Sunday, August 8, 2010

Can't Stop Reading It

Hello Folks,

In my quest to read every book by every author who is coming to the 2011 IRC conference, I'm in the middle of M. T. Anderson's Feed, and all I can say is that it is the furthest thing from a yawn banquet you can imagine!

I feel an explanation is in order. First of all, why am I 'greeting' you from Grapevine Texas? Well, those of you familiar with the Illinois Reading Council may know that the local council leaders have an opportunity every summer to attend a leadership retreat at Grand Bear Lodge in Utica, close to Starved Rock State Park. The state level organization organizes this so that local council leaders may learn more about their positions and have some dedicated time to plan out their year's events. I mentioned this in the previous posting. Well, guess what? The International Reading Association does the same thing for state level organizations. This year they brought us to Grapevine, Texas, just outside Dallas, and we are spending time setting goals and making plans for the rest of the year ourselves. It's great to get to interact with folks from other state and provincial councils, to share ideas and try to problem-solve collaboratively, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity that the I.R.A. provides us to do so.

Now for the explanation of the yawn banquet. Feed is futuristic, and in this future, the internet is implanted into people's brains, I believe at birth. And it's proactive. If you go to a store and look at soccer balls, it will automatically send your brain ads for soccer balls and personalize the sales pitch. Spooky, huh? Well, the story is told from the point of view of a teenage boy, and as you can imagine, teenage boy 'language' is an entity unto itself. Anything boring is referred to as a 'total yawn banquet.' If a girl is pretty, she is 'youch,' and if she is REALLY pretty, she is 'meg youch.' And even though the topic is serious, this is a hilarious book. M. T. Anderson slips in just enough humor to make the reader look forward to the rest of the humor while still being able to concentrate on the story line. I can't wait to meet this author in March!

The opportunities for talking about vocabulary are rife in this book, though there is also some language that would be deemed objectionable by some folks. But I can't help myself - I can't stop reading it! I have to go attend another meeting in a few minutes, and I am so tempted to slip Feed into my bag and slip it out when no one is looking.

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