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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Quitting Reading YA Books

As of today, no more kids’ books or young adult books for me because, well, they’re just not as good as adult literary books.

Truly, what was I thinking? A grown up reading books written for kids?

Thanks to insightful, persuasive essays such as Adults Should Read Adult Books, I now know that there are books for adults! As that writer pointed out, “I don’t know [anything about whether The Hunger Games is good or not] because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults. ”

A book for kids? What was I thinking? Obviously, our world should be a Logan’s Run world, where not only are we strictly segregated by age but what we read, watch, and enjoy is likewise kept strictly into categories with no overlap.

And if I wasn’t convinced by that, there is also the Slow-Books Manifesto, where I learned that only literary books play “with language, plot structure, and images,[and] challenges us cognitively even as it entertains.” Apparently, I’ve been wrong when I’ve been challenged by young adult books or genre books; I’ve been wrong that those books play with language, plot structure and images. What. Was. I.  Thinking.

Obviously, I couldn’t think the right way because I read the wrong books. I have seen the light! The Slow-Books Manifesto even gives me a guarantee: “when has anyone ever felt anything but satisfied after finishing a classic.” (And those of you who disagree, well, like me,  you must be doing it wrong.)

April Fools’ Day!

I’m not quitting young adult books! I’m going to continue to read books based on my interest, not on publisher categories. I’m going to continue to read widely across all genres. I’m going to read for a variety of reasons: for windows and mirrors; for escape and for safety; to be reassured and to be challenged; for entertainment and for information.

I will not be ashamed of my reading choices (or, for that matter, my TV or movie choices) because someone else has drawn an arbitrary line in the sand about what people “should” and “shouldn’t” do in their personal reading and viewing lives. While I’m at it, other things that won’t be the subject of judging: music, games, sports — well, you get the idea. I’m no better or worse than the person who loves fashion or football, and to say I am because I read books is, well, shallow.

Heck, if all you want to read is adult literary fiction? That’s fine, too! Just as there’s no reason for me to not read young adult books, there is no reason for you to read them. Read what you want.

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. I was scratching my head; good one Liz, you got me!

  2. Ilima says:

    Can I get an AMEN!

  3. Jasmine Rose says:

    Yes, I always feel completely satisfied after reading a classic *she said in a high-class, stuffy voice*

    Yeah, that’s a big fat lie :P I’m not afraid to admit (although sometimes I do feel as if something must be wrong with me) that I just don’t enjoy the classics. It’s just not what interests me. I do read some adult books when they catch my eye, but I mostly stick to MG and YA. That’s right, I even go so far down as to read MG. I must be terribly stunted in my growth as a human :P

  4. Jen Robinson says:

    And here I thought that authors like Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling knew how to play with language. Clearly, I should be finding slower paced books. Only problem is, when I read slow paced books, I usually fall asleep…. Guess I’ll have to reconcile myself to reading one book a year from now on. OR NOT. Thanks for a fun celebration of April Fool’s Day and reading choices.

  5. dkm says:

    Joel Stein’s article, Adults Should Read Adult Books, made my blood boil. You’d think he’d be embarrassed to allow himself to think like that, let alone write it in a public forum. Pity the man who can be that arrogant and ill-informed. I hope I sit next to him on a plane someday, unabashedly reading whatever MG fiction I have going at the time. It would be my gift to him at the end of the flight.

  6. MotherReader says:

    Yes, what were we thinking? Books for teens being read by adults – craziness. ;^)

  7. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Carol, thanks!

    Ilima, Amen!

    Jasmine, there are some classics I like. But to say all of them are always a satisfying experience for everyone? Not only is that a “no” but it’s really setting up a “then I’m smarter than you” type of thing that just makes me go UHG. A classic is like any other book: it may or may not be right for a reader.

    Jen, you’re welcome!

    MotherReader, love your “grow up” post!

  8. Ms. Yingling says:

    When writers of adult books stop being potty mouths, maybe I will read more of them. Or if there are more books for adults with middle aged middle school teachers from the midwest who are secretly SPIES. Until then, I’ll continue to help my students out by sacrificing and forgoing adult literature for the greater good. Too funny.

  9. cosnmom says:

    I loved this post! I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said! Thank you. :)

  10. Sondy says:

    Oooo, those self-important, pompous articles burned me up! Yes, I like reading classics, but I also like YA, middle grade, even *gasp* picture books, mysteries, science fiction, romance. And — get this — I also like to read books QUICKLY!

    Your mocking of these ideas is perfect. And good timing, too. (Sorry I’m a bit late reading it.) Read on!

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  1. [...] 10. Quitting Reading YA Books from SLJ (which is about doing no such thing…) Share this:Like this:Like Loading… This entry was posted in Children's Literature and tagged adults, literature, Peter Cameron, YA literature, young adult. Bookmark the permalink. ← This Parallel Universe Describing Physiological Reactions In Fiction → [...]

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