Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Another ruddy booklist

Obviously the problem with that list of books designed to entice reluctant boys into reading is that it doesn't contain enough things that Daily Mail readers were forced to work through when they were little. That is the problem with all lists of books for children. Lists of books for adults are prone to more or less the opposite problem; they are snobbish, hidebound, difficult, highbrow - though to say "elitist" might not, in this context, be politically correct.

Mask off, I think giving school libraries the money and the permission to buy boy-enticing pulp is rather a fine move, although making it a high-profile initiative may serve to reinforce the idea that boys don't read. On the contents of the list I'm not much qualified to comment. I'm happy to see the inclusion of adventuresome books with female lead characters (Northern Lights, A Hat Full of Sky), but then I was a boy who read all my sister's Mallory Towers books, my pre-pubescent misogyny temporarily crushed by Enid Blyton's narrative drive.

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