Friday, October 02, 2009

Dear mass market fiction editors of America:

I am an avid reader. I also listen to books on unabridged cds. I get thru quite a lot of books in a year. I am about to quit reading fiction all together. Here's why:

1. No more child molesting in fiction. No more rape, inscest, or violent sexual initiation scenes.

2. We get it. There are gay people. NO ONE should be discriminated against--I believe this passionately and use my vote to support this passion. Still, I'm going to wretch if I have to read one more inappropriately placed coming out story. A gay character that makes sense to the story line--sure! But EVERY story does not make sense with the character's sexualtiy as the most important element of their being. Try this little exercise: Read a news story or magazine article about an "openly gay" person. Now substitute the words "heterosexual" or "straight"....sounds stupid, right? Right. We get it. Move on. I don't care if they are Straight, gay, bi, transgender or whatever unless it truly adds to the story.

3. Stupid names. Oiy, where to start with this one!! I've now found TWO, count 'em two, books with a character named "Merrit." I have personally met people named "Olive," "Lovewell," "Precious," "Blessings," and even "Basket," but Olive aside they were all in a non-English speaking culture! People do not name their daughters "Langston" or "[fill in here the weird name of the week]." Ditto even dumber nicknames. It does not "add" to the character or the story. Nor does it make you remember anything except how dumb the name is.

4. Stop putting contemporary beliefs and opinions on characters in historical fiction! Our nation is ignorant enough about history with you helping them dumb-down even more. It may not be pleasant, in fact it may be down right shaming, to recall the attitudes and practices of the past. But, those who fail to learn of the past will repeat those mistakes eventually--remember? This politically correct revisionism is on the level of Orwell's 1984.

5. Stop making all Young Adult literature involve abandonment, child abuse, alcoholism and vampires. Vampires are not real--ok? Many, many kids [my own included, pre-adoption] have been VICTIMS of child abuse and neglect and abandonment and don't need PTSD flashbacks due to ill-considered "relevant" literature--ok? Yes, I know the "wealthy safe white kids"need to "know" about these things. Great, fine. How do you do that and not hurt kids who are already hurt?

No, I do not see this as "censorship." Instead I see it as "common sense." I'm a librarian. I would never, ever ask for a book to banned. But I do have the veto power of not paying for this crap.

Are you listening?

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