What’s Laura Reading?

Another entry in the delightful “What’s Laura Reading?” series. That would be Laura Ford, Reference Librarian. Enjoy!

“Every year I make an effort to read the books my kids are assigned over the summer, and it’s usually a pretty good experience. Generally I like the book, and I like to be ready to a) chat about the book with the kid, and b) offer helpful hints if the kid gets stuck on the writing assignment that always seems to go with a summer reading book.

Personally, I think the standard Summer Reading Assignment should be “Read what you like. Often.” And by that I mean read as much as you can, newspapers, magazines, comic books, graphic novels, fiction, nonfiction, cheat codes to your favorite computer game, the picture books your little sister brings home from the library, whatever. If you want to read the whole Harry Potter or Twilight series again for the 7th time, go for it. Everything counts. The Guinness Book of World Records counts.  Books that are “too easy” count. Books that are “too hard” count. And this is a big one: books that are “unsuitable” count. In a nutshell, and (I’m certainly not the first, nor the most authoritative to say this) it’s much safer to learn about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll in a book than it is to gain experience in real life.

The best way to turn kids off reading is assign them a particular book and then assign 10 essay questions to go with it, or better yet, assign a book, and tell them to take copious notes on each chapter because there will be an open-notes exam on the book on the first day of school.

BUT as usual, I digress.

This year my youngest has to read The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian. It’s the story of a high school senior – a great kid, but one who doesn’t really fit in with the general population. A loner by nature, but an incredibly bright loner who has important things to say, he starts a website under the pseudonym “Larry” and proceeds to write “sermons” that put forth his feelings on consumerism, celebrity worship, and making a difference in the world, among other things. The website goes viral, and before long “Larry” has a world-wide following. And then things begin to get interesting.

It was a fast read, both my eighth grader and I read it in no time flat, and we both enjoyed it. We’ve had a couple lively discussions at the dinner table, and now we are working our way through the sequels, Vote for Larry and Larry and the Meaning of Life.

Great reads if you’re an adult with a teen in your life, or teen with an adult in your life. (Or too many adults in your life, especially if they’re trying to tell you what to read!)”

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