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November 23rd, 2007

Current Reading.

I am, currently, reading Resident Evil: Zero Hour by SD Perry.

...

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: What the fuck? A franchise hack book? It's not even one of those franchise hack books we like, you dick. Go read some Dr Who. Go read some shitty crappy Dr Who. Maybe some Star Wars. Maybe some Dragonlance. Or better yet, maybe those books you have to read for that review in January. Better still, those books you posted back from the States, and those other books that sit round in piles, waiting to be read. Read them. Ready anything but the Resident Evil book which, while written with workman like prose, is nothing but typed thrills and spills of zombies and guns and explosions--

And you would be right, except, I am using this piece of trash to teach.

It's true. I have a kid who needs to pick up his vocabulary, who needs to be reading more, but he hates all the young adult lit he's seen. It's of no real surprise: he's eleven and watches Resident Evil, Rush Hour, Spiderman, and countless other action slash horror films, which leaves him entirely unwilling to read anything that is sitting in the kids lit section. It's not violent enough. Not scary enough. Not filled with enough thrills. You know, it's not trashy enough. It's not like an action film on paper. It's too nice, too easy, obviously not rated like the MA films that he's watching in his spare time, and talking with his friends about, and if I want to pick up his vocabulary a bit, and get him to read the books so that he feels like he's not going to the dentist every time one appears before him... well, I got to embrace this trashy film taste he has, and find the literary equivalent of it. Guns, explosions, zombies, action scenes, and for fucks sake, no swords, knights, or whatever, cause he hates them.

You would think, in fact, that finding such books would be easy, but it's not. For all the crap that is published--and there's a lot, really--there are so few authors who are entirely willing to throw off any kind of semblance of literary pride, and reduce their books to set action pieces where their hero, or heroine, is chased, shot at, shoots at, and basically moves through a chapter after chapter of mindless action. I haven't yet finished Zero Hour, so it might be that I do not have such a book right here, but strolling through Borders the other day, I was forced to come face to face with book after book I considered trash that had swords, elves, wizards, or which spent pages going into simplistic politics, or would at least look like they were going to try and be a little bit outside my admittedly narrow guidelines. Guidelines which I need, at least for a while, so I can lull the kid into a false sense of assurance, and I can slip in slightly different books on him after I've earned reading trust. But first, it's the video game mentality I need, and there were, at least to my examinations, not a whole lot of books that hit this for me that weren't franchise material. Part of me would prefer not to buy the franchise, company owned stuff, simply because I recognise in me a desire to support creator owned books, rather than company owned ones, a belief I've obviously picked up after reading American comics for years, and watching talented artists and writers and inkers and everyone else, leash themselves to company owned products that cut the legs out of their own creativity... but you know, if I'm not given a choice, I'll go wherever.

It is entirely possible that Q will read this book and hate it, too, but that's no real issue. Whatever he hates, I'll move somewhere else. The important thing is to keep reading, to keep trying new things, and if all else fails, I can drop to graphic novels, though I don't like them for this, because they're not so word intense, and it's what he needs. But whatever I have to do to pick up the vocab and comprehension skills and so forth, is where I'll go. At the end of the days a book is a book and you can teach skills out of any kind of book, and I don't much care what I've got to suffer through, so long as I get what I want in the end.

As you can see, my literary standards, they're very optional.

At any rate, if anyone reading this has any truly trash recommendations on the level of Resident Evil: Zero Hour, feel free to toss them down. Remember: explosions, death, guns, zombies, maybe a little bit of something else to shoot at, and in a nice, easy prose, without any of those pesky things authors like to do to convince themselves that they're doing something different.

This is my best post ever, by the way.