Books can be lovely, captivating entryways into worlds of fantasy and empowermentor they can be misleading, satanic, and subversive excuses for bad behavior. A book, as a good friend (and a highly respected professor) of mine once said, can be something to bury your nose in, or it can be something in which to slam someone else's nose. I am here to guide you (the students of Stranger Prep and Voc) through the fertile world of young adult literature, to gently helm your educational search, and to prevent you from cheating in your sneaky little ways by COPYING RESEARCH papers straight out of the Encyclopedia Americana.
Now then! A few rules of behavior are in order for the library. While browsing in the library, it is acceptable to (A) clear your throat; it is not acceptable to (B) spit into the wastebaskets. Note: These baskets were provided thoughtfully for your convenience for throwing away PAPER and SPENT PENS. Two: While sitting quietly in the library reading or researching, it is permissible to (A) pass a note quietly to your friend in order to schedule a study date; it is not permissible to (B) crow loudly to that same friend about how many DATES you have lined up for your "SUPER-FLY WEEKEND."
Third, when transporting a book you have checked out, you should NEVER: (A) Use it to sit on while you are waiting for the bus; (B) use it as a shield if you think someone is (1) shooting at you, or (2) spitting at you. You should also prevent its proximity to your dirty, nasty little pets or siblings at home. Also, books are not meant for your squalid private sexual fantasies. Books are meant to titillate the MIND, not the BODY.
Onward and upward, then, to books that you should either avoid or seek out! If you have questions, I am available at the Library Information Desk every day between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., unless it is Thursday, when your librarian has her regular therapeutic appointment with her female support staff.
Books you should AVOID:
1. BLOOD AND GUTS IN HIGH SCHOOL by Kathy Acker
I have never read this book, but judging from the title and the well-known exploits of the author (which I will not mention here; suffice it to say they involved DRUGS and NUDITY), it is to be avoided at all costs.
Instead, you might try BLOOD SPORT (THE HARDY BOYS CASEFILE NO. 117) by Franklin W. Dixon. For generations, this edifying duofeaturing well-behaved, handsome, and kind-hearted young boyshas been bringing excited gasps and archaic facts, like how to tie a square knot, to happy readers. Check out the whole series!
2. ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET by Judy Blume
Although some parents push this book for its "educational value," I've determined that tender young minds are much better served by something like GROWING UP AMISH by David C. Laubach. Enough said.
3. CATCHER IN THE RYE by J. D. Salinger
Such a sassy-mouth, that J. D. Salinger is. No respect at all! And whine, whine, whine! Well, I say BUCK UP, kids! This is REAL LIFE! You may have some pain, some teeny, tiny, poor-you, middle-class angst, but overall? You pushovers have it pretty good, don't you!
Instead, you might try A LITTLE REALITY! Whiners!
4. THE B-TCH WITCH by Roger Charlton
Heaven knows how this 18th-century tale of seduction and domination found its way into our stacks. Thankfully, it is now locked away in my bedside table at home, where I am carefully researching its historical value.
Instead, you might try ALICE NIZZY NAZZY: THE WITCH OF SANTA FE by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Tomie De Paola. A delightful tale of a lonely old woman who is befriended by Manuela, who has lost her sheep, told in the tradition of Russian Baba Yaga tales. Perhaps a bit on the young side, but so sensitive!
I wish you well, my bookish friends, as you embark upon this year of discovery. Remember, a dog-eared book is a well-loved book, unless it got that way because you had it in your backpack, which you throw carelessly on the floor AGAIN and AGAIN after a typical, lazy day at school, while your poor mother follows you around picking up dirty laundryin which case you deserve to be blinded by a stray bullet.