Discouraging Readers

The Washington Post has an interesting article accusing the Newbury awards of turning off young readers.  The problem is that the majority of recent winners have focused on somber themes and social issues.  The list is a great indication of the quality of these books, they all certainly deserved the attention, but taken together young readers are confronted with a slew of books that may not be very enjoyable to read.

I’ve had similar conversations at the library regarding the Oprah book list.  Inclusion on the list pretty much guarantees that a book will become a bestseller, and will probably reach a number of infrequent readers.  But again the books almost universally concern fairly dreadful subjects.  Again, I’m not disparaging the quality of any of the selections (with the possible exception of James Frey for obvious reasons), but one of the best ways to get a potential reader to come back is to show them that reading can be fun, and that’s not happening here.

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