Thursday, February 25, 2010

Currently Reading: Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

Seven year-old Boy Wonder and I are reading Old Yeller by Fred Gipson, the first chapter book he actually seems interested in. Meaning he sits quietly, absorbed in the story, rather than twitching and plaintively repeating, "How much longer until the end, Mom?" I don't know if he's growing up or just likes the story, but it's progress.

Old Yeller's fun to read aloud and very quotable ("My heart was floppin' around like a catfish in a wet sack."; "He made no more sense than a red ant in a hot skillet."). Although I know it has a sad ending, I've been preparing Boy Wonder for it all along.

I think it will be OK.

It's hard to find books that hold Boy Wonder's interest. He likes what he calls "true" books (i.e., nonfiction). But there are only so many books about gemstones and planes at our library. That I can stand to read. Based on Old Yeller, he does seem to like fiction about boys, roughing it, and dogs. So that's a start.

But I need to find a replacement soon because we only have two chapters of Old Yeller left.

In the adult fiction realm, I've put down the masterfully written, yet oddly uninteresting Chronic City, by Jonathan Lethem, in favor of reading The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. I'm tired of reading books by New Yorkers, about New Yorkers, for New Yorkers. That's the problem with getting reading ideas from the geocentric Books section of the New York Times. The gritty city; the urbane repartee; the oddball only-in-the-Big-Apple characters BLAH BLAH BLAH. These books--THEY ARE ALL THE SAME.

The Help is admittedly lightweight reading about a rather weighty subject: the lives of African-American household workers in the segregated South of the 1960s. Even though the New York Times contemptuously calls The Help, "reader-friendly," I'm enjoying it.

(And bless their hearts, don't they know "reader-friendly" is a positive attribute for a book?)

I haven't got anything to read after The Help, so I need to start snooping around. I may visit my favorite Knoxville bookstore this weekend for suggestions from the ever-helpful staff. Or--here's an idea--I may just type "reader-friendly" into the New York Times Books section and see what comes up.

Hey--it might actually be a book I want to read.

1 comment:

gracenov said...

Just started "Little Bee" (not about NYC)and so far so good. I'll keep you posted.