Saturday, May 12, 2012

YA for Adults: Yes or No?

Recently, I came across a pretty interesting article by Time columnist, Joel Stein titled "Adults Should Read Adult Books."     

You can find the original article HERE, but in case you don't feel like opening another window, here's what the article said....

"The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.

I’m sure all those books are well written. So is “Horton Hatches the Egg.” But Horton doesn’t have the depth of language and character as literature written for people who have stopped physically growing.

I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults.

I appreciate that adults occasionally watch Pixar movies or play video games. That’s fine. Those media don’t require much of your brains. Books are one of our few chances to learn. There’s a reason my teachers didn’t assign me to go home and play three hours of Donkey Kong.
I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know 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.

Let’s have the decency to let tween girls have their own little world of vampires and child wizards and games you play when hungry. Let’s not pump Justin Bieber in our Saabs and get engaged at Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland. Because it’s embarrassing. You can’t take an adult seriously when he’s debating you over why Twilight vampires are O.K. with sunlight. If my parents had read “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” at the same time as I did, I would have looked into boarding school."

My own personal thoughts on the matter? While I do occasionally find it strange to see some adults I know reading the hottest YA novels, I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with it. I mean, just because a YA novel is marketed towards teens, doesn't mean adults shouldn't read it. Nor does it mean that some YA novels can't be exceptionally well-written and though-provoking. It's also unfair to simply assume that those who do read YA neglect all other genres.

And on another note, why is it OK to watch Pixar movies but not read YA novels? Who says that reading has to be solely for the purpose of learning? I read for fun. God knows there are school-assigned books that I dread reading, famous or not.

I am a great lover of YA. Will I still love it as much when I grow older? Or will I suddenly develop the urge to go out and discover the works of Tolstoy and Lao Tzu? Maybe. Probably not. Honestly, in all likelihood, I will probably be one of those middle-aged people reading the future incarnation of Twilight or Hunger Games.

So how about YOU? Do you think adults should read YA? Or should they stick to esoteric, "sophisticated" novels?


  1. I hate so much these sons of a bitch, who think thay can dictate what others should be reading. I hate it. I don't consider myself as an adult yet, but hell, even when I will be one, I will read whatever I want to read.

    I read adult books too. I like them. But lets face it, I read them when I want some hot sex scenes. And that's all. Because YA are so much more detaliate about the story and details and then some. Adult books are always around sex. I suppose it's ok, but there isn't much of a story. And that's why I prefer YA.

    Thanks for sharing this article!

  2. I actually don't care what anyone reads! If an adult likes YA novels, than they must read it. Reading is not for learning, reading is because you love to live in another world. To escape from reality and just have fun with other characters :) Reading IS for fun, not because you want to learn something from it: if that's the purpose, you should read medical books and stuff like that. Or a dictionary.

    Why does someone think that he has the knowledge to decide 'an adult should not read YA'? How can someone come up with such an stupid idea? It can really bothers me, even make me mad, that there are so many people judging, when they actually speak shit. Sorry for the language.

    I must admit: I think I will giggle when I see a grown up man reading Twilight, but if they like it: who am I to say "you can't read something ilke that, it's for young adults!' ??

  3. I suppose that I can present another facet of the coin: I am a teenager hopelessly addicted to books aimed at adults...of about a hundred years ago (more, preferably)! I do not like YA fiction, finding it sad that people can find so much pleasure in such an easy and obvious read, but really, if you want to read that, go right ahead! I think that people should be allowed to read whatever they want to, because goodness knows what I would do if I were limited to reading YA novels, because they are written specifically for my age group.

  4. As a 24-year-old woman (and one with an English degree, at that), I LOVE YA. YA is so much more complex than most people acknowledge, and usually those people are the ones judging when they actually don't know what they're talking about. The writing in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor? The wonder that is The Fault in Our Stars? They might be YA, but they're NOT simple. I read and enjoy a lot of genres, from the Sookie Stackhouse books to Charlotte Bronte, James Joyce, and Toni Morrison, and on to JK Rowling, Mike Mullin, and Trish Doller. Sometimes I want to read YA, sometimes I want to read an "adult" book; sometimes I want chocolate ice cream, sometimes I want birthday cake ice cream. Neither is better, they're just different. And that's what the Judgy McJudgers aren't willing to admit because they don't want to admit that they read and enjoyed Twilight or Harry Potter or Jellicoe Road just as much as the next person.

    Great post. :)

    1. Thank you, and I completely agree! I'm so glad you included Jellicoe Road in your list! Melina Marchetta's books just don't get as much attention as they deserve!


Thanks so much for commenting! I read every single one and they always make my day! <3

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