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Manor Lakes Specialist College: 2. Crying over Books?

Thursday, July 29, 2010 , Posted by Sandy Fussell at 11:44 PM

I was quite surprised last week that many of you were reading really scary books. The more I thought about, the more puzzled I became. Why do we like to read things or watch movies that frighten us? I am not as brave as you guys, and after a discussion with a friend about Darren Shan I was nervous walking to my car in the dark! But what book did I order in from my local bookstore yesterday – Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater –a werewolves novel. If you are feeling brave, check out Maggie's website.

What about other emotions? What books have you read that made you laugh? Or what about one that made you cry? And I won’t believe it everyone says they never ever feel sad in books. I know no-one in the whole world cries as much as me – not only an I a wimp when it comes to horror, I am a sook when it comes to drama. Once I cried so much on the train a little kid said, very loudly: “Look mummy, that lady is reading the saddest book in the whole world.” The strange thing was it wasn’t really sad – just poignant in places when it was talking about friendship. The book was Dear Swoosie by Kate Constable and Penni Russon. It’s part of the Girlfriend Fiction range and if anyone reads it I bet they say: “This isn’t sad at all.” I wonder why some books are sad for some people and not others.

PS. If you like Girlfriend Fiction - and this is one for the hirls only (sorry guys) - try Something More by Mo Johnson. She's a good freind of mine and an excellent writer. You can read an extract here.

I even cried whenI read – The Knife of Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Has anyone read that one? There's a great review here. I think it would be post-apocalyptic science fiction or science fantasy. And if you are shaking your head and saying – I now that one, its exciting, action filled, a bit violent, dark and scary n places but what did she find to cry about? The dog scene!

The dog has readable thoughts – as do all the boys and men in the book – so if you have ever wondered what dogs think – read at least the first page. There’s a recommendation on the front from Frank Cottrell Bryce (if you’ve seen the film Millions, Frank wrote the screenplay and book and won the Carnegie Medal for it!) . Frank said “One of the best first sentences I’ve ever read and a book that lives up to it.” I agree it’s a great book but don’t think it’s one of the best first sentences.” I’ve been discussing first sentences with the Year 5 and 6 kids from Smithfield if you want to read what we thought or add your own first line suggestions here.

I was really pleased to get so many good book recommendations last time we talked that I’ve loaded up the we page Tegan and I discussed – a place to store central recommendations. I kicked it off with Grimsdon, the new Deborah Abela book I finished yesterday. Feel free to post comments to discussions I am having with other schools. If you have a book to add to the recommendations just post the details in a comment and I’ll add it in.

Here’s the book trailer for Grimsdon:

So why do you read? To be entertained, to be frightened, to feel all gushy in the romance scene or something completely different? I started reading because I had nothing else to do and libraries were free! I had a very strict mum (she didn’t even let me do homework!) and no pocket money. But I kept reading because I liked how it took me other places. That’s probably why I started reading mostly fantasy. Which reminds me – how did you go filling in the lest of genres? Did you get them all?

I also write about places I never go – like Japan, the Arctic and South America. And yes, I even cry in my own books. My kids tell me that is the lamest thing ever!

Currently have 17 comments:

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi it's LOHGAN here! The scariest book i've read is 'I Am Legend' by Richard Matheson it is really scary, especially when you read it at night...Midnight. The movie 'I Am Legend' is sort of based on the book but the book is wayyyyy different! When I read it at night on a saturday at 12am I was really scared because I started hearing groaning noises but I think it was my mind playing tricks on me! But I still read scary books at night because it makes it more interesting! I can't wait to start reading 'Mortlock'

  1. Anonymous says:

    LOHGAN again! Just to add that the scariest part was when he was trapped and cornered on a dock by blood thirsty vampires with no-where to go and I thought he was going to get eaten but he just jumped into the water.

  1. Anonymous says:

    HI Sandy,

    The kids and I really loved the discussion we had following the reading of this post. Isnt it funny how, as you said we all have different reactions to different books.

    I was explaining to the kids that possibly one of the saddest scenes I have ever read was in Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, the scene when Harry and Dumbledore are trying to get to the horcrux and Dumbledore is begging Harry to stop making him drink the potion...I cried like a baby. You should have seen how hysterical I got when Dumbledore died!!!!!!!

    I also cried whilst reading the Knife Of Never Letting Go!!! That is a GREAT book!!!!

    I must say Sandy I had a bit of a giggle over your thinking that Shiver might be scary...I LOVE that book!!! Its beautiful :)

    Tye :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    hi Sandy,
    This is the piece of writing I am to post to you. Please don't mind what i'm writing about ..........

    Imagine having 2 sisters that are so irritating that you wish the earth would open up and swallow you, well stop imagining, because its happened to me.
    My sisters have this attitude that is so annoying it is hard to ignore. And its not just once a week, probably narrow it down to once or twice a day. I can’t help myself but yell back at them or say something nasty back. Mum always complains about it ‘Can’t you guys ever get along’. Its always me thats fighting with Chelsea, or me thats fighting with Katya. I’m trying everyday to ignore them, but it is so hard. Half the time I feel like yelling and swearing at them, or crying.
    Living with it everyday is just the hardest thing in the world. I wish i was deaf at times, just to hear peace and quiet and not to hear them yelling at me. I wish a genie would appear and grant me a wish. Its obvious to what I would wish for, to make my sisters nicer, and i mean heaps nicer.
    Sometimes I would hit one of them slightly, then they would hit me back harder, and that will keep going and going and going.
    I still love them, but at times that love hides and i can’t handle it.
    I feel so sorry for my Mum because she has to put up with it. We haven’t even hit the mid-teens yet and I have a feeling its gonna get worse.
    As i said i’m trying to ignore them.

    We were told to write about the worst time of our life that made us so annoyed that we wanted to swear and kick and scream.
    The book that got me emotional was the Darren Shan series, at the very end of the last one. I probably shouldn't give it away but your not gonna read it. He dies at the end, but he was tricked into doing so.
    From Tanaya :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    A story that i reacted to is Breaking Dawn when Alice and Jasper leave to find another half vampire half human. After I read that chapter I went to bed and thought about how Renesme looked at the picture of the family and she see's Alice and Jasper and she says "Mummy there not here anymore"- Stacey =)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy. Tegan here! All the books that I really felt for…I think the one that I absolutely bawled my eyes out was MARLEY AND ME. Usually I stay strong in sad books and I don't cry, but because Marley was old, and he died of old age, and my dog Zane is 14, and he's on his last legs (sometimes he can barley walk) and I just thought about Zaney in Marley's place just then. I cried for hours. Also, other books I almost cried in: MADOC (RE-READ!!!!!) ALEX AND ME (RE-READ!!) CLEO (RE-READ!!!) A DOG'S PURPOSE (RE-READ!!!!!!!!!!!!) WESELY (RE-REEEAAADDD!!!!!)and, THEN. You must read these books, they are awesome, and sad, and some are hilarious.

    For the book that scared me the most, probably some of the GOOSEBUMPS books, cause I made the mistake of reading them at night, before I went to bed. The thing is though, I always think about how other people will get hurt and all that. Thats what scares me.
    HILARIOUS BOOKS: Marley and me. Its sad, and OH so hilarious.

    Thats all I can say because there's no time for more, but I recommend all the books for everyone to read!

  1. Hey LOHGAN, Snap! I am Legend - the original not the latest movie version - is a great, great book. Oddly enough it didn't frighten me at all. I've just relaised that Science fiction, even the most depressing post apocalyptic doesn't scare me - I am only afraid of horror genre stories!

  1. TYE, I haven't read Shiver but I just assumed it would be scary because it had werewolves in it. Are you saying it's not scary? *Sandy breathes loud sigh of relief* I love wolf stories. One of my all time favourites is the WOLVES OF TIME series by William Horwood. I love his description of how the wolves howl down through Time (meaning back into their history).

  1. TANAYA, It's wierd that you should say the last Darren Shan book was the one you found most emotional becuase I was telling a friend about how some of my new blog friends liked Darren Shan and she said she liked the series but hated the last book because she thought the death scene was a quick cop-out! Yet you thought it was very emotional. I think that just proves it beyond a doubt. Different people feel very differently about the same book.

    How many books are there before I get to the last one? That's assuming I am brave enough to get through the first one.

    I am going to make a new page for writing and yours will be the first piece there. I'll make some comments about it too. I hope that's OK. But if you prefer to just to leave it hidden down here, just let me know. But I would say don't be shy about your writing, I think it is excellent.

  1. Oh yes, STACEY. I can feel that line too. Might have to move the TWILIGHT books up my reading pile now that I've heard that. It's a very big reading pile *sigh* - about 50 books I would guess - and at the moment TWILIGHT (the first book) is about half way down.

  1. TEGAN, you are so right. We bring our own experiences to books and that's one of the reasons they affect us so differently. You should write a recommendation for MARLET AND ME for our new Gotta Reads list (its a new tab at the top of the web page) - just a short one - have a look at the one I added for GRIMSDON to see what I mean. Just leave the recommendation in a comment and I'll load it. But even if you don't I am definitely going to read MARLEY AND ME. I am more of a cat person and don't have a dog at the moment. But I have loved and lost some special dogs too.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Sandy it's LOHGAN again! I am sort of like that too I don't really get scared at all with science-fiction like vampires and zombies but horror sometimes scares me because it's more realistic but with science-fiction you know that vampires etc. aren't true (Or are they????)hmmm

    Lohgan :)

  1. Hmmm... indeed LOHGAN! The one that scared me the most was werewolves. For a long time, until I got a dog after I left school (a deerhound) - I was afraid of dogs - because of a bad experience when I was a preschooler. So it seemed a little bit too easy for me to take the scary dog (that I knew was real) and morph it into a werewolf. Much later on I saw a real wolf - and it was so beautiful I couldn't be scared any more. And that's ironic - because the wolf I saw - being a wild animal - was probably the most dangerous of all. Might be a story in there somewhere! I love wolf stories. My favourite is a fantasy series by William Horwood called THE WOLVES OF TIME.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy! Tegan here. I think I will write a recommendation for MARLEY AND ME. Its the most awesome book. Oh, if your not really a dog person, and you are a cat person, I really recommend CLEO. It is a story about a lady that bought her son a black kitten for his birthday. A week later, he died, and the kitten was dropped off some weeks later. This a hilarious story about this lady and her cat.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,
    I was just sooooooooo into the Darren Shan series that I couldn't help myself but cry. i just loved the books.
    With the Darren Shan series, there are 12 books altogether, but you can find the 3 books in one versions, there the ones I read. The first 3 books in one book is called the blood trilogy, second is called the vampire rites trilogy, third is called vampire war trilogy, and fourth is called vampire destiny.
    I don't mind if you post my writing, I just hope my 2 sisters don't find this website and read it! they would kill me!

    You don't need to be worried about reading Shiver, I loved the book and can't wait until I get the second book.


  1. Snap TEGAN! I've read Cleo. I got it for Christmas and you won't be surprised to hear this I bet - I cried. But it was also very uplifting and sometimes I think that a cat purr is more powerful than any fantasy story magic potion or enchanted sword! I passed Cleo on to a friend (who is also a cat person, strangely enough, a lot of writers are cat or dog people!) - I think it is one of those books that should travel around making people feel better.

  1. Thanks TANAYA. I posted your writing under a new tab called RWZ Writers with some comments. I thought it was a wonderfully emotional piece of work. I would love to see it as a longer story too. I am going to have another attempt at reading Darren Shan - I'll let you know how I go.