(1) NO DOGS^H^H^H^H BOOKS ALLOWED. “Book ban attempts hit record high in 2022, library org says” – AP News has the story.
Attempted book bans and restrictions at school and public libraries continue to surge, setting a record in 2022, according to a new report from the American Library Association released Thursday.
More than 1,200 challenges were compiled by the association in 2022, nearly double the then-record total from 2021 and by far the most since the ALA began keeping data 20 years ago.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who directs the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “The last two years have been exhausting, frightening, outrage inducing.”
Thursday’s report not only documents the growing number of challenges, but also their changing nature. A few years ago, complaints usually arose with parents and other community members and referred to an individual book. Now, the requests are often for multiple removals, and organized by national groups such as the conservative Moms for Liberty, which has a mission of “unifying, educating and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”
Last year, more than 2,500 different books were objected to, compared to 1,858 in 2021 and just 566 in 2019. In numerous cases, hundreds of books were challenged in a single complaint. The ALA bases its findings on media accounts and voluntary reporting from libraries and acknowledges that the numbers might be far higher….
(2) LET THERE BE LIGHTS. Cora Buhlert has posted a new “Semiprozine Spotlight” about “Hexagon Speculative Fiction Magazine” edited by J. W. Stebner.
… Science fiction, fantasy and horror were born in the pulps and short fiction has long been the beating heart of the genre. However, the focus of attention is increasingly moving towards novels and series. So why do you think SFF short fiction is important and worthy of attention?
I think that the reason SFF short fiction is so important is that it is constantly evolving and keeping up with what is happening in the world. Short fiction can be written, edited, and published long before a novel outline is finished. There is something immediate and satisfying about short fiction that does not exist in longer works of SFF. A great short story can be devoured in a single sitting, giving the reader a complete narrative arc in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. Whole worlds can be created, inhabited, and destroyed on a single bus ride. There’s something about that that always attracted me to short fiction….
She also has a new “Fancast Spotlight” about the “Chrononauts” podcast hosted by JM, Gretchen, and Nate.
Tell us about your podcast or channel.
JM: Chrononauts is a podcast that delves into the history of science fiction literature, and seeks to discuss more obscure works in tandem with or in relation to more well-known stories and writers. In the beginning, I don’t think we had a very precise vision of what we wanted to do, besides: “Hey, let’s talk about some cool sci-fi books! And maybe we can proceed sort of chronologically through the genre’s history!” As time has gone on I think we’ve gotten a more firm handle on this, but also adopted a somewhat relaxed approach, so that while we are still, roughly speaking, moving forward chronologically, we are also taking many tangential side-steps, and are open to including newer works “out of sequence” as it were, particularly if they match up thematically with something from the past. Since I’ve always been into hunting down obscure treasures, I think one of my goals, from the beginning, was always to highlight things that were lesser-known, either because they simply didn’t get as much promotion or, in some cases, had no exposure in the English-speaking world….
(3) WORLD BUNDLE. The 2023 World SF StoryBundle curated by Lavie Tidhar is available for another three weeks. Full information at the link.
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in .epub format—WORLDWIDE.
- Unto the Godless What Little Remains by Mário Coelho
- Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- Ion Curtain by Anya Ow
- Hadithi & the State of Black Speculative Fiction by Eugen Bacon and Milton Davis
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $20, you get all four of the regular books, plus six more books for a total of 10!
- Nova Hellas: Stories from Future Greece edited by Francesca T Barbini and Francesco Verso
- The Love Machine & Other Contraptions by Nir Yaniv
- & This is How to Stay Alive by Shingai Njeri Kagunda
- And What Can We Offer You Tonight by Premee Mohamed
- Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette de Bodard
- HebrewPunk by Lavie Tidhar (StoryBundle Exclusive)
(4) SHE SAYS SCREENS AREN’T TO BLAME. The Atlantic’s Katherine Marsh thinks she knows the real reason “Why Kids Aren’t Falling in Love With Reading”.
…What I remember most about reading in childhood was falling in love with characters and stories; I adored Judy Blume’s Margaret and Beverly Cleary’s Ralph S. Mouse. In New York, where I was in public elementary school in the early ’80s, we did have state assessments that tested reading level and comprehension, but the focus was on reading as many books as possible and engaging emotionally with them as a way to develop the requisite skills. Now the focus on reading analytically seems to be squashing that organic enjoyment. Critical reading is an important skill, especially for a generation bombarded with information, much of it unreliable or deceptive. But this hyperfocus on analysis comes at a steep price: The love of books and storytelling is being lost.
This disregard for story starts as early as elementary school. Take this requirement from the third-grade English-language-arts Common Core standard, used widely across the U.S.: “Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.” There is a fun, easy way to introduce this concept: reading Peggy Parish’s classic, Amelia Bedelia, in which the eponymous maid follows commands such as “Draw the drapes when the sun comes in” by drawing a picture of the curtains. But here’s how one educator experienced in writing Common Core–aligned curricula proposes this be taught: First, teachers introduce the concepts of nonliteral and figurative language. Then, kids read a single paragraph from Amelia Bedelia and answer written questions.
For anyone who knows children, this is the opposite of engaging: The best way to present an abstract idea to kids is by hooking them on a story. “Nonliteral language” becomes a whole lot more interesting and comprehensible, especially to an 8-year-old, when they’ve gotten to laugh at Amelia’s antics first. The process of meeting a character and following them through a series of conflicts is the fun part of reading. Jumping into a paragraph in the middle of a book is about as appealing for most kids as cleaning their room….
(5) POT WALLOPER. “Stamp honoring ‘Strega Nona’ author Tomie dePaola gets release date” reports CBS Boston.
Fans of beloved children’s writer and illustrator Tomie dePaola will be able to get stamps honoring the “Strega Nona” author in just a few weeks.
The U.S. Postal Service said the stamps will be released on May 5. dePaola, a longtime New Hampshire resident whose books sold nearly 25 million copies, died in 2020 at 85 years old.
The Forever stamp shows the titular grandmother with her magic pasta pot. “Strega Nona,” published in 1975, is a Caldecott Honor book and was voted one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” by the School Library Journal.
(6) IN PASSING. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] Three deaths in the sff field to report.
Eric Brown, science fiction, mystery and children’s book writer as well as the Guardian’s SFF reviewer, has died aged 62. The Guardian’s tribute is at the link.
Paul Grant, a British actor who played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi and also appeared in Legend, Labyrinth and the Harry Potter movies, has died: “Star Wars and Harry Potter actor Paul Grant dies aged 56” in the Guardian.
Norwegian cartoonist Dina Norlund has died aged 27. Her best known work outside Norway is The Snowcat Prince: “Cartoonist Dina Norlund has died of cancer” at Comics Beat.
(7) MEMORY LANE.
1968 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
So the Beginning this Scroll is not one of the more upbeat ones we’ve done to date as it of Keith Roberts’ Pavane.
The ending of this novel, yes the ending, a novellette, “Pavane: The Signaller”, came out in Impulse: The New Science Fantasy in their March 1966 issue. The complete stories that are Pavane would first be printed by Hart-Davis in 1968. Why the ending first? I’ve no idea, but perhaps one of you knows why.
So I’ll just say that Pavane is a brilliant telling of an alternative England that mercifully never happened. So without further commentary, here’s the perfect Beginning that the author gave it…
On a warm July evening of the year 1588, in the royal palace of Greenwich, London, a woman lay dying, an assassin’s bullets lodged in abdomen and chest. Her face was lined, her teeth blackened, and death lent her no dignity; but her last breath started echoes that ran out to shake a hemisphere. For the Faery Queen, Elizabeth the First, paramount ruler of England, was no more …
The rage of the English knew no bounds. A word, a whisper was enough; a half-wit youth, torn by the mob, calling on the blessing of the Pope. … The English Catholics, bled white by fines, still mourning the Queen of Scots, still remembering the gory Rising of the North, were faced with fresh pogroms. Unwillingly, in self-defence, they took up arms against their countrymen as the flame lit by the Walsingham massacres ran across the land, mingling with the light of warning beacons the sullen glare of the auto-da-fé.
The news spread; To Paris, to Rome, to the strange fastness of the Escorial, where Philip II still brooded on his Enterprise of England. The word of a land torn and divided against itself reached the great ships of the Armada, threshing up past the Lizard to link with Parma’s army of invasion on the Flemish coast. For a day while Medina-Sidonia paced the decks of the San Martin, the fate of half the world hung in balance. Then his decision was made; and one by one the galleons and carracks, the galleys and the lumbering urcas turned north toward the land. Toward Hastings and the ancient battleground of Santlache, where history had been made once centuries before. The turmoil that ensued saw Philip ensconced as ruler of England; in France the followers of Guise, heartened by the victories across the Channel, finally deposed the weakened House of Valois. The War of the Three Henrys ended with the Holy League triumphant, and the Church restored once more to her ancient power.
To the victor, the spoils. With the authority of the Catholic Church assured, the rising nation of Great Britain deployed her forces in the service of the Popes, smashing the Protestants of the Netherlands, destroying the power of the German city-states in the long-drawn-out Lutheran Wars. The Newworlders of the North American continent remained under the rule of Spain; Cook planted in Australasia the cobalt flag of the Throne of Peter.
In England herself, across a land half ancient and half modern, split as in primitive times by barriers of language, class, and race, the castles of mediaevalism still glowered; mile on mile of unfelled woodland harboured creatures of another age. To some the years that passed were years of fulfillment, of the final flowering of God’s Design; to others they were a new Dark Age, haunted by things dead and others best forgotten; bears and catamounts, dire wolves and Fairies.
Over all, the long arm of the Popes reached out to punish and reward; the Church Militant remained supreme. But by the middle of the twentieth century widespread mutterings were making themselves heard. Rebellion was once more in the air…
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born March 23, 1904 — H. Beam Piper. I am reasonably sure that the first thing I read and enjoyed by him was Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen followed by Little Fuzzy and related works which are damn fun reading. Has anyone here read Scalzi’s Fuzzy novel? And how’s his Federation series? Not a Hugo to be had by Piper, amazingly, but Little Fuzzy was nominated at the first Discon when The Man in the High Castle won. (Died 1964.)
- Born March 23, 1934 — Neil Barron. Certainly best known for Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction which actually is still a damn fine read which is unusual for this sort of material. If memory thirty years on serves me right, his Fantasy Literature and Horror Literature guides were quite good too. (Died 2010.)
- Born March 23, 1937 — Carl Yoke, 86. One of those academics that I stumbled upon when I was looking for information on Zelazny. His 1979 study of him, Roger Zelazny, is quite excellent, as is his essay, “Roger Zelazny’s Bold New Mythologies” which is in Tom Staicar’s Critical Encounters II: Writers and Themes in Science Fiction. He also wrote “What a Piece of Work is a Man: Mechanical Gods in the Fiction of Roger Zelazny” which you’ll find in Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yoke does have four genre stories to his credit.
- Born March 23, 1947 — Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, 76. Though her only award was a Nebula for The Healer’s War, I remember her best for a three book series called The Songkiller Saga which was wonderful and the Acorna series that she did with Anne McCaffrey which they co-wrote all but two as the first two were written by McCaffrey and Margaret Ball. She wrote a tribute to McCaffrey, “The Dragon Lady’s Songs”, that appeared in Dragonwriter.
- Born March 23, 1952 — Kim Stanley Robinson, 71. If the Mars Trilogy was the only work that he’d written, he’d rank among the best genre writers ever. But then he went and wrote the outstanding Three Californias Trilogy. I won’t say everything he writes I consider top-flight, the Science in the Capital series just didn’t appeal to me. His best one-off novels I think are without argument (ha!) The Years of Rice and Salt and New York 2140. I should note he has won myriad Awards including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, BSFA Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the World Fantasy Award. And the Heinlein Society gave him their Robert A. Heinlein Award for his entire body of work!
- Born March 23, 1959 — Maureen Kincaid Speller. British reviewer and essayist who has been nominated for Hugos for Best Semiprozine and Best Fan Writer. She had an extensive career with her writing showing up in Matrix, Steam Engine Time, The Gate and Vector (all of which she either edited or co-edited), Barbed Wire Kisses, Fire & Hemlock, Local Fanomena, Red Shift, Interzone and The BSFA Review. A brief collection by BSFA, And Another Thing … A Collection of Reviews and Criticism by Maureen Kincaid Speller, leave room for an additional collection. OGH’s obituary writeup is here. (Died 2022.)
- Born March 23, 1958 — John Whitbourn, 65. Writer of a number novels and short stories focusing on an alternative history set in a Catholic universe. It reminds me a bit of Keith Robert’s Pavane but much more detailed. A Dangerous Energy in which Elizabeth I never ascends the throne leads off his series. If that’s not to your taste, Frankenstein’s Legion’s is a sheer delight of Steampunk riffing off Mary Shelley‘s tale. He’s available at the usual digital suspects.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- [email protected] wants an exotic pet.
(10) HAMILTON, YOLEN Q&A’S. Grimdark Magazine landed interviews with two distinguished writers.
LAURELL K. HAMILTON: “An Interview With Laurell K. Hamilton”
[GdM] The expression of characters’ sexuality is something you have always written about that feels open and honest. Has the way you approached sex scenes and sensuality changed between the first novel and now, and if so, how?
Answer: When I started writing the series my plan was to have every kiss, every caress so amazing that we wouldn’t need to ever complete the act. What actually happened was that I built up the anticipation higher and higher so when it came to the point where Anita was finally ready to have full blown sex I had to live up to all the amazing foreplay. I was incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of doing it on paper, but I’d written crime scenes and fight scenes with extreme violence in them and not hesitated. The fact that sex between two people that cared about each other bothered me more than writing violent murder made me question my priorities. Was sex really worse than violence? No, no it wasn’t, but in America we’re conditioned that it is, and once I realized where the bias came from I was determined not to be trapped by it. I promised myself that every sex scene would be as well written and unflinching as my murder scenes had been. I think I’ve kept that promise to myself and to my readers.
JANE YOLEN: “An Interview With Jane Yolen”.
Are you still sending your subscribers a poem a day? To produce the poem a day, are you influenced by the news, world happenings, or something beautiful you saw while about in your daily life?
JY: All of the above, plus lines from favorite poems, newspaper clippings, something someone asked, or watching out my window and seeing squirrels and foxes and bobcats and bears and….it’s an old New England farmhouse with a lot of out buildings and farmland! Lots happening there every day.
(11) WHAT CAN REPLACE A (HU)MAN? Brian Murphy turns the tables in the ongoing AI debate: “Why (Human Generated) Sword-and-Sorcery?” at DMR Books.
… Sword-and-sorcery is a subgenre of influence, to varying degrees. The various “Clonans”—Brak, Thongor, Kothar, and their ilk—bear the obvious influence of Robert E. Howard’s famous creation. Michael Moorcock read and was influenced by Howard, but with Elric created a protagonist wholly different than Conan or Kull—civilized, decadent, his strength dependent on a cocktail of drugs.
We also consume and enjoy derivative products. I like my Kothar books—they’re fun (no, they’re not, they’re terrible—DMR), and sometimes they’re just what I need (no, they’re not, they’re terrible!—DMR). The Clonans sold, but creatively arrested the subgenre in the ‘60s and ‘70s. S&S became so narrowly focused and artistically stultified that it suffered a collapse in the early 1980s.
It’s important we recognize true innovators and mavericks. And offer venues and support creators that strive for originality.
Today the issue of originality vs. derivative work has risen to greater prominence and debate with the rise of AI. Now our art is threatened not by derivative authors, but by machines capable of turning it out in choking quantities….
(12) BEAGLE VISITS GLENDALE. Here’s a beautiful photo of author Peter S. Beagle, taken by Krystal Rains, while Beagle was signing at the LA Vintage Paperback Show in Glendale on Sunday.
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, Krystal Rains, Cora Buhlert, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern – folding more references together than the ingredients in a Scalzi burrito.]
The Way Home is two novellas from Peter and should be wonderful reading.
I’ve read both Fuzzy’s. Scalzi’s story holds to the major beats of the original but still manages to deliver the classic Scalzi Snark that is uniquely his own, and that echoes Piper’s work. I’ve been meaning to do a podcast episode comparing and contrasting the two.
(7) I used to think Pavane was alternate history, given the Prologue, and one can certainly read and enjoy it that way. But a careful reading of the Coda suggests an entirely different category, the after-the-holocaust novel. The letter from the seneschal explains it.
Gur frarfpuny vf nyfb gur sngure bs Ryrnabe’f puvyq.
Also notable for the many strong women in it, not that common a thing in the 1960s.
On rereading Cat’s entry I should note that I’m working from the Ace edition, and now wondering if the Hart-Davis edition was different.
In the Ace edition the order of the stories is
The Lady Margaret
Lords and Ladies
The White Boat
Jim Janney, the 2011 Gateway edition once again changes iand breaks it down differently…
Lords and Ladies
The Lady Margaret (variant of The Lady Anne)
The White Boat
It really makes me wonder what the Preferred Author’s version was.
That seems like a very odd ordering to me. Fortunately the stories, except for the Coda, all stand very well on their own.
Jim Janney says That seems like a very odd ordering to me. Fortunately the stories, except for the Coda, all stand very well on their own.
I find it even more odd that it keeps getting reordered. Most works don’t, even if they are collections as there should be some internal order here. Or isn’t there?
NAnd here’s the very first ordering:
Lords and Ladies
The Lady Margaret (variant of The Lady Anne)
Many of the listings of Pavane at ISFDB do not have the stories in the order that that particular edition is published in, but in alphabetical order.
All of the stories were originally published in Impulse.
(1) and (4) are very depressing.
(12) is much more to my taste.
Alphabetical order is perhaps the stupidest of all possible orderings. The Ace edition at least makes sense dramatically. “The Lady Margaret” sets in motion the events that lead through “Lords and Ladies” and ultimately to “Corfe Gate” and the coda. The others stand outside that chain but their position works to pace the narrative. And is it necessary to point out that prologues traditionally go at the beginning and codas at the end?
Should “The Return of the King” precede “The Two Towers” because alphabet? Jeez…
The stories in the book aren’t in alphabetical order. Just the listings at ISFDB are.
Oh. That’s very different. Never mind…
Just when I had a good rant going, too.
(8) The High Sierra: A Love Story, by KSR, is non-fiction, but it’s definitely genre-adjacent. A great mix of funny misadventure, friendship, loss, the best passes in the Sierra, and the best worst passes.
RE: book censorship, book bans, and libraries stripped. The people who are orchestrating this censorship in the name of saving us and our chindren from ourselves are the same ones complaining about the other side engaging in “cancel culture,” while simultaneously stripping every last reference to diversity in any and every manifestation of authentic history from book shelves, libraries, and book stores. They yell “Freedom of Speech!” and try to censor every opinion but their own, every history but their revisionist version, and every trace of other cultures, voices, and insights. What a sad world mankind has created for himself.
Science fiction and fantasy in any form, from Jules Verne to the Brothers Grimm may be on the next round of book burning and vitriol, labeled as “subversive” and “dangerous.” It wouldn’t surprise me. It’s happened before.
I’m reminded of an anonymous limerick:
To smash the simple atom
All mankind was intent
Now any day
The atom may
Return the compliment.
(6) I haven’t read that much of Brown’s fiction, but I very much enjoyed what I have. RIP.
(7) Pavane is simply a masterpiece.
7) Agreed on Pavane as a masterpiece, even if I don’t much like Kieth Roberts’ politics.
My read on the setting is that it’s a second try at the same history rather than post-apocalypse or alt-history in the usual sense but really, the stories are the important part
(8) The info on KSR implies that he wrote the Mars books before the 3 California novels – but the 3 Californias (Wild Shore, Gold Coast, Pacific Edge) came out in 1984, 1988 and 1990 (Wild Shore was KSR’s first published novel), while the Mars books started in 1992. I’m fond of KSR’s second novel The Memory of Whiteness which is weird and wonderful.
For better or worse, the chatbots are going to put an end to book bans. Also probably, to author rights. Everybody who has a phone will be able to see anything they want, or an almost identical copy that ducks restrictions on the original.
I did my own compare-and-contrast review of LITTLE FUZZY and FUZZY NATION on my blog back in 2011.
Pull quote: “My take on FUZZY NATION: This is the novelization of the screenplay for the Hollywood adaptation of LITTLE FUZZY.”
@Michelle: Book piracy’s been around for decades, I don’t think chatbots are going to be doing much for or against it.
And as for ‘almost identical copy’, I’m reminded of the AO3 user who uploaded The (now public-domain) Great Gatsby in full and well I’ll let the reader read: https://thepastisaroadmap.tumblr.com/post/639589791933022208/image-description-three-screenshots-the-first
4.) I wish I could say this surprises me, but it doesn’t. My last two years of teaching revolved around the early adoption and implementation of Common Core into my district’s k-12 curriculum structure (this would have been 2012-13; 2013-2014). As a result, I needed to take some “close reading” trainings.
It was, frankly, appalling. No outside references allowed; students had to focus on the text and the text alone. The text was viewed in snippets, no reference to what came before or after. Paragraphs in isolation.
But this is the culmination of long-term trends tied to No Child Left Behind and high-stakes assessment. One thing that I don’t think that non-school employees realize is that in the early days of computerized high stakes assessment, we had to start teaching an entirely different set of test-taking strategies. Foremost amongst them was discarding the tried-and-true strategy of skipping questions and going back to answer later. Backtracking was simply not possible, either to correct an answer or to come back to after answering further questions. Going through and answering the easier questions first was not possible. One pass and done, period.
This added more time to test prep and to test-taking. And it was telling that the year there was a dispute between the state and the test vendor, which resulted in the vendor pulling the plug on testing midday, mid-testing, the scores were universally higher. Why? The state substituted a paper and pencil test, where the students could backtrack.
But this emphasis on teaching to the short snippet style of testing with no backtracking led to some significant changes in student mindset. I taught for ten years, during the rise of No Child Left Behind. The most stark of changes?
At the beginning (I taught middle school special education as a learning specialist, which meant I was working with students who were in the general education classroom for most of the day), only my most struggling students would look at the page of a textbook and ask me to show them the answer.
At the end? I had Talented and Gifted students demanding that I tell them the answer.
(1) The “multiple removals” strategy is very deliberate; rallying people in support of saving a big slate of books is a lot more challenging than rallying people in support of saving one particular book.
re:(8) …Has anyone here read Scalzi’s Fuzzy novel?…
If I was going to recommend more books from the H. Beam Piper universe, I wouild recommend stories that attempted to be sequels, such as those by Wiliam Tuning, Ardath Mayhar, John F. Carr, or Wolfgang Diehr. These actually pay homage to Piper, and attempt to develop and continue his vision. Scalzii's "reboot" is not surprising coming from a guy whose CV starts out as a movie reviewer; it is part of the arrogance, vulgarity, and disrespect for the writer of original creation that makes up the Hollywood tradition. It only goes to show how the tastes of modern SF authors and fans have sunk so low that snark is celebrated more than sense of wonder.
K —I strenuously object to your contention that “the tastes of modern SF authors and fans have sunk so low that snark is celebrated more than sense of wonder“. Given the breadth of the genre, how can you say that?
Does a work like A Memory of Empire have even the faintest glimmer of snark in it? No, it very much does not. Nor does the Rusch’s loving look at fandom in the Spade/Paladin series. And I could go on for, well, some length. And that includes Scalzi as well. Just consider Zoe’s Tales?
As for your slam against modern fans. How dare you — they are just as wonderful as the fans that created SF fandom oh so long ago. They are not cynical, certainly no more than those members of First Fandom were.
Furthermore there is a strong tendency to romanticise that all which is long gone as good, nay, perfect in the minds of many. Bull. Taste is always subjective. What you like is not what I like and I think a lot of the older stuff has been trodden upon by the Suck Fairy with her steel toed boots.
(4) I read voraciously as a kid. I tried to read every book in my elementary school library. Always reading. Then, in 8th grade, we had to do “analysis” of our readings. Starting with “Great Expectations”. We had to write character analyses, plot analyses, on and on.
I did not voluntarily read another book for nearly 2 years after that experience! (Until I got a good English teacher in 10th grade. Thank you Miss Snuffer! — and that really was her name. )