Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Red Pencils for the Red Wedding

One of the things that drives me a little crazy is the phenomenon of what I call the "attractive nuisance." This is a book or a series of books that is, in my opinion, marketed to all the wrong people. Today I was browsing in one of my favorite NYC bookstores when I came across the The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book. This is just wrong, guys.

One time when I was a bookseller, a woman approached the counter and asked me where she could find "that kid's book Game of Thrones." Um, Game of Thrones is many things, so I've been lead to understand, but a kid's book it is not. It has a lot of graphic sex, graphic violence, incest, all manner of abuse and degradation- in some cases worse stuff than what shows up on the TV series. Which is also not for children, by the way.

I explained to this customer that while it's none of my business what she wants to give her 10 year old, there are some issues that she might want to be aware of. Like the incest and the rape and graphic beheading. She reacted like it was my fault the book wasn't suitable for her child. No, it's just that someone has lead you very very astray.

And creating a coloring book isn't going to help matters. I get that coloring books are a big fad for adults right now and that's great. Not only does it help bookstores sell fun gifts but it helps the colored pencil market too, so everybody wins. But a Game of Thrones coloring book? It's just going to attract more inappropriate attention.  I took a look through it and I didn't notice any gross beheadings to color in, which is good and bad. Good because who wants to color that in, and bad because it might mislead more parents into thinking that just because something is a fantasy series and on TV that it's great for their kid to read.

I have the same issue with things like The Oatmeal books being front and center on the gift tables. Heck, when I was a librarian I had to dissuade several parents away from Joann Sfar's wonderful-but-for-adults graphic novel The Rabbi's Cat, because duh if it has pictures it's for kids, right?

Well not everything is for kids and none of the things I've mentioned in this post are even a little appropriate for children, at least in my opinion. But like I said, what you want to give them is not really my business.