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Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading Paperback – July 21, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The teen years are incredibly important for most young readers and writers. A period of rapid physical and emotional growth mixed with a natural curiosity about the world makes for an explosive combination. Reading offers a window into other worlds otherwise inaccessible to young readers, expanding a capacity for empathy and imagination. Books are often the beginning of an education on what it means to be human.
The best essays in SHELF DISCOVERY reflect this passionate engagement with literature both on the page and out in the world. Skurnick writes about her first experiences with her favorite books and about what she has learned from them subsequently as an adult reader. Readers will find many of their favorite titles and authors here, including multiple works by Madeleine L'Engle, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and Lois Duncan.
The book provides an inclusive sample of literature read by young people, ranging from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE to THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR. Most of the titles that appear here were published prior to 1990. Each essay is accompanied by a vintage picture of the book's cover, an overview of the book and its themes, and Skurnick's reflections on re-reading the book.Read more ›
I'm going to try and encourage my book club to read this book, paired with some of the YA adult classics she talks about. I also wish so many of these books weren't out of print. Time to get away from the kindle and get to the library, I suppose!
Speaking of the kindle - the covers of the books she is writing about show up really well. I actually was pretty amazed at that bit of formatting. What is not good - you cannot really tell when the normal writing begins/ends and when places where she is quoting passages begin/end. It's a little annoying but not insurmountable.
Ha, what does a male reader do with a book whose very introduction is called "Getting my Period"? The author has been blogging about her old favorites for years, and she has recruited a number of prominent female writers to help her flesh out the world of YA literature. My favorite, Laura Lippman, begins her preface by alluding to her fondness for the "Beany Malone" novels of Lenora Mattingly Weber--that's cool, she's one of my top ten American writers (and thank goodness all of the Beany Malone books are back in print, courtesy of the high-end reprint house Image/Cascade).
Not everyone will enjoy Lizzie's own style which is heavy on the verbs and adjectives and really, really, into enthusiasm. She is continually trying to be amusing, and often succeeds, but I didn't really laugh at her allusions to the "fetish porn" of 19th century writing, the lengthy descriptions of the young heroine's costumes. It was OK, but she's reaching, however, what do I know. I'm only a guy. I came away from the book with a medium sized list of books that sort of sound good that I might look up, and then next I'll go to the Lenora Mattingly Weber website and offer to send my copy of Shelf Discovery to a deserving female reader. See ya!
Setting that aside, though, Shelf Discovery is a thoroughly enjoyable trip back through the books you may have grown up with - and the ones that helped you grow up - especially if you were growing up during the 1970's and '80's. Lizzie Skurnick has been discussing YA literature, and how it's influenced the women we've become, online for a while; those essays are expanded here, and joined by guest contributions from Laura Lippman, Meg Cabot, Jennifer Weiner, and others. The book is divided into ten genre/thematic sections, including tearjerkers, thrillers, romances, "issues" literature, and the adult, "dirty" books that we really were too young for; the essays themselves are labeled "book reports" or, for less-remembered titles, "extra credit." (By the way, "essays" is too dry a term to describe the writing here, but it fits the form.)
I re-encountered many books that have stayed with me over the years, was reminded of some I'd forgotten, and came across others that I hadn't heard of before.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
what a great idea - categorizing, listing and remembering the classics books of my generation's youth. Read morePublished on October 5, 2013 by crabbygirl
Shelf Discovery is a great book for anyone who grew up reading YA in the 1970s and 80s. Lizzie Skurnick writes the Fine Lines column for Jezebel. Read morePublished on October 24, 2010 by Lea Kelley
Now someone needs to write a less US-based version. YA books were so good back then...kids today don't know what they're missing etc. Read morePublished on August 25, 2010 by RabbitWithFangs
For someone, like me, who loves re-reading juvenile and YA lit this book was a real gem. It was fun to get another person's perspective of some of my most beloved books and to... Read morePublished on March 30, 2010 by LibKat
For someone, like me, who loves re-reading juvenile and YA lit this book was a real gem. It was fun to get another person's perspective of some of my most beloved books and to... Read morePublished on March 30, 2010
While Shelf Discovery is an excellent series of essays, I don't think it works as well as a book as it might. Read morePublished on February 26, 2010 by reader
Children of the 70's, rejoice. This is your book.
Skurnick's reviews cover a very particular range of young adult fiction -- books for girls, most written in the '60's... Read more
If you were the type of girl who ate most of the family meals with a book hidden in your lap, to the consternation of your
family members, this will probably be right up your... Read more
Blech. The first 3 or 4 "book reports" in this book were interesting, but after that my interest really waned. Read morePublished on October 7, 2009 by KP