There has been a lot of discussion in recent months about how young people do not read enough and how, in the face of that startling decline, Americans are on a path to cultural illiteracy. It is very easy to blame computers, video games and television and while I do acknowledge that all of those things take up precious time, I was raised with the television on all the time and spent countless hours playing Frogger and Space Invaders while also body surfing, going to the movies and watching my brother launch model rockets.
In other words, it wasn't always all about the books and yet I was - and continue to be - an avid reader. However did that happen?
I've been banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why some kids continue to be readers after elementary school while others leave books behind for decades. As a reviewer I know there are a ton of good books out there but I also know that many many of them are written for girls (or they are books that seem to be for boys but really will be read more by girls trying to understand boys). So it is boys that I'm more focused on and concerned with. After following a very good discussion on this very subject over at Sara Lewis Holmes' blog, I finally figured out what I think is a key problem:
Boys don't know how (or want to take the time) to find good books.
Well the internet is nothing if not a place to find stuff so several of us have been emailing back and forth on how to create a site that is teenage boy friendly and will provide a lot of book reviews on books boys will like. Our goal is to be open for business in June, with twenty different bloggers posting once a month (for sure) so there will be a ton of different points of view (from SF to action to nonfic and art) and opportunities to be all things to all boys. We will also hopefully have short interviews with not only male authors but other adult men who can share what books mean to them and what books they enjoyed as teens. And we will have boys chiming in with recommendations and comments as well.
The question I have though, is about the title. I threw out "Flying Cars and Lost Cities" when I first came up with the idea just because I think those are both things that boys want. But I need some feedback on that - would boys like a site with this name? Would it appeal to them? Would they be willing to visit it and see what we have to offer? If any of you have actual teenage boys in your homes (or workplace), I'd especially be grateful for their thoughts. We have just started talking about the design so I'm going to need to do the domain and all that soon and would like some input as to whether we're on the right track or not.
Comments or emails (colleenatchasingraydotcom) would be welcome. I'm traveling down to Portland today (on the train!) but will check tonight and see what you all have to say.
[Post pictures from Popular Mechanics and National Geographic - that's Angkor Wat in Cambodia.]