I loved reading when I was growing up--though it's rather amusing why. Someone that I looked up to recommended a book to me that was way beyond my comprehension at the time--Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. (You might remember this from a post I made a few months ago.) It was an incredibly difficult book for me to read, but I read it anyway, and when I finished, I asked for more. I went on to read the next three books in what became a series. And my love for reading really took off, as I became so intrigued by the amazing stories of these characters. I was in 6th or 7th grade at the time, and to be perfectly honest with you, I was reading about some very adult themes, and I didn't even realize it.
I explored the science-fiction section of the library, found authors that I liked, and stories. And once in a while I would come across a book that... well, it wasn't written for an audience at my age. I didn't really care, I didn't focus on things I didn't understand and just went through them anyway. But I really wonder...
Movies today, and even TV-shows, have ratings so parents are aware of what could be inappropriate content. But you don't find ratings on books. But I really wonder if maybe there should be?
A good friend of mine was recently telling me about a book she was reading. I was actually getting annoyed because I expect if someone is going to tell me what they are reading that they will actually tell me what happens--5 minutes worth explaining the first chapter only might find me rapidly losing interest. But I picked up on a few things: "vampire," "Seattle."
A few days later I was sitting in a Sunday school class listening to the girls chat about what books they were reading--and something started to sound familiar. So I took what I remembered from the first chapter my friend had explained and asked them--sure enough, the same book. It's called Twilight, by the way, and is followed by 3 more already in print, and a another still in progress. Now I'm hearing about this book everywhere, it seems--a film based on the first book will be released in December of this year.
I mentioned to my friend that some of the girls had expressed thoughts that something in the book (romantic in nature) might not be appropriate for them, and she scoffed that it was just because they are Muslim.
So I know that Muslims tend to crack down a little on movies and television, as well as music and often magazines. But I wonder if popular fiction also deserves some criticism? I think reading is great--it's been shown to improve vocabulary, spelling, reasoning... thinking! A friend of mine who teaches 7th grade says that the students at that age are vastly more prepared to think critically about the world if they are students who have been reading books. On the other hand, students who didn't had more difficulty thinking about the world in broader terms. So reading is important... but maybe we should be a little critical of what we read? Or not? Maybe if we raise our children right in the first place something like this won't be a problem?
I'm curious what people think. :-)