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Old 06-06-2008, 18:23   #21
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Wish I was more literary when I was younger. Would've been funny to do a school book report on American Psycho.
I remember doing mine on both volumes of War and Peace
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Old 06-06-2008, 18:38   #22
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if a film is age rated, why on earth should a book not be rated? Would parents really want kids to read "american physco" or the serial killer/torture porn that i seem to like

its just a guidance to say some books are not suitable for younger readers. or are books just harmless things that no one takes any notice of
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Old 06-06-2008, 19:01   #23
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If you put an 18 cert on books and say not for children, perhaps that will encourage kids to start reading

Seems to work for everything else!
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Old 06-06-2008, 19:24   #24
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Seems a silly idea to me - I used to read what would now be classed as 18 rated adult novels when I was 10/11 years old, like the Guy N. Smith and James Herbert horror ones by New English Library and Dracula and Alien.
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Old 06-06-2008, 19:30   #25
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Shelving books like that is good. We shelve books similarly at the library (Young readers, 11+, teens). I don't see the harm in supplementing it with age ratings, though. Lots of people buy books from supermarkets now, where children's books aren't organised, so they'd appreciate ratings there.

Whether supermarkets *should* be selling books is another matter.
I think you'll find that children, especially teenagers, know exactly what they want to read. Those that do read, anyway. If a parent is concerned about the material, they can read the book cover and veto if it doesn't fit with their sensibilities.

So where's the sense in a classification system?

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As I said, though, the intention is for the ages to be an advisory, not strictly enforced. And if you know your kid can read those books from the higher ranges, more power to him! I was a precocious reader myself; I was reading my Enid Blyton's alone from the age of three, Tolkein at 7, and the Bourne books at 13, to name some examples. I never felt that I had to follow any ages the books were 'supposed' to be read at, but having children's, teen, and adult books meant that when I got bored reading at one level, I just stepped up to the next one. The principle's the same with these age ratings, there's nothing to stop someone moving up through them at their own pace. Or ignoring them totally, even.
So where's the benefit? You've just argued that a classification system is of very little use! Both from the viewpoint of a rating system implemented now and your own person experience.

We need to be encouraging children to read. Not putting worthless barriers in the way.




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I don't hold with that argument. Not least because when I was at school, I got mocked and belittled by other children for reading books. Apparently this was too nerdy an activity to be cool.

In any case, kids know who remedial readers are whether or not they have a number on their books, so I don't think it'll make any difference there.
But you see a remedial teacher doesn't tell the pupil's peers what his reading age is. As far as the peers are concerned, that child could be just a year or two behind. But a label on a book saying '5' or whatever, gives them a hook. HA! HA! He's a five year old!

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An age rating, people know. A rating on grammatical and lexical complexity would confuse people who don't know what the levels mean. Say, a maiden aunt buying a book for a young nephew. With an age on, she's got a chance on picking something appropriate. A rating based on other criteria may just baffle her.
Not really. A Flesch-Kincaid grade level, for example, gives a rating based on typical reading abilities for a particular age. Much more relevant to a child than some rating based on content. And, it is a system that is easily understood.

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The bottom line is, these ratings aren't supposed to be there to prevent kids from reading unsuitable things. They're to help parents and other adults make informed choices. And if I were a parent, I'd be delighted to have them to guide me.
Then why base them on cinema style ratings? That is totally the wrong message to send and will, in my opinion, be a disincentive for children to stretch themselves because, being based on a cinema classification system, people ( e.g. lazy, overly protective, small minded parents or restrictive teachers ) will use that as a form of censorship. And that is bad.
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Old 06-06-2008, 19:41   #26
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if a film is age rated, why on earth should a book not be rated? Would parents really want kids to read "american physco" or the serial killer/torture porn that i seem to like
Because films are a totally different medium. Amongst other attributes, books require imagination. In addition, the grammer and lexicon of a book too advanced for an individual child will be a natural disincentive to continue reading. This is not the case with a film as that is primarily a visual medium.

Tame by AM standards I'm sure, but I was reading Dennis Wheatley ( occult ), horror and adult type adventure books from around the age of thirteen. But if my 14 year old said he wanted to read American Psycho, I wouldn't necessarily rule it out because of his age. I'd probably veto it until he was a a bit older but I'd at least listen to him and assess the situation rationally.

As I've written before. Children do not mature at the same rate. To try and pigeon-hole them based on some ridiculous BBFC type rating system is detrimental.

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its just a guidance to say some books are not suitable for younger readers. or are books just harmless things that no one takes any notice of
Unsuitable? By what definition?

Last edited by pkr; 06-06-2008 at 19:45.
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Old 06-06-2008, 19:54   #27
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do you not think any books are unsuitable for younger readers?

stuff like stephen king is pretty tame nowadays, but patricia cornwall/similar solve the serial killer books are pretty grusome in terms of the torture that happens to the victims.

Clearly smut books are not suitable but general sex and the city type tales of people just having sex with no context and multiple partners in mutiple ways. You'd not let a child watch a porn movie so the same goes for reading that sort of graphic descriptions.

I've never refused to see a movie as its PG or U, so saying certain books are suitable for 5+, 8+, 12+ etc seems sensible. plenty of books ARE unsuitable for younger readers, and not just for "ease of reading" arguments.
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Old 06-06-2008, 20:00   #28
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if a film is age rated, why on earth should a book not be rated?
Because it's a really, really, really, really stupid and pointless idea, that's why! How long have books been published for? Why do we suddenly need age ratings now?
This country is getting more and more daft by the day.
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Old 06-06-2008, 20:13   #29
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Originally Posted by cjanderson View Post
do you not think any books are unsuitable for younger readers?

stuff like stephen king is pretty tame nowadays, but patricia cornwall/similar solve the serial killer books are pretty grusome in terms of the torture that happens to the victims.
Odd you should mention that. My 14 y.o. recently asked to read one of my wife's crime/thriller books. Jonathan Hayes' Precious Blood. I've not read it but it apparently fits the Cornwall genre.

You know what? He started reading it but gave up as he didn't think it was for him. He found his current limit himself and backed off.

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Clearly smut books are not suitable but general sex and the city type tales of people just having sex with no context and multiple partners in mutiple ways. You'd not let a child watch a porn movie so the same goes for reading that sort of graphic descriptions.
You had very sheltered teenyears perhaps?

Sorry, but that is very blinkered. Kids of yore read porn magazines without their parent's knowledge. And the stories and imagry therein certainly fits your definition of smut. It certainly happend ( and probably still does ).

Ultimately, they have access to the material without their parent's consent.

That's not to say I would actively condone it with my children of course. However, there are explicit books that are not pornographic. I've already mentioned 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' which was banned until 1962 but is now considered a literary work and is an A level text. I would have no issue with my 14 y.o. expressing an interest in reading that for example as it is far more than bad language and sex. It examines so much more and in my opinion would help to prepare for an adult life.

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I've never refused to see a movie as its PG or U, so saying certain books are suitable for 5+, 8+, 12+ etc seems sensible. plenty of books ARE unsuitable for younger readers, and not just for "ease of reading" arguments.
But you're ignoring the nature of the medium. As I've said, films and books are very different media. One is visual whilst books require a certain reading ability and the inclination to continue which is not really true of films.
Books are self limiting.
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Old 06-06-2008, 20:16   #30
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Who's going to decide this age thing, anyway? That's my biggest objection? And on what grounds? I discovered James Herbert at around 11, and that was almost certainly too young according the 'the book Man', but I loved it and probably wouldn't be the avid reader I am today if it weren't for the likes of The Rats and The Fog teacing me that, hey, books can show you things you won't see anywhere else.

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Old 06-06-2008, 20:20   #31
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Sorry, but that is very blinkered. Kids of yore read porn magazines without their parent's knowledge. And the stories and imagry therein certainly fits your definition of smut. It certainly happend ( and probably still does ).

Ultimately, they have access to the material without their parent's consent.

That's not to say I would actively condone it with my children of course. However, there are explicit books that are not pornographic. I've already mentioned 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' which was banned until 1962 but is now considered a literary work and is an A level text. I would have no issue with my 14 y.o. expressing an interest in reading that for example as it is far more than bad language and sex. It examines so much more and in my opinion would help to prepare for an adult life.
i'd also say books like Judy Blume's "forever" is quite sexually explicit but is definately suitable for teens and maybe younger.

but if your happy for your kids to read porn mags/books, fair enough, your choice, not every parent would know the content of the books their kids read and may be helped by a guide. i don't really care either way, i just don't think every book is suitable for any age.
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Old 06-06-2008, 20:22   #32
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I discovered James Herbert at around 11, and that was almost certainly too young according the 'the book Man', but I loved it and probably wouldn't be the avid reader I am today if it weren't for the likes of The Rats and The Fog teacing me that, hey, books can show you things you won't see anywhere else.
This is exactly what i was saying.

Children over here read hardly anything these days. ******* hell i remember lads in my year in school being called queers becuase they liked reading. Children should always be encouraged to read. Anything that gets in the way of them reading is a joke.
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Old 06-06-2008, 22:05   #33
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Are they going to ban smoking in books next?
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Old 06-06-2008, 22:16   #34
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Sounds like a bad idea, voluntary age ratings now, then in five years time when people have got used to that, make them compolsury, then five years after that, make it legally enforceable "because people are ignoring the age rating" and then in another 5 years, ban posession of certain books "simply to close a loophole" as the wrong books are still getting into the hands of children.

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Old 06-06-2008, 22:31   #35
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Never going to happen
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:43   #36
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i'd also say books like Judy Blume's "forever" is quite sexually explicit but is definately suitable for teens and maybe younger.
So, some idiot comes along, assesses the content and puts a BBFC '18' type sticker on it. Because that is exactly the type of content that will be affected by this ludicrous system. Meaning that a book that in many other respects is perfectly suitable ( I'm guessing, I'm not at all familiar with this title ) will be unavailable to someone who would enjoy reading it and may gain something from it. And as someone esle has rightly said, legislation creep would make these classifications mandatory after a while.

There are other things to consider too.

Children's authors have a very limited range to work with as it is owing to how fast children grow up. So they try and make their books appeal across a wide range. Our resident author, 'bollecks', has I believe said that he keeps the appeal of his books as wide as possible. There is some strong language to help them work for teens whilst not putting them out of reach of advanced children significantly younger. I hope I haven't misrepresented you there Robert!

So, what happens under this idiotic system? Like in the film industry, publishers now target the books at the classifications. Thereby making the content insipid for some. But also, narrowing the age range may reduce the market for authors who simply won't bother. At a stroke the system will actually do significant harm to children's books.

Is this what we want?


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but if your happy for your kids to read porn mags/books, fair enough,
Whoa! Where did I say that?

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your choice, not every parent would know the content of the books their kids read and may be helped by a guide. i don't really care either way, i just don't think every book is suitable for any age.
And as I've said, books are self limiting so there really isn't any significant problem.
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:46   #37
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Who's going to decide this age thing, anyway?
The Library Policeman. And if he catches you reading something proscribed, he'll do you up the wrong 'un. Oh YEETHHHHH!
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:24   #38
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The Library Policeman. And if he catches you reading something proscribed, he'll do you up the wrong 'un. Oh YEETHHHHH!
*buys red licorice*
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:59   #39
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So, some idiot comes along, assesses the content and puts a BBFC '18' type sticker on it. Because that is exactly the type of content that will be affected by this ludicrous system. Meaning that a book that in many other respects is perfectly suitable ( I'm guessing, I'm not at all familiar with this title ) will be unavailable to someone who would enjoy reading it and may gain something from it.
It'll only be available if their reading is controlled by nutjobs who mistake advisory ratings for cast-iron restrictions. Any sensible parent will consider whether than age range falls in with their child's reading development, and whether they feel their child is emotionally mature enough to read it. As I keep saying, it's an aid to making informed choices, *not* a restriction.

As you're unaware of the content of Forever, I'll just briefly summarise it, though. Judy Blume's daughter complained to her mum that every book she read that had teen sex in it ended badly - the moral being teens shouldn't have sex and should wait until they're married and all that. So her mum wrote a book for her that didn't demonise teen sex. Perhaps not something you'd want to give to a five year old. And while sans age ratings, someone who is too young for it is more than likely to decide that on their own when the get bored after a few pages, age ratings will help the parents, etc. buying books to recognise earlier that it's not especially suitable, rather than potentially wasting money on it too early.

And as someone esle has rightly said, legislation creep would make these classifications mandatory after a while.

There are other things to consider too.

Quote:
So, what happens under this idiotic system? Like in the film industry, publishers now target the books at the classifications. Thereby making the content insipid for some. But also, narrowing the age range may reduce the market for authors who simply won't bother. At a stroke the system will actually do significant harm to children's books.
With all due respect, that's utter balls. Writers will write the same books they always have done, and be under the same conditions they always have been.

If you think, by the way, that writers don't already target their books at certain ages, you're very naive. Sure, you get writers who just bang a book out and see where it falls, but you also do already get writers who deliberately consider whether the particular book they're writing is for young children, or teens, etc. All that age advisories would do is make this more apparent to parents.
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:15   #40
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Sounds like a bad idea, voluntary age ratings now, then in five years time when people have got used to that, make them compolsury, then five years after that, make it legally enforceable "because people are ignoring the age rating" and then in another 5 years, ban posession of certain books "simply to close a loophole" as the wrong books are still getting into the hands of children.
rofl

(I take it that was an attempt at humour?)
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