The Slush Pile
Reviewing books on this website began because I was so excited by some of the books I was discovering that I just had to share my delight with others. So what to do when I read something, and it just doesn’t have that affect on me? There are SO many children’s books out there.
My current decision is not to include them as “Great Children’s Literature.” Now in many cases, this is very presumptuous of me, as some may be medal winners, or written by fabulous authors. But for now, I’m going to stand by my own tastes. So here are a few that are in my ‘slush’ pile, and the reasons why. Wizard of Earthsea, by LeGuin, is probably great for diehard fantasy readers. And there is no doubt that the message is sublime: We cannot run away from or split off from our own shadow side. But I don’t really want to sludge through so much effort to get there. LeGuin uses unfamiliar names, unfamiliar places throughout…so unfamiliar they don’t even stay with me. So I nixed the book…for me.
Another was The Moffats, which was recommended by a friend. I found it basically…boring, and dated. Enough said.
Last but not least was Meet the Austins, by L’engle. Another writer who I love, and whose books are on this website, I assumed I would love this too. There’s nothing really wrong with it as a book. It’s just not great literature. I had to make myself finish it. I didn’t feel invested in the outcome of the characters.
I doubted my judgment on each of these, then I picked up Little Lord Fauntleroy, and instantly I understood the difference. The writing, the values, the pace, the characters, made me want to be with them, something none of the other three books offered me.
So for now, slush pile it is. With sincere apologies to the great authors. I guess I’m hard to please.