Against YA: Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.
Alrighty then. I don't feel embarrassed to read children's and young adult books, although I don't tell everyone. Sometimes it's not worth the effort. Sometimes I don't feel like having to explain why to the narrow-minded people. They won't get it no matter what I say.
I have noticed that many adults who don't read children's books do read young adult books, including members of my faculty. So I'm not alone although I do take it quite a bit further than anyone else I know. The target audience of this blog, however, reads just as many children's books as I do.
Several good rebuttals were posted in the aftermath of the original article.
No, you do not have to be ashamed of reading young adult fiction
Let's All Just Read More Great Books, YA Or Not
This Is Why Young Adult Books Are Not Only Acceptable, But Beneficial For Adults
In Praise of Reading Whatever the Hell You Want
Really? Are We Still Genre Shaming People For The Books They Like?
I Write Young Adult Novels, and I Refuse to Apologize for It
The readers' comments are the best part of each article, because they tell us what people really think. The following statement from C. S. Lewis was heavily quoted throughout the comments.
"Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."Really, that's all that needs to be said. People who point fingers at others and claim that their actions are immature are, in fact, the immature ones. I didn't realize until reading all of this discussion that the young adult category has exploded in recent years and that more of the books are purchased by adults, like me, than by teenagers. According to a recent study, 55% of the people who purchase young adult books are adults and 78% of those adults report that they have purchased the books for themselves. The stigma against reading young people's books is not nearly what it once was.
I prefer young adult books rather than adult books because I don't want the adult level of sex and violence in my books. I enjoy the young adult dystopian novels, especially the ones with zombies. Those do have violence and some gore, but since the books are young adult books, they don't take the gore all the way to the extreme. I want a good story without the gratuitous sex and violence.
Some of the comments to the articles stated that there is nothing wrong with reading young adult books, but then the statement was qualified with as long as that's not the only type of book being read. Others phrased it slightly differently, stating that there could be a problem with reading young adult books but only if the reader was reading nothing other than those books. Exactly why is that a problem?
This spring I read only Nancy Drew softcover books. I read them at the rate of one per day from February through early May. Since I wasn't reading anything else, according to these people, there was something wrong with me. Really? I bet those of you who have enjoyed the reviews haven't minded at all that I read all of those books.
Now I'm reading only the Three Investigators books in order from #1-43. I suppose that is equally bad, right? There must be something wrong with me. No... no, there isn't.
I do better when I read every book in a series in rapid succession. A few years back, I was reading and reviewing the Grace Harlowe series for this blog. I made the mistake of reading other books in between reading the Grace Harlowe books. The result was that I got massively sidetracked and never finished reading and reviewing the Grace Harlowe books. That's a shame.
I freely admit that I haven't read any books for adults in a long time. I'm not sure what the last one was. Years ago I read novels by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and others, but I've been caught up on series books and young adult books for a long time. I should go back and read some more of the classics, but that's not a current priority. Maybe someday.
These days I prefer reading books that are easy to read, where I don't have to think hard. I'm exhausted at the end of each work day, and quite honestly, I don't have the energy to read a scholarly tome.
Books have always been escapism for me. I read what interests me, regardless of the reading level. Isn't that the way it should be?