Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nourishing Booky Boys

One of the truly fabulous things about working in an independent bookstore is being able to see absolutely everything that comes in the door. While toiling in the employ of a now defunct mega-chain, I was lucky to see a portion of the stock in the random sections that I shelved. (One day, it might be occult studies and the next day, performing arts) But working at the Iguana, I'm often the one opening the boxes and scanning everything in and if I'm not, it takes roughly 15 minutes to make a circuit of the store to acquaint myself with the stuff I've missed.

Everyone has an area of expertise. Two ladies are especially gifted at finding children's and parenting books. The boss is ace with adult fiction. The AM and I are the go-to's for SciFi/Fantasy and YA.

Over Christmas, a mother came in looking desperately for something to keep her previously book-mad 16 year old son interested in reading. "It's just that age, you know," she said, shaking her head. "They start to think that reading isn't cool anymore."

A quick glance through the YA shelves brought me visions of hundreds of plucky heroines and love stories and while there ARE wonderful titles that appeal to either gender, the pickings are a little bit slimmer for young men. I ended up recommending Scott Westerfield's fantastic Leviathan series, which brings to mind the English "Boy's Own" adventure tales set in the middle of a WWI AU in which the Allied 'Darwinists', who use genetically engineered life forms as weapons do battle with the Axis 'Clankers', who are adept at mechanics. Exciting stuff. I'm hoping that the customer might return at some point to see if my recommendation was on the mark.

It seems like at a certain age, boys are funneled into adult literature for which they may be unprepared. A 14 year old boy might find himself chucked headlong from 'Percy Jackson' into Jason Bourne, missing several crucial steps along the way. Having never BEEN a teenage boy or had brothers OR had boychildren, I've had to rely on my husband's experience with boyhood, which I am convinced was rather singular and sensitive. At any rate, I would love to hear about titles that would convince a soon-to-be-reluctant young male reader to keep turning pages.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely Holly Black's Curse Workers series, boy POV and it's awesome! And I got the Hubs best friend (ex Marine) the first book and he went and bought the rest of the series on his own. :D

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