Teenagers Reading

research for my PhD thesis

Boys don’t cry

with 3 comments

Update 25/08: nothing to do with the topic, but I had to amend view on Posse by Kate Welshman which I was reading while watching World’s Strictest Parents. I hadn’t finished Posse when I wrote I liked it. It starts very well, but deteriorates towards the end.

Even weird boys are afraid of their emotions – Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (Penguin, 2006)

Because I’m finishing my thesis and my research with teenagers is long since over, the only teenagers I have access to these days are sk8ers and graf artists. They’re not quite representative of teenagers in general, so I look elsewhere for what the rest of the teen population is up to. My latest source is about as representative of teens in general as the real kids I know, but perhaps not quite as real, because it’s the reality TV of World’s Strictest Parents.  I’m desperate for anything to distract me from my excruciating thesis that I really should have finished by now.

James gets upset and cries a lot by Ann Blair I’m about to discuss reality TV because of the very real situation that occurs among boys and the men they become. I noticed this in previous episodes, but it wasn’t until the episode with a gay guy that I realized boys aren’t allowed to cry, unless they’re gay. Teenage boys brought up in our sexist world learn early on not to show “feminine” emotions like crying. If parents don’t model this behaviour, kids in the school yard will enforce it. Boys are “allowed” to show anger, particularly in the form of violence, or just plain avoidance of any emotion. As 16 year olds, the participants in World’s Strictest Parents are unlikely to realize that while they think it’s embarrassment at their mates seeing them cry that stops them, they’ve actually had 16 years of conditioning not to cry, from their mates, media and society in general. If any of these boys did cry and the producers chose to cut it, such manipulation by adults choosing to maintain this facade, would be even worse. I don’t think it’s the latter, tears from anyone make for good TV.

Read the rest of this entry »


Written by ClareSnow

15 August 2009 at 10:42 am

Australian Comics and Graphic Novels

leave a comment »

Hollow Fields by Madeleine Rosca I have a list of graphic novels written or illustrated by Australians. It’s not extensive and I often discover titles I’ve missed, but finding Australian graphic novels and comics may become easier. Debbie Cox contacted me to tell about two projects of the National Library of Australia which aim to ensure the library collects published work of Australian comics creators. Collecting Australian Fringe Publishing at the National Library of Australia and The Comics Claiming Project are about the collection and treatment of comics, graphic novels, manga and zines at the NLA. The projects focus on:

  • What’s being published by Australian creators and publishers, whether published in Australia or not
  • Whether the NLA is adding them to the collection
  • If not, how the intake of these materials could be improved

How is this relevant to Australian comics and graphic novels creators?

The NLA needs help ensuring Australian comics, graphic novels, manga and zines are represented in the national collection. For creators this will mean a copy of published work is preserved in a controlled environment and made accessible to library patrons now and in the future. Information about these works will also be made available as a catalogue record to anyone anywhere with access to the internet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ClareSnow

9 July 2009 at 7:15 pm

Research into Reading

with one comment

I’m finalizing the literature review for my thesis. (I may even have a thesis to submit one day soon!) And I revisited two papers:

  • “Is there a decline in the reading romance?” by Stephen Krashen and Debra Von Sprecken, and
  • “Longitudinal study of the reading attitudes and behaviors of middle school students” by Terry Ley, Barbara Schaer, and Betsy Dismukes.

Krashen and Von Sprecken examined the results of a number of studies of children’s reading [1], including Ley, Schaer, and Dismukes’ longitudinal survey of 160 US students over three years as they progressed from sixth to eighth grade [2].

In their review of the literature Krashen and Von Sprecken looked at “how much children enjoyed reading” and concluded any decrease in reading enjoyment as children age is only slight. Most studies used a 5-point scale and the average was always above 2.5.

At no stage do children show a negative attitude toward reading. [3]

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ClareSnow

18 June 2009 at 2:11 pm

Survey of Australian Comics Creators

leave a comment »

Julie Ditrich, Director of Black Mermaid Productions and Australian Society of Authors Comics/Graphic Novels Portfolio Holder, is asking Australian comics creators to participate in a survey that will help build a profile of the comics community, as well as provide a starting point for research into Freelance Page Rates.


Dear Australian Comics Creator,

I am writing to you as a member of the Australian Society of Authors (ASA), representing the recently established ASA Comics/Graphic Novels Portfolio. I am currently undertaking research to create a Rates Card for you and other professional and emerging Australian comics creators for the purposes of commissioned works (otherwise known as work-for hire) agreements. By “comics” I mean anyone who is writing and illustrating comic books, graphic novels, comic/cartoon strips, digital (web) comics and zines (that contain comics/sequential art content). By “professional” I mean anybody who has been paid page rates by a publisher or other entity who has commissioned the work.
We are asking you to fill in a simple survey, which will only take you 10 minutes, and to provide information based upon your own professional experiences. This raw data will remain strictly confidential and will be used with the intention of formulating minimum page rates and to get an understanding of the makeup and profile of the working (and emerging) comics community in Australia. The specific minimum rates we want to develop for the Rates Card are for:
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ClareSnow

28 May 2009 at 1:54 pm

how to write a thesis

with 4 comments

phd and me by Zoë Sakokierski
I’m mired deep within the writing of a thesis and it’s excruciating. One day I think it’s going really well and the next I think I will never finish. Zoë Sadokierski drew the above picture of her thesis and sometimes this is just what my thesis looks like.

Happily my muse is visiting today, but for when the monster comes out Zoë sent me this:


Written by ClareSnow

28 January 2009 at 2:38 pm

Posted in thesis, writing

Why collect graphic novels?

with 2 comments

I’m writing about the interviews I conducted with six librarians last year. (Names of people and libraries have been changed to ensure confidentiality.) One of the first topics we discussed was why their library had a graphic novel collection. The most common reason was because their borrowers wanted to read them, with interest gleaned through requests for purchase and circulation statistics once acquired. Ms Marchamley cited the popularity of graphic novels among her students as the reason for Banksia Park High School Library’s collection, “I don’t think you can deny that they’re not getting used, especially all the new ones.” Her colleague Ms Tyler continued, “I mean nothing really sits on the shelf.” Ms Turner said of Tuart Grove High School Library’s graphic novels, “There’s a little hard core of students who prefer that format, so they’re ticking over steadily.”

As a voracious reader of graphic novels, Mr Carlton had slightly different reasons for a library collecting graphic novels. He was passionate about the format and read them in his spare time. He referred to their popularity, but also considered graphic novels were “a part of literature.”

I think you can’t not have graphic novels in your collection, because not everyone wants [conventional books]. I mean if you’re going to have you know, audio cassettes,…you’re going to have videos, books, DVDs…It’s just another format. And you’ve got the internet in there, so you’ve got graphic novels whether you want it or not through the internet [ie. web comics].

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ClareSnow

29 December 2008 at 10:02 am

I can get that from the library!?

with 2 comments

Justine Larbalestier blogged about borrowing books from libraries and how authors benefit from this.

On the big scale, borrowing books is good because that’s what keeps libraries alive: the more people who borrow books from libraries the more likely they are to be funded. And the more libraries there are the more people who are reading.

love is hell - surely not Scott Westerfeld had blogged about Love is Hell [1], which includes stories by him, Justine and others (eg. Gabrielle Zevin a remarkable writer, who loves her pup almost as much as i love mine). One of Scott’s loyal Westerfeldians lamented she would have to wait months before she could find it at a used book store. Justine suggested:

Maybe you could get your local library to order it in?

This idea is surprising to many teenagers, but every teen librarian grapples with how to entice teenagers into their library. I’ve written a literature review on the topic [2]. (Amira-la does know how rocking libraries are and like me is waiting (im)patiently for Love is Hell to arrive on a library shelf, altho our respective libraries are half a world from each other.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ClareSnow

3 December 2008 at 2:20 pm

%d bloggers like this: