Category: News from Ashland Creek Press


Is YA fiction too dark?

By Midge Raymond,

We read with interest this Wall St. Journal article on young adult (YA) fiction about how (distressingly, for many parents) today’s YA fiction seems to be getting darker and darker. According to the selection in many bookstores, today’s avidly reading teens can find themselves “immersed in ugliness.”

The part of the article that stands out most to me is this: “Reading about homicide doesn’t turn a man into a murderer; reading about cheating on exams won’t make a kid break the honor code. But the calculus that many parents make is less crude than that: It has to do with a child’s happiness, moral development and tenderness of heart.”

We think about this a lot for every Ashland Creek Press title we publish: How will this book both entertain and enlighten? Will this book  offer something positive in an all-too-often troubling world? Will this book inspire readers to engage with the world in which they live in an optimistic way? This is more important than ever with young adult books.

Our first YA title, Out of Breath, belongs to a genre that teens have been devouring lately. There’s a little romance, a lot of paranormal, and yes, you’ll meet a couple of vampires. It’s certainly not as dark as some teen fiction out there — there’s no serious violence, no profanity, no sex, and no child abuse, self-inflicted or otherwise. And what we hope will surprise readers about this novel is that even amid the darker elements of the story, the book celebrates the earth and nature and shows how we can all connect to it a little more closely.

It’s good to see this article and to know that the tide may be turning — not that we need to create unrealistic, utopian worlds for teen readers but because, as the article notes, “books focusing on pathologies help normalize them.” And it’s not that we should ignore the realities of what teenagers experience — but literature can be one of many ways in which to show them that there is as much light in the world as there is dark.

Ashland’s First Tree of the Year

By John Yunker,

A few weeks ago I profiled a Monterey Cypress from another part of Ashland.

But I neglected to highlight this Monterey Cypress, which was actually the very first “Ashland Tree of the Year.”

If you’re headed into Ashland from the north, traveling along Main Street, you’ll see this tree on your right on the front lawn of an elementary school.

A fine introduction to Ashland I would say.

PS: Going forward, I’m going to add these trees to a custom Google Map so they’re easy to find.

Presenting Patti Marxsen’s “Archaeologies”

By Midge Raymond,

We are thrilled to announce the publication of Patti M. Marxsen’s essay “Archaeologies” as an Ashland Creek Press Short.

 

In this haunting essay,  Marxsen explores the discoveries and losses of a family shattered by divorce. “Archeologists know,” Marxsen writes, “that something precious is always at risk of being lost forever.”  In this essay, Marxsen is an archeologist unearthing her own past—one of “the fearless ones who study time as a process of erosion, collision, burial, and rediscovery.” From the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva to the typewriter cubicles at the University of Kentucky, Marxsen takes us on a journey through time, offering us glimpses into the history of Gaza, into the enduring challenges facing women, and into the eroded history of a broken family.

An American writer living in Switzerland, Marxsen is the author of collection of travel essays, Island Journeys: Exploring the Legacy of France (Alondra Press, 2008), a finalist for the Nonfiction Book Award of the Writers’ League of Texas (2009); as well as a collection of short fiction,Tales from the Heart of Haiti (Educa Vision, 2010). Click here to learn more about Marxsen and her work.

And you can enjoy this essay for less than the cost of a latte or a cup of tea! Read it on the Kindle, or download the PDF.