Sunday, May 27, 2012

Writing Topic- Should Adults read only Adult Books?

So this week, a fellow ex-Inkie pointed out an article that I thought brought up an interesting point (one which I disagree with). Note that this is just me ranting my head off again because I have nothing to back up his argument. Surely, many YA books are not complex as adult books, but many more are just as complex if not more. And even if they're not, that doesn't mean that adults can't read them too).

Should Adults read only adult books?

So the author of this article basically states that there is nothing more embarrassing for adults when they read YA or children's books. Apparently the only time they should be reading these books is when reading them to children. Otherwise, these books should be read ONLY be children.

Several things piss me off about this article and the author. First of all, he bashes adults who read YA books without having even read these fabulous books himself. By these lines, he obviously doesn't know what the books are even about:
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. 
1) " you play when hungry"  (<---refers to The Hunger Games).
2) "...why Twilight vampires are ,O.K. with sunlight." (<--- Actually, if I recall correctly, Meyer's Vamps weren't okay with sunlight. It was practically suicide to step into sunlight because then they would sparkle).

Secondly, this author assumes that YA books can't be as developed or complex as adult books. He basically is calling any adult who even writes YA books "embarrassing". Personally, I find this insulting even though I'm not an adult yet. I've seen plenty of complex YA books and many of them are very, very good.
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.
Actually, older teens who read YA have probably stopped growing by now. At least I have and I read YA. And most YA books are written much better then "Horton Hatches the Egg". How dare he compares these books to a children's book? (Not that children's books are bad or anything, but YA books are more complex).

 And for his information, writing a YA book involves just as much character depth and growth as adult books, if not more because teens are still growing and learning. Teens are complex and therefore, so are the books we read. Sure, not all teens read and not all of them read over 90+ books in a year. That's okay, they're still complex.

Thirdly, this author says that YA books can't be a learning experience. I would like to say that I have learned tons from reading YA books. Many YA books talk about issues that I need or want to know (although not all of them I want to know). What about that girl who needs to know that there are other people out there like her? What about the guy who needs to know that he's not alone with his struggles? That there are other people out there who are struggling with similar problems?
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 find the part about video games stupid. Has he ever played learning games? Or Nancy Drew games where you're required to solve problems and riddles? Not every game out there involves shooting people. I play lots of games that require me to use my brain.

And while he makes the point that we can learn from books, there are plenty of YA books out there that can help people. And its not just educational. Sometimes learning involves more then just math and science. Sometimes it involves social or personal issues. And plenty of YA books can help with that where adults or adult books can't.

Also, I'm pretty sure that "How to Kill a Mockingbird", "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" are children's books and they are assigned in school. If those "children's books" are too simple to teach us anything, then why are they being taught in schools? How are teachers getting away with it and actually finding important lessons in them if they are "too simple"? Maybe because they aren't. Because that even though they're intended for a younger audience, older folks can still take away many important things from them.

And what about "The Lord of the Rings", "The Hobbit" and "Chronicles of Narnia"? Many adults read those books and love them. Many children read and love them too. But just because they are actually children's books, does that make them not the classics that they are?

Many YA books are not solely bought by teens either. Many parents will buy their children books for them to read. Parents are there to teach and help their children, right? Clearly, many parents think that their children will get something out of these "simple" books. Plus, parents might happen to be reading some of these books before letting their children read them! I know several of my teachers read The Hunger Games themselves before letting their children read them.

And who is this guy to say what people should and shouldn't be reading? Just because YA books are intended for a younger generation, doesn't mean that adults shouldn't read it. Many YA books are written by adults and many adults read them. In fact, I've read several articles were the authors think that YA writers should keep in mind that their books will probably be read by any age group. They're pretty much the middle catagory. Most border the line between for younger kids to understand, yet mature enough that adults can read them too. And there are plenty of YA books that are meant for older readers. And then there are ones meant for younger readers.

This guy should also keep in mind that many YA books are marketed as YA books because that's how old the protagonist is. But even so, that shouldn't stop YA books from not being good enough for adults to read! And adults are well, adults, they can make their own choices. No one should need anyone telling them what's okay and what's not okay to read.

And if they want to read YA books, that's okay, because I've come across a stunning amount of kids my age who simply refuse to read "because they can't find something that interests them" (and that's another post I'll have to talk about). And guess what, those kids are going to become adults. Books of any age catagory teach and I think they're missing out a lot from not reading. But if they did pick up an YA books, I'd be fine with that, cause they're actually reading something!

And finally, not only am I insulted myself but I am insulted for the many adults I know. They are not embarrassing for reading YA books, teachers are not embarrassing for reading these books with their students, and I do not find it awful when an adult I know reads something I read. In fact, I recommend many YA books to adults. Why not? They're fantastic books and people should be reading them.

Also, this writer is I think insulting many writers out there. Many YA writers are adults and clearly they think these books are important enough to take the time to write. Some spend months, if not years, working on these stories. Many of these stories can and will change somebody. And it doesn't have to be just a teen. YA books can and are complex and good enough for adults and teens to read. I have a forty-six paged document trying to organize my YA series and make sense of it all onto paper. Its complex as a series and every book in it is just as complex.

Anyways, there's my thoughts on this.

The Article:
Adults Should Read Adult Books

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to state your opinions in the comments.



  1. Excellent post!

    Personally, I want to go and find the person who wrote this article, show up at their front door, and yell at them. My thoughts on the issue have pretty much been summed up in this quote, by C. S. Lewis:

    “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”

  2. Thank you!

    I know! My first thought when I read this article was, "you got to be joking" and then "how stupid!" And that's a great quote! It totally sums up a lot of things. :) C. S. Lewis has a bunch of great quotes I think.


Any comments with profanity or comments that are hurtful/ mean will be removed. We appreciate hearing your thoughts. Remember, if you wouldn't say it to someone's face please do not say it on the internet.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...