The following is a post from one of my favorite author's blog:
Now and then, I get fan mail. Sometimes it is to tell me they liked what wrote. Sometimes, it is to tell me I made a mistake in my text and what it was. Sometimes, the mail is a mistake -- they want the rock singer from Journey. Now and then, I get one that takes me task because the reader didn't like what I wrote. My favorite of these was a guy who went on for two pages in detail telling me what a stupid, badly-written story I had told, but ended it with a P.S. saying that he was looking forward to my next book. In that case my royalty on the book amounted to $0.32 -- my percentage of the cover price -- so I mailed that amount to him and told him not to bother reading any more of my stuff.
Sometimes, I get queries from students who are writing book reports, and they want answers to questions they can't find, so they ask directly. I got one of those today. See if you can spot the fun part of the questions the student asked. The names of the kid, school, and city are omitted to protect the guilty .
Dear Mr. Perry:I am an eigtht grader in Xxx Xxxxxx, Xx. I am working on a book report on Titan A.E. Part of my syllabus requires information that I have not been able to find anywhere. I am hoping that you can assist me by answering the following:Date of Birth:Where did you live when this novel was written?Describe the social "climate" of the decade prior to the book's publication. What was happening with the government, with other countries, and with society in general that you viewed as a "problem", for example, racism, women's rights, abortion rights, etc. Please provide SPECIFIC occurrences and events.Your response would be most appreciated and helpful!Respectfully,Xxxxxx Xxxxx8th GraderPre-AP Language ArtsXxxxxx Middle School_________________If I'd had access to the internet when I was in junior high, this is the kind of thing I'd have done -- Hey, mister! Would you write my report for me ... ?