A little over a month ago we got some new shelves and uncrated a bunch of books that had been languishing in moving boxes. These were Ikea BESTÅ shelves so the books were going in 3 deep. With this in mind it was especially important to set aside for front row shelving books that you might want to see again anytime in the foreseeable future. I tried to set aside books in series I wanted to finish and old favourites I might want to read to the kids.
In reading to the kids I have what could be called a hypocritical policy. Books that I would be perfectly content for them to read to themselves I will edit for content and language on the fly. My reasoning is this: I’ve read books pretty much completely unsupervised my entire life. The first book I remember reading (this was in grade 1) was Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology”. One of my uncle’s university texts left lying around. I read through the SF/F sections in my school and the public library until at the age of 10 I discovered the joy of owning books. Starting with Blish’s Star Trek novelizations and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern I’ve been merrily buying books ever since. The thing is when you’re a child and reading a book on your own, the material that you’re not quite ready to process just sort of goes over your head. You skim it and move on to the more interesting stuff. I remember more clearly than the events of yesterday, reading Phyllis Eisenstein’s “Sorcerer’s Son” in the lobby of some fitness centre waiting for my mom and asking the receptionist “What does ‘voluptuous’ mean?”. Wisely, and in a fortuitous bit of preparedness, she handed me a dictionary. I looked it up, thanked her and moved quickly on. Since my reading style includes annotations of the “don’t go into the basement!” variety as well as invitations to discussion… an inflected reading of PG material is just different than if a child were to read it to herself. Offered a choice of “The Witches of Karres”, “Another Fine Myth”, and “Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat”; Tiger picked AFM. That went over pretty much as I expected, generally fun. The only thing I felt needed editing out were overly sexual description of Tananda plus offputting referrals to trollops and sluts (I also didn’t make any commentary about Perverts vs Pervects and was not asked). Probably less than 4 sentences modified in total. As an added bonus, one day when the kids were getting on each others nerves and mine, I was able to point Tiger at Airship Entertainment’s webcast of AFM (also available in a dead tree version Myth Adventures Collection: Another Fine Myth).
Reminiscing about this book, I was just remembering that AFM was my gateway recommendation book for friends who liked science fiction but not fantasy. Always start with something funny. 8)
Thumbs up from the kid, but she didn’t want to dive into the… 20-ish direct sequels. Plenty of time for that. Next up, “The Witches of Karres”.