Author Topic: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)  (Read 662609 times)

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Tea Drinker

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There's a distinction I found (in a science fiction novel) that puts "what happened" and "like what happened" in the same general category, and "clearly impossible or unbelievable" in a different category. "Like what happened" would be a realistic novel, or the sort of historical novel that sticks to the known facts and tries to get the historical details right, but adds non-historical characters and lets them talk to known historical figures. The clearly impossible would be stories about time machines, dragons, or Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, or a child saying "I didn't take that cookie, Big Bird did."

If you're reading for pleasure rather than information, a first-person narrative of someone talking about his adventures is a kind of thing, whether or not the narrator is telling about their actual life as best they remember it. The line between fiction and nonfiction is sometimes blurred in biography and autobiography, anyhow: we want to be the heroes of our own story, or we don't bother to check the facts, because that fact isn't the point of the story. So someone says "my father died in 1958, when I was 17," and there may not be anyone there to say "wait a minute, you were born in 1942." [I got that example from Samuel Delany's memoir _The Motion of Light in Water_.]
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

PeterM

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Someone needs to tell Discovery channel the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

To be fair to the Discovery Channel and others who do this sort of thing, they know the difference between fiction and non-fiction. They know that presenting it as non-fiction with a very, very brief disclaimer will get them a lot more money and ratings than admitting up front that it's purely fictional. It's annoying, but it's a brilliant decision from a business point of view.

Someone needs to tell the general public that there's no such thing as mermaids, is what needs doing. I'm wiling to give a pass to the people who fell for this latest Megalodon thing, but when so many people fall for the mermaids show that the federal government is forced to release a statement saying there's no such thing? There is something seriously wrong with the science knowledge of people in this country. Granted, this is only exhibit Q, at best, along those lines, but man.

wolfie

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What age are the kids, Yarnspinner?  I remember a fun series about a girl who wanted to be a reporter and was a reporter at her school.  She tried to do an Internet search on the school library computer and was very annoyed and all up in arms about the computer having a parental block on it.  The injustice!  Until she went home to try her search, received some *very* inappropriate results that she couldn't unsee, and realized why the library computer had such a block.  More of an older elementary/middle school age book, though, not HS.

Sounds like a very fun and entertaining series.  Unfortunately, we are talking high school sophomores....but I will file this away just in case!

How about Robopocalypse? Ready Player One? Okay that was more gaming but there was tech stuff in it too.

kherbert05

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What age are the kids, Yarnspinner?  I remember a fun series about a girl who wanted to be a reporter and was a reporter at her school.  She tried to do an Internet search on the school library computer and was very annoyed and all up in arms about the computer having a parental block on it.  The injustice!  Until she went home to try her search, received some *very* inappropriate results that she couldn't unsee, and realized why the library computer had such a block.  More of an older elementary/middle school age book, though, not HS.

Sounds like a very fun and entertaining series.  Unfortunately, we are talking high school sophomores....but I will file this away just in case!

How about Robopocalypse? Ready Player One? Okay that was more gaming but there was tech stuff in it too.
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Black Delphinium

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Someone needs to tell Discovery channel the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
Reminds me of last nights John Oliver's New York Stand-Up, he did a bit about a show on mermaids Discovery did, and the backlash it got.
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*inviteseller

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I was taught (back in the stone age) that fiction = false (made up) and non fiction = real life.  I love the elementary school librarian at our school, but I don't think she really teaches much beyond introducing books to the kids and instead of the kids browsing the shelves to pick out their book each week, she sets out a selection on a table they can pick from.  The problem is my DD is 2 grades above in her reading skills (her summer reading, besides some basic Junie B. Jones books was Charlotte's Web, The Secret Garden, and she is finishing Peter Pan..she is 7).

Back to Impossible requests..the last place I worked, we made rubber stamps.  A gentleman (who looked quite normal) came in and wanted an address stamp.  Co worker pulls out the book of sizes/styles and he looks at her and says "You don't already have them made up?"  ??? :o  My co workers face was priceless !  She had to explain that customized stamps, like one with his name and address were not pre made, but he couldn't understand why we couldn't just look on the shelf and argued that he shouldn't have to wait (48 hr turn around) .  He finally stormed out and we just about bust a gut laughing.  She said "What does he think?  We take the phone book out every year and make every one a stamp in case they come in?????

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I read a lot of fiction and enjoy both science and historical fiction.  I would recommend the students read almost anything written by Michael Crichton for fictional technology.  There are a couple other authors (James Rollins comes to mind) where technology is an integral part of the plot.  In fact, I found several novels just be querying my state library catalog on line.  I thought HS students knew how to google.
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Firecat

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I was taught (back in the stone age) that fiction = false (made up) and non fiction = real life.  I love the elementary school librarian at our school, but I don't think she really teaches much beyond introducing books to the kids and instead of the kids browsing the shelves to pick out their book each week, she sets out a selection on a table they can pick from.  The problem is my DD is 2 grades above in her reading skills (her summer reading, besides some basic Junie B. Jones books was Charlotte's Web, The Secret Garden, and she is finishing Peter Pan..she is 7).

Back to Impossible requests..the last place I worked, we made rubber stamps.  A gentleman (who looked quite normal) came in and wanted an address stamp.  Co worker pulls out the book of sizes/styles and he looks at her and says "You don't already have them made up?"  ??? :o  My co workers face was priceless !  She had to explain that customized stamps, like one with his name and address were not pre made, but he couldn't understand why we couldn't just look on the shelf and argued that he shouldn't have to wait (48 hr turn around) .  He finally stormed out and we just about bust a gut laughing.  She said "What does he think?  We take the phone book out every year and make every one a stamp in case they come in?????

This kind of thing really annoyed me as a kid. I hated it when people (teachers or librarians) tried to tell me what I could or couldn't read based on my age. Especially because my mother never restricted my reading; she'd tell me she didn't think I was ready for something yet, but not that I wasn't "allowed" to read it. So it was really galling when a teacher or school librarian tried to do that. It usually didn't last long, either, because Mom would meet with them and inform them in no uncertain terms that a) they were to allow me to check out whatever I darn well pleased and b) she was never, ever going to freak out about what I brought home from the library...unless they violated the first of those two rules.

Elfmama

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I was taught (back in the stone age) that fiction = false (made up) and non fiction = real life.  I love the elementary school librarian at our school, but I don't think she really teaches much beyond introducing books to the kids and instead of the kids browsing the shelves to pick out their book each week, she sets out a selection on a table they can pick from.  The problem is my DD is 2 grades above in her reading skills (her summer reading, besides some basic Junie B. Jones books was Charlotte's Web, The Secret Garden, and she is finishing Peter Pan..she is 7).

This kind of thing really annoyed me as a kid. I hated it when people (teachers or librarians) tried to tell me what I could or couldn't read based on my age. Especially because my mother never restricted my reading; she'd tell me she didn't think I was ready for something yet, but not that I wasn't "allowed" to read it. So it was really galling when a teacher or school librarian tried to do that. It usually didn't last long, either, because Mom would meet with them and inform them in no uncertain terms that a) they were to allow me to check out whatever I darn well pleased and b) she was never, ever going to freak out about what I brought home from the library...unless they violated the first of those two rules.
My mother did too.  And one of the other ladies in our small town was shocked!  "But what if she checks out Gone With The Wind?  You know that it has the D word in it! And there was that scene where Scarlett killed the Yankee and Melanie took off her nightgown to wrap around his head.  She was (whispered) NAKED!"

Mom said "She doesn't need to check it out.  I have a copy, and she's read it already.  If she understands something, then she's ready to read about it.  If she doesn't understand, it won't hurt her."
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Library Dragon

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I only had kindergartners and first graders do this the first couple of weeks of school.  It was more about teaching them the checkout process.  After that they had a wide range of books. 

The tastes of young readers varies so widely that they need a large selection.  At my school we had a lot of young engineers whose tastes were totally different than mine.  Removing self-selection quickly becomes a barrier to the love of reading.

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On thread topic.....

Today we just started advertising for a new aide.  Multiple times today, 'Thank you for the application. No, I cannot tell you what your chances for the job are.  I have to evaluate all the applications.  No, I cannot tell you who else has applied.'

My thoughts during one conversation: I'm not going to put you to the head of the list because you just got fired because your boss accused you of theft and you R E A L L Y need the job.  Oh and I'll find an arrest record for writing bad checks...... 'Please write that down so I'll have the full explanation.'

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Jocelyn

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Mom said "She doesn't need to check it out.  I have a copy, and she's read it already.  If she understands something, then she's ready to read about it.  If she doesn't understand, it won't hurt her."
That may have been true in the past...but a lot of books now present more graphic sexuality than I'd want a child to be reading. I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at 7 or 8, and completely missed what the trial was all about. But I'm not sure we could say that a child could emerge so befuddled from modern bodice-rippers. I remember the first racy novel I read- on a church youth group trip, borrowed from the sponsor, even!  By that time I was perfectly well aware of what those euphemisms were, but it seems to me that authors are leaving less to the imagination these days. I don't think I've ready about turgid members in awhile.  ::)

Elfmama

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Mom said "She doesn't need to check it out.  I have a copy, and she's read it already.  If she understands something, then she's ready to read about it.  If she doesn't understand, it won't hurt her."
That may have been true in the past...but a lot of books now present more graphic sexuality than I'd want a child to be reading. I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at 7 or 8, and completely missed what the trial was all about. But I'm not sure we could say that a child could emerge so befuddled from modern bodice-rippers. I remember the first racy novel I read- on a church youth group trip, borrowed from the sponsor, even!  By that time I was perfectly well aware of what those euphemisms were, but it seems to me that authors are leaving less to the imagination these days. I don't think I've ready about turgid members in awhile.  ::)
True.  At that time (mid 1960's), the raciest adult books available in the library might have a dreadfully naughty passage like this: "The silk of her nightgown whispered to the floor as Kirk took her in his arms. ***  "  Actual mention of naughty bits, whether in euphemisms or plain Anglo-Saxon terms, kicked it firmly into porn territory, something one did NOT see at a public library.  Especially a small-town library staffed by a little old lady librarian who segregated children's books into "boys' books" and "girls' books."  It really disturbed her that I consistently chose from the "boys' books" and occasioned her first call to my mother.  I didn't want to read about sissy girls who wanted to be ballet dancers or nurses -- I wanted the GOOD stuff!  Heinlein juveniles, Andre Norton, any other SF or fantasy I could get my hands on.  I first read 1984 at 12, Animal Farm at 10.  (Little old library lady saw "talking animals" and figured "kids' book!")
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Firecat

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Mom said "She doesn't need to check it out.  I have a copy, and she's read it already.  If she understands something, then she's ready to read about it.  If she doesn't understand, it won't hurt her."
That may have been true in the past...but a lot of books now present more graphic sexuality than I'd want a child to be reading. I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at 7 or 8, and completely missed what the trial was all about. But I'm not sure we could say that a child could emerge so befuddled from modern bodice-rippers. I remember the first racy novel I read- on a church youth group trip, borrowed from the sponsor, even!  By that time I was perfectly well aware of what those euphemisms were, but it seems to me that authors are leaving less to the imagination these days. I don't think I've ready about turgid members in awhile.  ::)

And that's totally your decision to make for your hypothetical (or actual) child(ren). With the bodice rippers and such, my mom would just have told me that she didn't think I was ready for those yet. I'd probably have found them pretty boring before age 12 or so, because I wasn't ready for it yet. Mom also knew that the bigger a deal she made out of not "allowing" me to read something, the more determined I'd be to read it. By not putting restrictions on my reading, but just gently steering, she built my trust in her advice. Other kids may be different, but it worked with me.

I will say that one conversation between my mom and the mother of another student at my elementary school was amusing. The other mother called my mom, trying to get Mom's support for pulling the Judy Blume book Are You There, God - It's Me, Margaret? from the school library because it talked about puberty from a girl's point of view. So then Mom asked her if she'd actually read the book. "Well, no, but our minister said...." and it either went downhill or got funnier from there, depending on your point of view  >:D

Slartibartfast

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I'm all for kids reading whatever interests them, regardless of content, but I definitely learned a few things accidentally.  "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" has a section which still gives me the willies, and "The Song of Mavin Manyshaped" uses rape as a character motivation in a way I wasn't able to deal with until my third or fourth time through the book.  Even the Pern series scared me off when I first read it in fifth grade, because there's an awful lot of sex in it - may have been tastefully done, but the whole concept was still icky to me when I was ten  :)  That said, there are racy passages in plenty of famous historical books - Gulliver's Travels has a section (cut out in the children's abridged version) where Gulliver urinates on a fire to put it out, for example.  Kids are very good at figuring out what their comfort level is and staying more or less within it.

gmatoy

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My mother was also a "let her read" mom.  I was just getting fluent at reading (second grade, so about 7 1/2 years old) and was reading the town's newspaper. I couldn't figure out what a word meant, so I called out to my mother to ask her. She was talking to the neighbor, and did not miss a beat, "I'll be in in a moment and will explain it to you when I get in."
She turned back to the neighbor and excused herself. The neighbor was having a fit, "You are going to tell her what that word means?!!!" 
My mother told her, "I'm going to explain it in words she'll be able to understand."

The word? Rape.

And my mother did explain it so I understood.

And I'm wondering how many people learned to read adult books by reading Reader's Digest Condensed books? My mother would hand me the volume and tell me , "I'd prefer it if you wouldn't read 'Title.' " And I wouldn't read that one, because she trusted me!