the line between teen projects and adult audiences seems to blur more and more, there's something I really like about the CCLaP website quite clearly being a place just for grown-ups, where such prurient topics as sex, drugs and rock 'n roll can be addressed freely, and where those who want can find a rare refuge from those freaking Twilight books.

"An Abundance of Katherines," by John Green

I wanted to at least mention the new blog here (and will of course run a small link to it from now on in the sidebar), but plan on not mentioning it much more here at the blog actively, except to maybe occasionally point out recent YA reviews that might be of particular interest to CCLaP's younger adult audience; for example, just today I finished my first such title, John Green's remarkably complex relationship comedy An Abundance of Katherines, a witty and smart page-turner which reads almost like a teen version of a Michael Chabon or David Foster Wallace novel (complete with superfluous footnotes, no less). It's the only YA book I've so far read this year that I wouldn't be embarrassed to recommend to a grown-up as well; I'll probably make mentions like this in the future of other such titles, but otherwise will not really be mentioning the kid-lit blog much more. That said, I hope those of you interested in such material will have a chance to become a regular reader; and of course, you should always feel free to send along suggestions of good children's titles (any text-based book between third-grade and high-school level), to cclapcenter [at] gmail.com.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 8:02 PM, January 28, 2010. Filed under: CCLaP news | Literature | Reviews |