If you have children or teens around this summer, you may want to participate in Jennifer's Read Together program over at Snapshot. (You can do it concurrently with the Summer Reading Thing.) I love the idea behind this.
I read a lot of books (and watch a lot of movies/tv shows) that I normally would not give the time of day because my teenagers are reading/watching them. Based on my experiences as a teenager, I realized that there was no way I could prevent my teens from reading something if they were really determined to do so. I discovered that what works better is for me to read the book also, then talk about it with them. If I listen to what my teens think and why they like the book with an open and uncritical mind, they are willing to listen to what I think as well. I like to think of these discussions as antibiotics. I may not be able to prevent exposure, but I can certainly give my teens the tools to fight off a deeper infection.
Which is not to say that I don't draw the line somewhere. There are certain books and authors that will never be allowed in my home. There are others that I insist on reading first and my kids know I may then put them on the No Way list or the You Can Read It But We Have to Talk About It list. It works for our family and our book discussions have been wonderful.
Megan (my only kid still at home) and I both just finished New Moon and have talked about it a lot. Her ideas and responses have shown me that she's not going to fall for some of the subliminal messages of that book. (See my review). We're also both reading the new Harry Potter when it comes out. Two of Megan's books (The Believer and My Not So Fairy-Tale Life) are on her list because I had read them and suggested them to her. Because I read the books she suggests, she's willing to read the books I suggest. I may be adding Lovely Bones to my list because she's interested in reading it and that's a "pre-read" title. Even my older children (McKenna and Melanie--thanks for signing up for SRT) influence my choice of reading and vice versa. I'll most likely add some titles from their lists to my own.
I cannot express strongly enough what a joy it has been over the years to read and discuss books with my children. They are clever and fascinating people and often find depth and meaning that I miss. Reading with them has been one of the most fulfilling things I have done as a mother and gives me such insight into who these people that I share a life with are. I love it! If you've never done it, take this opportunity and give it a try.
Link to Jennifer's Read Together info page
Link to Jennifer's list of suggested titles for elementary ages
Link to Jennifer's Read Together sign up page
Now playing on my iPod: Happy Together by The Turtles