Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Publishing Trends

For many years, my family and I have been patrons of Borders, Barnes & Noble bookstores and BooksAMillion bookstores. Twice a week we would visit one of these bookstores and I would browse the different bookshelves, skim through books, and note what was in stock. We also are avid library patrons, and also frequent used bookstores.

As I was growing up in Cleveland in the seventies, most of the books I read were clean books like Heidi, Jane Eyre, and Black Beauty. The libraries were well stocked with clean covers, clean stories, and better stories, in my humble opinion. "Noir" stories were not the norm then, as they are now.

Now, when I enter one of the bookstores (Barnes & Noble, etc.) I see black every where, black covers, black stories, black ideas; even the music is harsh and grating. Magazines show more bare skin. Even book titles are vulgar and use four-letter words. It is a depressing atmosphere for an optimistic person like me. Who is buying these books and why are they buying them? It sure isn't me! I like to see bright cover colors, bright ideas, optimistic and hopeful stories. Where have they gone?

Where are the stories that inspire, and make me laugh? I crave for stories comparable to the following movies: Sound of Music, Inspector General, Easter Parade, TopHat, Daddy Longlegs, Mary Poppins, Good Old Summertime, etc. Where have they all gone? Am I living in the wrong time period?

I'm also seeing this infiltrate into the educational system. We were going to send our son to sixth grade public school this year. He was tested and placed in the advanced section for all his classes, and for his English class was given a book to read over the summer. It was about misfits and a foster home and how the parents had abused the children. It was a terrible story. What garbage! The choices that these authorities are making shows me that our society is missing in values. Who wants to read about misfits and abusive parents? How depressing. My son who is an avid reader, was depressed by the story. We ended up not sending him to the public school after all but decided to homeschool him another year.

We visited our public library the other day. I usually choose books for my son to read. He reads one fiction and one non-fiction a day as his limit. If I did not set a limit, he would be reading all day.
Choosing books for him to read has been a chore. I search for books that have an engaging story, are uplifting, and capture the imagination. Most of the new books are tailored to the Harry Potter series, full of fantasy and evil. Most of the new books have at least one description of death, one description of something bad happening to someone (prevalent in vampire stories), and so on. This is becoming a dilemma. He has already read all the classic books by now (Heidi, Anne of Greengables, Black Beauty, Robinson Crusoe, Mary Poppins, Winnie-the-Pooh, and many more!). Dare he venture into the dark unknown? I shiver at the thought of my impressionable, intelligent son being influenced by these dark forces.

So I pray that the universe listens to my prayers for the good of humanity - to spread this goodness into the publishing industry and embrace it with much love and light - so that we may learn from life through positive examples and not negative, downgrading horrific stories. Let the positive forces win over the dark forces.

This prayer also holds true with all the art forms - music and fine art.

Signing off and God bless!!

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