Fuse #8

Friday, May 12, 2006

Fighting For a Piece of the Pie

An interesting post on Read Roger (by Roger Sutton, editor of Horn Book) today got me to thinking. On the posting Roger was commenting on the recent New York Times Book Review list of the Best Work of American Fiction In the Last 25 Years. Roger acknowledged the inevitable why-aren't-there-any-children's-books-on-the-list debate before informing us that he hasn't read enough adult fiction in the last 25 years to judge where kiddie lit would fall. I'm totally with him on this one. However, he then goes on to say that the only book he could imagine on the top 20 American books list in the last 25 years would have to be Holes. Obviously His Dark Materials couldn't count because they're British. Holes is probably the best choice, I agree. Still, I can't help but think that there must have been SOMETHING written relatively recently that is considered a classic already. Worth pondering.

15 Comments:

At 11:39 AM , Anonymous Jill said...

The Giver?

 
At 11:39 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

Do you know what is so sad about this list (and you get to it in your post)...it's that it clearly shows British fiction has been far superior to American in the past 25 years.

I'm almost done listening to His Dark Materials and I'm reallys struck by how it is a real, true piece of literature in the largest sense. Like Tolstoy or Austen. It is truly great. I don't think we have an American equivalent at this historical moment.

 
At 11:52 AM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Oooh. Good call on "The Giver". As for an American equivalent of "His Dark Materials", I'm definitely coming up short. Lowry may be the closest thing we have to a classic writer.

 
At 1:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One-Eyed Cat by Paula Fox

Not that often discussed but should be. She is a superb writer for both adults and children.

KT

 
At 1:46 PM , Blogger Jackie said...

I agree on The Giver, but also Speak. In the teen world, that's the pinnacle.

 
At 2:19 PM , Blogger sally apokedak said...

How about Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale? I think that one's a gem.

 
At 2:40 PM , Anonymous Leila said...

For YA fiction, I vote for You Don't Know Me, by David Klass. That or M.T. Anderson's Feed. Juv, I'd have to go with The Giver.

 
At 3:06 PM , Blogger Michele said...

I'm a Brit. I'm coming up blank on good fantasy from American authors - British, yes (lots), Australian (Garth Nix springs to mind), but the nearest I can come to an American is Robin McKinley - and she married a Brit and lives over here now ! Sorry...

Oh I LIE ! Ursula Le Guin. Her fantasy for younger people is excellent...

 
At 5:51 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Ah, but "Wizard of Earthsea" didn't come out in the last 25 years. And you can't count Lloyd Alexander for the same danged reason. I hadn't considered the YA aspects of all this. Certainly "You Don't Know Me" and "Speak" would have to be contenders. I like "Feed" but it has futuristic slang that kinda turned me off. Plus I'm not sure how well it'll date. The most intriguing suggestion I heard here was "One-Eyed Cat". With a 1984 publication date it barely makes it under the wire. I HAVE to read that book.

 
At 6:35 PM , Blogger bookstore girl said...

What about Gary Paulsen? My favourite is 'Harris and Me,' but there's also 'Hatchet.' Or 'Because of Winn-Dixie.' I would also definitely support anything by Shannon Hale.

 
At 7:29 PM , Blogger Jackie said...

Doesn't like every middle school kid HAVE to read Hatchet? (I did) Isn't that a good marker for a classic?

 
At 9:12 PM , Blogger bookstore girl said...

Okay, I need to smack myself upside the head right now. Hello, Katherine Patterson!!! Problem solved.

 
At 1:53 AM , Blogger Michele said...

Um, Le Guin has written more Earthsea related books since "Wizard" that are still YA ! And there's also the newly published Gifts, which I would suggest is a stronger contender for the title of "classic".

I'd be inclined to agree with Because of Winn-Dixie, which is not fantasy, and which I love best of Kate DiCamillo's books.

 
At 12:24 PM , Anonymous Jenn said...

I'd say The Giver as well. Perhaps Sarah, Plain and Tall. Another by Lois Lowry could be Number the Stars.

I think 25 years is a bit too soon for determining "classics."

 
At 11:56 PM , Anonymous Jen Robinson said...

Not so original, but I have to cast my vote for The Giver, too. But I do agree with Kelly that the His Dark Materials books will be held up as (British) classics in the future. As will the blockbusters to end all blockbusters, the Harry Potter books.

 

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