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James Patterson: Books Are Great!
Plus: Shocker! Nice Words About James Patterson!
Say what you want about his factory approach to fiction or the quality of his work, there’s no denying the incredible success of author James Patterson who has sold over 260 million books worldwide. A phenomenal number of books sold translates to a phenomenal number of readers and it’s gratifying to see the author use his fame in order to promote literacy.
ReadKiddoRead.com is Patterson’s website, dedicated to “making kids readers for life,” a certainly admirable aim. The site is broken up into suggested books for age groups between 0-10, with “Illustrated Books,” “Transitional Books,” “Page Turners,” and “Advanced Readers” spotlighted. A quick look at the “Advanced Readers” page shows just how broad the selections are, with books ranging from JD Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye to Carl Hiaasen’s Chomp and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (which my nephew dug) amongst those represented.
The Columbia Daily Tribune has a feature on the site as well as an interview with Patterson about the project. The article notes that Patterson himself has donated huge quantities of his own works to schools and also gives a way an annual total of $70,000 to students heading to college who compete in his essay competition.
Despite how awesome this all sounds, there’s a strong whiff of self-promotion about these endeavours – the boxes of his own books going to schools who win a raffle on ReadKiddoRead.com, the massive donations of his own work, and he says, “My style of storytelling would be good for kids. I’m in touch with the child inside myself.”
Still, I must admit that it’s fairly heartening to write a (largely) positive piece about the guy, even though it seems kids (and the kids-at-heart) have been eating up those Harry Potters and Hunger Gameses like crazy for years now. Between those two series and the fact that I saw four people reading Game of Thrones novels on my way into work this morning alone plus the amazing amount of women I see devouring Lee Child’s books (two strangers even started a conversation about Reacher the other day on my way home – incredible, really), it seems that books are very much alive and well and in the hands of not only kids, but also in the hands of grown-ups.
Let’s not groan about some of the content either, eh? This is a good thing.