So you can read my books

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Read.  Read what you wish.  I know I do.
But along the way, reflect on why you read what you do.

Yet, above all, have fun with what you read.

Remember when you were in high school, and you thought how cool it was going to be when you graduated and became an adult?

No more kiddie studies, being preached at ... no more kiddie books.

School might have forced you to report on the books from the kid's section -- but man!

How adult you felt when you read books written by adults for adults.

No more simplistic books for simple minds!

 A 2012 survey by a market research firm found that 55 percent of YA books are bought by people older than 18.

Is the publishing industry being driven by adults demanding easy content
written below their intellectual level?

Ruth Graham, a writer from New Hampshire, wrote an interesting article for THE SLATE:

The cultural definition of “young adult” now stretches practically to age 30,

which may have something to do with our culture's absolute terror of growing older.


Novels that had young protagonists surviving in a world of adults that would chew them up just as soon as look at them.

The world was bigger than they -- they were not the world's savior but scrappy survivors who mingled with all segments of society --

usually being seen as insignificant and trying to learn the ropes of how to be an adult while living long enough to become one.

 There's a line in THE FAULT IN OUR STARS from the handsome, too good to be true boyfriend:

"I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things”

I taught teens.  They simply do not talk like that.  Ever. 

It was not a "true" line.

So much of YA is uncritical of teenagers' mindsets. 

The adults are portrayed as dense, clueless buffoons who just do not get it about life.

Older readers are asked to abandon the mature insights into that perspective that they (supposedly) have acquired as adults.

Shailene Woodley, the 22-year-old star of this weekend’s big YA-based film is reported explaining why she is finished with making teenage movies:

 “Last year, when I made Fault, I could still empathize with adolescence.  But I’m not a young adult anymore—I’m a woman.”

I write YA as well as adult historical fantasy

(No, not erotica about romancing the ghost of Cleopatra -- ah, though come to think of it -- that would probably sell.)

I am glad when anyone reads any genre.  I advocate reading what you wish.  I know I do.

I also advocate dipping into non-fiction and genres you don't ordinarily read.

What do you think about Ruth Graham's belief
that adults should be ashamed of reading YA?
You may enjoy this:


  1. I think it's a concern for the overall intelligence level of the reading public when adults read consistently below the average adult level.

    Reading is a way of expanding one's vocabulary, learning about important topics, and learning about relationships, history, intrigue, etc. Entertaining? Perhaps teen and young adult books appeal to some, but IMO, been there, done that, why would I want to read teen stories now?

    The fact that many parents are reading what their children are reading says something about them being concerned with the topics of YA/NA, and what the publishers are investing in. Will reading comprehension tests bear witness to this drop in reading levels in the coming years?

    A lot of people look for easy reading. It's a choice and everyone's prerogative. But the results will affect coming generations.

  2. Most of the young adult I've read (which isn't a lot, I admit) was written at an adult level. I didn't think it was dumbed down at all.
    Young adult really didn't exist when I was a teen. I went straight from kids' books to adult books.

  3. D.G.:
    Reading for me is like food. I eat all sorts of things. Variety makes for an interesting life, right?

    I've read YA a lot -- some of it is biased and shallow and some it wasn't. Just like with all of entertainment.

  4. I read that article you referred to, and there are nuggets of truth in what she said.

    I sympathize with Grumpy Cat sometimes.

  5. I am a cross genre reader. A greedy reader. And feel no shame. Never mind YA, I still happily read (and reread) some children's books. Mind you that quote would put me off ANY book. I don't think it is true of any generation. Stilted, clumsy and unbelievable.

  6. I am somewhat mystified by the question to be honest: Should you be ashamed of reading YA? After all, why would you be? Unless, of course, you like to think yourself an intellectual and a purist. (People like that bore me to death).

    Anyway, some of the best books I've ever read have indeed been YA. Actually, make that 'most' of them.

    Long live children's books is all I can say! They are a delight :)

  7. By the way, I'm not referring to 'you' personally! Just people in general. Crikey! :)

  8. D.G.:
    Ruth made some valid points while purposing asking a question sure to stir up discussion. :-)

    Elephant's Child:
    I read everything as well -- even comics -- THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS graphic novel by Frank Miller is fine literature by anyone's standards. I think Ruth was urging us to read not just one genre exclusively.

    I knew you didn't mean me. We're friends. :-) I still re-read KIM and THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. :-)

    I asked the question based on the broad statement Ruth made: "Adults should be ashamed of reading YA."

    I didn't agree with the blanket statement and instead used it as a question to stimulate discussion. :-)

    I've driven some 400 miles today as a rare blood courier and so haven't been able to reply as much as I would like.

    Have to pay that cancer surgeon you know! LOL.

  9. I think it's silly to divide books by ages. YA as a term is itself only a few years old. I mean, when Anne of Green Gables was published 100 years ago, no one called it YA. Same with Alice in Wonderland or even The Hobbit. And now they're dividing it all into MG vs YA vs NA... Shucks, I was reading Babysitters' Club books and George Orwell and Hemingway and MAD Magazine and Agatha Christie all at the same time when I was 13 or so. Anything that discourages kids - and adults! - from reading a good book seems like a bad thing to me :-)