Lately, my real life has been a little crazy, so I’ve been behind in my blog life. Of course, the day I return to the kid’s lit blogosphere is the day that everyone’s totally up in arms and crazy about something that’s happened.
Last Wednesday, Roger Sutton, editor of the Horn Book (the magazine for children’s literature) said on his blog,
Whatever whoever chooses to read is their business, of course, but adults whose taste in recreational reading ends with the YA novel need to grow up.
I, however, totally agree with him.
Now, I have argued time and time again for adults to read YA and children’s literature. I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooove YA and children’s literature. I read a ton of it. I think more adults need to stop snubbing it, but…
Just like we want teens to eventually read some adult books, maybe adults should sometimes read adult books too. I think the operative words in Roger’s quotation is “ends with” as in, if you only read YA and children’s literature, then grow up.
Damn straight. I like to read books that deal with marriage from a participant’s perspective. I like books where people have full time office jobs. I like books where dating doesn’t involve having to meet the parents until it become a capital R Relationship. Books where drinking isn’t a big bad deal because the people doing it are over the age of 21. Books with a little less angst about sex. Books where having a kid is a normal thing and therefore isn’t the focus of the book. Books where high school and college are things of the past. I like reading books about people my age who are having the same issues my peers and I are having.
For the same reasons teens and kids need books about them we need books about us. And we need to read them.
Now, I’m not saying adult books are better and that you should only read adult books, but holy moly people, read a few. If nothing, you are missing some quality literature.
Last year, I read a whopping 219 books. Only 57 of those were written for adults–obviously the majority of my reading is in the children’s/YA age ranges. That said, the majority of my all-around favorite books that I read? Were adult books.
Now, there have been some very good points about “recreational reading” and how a lot of kidlit professionals don’t have time for such things. This is sadly true. Yes, I have time for it, but I don’t really have a life, so there’s some trade-off there. But, everyone needs to make time for recreational reading. I can’t really read at work outside of my lunch hour, so I know the stacks of books that get taken home to read. I know how many books I get to read because technically, it’s work-related. Harry Potter isn’t recreational reading! It’s work! (Yes, my job rocks.) I can’t mow the lawn, I’m WORKING! (And by working, I mean lying on the couch reading Babymouse. Like I said, my job rocks.)
But seriously guys, everyone needs to find just a wee bit of time to read something just for them. And, every so often, that book should be written for your age range. And, if you can’t quite let go of your kidlit preference, try reading Jasper Fforde’s The Big Over Easy, because nothing is better than a hard-boiled detective trying to figure out who pushed Humpty Dumpty off that wall.