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NPR: Vote for 10 best teen novels

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  • ftl_publications
    The Hobbit and LotR are on the list: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/24/157072526/best-ever-teen-novels-vote-for-your-favorites Joan
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 31, 2012
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    • davise@cs.nyu.edu
      Interesting list. Clearly I am no longer a teenager (55); there are only 20 that I ve read any part of and another 10 I ve ever heard of. A couple of
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 1, 2012
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        Interesting list. Clearly I am no longer a teenager (55); there are only 20 that I've read any part of and another 10 I've ever heard of. A couple of observations (as far as I can tell, not knowing 9/10 of the books). (1) Treasure Island is the only pre-20th century (Call of the Wild is 1903; Anne of Green Gables is 1908). (2) None of the books are translations. (3) Diana Wynne Jones is well represented, with 3 separate titles, more, I think, than anyone else.(4) As far as I can guess from the titles, the substantial majority are fantasy/SF; if someone who knows the books can confirm that, I'd be interested to hear.


        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "ftl_publications" <Joan.Marie.Verba@...> wrote:
        >
        > The Hobbit and LotR are on the list:
        >
        > http://www.npr.org/2012/07/24/157072526/best-ever-teen-novels-vote-for-your-favorites
        >
        > Joan
        >
      • Mike Foster
        I just voted. Did I miss THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS? My theory, voiced in this Chesterton magazine essay on TREASURE ISLAND, which got one of my votes, is that
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 1, 2012
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          I just voted. 
           
          Did I miss THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS? 
           
          My theory, voiced in this Chesterton  magazine essay on TREASURE ISLAND, which got one of my votes, is that all good books should begin with a map.
           

          Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; illustrations by N.C. Wyeth, 1911 facsimile edition, Scribners, ISBN 0-684-17160-0.  Reviewed by Mike Foster for Gilbert magazine.

           

          The best books a child reads will often turn out to be the best books that the growing-up-to-gone-greying child will re-read time and again as years go by.

          Pulling this book off the shelf wafts you back to the first time you left mother and home for Bristol and sailed the seas, seeing through Jim Hawkins’ eyes, when you were as young and wide-eyed and unworldly as he. The wind that sings in the sails of the homeward-bound treasure-heavy Hispaniola will have the fresh tang of your youth. And somehow, despite all the blood and betrayal, Treasure Island bestows a cozy, homely feeling of a long-ago grade-school day when you were sick enough to stay home from school but not too sick, huzzah!, to read.

          First serialized in England in 1881 in Young Folks magazine, Stevenson’s story is best enjoyed with N.C. Wyeth’s dynamic and dramatic illustrations painted for the 1911 American edition still in print. With a palette rich in lamplit yellows, tobacco browns, and only rare glimpses of oceanic blue or Union Jack red, Wyeth incarnates scenes Stevenson only mentions in a passing sentence: Jim saying goodbye to his mother or, later, bagging the minted money of Flint’s trove.

          Yet as enriching as Wyeth’s art is, Stevenson’s story can stand alone.

          It stands on the one leg of Long John Silver, English literature’s most charming villain. Stevenson’s mastery of dialogue and dialect, superb throughout, peaks here. Silver’s beguiling, unctuous avuncularity does not prevent Jim, our first-person witness, from recognizing that the Sea-Cook is an “abominable old rogue,” treacherous and murderous. But Long John’s courage, charisma, and cheer redeem him somehow, and when he eludes his fate on Execution Dock by escaping with 400 guineas to rendezvous with his old Negress at the end, we rejoice. Mercy trumps justice. We forgive Silver, and like Jim Hawkins, we will never forget him.

          Ben Gunn, the merrily mad pirate Jim finds marooned on the island, is another unforgettable character, with his fantasies about “cheese—toasted mostly.” The ruddy imperious Squire Trelawney and the taciturn stoic Capt. Smollett are also well-limned. The good-hearted Dr. Livesey smokes much more than a doctor should, certainly, and his “handsome present of tobacco” to the three pirates left marooned is a puckish note.

          Note also that one of the five survivors of the adventure, Abraham Gray, is initially a Silver co-conspirator who turns from evil to good, taking Capt. Smollett’s redemptive offer and joining the small but victorious company of the faithful. He will live happily ever after.

          The vivid, suspenseful action sequences--the jolly boat’s flight, the siege of the stockade, Jim’s daring face-off with Israel Hands in the rigging--still thrill.

          And, like the next three books this column will revisit, Treasure Island has a map. All good books should have maps, except possibly cookbooks.

          In 1927, Chesterton wrote:

          Treasure Island was written as a boy's book; perhaps it is not

          always read as a boy's book. I sometimes fancy that a real boy could

          read it better if he could read it backwards. The end, which is full of

          skeletons and ancient crime, is in the fullest sense beautiful; it is

          even idealistic. For it is the realisation of an ideal, that which is

          promised in its provocative and beckoning map; a vision not only of

          white skeletons but also green palm trees and sapphire seas.”

          For all its pages of piracy and plunder, Treasure Island provides peace. A good boy’s book is a good man’s book, even if, these days, one must haul out the old 8x magnifier to study the map.

           

          Thanks again to John Peterson

           
          Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 9:03 AM
          Subject: [mythsoc] Re: NPR: Vote for 10 best teen novels
           
           


          Interesting list. Clearly I am no longer a teenager (55); there are only 20 that I've read any part of and another 10 I've ever heard of. A couple of observations (as far as I can tell, not knowing 9/10 of the books). (1) Treasure Island is the only pre-20th century (Call of the Wild is 1903; Anne of Green Gables is 1908). (2) None of the books are translations. (3) Diana Wynne Jones is well represented, with 3 separate titles, more, I think, than anyone else.(4) As far as I can guess from the titles, the substantial majority are fantasy/SF; if someone who knows the books can confirm that, I'd be interested to hear.

          --- In mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com, "ftl_publications" <Joan.Marie.Verba@...> wrote:

          >
          > The
          Hobbit and LotR are on the list:
          >
          >
          href="http://www.npr.org/2012/07/24/157072526/best-ever-teen-novels-vote-for-your-favorites">http://www.npr.org/2012/07/24/157072526/best-ever-teen-novels-vote-for-your-favorites
          >
          > Joan
          >

        • davise@cs.nyu.edu
          ... No, it wasn t a contestant. ... Did any of Chesterton s own books have a map? Are there any fiction books with maps earlier than Treasure Island (1883)? (I
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 1, 2012
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            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Foster" <mafoster@...> wrote:
            >
            > I just voted.
            >
            > Did I miss THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS?

            No, it wasn't a contestant.

            >
            > My theory, voiced in this Chesterton magazine essay on TREASURE >ISLAND, which got one of my votes, is that all good books should begin >with a map.

            Did any of Chesterton's own books have a map?

            Are there any fiction books with maps earlier than Treasure Island (1883)? (I mean printed as an illustration, not mentioned.) The only one I can think of is in The Hunting of the Snark (1874), and since that's "a perfect and absolute blank", I don't think it counts.
          • David Bratman
            ... I don t think so, though I found a street atlas of London moderately useful when I read The Napoleon of Notting Hill .
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 2, 2012
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              <davise@...> wrote:

              >> My theory, voiced in this Chesterton magazine essay on TREASURE
              >> ISLAND, which got one of my votes, is that all good books should begin
              >> with a map.
              >
              > Did any of Chesterton's own books have a map?

              I don't think so, though I found a street atlas of London moderately useful
              when I read "The Napoleon of Notting Hill".
            • Mike Foster
              Thanks. Doughan & Northfarthing (London) smial folks walked us around Notting Hill before we ended up at The Slug & Lettuce then Jeremy Morgan’s haberdashery
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 2, 2012
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                Thanks.
                 
                Doughan & Northfarthing (London) smial folks walked us around Notting Hill before we ended up at The Slug & Lettuce then Jeremy Morgan’s haberdashery to read Charles Noad’s proofs of The Peoples of Middle-earth.
                 
                I saw an early typo he’d missed.
                 
                The only time I heard him say A Very Bad Word.
                 
                Mike
                 
                Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2012 12:11 PM
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: NPR: Vote for 10 best teen novels
                 
                 

                <mailto:davise%40cs.nyu.edu> wrote:

                >> My theory, voiced in this Chesterton magazine essay on
                TREASURE
                >> ISLAND, which got one of my votes, is that all good books
                should begin
                >> with a map.
                >
                > Did any of Chesterton's own
                books have a map?

                I don't think so, though I found a street atlas of London moderately useful
                when I read "The Napoleon of Notting Hill".

              • davise@cs.nyu.edu
                ... Well, having Googled around, the answer to my own question is that the first editions of both Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver s Travels had illustrations
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 2, 2012
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                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, davise@... wrote:
                  >
                  > Are there any fiction books with maps earlier than Treasure Island (1883)?

                  Well, having Googled around, the answer to my own question is that the first editions of both "Robinson Crusoe" and "Gulliver's Travels" had illustrations by Herman Moll, who was a major cartographer of the time.

                  Also, older, there are charts (though not exactly maps) by Bartolomeo
                  (I can't figure out _which_ Bartolomeo -- it's dated 1420, which doesn't correspond to any of the Bartolomeo painters in Wikipedia) and by Botticelli.

                  -- Ernie
                • davise@cs.nyu.edu
                  ... Of Dante s Inferno. Sorry.
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 2, 2012
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                    --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, davise@... wrote:
                    >
                    > Also, older, there are charts (though not exactly maps)

                    Of Dante's Inferno. Sorry.

                    > by Bartolomeo (I can't figure out _which_ Bartolomeo -- it's dated >1420, which doesn't correspond to any of the Bartolomeo painters in >Wikipedia) and by Botticelli.
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