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Right now everybody's talking about some guy I never heard of - Ramblings of a Conuly
Believing in six impossible things before breakfast
Right now everybody's talking about some guy I never heard of
who thinks that reading YA fiction is a terrible thing for anybody, especially adults, to do.

Whatever. If you feel you MUST dignify that sort of thing with a response, there's no need to waste your time and energy coming up with something novel. As always, the old quote from C. S. Lewis will more than suffice, and then you can spend your time doing something more productive than stating the obvious, like combing your hair or picking your nose.

Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

It's no less true today than it was on the day it was written. Why reinvent the wheel? This guy, whoever he is, isn't worth the time.
read what 7 of my followers have said or bow before my awesome wrath!
silver_chipmunk From: silver_chipmunk Date: April 5th, 2012 02:47 am (UTC) (Clicky!)
Did you see this rebutal to that Joel Stein piece? It says it all I think.
conuly From: conuly Date: April 5th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC) (Clicky!)
Yes, I did, but Lewis is smarter and with fewer words.

This is not to impugn the author of that piece, or anybody else. I just don't see the point in writing a long article when somebody else already said it better.
jedirita From: jedirita Date: April 5th, 2012 03:25 am (UTC) (Clicky!)
Lovely quote.

I've found that a lot of adult novels seem to be about middle age, failed marriages, disappointed hopes, crushed dreams. Who wants to read such depressing stuff? But Juv/YA books are so often about people realizing their potential, understanding they have a role in the world around them, trusting themselves. "The Hunger Games" may be dystopian, but there is also something kind of empowering about it. Meanwhile, the books I read based on NPR reviews (and I can't even remember the name of any of them) they were so depressing I wanted to slit my wrists. Not saying all adult novels are like that, but I've read far too many of them.
ksol1460 From: ksol1460 Date: April 5th, 2012 05:56 am (UTC) (Clicky!)
I've never heard of any of this, but I'll bet anything that by "adult" reading, he means anything that is not genre fiction because that's *gasp* escapist.

Cf. Professor Tolkien for my view on "escapism".
janewilliams20 From: janewilliams20 Date: April 5th, 2012 06:06 am (UTC) (Clicky!)
Lewis is missing one point, though I'm not sure how much it relates to choice of fiction. He was a man. Men are assumed to be adult. Women get infantilised: we're supposed to think that "cute" is a compliment, we're supposed to want to look younger than we are, not older, we get referred to as "girls" as if being immature was attractive. So yes, being regarded as adult by other adults isn't a battle that stops on your 18th birthday as it should, it's one we have to keep on fighting.
marveen From: marveen Date: April 5th, 2012 06:46 am (UTC) (Clicky!)
I have not read Mr. Stein himself.

I did read the rebuttal, and was left agape at this quote from Stein:

Books are one of our few chances to learn.

Few? Few?

Clearly [extrapolating here a little] Mr. Stein trundles down the same staircase every morning, eats the same cold cereal, and adjusts his tie the same way before setting out to catch the same bus on the same street while wearing the same overcoat.

Learning nothing, staring into empty space, using the same tools to do the same tasks every day until ennui so overwhelms him that even dreary and nihilistic "adult" literature seems attractive by comparison.

I'm sorry for such an existence...

This week alone I learned that silk neps won't work with cat-brush handcards, that even a drop of water in a candle mold will sink straight to the bottom and soak the wick, that Thermos makes cold-only thermoses (thermi?) these days, that the housebrand pepperjack cheese at Fred Meyer's is really quite good, that Hy-Top Honey Nut Toasted O's are better than the name brand, and that heavy paper makes excellent "sub-folders" for organizing one's financial documents. Oh yes, and bleach will whiten yellowed Tupperware right up.

Small discoveries in everyday life. Each and every one without opening a book...."adult" or otherwise. My precious reading time is spent in other ways.

Really, what does he propose to learn that would not be better lessoned by actually getting out and DOING things?
oloriel From: oloriel Date: April 5th, 2012 03:01 pm (UTC) (Clicky!)
read what 7 of my followers have said or bow before my awesome wrath!