Shannon Hale, author of novels such as The Princess Academy and the Books of Bayern series, is a regular blogger with an active online following. Posts generally fall into one of the big three categories: news about current writing projects, stories about her home life, and musings. Like many author/bloggers, Hale’s musings tend to follow a general theme. She is a vocal champion of readers’ social freedom to read what interests them and to draw their own meaning from it. Recent posts have focused on one of two topics: the misguided belief that boys will not/should not read “girl” books, and the need to accept the legitimacy of differing readings of a story. Hale’s concern seems to be not only that limitations imposed by others will hamper a reader’s opportunities to benefit from what is there to be found in terms of increased understanding and challenged assumptions, but that this close-mindedness about how others read suggests a general lack of charity toward one another as people.
Hale has a knack for getting people talking about the things that interest her. A series of three posts on the heavy judgement that surrounds the Twilight series generated a total of 181 comments, and her “Boys read ‘girl’ books” photo contest received some 25 entries. While her writing style appears to be directed primarily at adult readers (perhaps responding to the largely adult female audience that comments on her posts), her opinions will both validate and challenge teens interested in meeting the mind behind the stories.
* Images taken from the author’s website.