“Well, at least you’re reading something…” | Discussion

Have you ever heard someone say to someone else: “Well, at least you’re reading something…“?

I hate that phrase.

I’ve usually heard it said in reference to a “fluffy” romance or young adult novel (Twilight often falls victim to this). It bothers me because it appears to come from a place of supposed superiority, as though the person saying it is somehow “more literate” or “intelligent” simply because they read different books. This phrase automatically categorizes certain books as being “better than nothing… but barely.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Reading is reading.

We talked a lot about stigmas attached to certain genres of literature in my Approaches to Literature and Culture class last semester and it all ultimately boiled down to a socially constructed divide between high and popular culture. This divide has been around for centuries in some form or another and it boggles my mind that people still get righteous and uppity about it today. For instance, we read this article written by Ruth Graham that was published by Slate in 2014. In the article, Graham argues that adults should not read books like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green because “if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.” She asserts that young adult novels are inherently less complex than novels written for adults because the plights of teenagers are also inherently less complex than those of adults. In her mind, “great” literature and “complexity” are inextricably linked, though how she measures this enigmatic characteristic of “complexity” is yet to be explained.

To me, Graham seems like the kind of reader who has likely said “Well, at least your reading something….” at one point. The idea that there is some sort of hierarchy of “great” literature is incredibly frustrating, especially when people are just reading for fun. Who cares if I read Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury or John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars? I’ve enjoyed both novels immensely and see nothing wrong in being able to do so. This is one of the main reasons I try to read a wide variety of literature and reflect that in the book reviews I post on this blog. Reading is reading is reading and there’s nothing wrong with reading what you enjoy.

I might be preaching to the choir here because most book bloggers I’ve interacted with are wonderfully accepting of what other people read. Nevertheless, I think this is a really important topic to keep in mind.

Do you agree or disagree? What are some things people say about what people read that frustrate you? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Advertisements

62 thoughts on ““Well, at least you’re reading something…” | Discussion

  1. Definitely, agree! I feel a lot of people dismiss YA or other genres simply because they’re not classics or Adult books. Hell, I can enjoy whatever books I like and reading, as you said, IS READING. It’s not ‘at least’, If I want to read a book I will! Great post, always love your dscussions

    Like

  2. I definitely agree with you, as I’m sure most book bloggers will. I’ve realised that YA is not my genre of preference and I dislike Twilight (especially the last two volumes in the series), but that doesn’t mean that I think YA readers are inferior or – heaven forbid – less intelligent. If that were the case, then I’m actually even less smart, because I fancy middle grade novels (among other genres) a lot.

    Like

  3. Agreed, great discussion!! It does not matter what you read as long as you read. All books are still books, and it’s great that you stressed that in this post!

    Like

  4. Great post! I totally agree. A few weeks ago, on the train to university I was reading a young adult book, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. (and it even was a re-read because I love it so much). And there was this middle-aged lady sitting across from me and she seriously asked me if I wasn’t too old for such kind of books, shouldn’t I be reading books for adults now in my age (I’m 21 by the way, so I have no idea how she thought that I’d be too old to read ya novels). And I was so caught of guard I didn’t even know how to respond.

    Like

  5. You put this into better words than I could. Last month I saw a post from a blogger that downright infuriated me. I was shaking I was so angry. Like our parents tell us, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” So I left the post alone and didn’t comment. This woman was talking about how she didn’t understand why adults read YA. She reads “high literature” and text books you know, and made it sound like she assumed that any adult that read YA novels wasn’t smart enough. See? Infuriating!

    What I chose to read as an adult has no bearing on my intelligence. I’m 35, have a college education, was on the honour roll through both high school and college, own and run two business – I’m a smart person! I don’t limit myself to YA and love exposing myself to many genres. I can read a YA novel, mystery, fantasy, adult literary fiction, etc, and get the same thing out of them – which is enjoyment!
    I think that it all boils down to why a person reads. Some read to learn while others read for entertainment and escape. Either way it’s sad when people look down on someone else for their reading choices. To each their own! It’s unfair to look down on others because their preferences don’t fit your own.
    Fantastic discussion post! 🙂

    Like

  6. Well I agreed too. I’ve been in a situation my team knows that I’m a person who loves to read paranormal/mystery that kind of books as I bring it along sometimes on office so I can fill my rest time with it.

    The funny thing was whenever my performance getting low on the company they will relate to my reading like ‘Looks what that books done to you, you should read more business-like books’.

    Then starting from that point I think I have a books depression where I want to read to increase my skills, suddenly reading for me was not that fun at all.

    But according to your entry, reading is reading, we will find gems in a place we never known before and we will not know it unless we experience it (in this context im talking about reading any book we like).

    And here I am writing in full english while it was not my first language.

    Everyone should enjoy what they read no matter what was it all about. 😀

    The Hundred Pages
    http://www.thehundredpages.com

    Like

  7. Hi Holly! Great discussion as always. 🙂

    First, I don’t condone folks going around being snobs. Someone above commented that a judgy woman on the train assessed her for reading YA. I find that sort of thing stupid. For obvious reasons.

    {I want to read The Fault in Our Stars, by the way, because others have read it & I’d like to know what they are reading, & what the current world is saying. As in, I like to be socially aware. Also, I have heard that it is a book about human beings. I am a human being. Ergo…}

    Second, some of the finest literature I’ve read was written for children. I think human plights are complex whatever one’s age, and writing about it honestly is what literature does best.

    Dismissing a book because it’s about / intended for young adults is as logical as saying a woman shouldn’t read Hemingway because she wouldn’t understand the material given that she has never experienced being a man. Which someone has said to me, by the way. Yes, he was a man.

    Isn’t part of literature’s greatest power in getting you out of your own perspective, lady on the train? I’m thinking yes. So if you’re not a young adult, it might be just the right thing to get into a book intended for a young adult.

    Also, books lumped into the same genre can do DECIDEDLY different things. I’m thinking of the genre “historical fiction.” Uh, historical fiction can romanticize history. It can depict it seriously. It can depict it in a way that expects the reader to rethink it, or in a way that makes the reader completely misinterpret the past because bias much, dear author. It can show a side of history the archives failed to remember; it can depict people inaccurately, or it can be deeply researched and offer readers all the annals can say on an historical figure & bring those dusty annals to life.

    Not all books are the same. Not all YA is the same. Things are not the same simply because they wear a similar label, is my general point. Meaning, who knows what I’ll think of the John Green title when I get to it? I’m not going to like it simply because it’s a book. I’m going to like it if it’s a good book, which is possibly a flaw of my lit degree. Quality is quality, and not all books have it.

    “Reading is reading?” Well, yes. Reading is a personal endeavor and that is true whatever one is reading. It involves running one’s eyes over a series of letters and trying to translate those into words. So yes, reading is reading.

    I read Fifty Shades earlier this year. Not because I wanted to enter the great romance of a woman and her charming sycophant abuser, but because I wanted to see what in the world people had been reading that they claimed as so addictive and give me more of that. I got my answer. Now? I most definitely scowl when I see people reading that flotsam. I guess that makes me a book snob? I think it makes me discerning and concerned for the world at large, because CAN WE PLEASE NOT ROMANTICIZE THE ABUSE OF A WOMAN, THANKS MUCH. Also, I’ve never read such sloppy writing, ever.

    But “reading is reading”? No, not really. That’s like saying “looking is looking.” I suppose it is, but imagine the difference between looking at a waterfall in full and glorious sunrise, and looking at a sewage pump. Sure, you’re looking in both cases, but the impact of what you see? VASTLY different.

    I think snobbery is stupid, but I also think literature has decidedly different goals and that some of it is absolutely magnificent and aesthetically beautiful and life-altering, and some of it is unmemorable and poorly written nonsense that alters reality in the hopes of entertaining the masses.

    I think it’s underrating art’s potential power to suggest that all reading is the same. I read somewhere that Nicholas Sparks said in an interview that his books are the same as Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Come now. Nothing wrong with Sparks, but he doesn’t beat up your ideas, pull you out of yourself, and shake you. He entertains. Apples and oranges. Waterfalls, and water pumps.

    You can run your eyes over a series of letters and call that reading, and it is, but has it transformed you? Or entertained you. Both are worthy but vastly different goals. Each is personal and says things about both the book & the reader. Literature, great literature {and yes, I think some is greater than others}, can shake you through. And challenge you, and transform you, and make you think differently. True of books in the YA genre, I reckon, as well as many of the genres. But not all books in all genres do this. The great ones do.

    And I think it’s important to acknowledge that. I mean look at the world today. It’s sad. People aren’t trying to think: they’re playing video games, getting lost in their phones, becoming enormously self-focused. I’m not talking about our book blogging world or the world of a college lit student. I’m talking about the non-reading, non-thinking world of instant gratification and reality TV not tempered by literature or serious thinking. It’s out there, and sadly it is filled with people who think just as far as they must to get though the day, & no further. These people read angsty teen books too, and probably aren’t advancing much. And these people VOTE. Let us be blunt.

    I think sometimes people see an angsty teen book in someone’s hands {come now, some are quality, and some are fluff}, and right or not, this triggers a person’s longing to see the world we’re in try harder to think beyond itself. “Don’t just go for entertainment — PLEASE. We need you to think!” Sometimes this is errant snobbery. But it isn’t always snobbery; sometimes I think it’s frustration. And sometimes? I think the phrase “at least you are reading” is simply a wistful statement of fact: “Well, my friend, you are looking at words on a page. That’s a start. Maybe one day you will try a Hemingway. I don’t think there’s anything I can say to get you there, because he’s a tough sell, but at least you are reading.”

    Understand please that I think book snobbery is absurd and has no place anywhere. Book snobbery, however, is not an established condition for one who recognizes that different books have the potential to do different things. And what I want to say is that I think this is an idea separate from the stigma attached to books: the “high/lowbrow” thing is a shame, but it’s born of an actual difference in books. It’s just that the difference is laced in snobbery, and the language of that difference {high versus low} makes it socially hierarchical, which is actually opposite what I think a lot of art wants to do, which is to get rid of social hierarchies {a crutch people use to elevate their self-worth and/or claim power} and force people to think more deeply toward the goal of opening the self-focused mind and realizing you are not a precious flower and other people also have ideas which MIGHT be enlightening.

    I dislike the phrase “at least you’re reading” too — but not for the reason you do, Holly. I dislike its implied suggestion that all reading is the same and as long as you’re reading SOMETHING you are accomplishing the ephemeral “good” that great literature accomplishes. I don’t understand the thinking behind the idea that reading ANYTHING AT ALL is an identical activity. That’s literary communism! 😀 That’s like saying running in a circle is the same as running toward a goal. They are the same and yet quite different.

    However, get in there, team lit! Don’t judge a whole genre. I’m PRETTY SURE they all contain gems. I would have been pleasantly surprised to find out Fifty Shades actually did have something substantial to say. Sadly, it did not.

    {I hope I don’t sound like a snob and haven’t misinterpreted your point in this post, Holly! I dislike divisive snobbery and don’t see how it accomplishes anything. But I do love inspiration and challenging myself & others. I also LOVE a good relaxing read that doesn’t make me think, ha ha! It’s actually one of the great pleasures, and I daresay more enjoyable for me these days than a tough tome! I’m just picking at the idea that reading is reading. As I said — ideally, yes, but also resoundingly no. However, reading the books others read is part of the journey to becoming more aware. As in, now I at least know what is in that Fifty Shades book. Also, I have never once scolded someone for reading it. I’ve just quietly had opinions. Good conversations are born of books though, eh? I’d rather ask someone why they like it than scold them for liking it.. Seems more constructive, to me.} ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My thoughts exactly. Except you said them much more eloquently than I ever could! Reading is reading but books are not automatically good because they consist of words on a page. Neither are they automatically bad because of their target audience! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I think anyone who is serious about literature and writing should read a bit of everything. Reading just one genre, even classics, can limit your worldview and, may I say, your intelligence and attitude towards others.

    Like

  9. Ohhh I hate it so much when people do this. Let people read what they want? Besides, you can’t judge a book based on a cover, genre or intended audience – I’ve read so many young adult novels with important messages? Meanwhile I’ve read some Dutch ‘literature’ with none and that are just about sex :/ Great post Holly!

    Like

  10. I completely agree with you!! I HATE when people say things like this to me. I’ve had friends/family members who love to read, but they read primarily classics, adult fiction, or nonfiction and look down on me for reading mostly young adult fiction. I don’t see why it should matter what I’m reading for my own personal enjoyment and I hate feeling judged because I read what *I* find entertaining rather than what I feel other people would want me to read. It’s just so annoying and frustrating!

    Like

  11. Great post! I recently had a friend of mine tell me that I posted too many YA book reviews on my blog. She doesn’t usually read YA, and apparently thinks I read too much of it…. I didn’t really know what to say to that! And the thing is, I feel that I read a good variety of books, so I was quite disturbed by the comment.
    I really don’t understand why people feel they need to put down other’s reading choices.

    Like

  12. I was an English major in college and came across this issue SO MUCH. I enjoyed the reading I did for my major, but I also loved the reading I did on my own, which was almost exclusively YA. When I announced I’d be doing my senior thesis on Harry Potter, I could feel the snickering that was happening behind my back, because many English majors I encountered only read “literature” (AKA classics/books by obscure authors/etc.) However, I had SUCH a great time writing my thesis and that was the best part of being a English major in my opinion- learning to analyze the texts I loved to read and pop culture in general through a critical thinking lens!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that’s a shame! My lit classes were filled with people who love Harry Potter. Sounds like a fun project! I did my capstone on L.M. Montgomery’s novels. No snobbery from my peers/profs there either, though Montgomery’s work is considered children lit these days. I argued that children’s works contain a lot of subtext. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This! I totally agree! Reading anything at all is awesome! Any book you pick up is a triumph! I do think that you should push yourself out of your comfort zone in terms of genres though because it’s good to challenge yourself into reading something a little more “complex.” It can introduce you to more new words and topics, but that’s not to say simple books are bad, or not worthy of reads at all!

    Like

  14. I am a firm believer in reading whatever genre of literature I want, and encourage others to do the same. All reading is important and I think you can learn something from everything your read, whether it’s academic learning or finding out something about yourself you didn’t know until you related to something you read. This post perfectly sums up the fact that all reading is good reading! Really well written ☺️

    Like

  15. Great post! 🙂
    My Portuguese teacher used to encourage my reading, as I was his only student who liked reading, but at the same time, he’d say that to me, and I absolutely hated it! It’s not because I’m not reading the books he wants me to that I’m not a “real” reader. Like you said, reading is reading.

    Like

  16. I can’t STAND people who think YA novels are somehow lesser. YA books are just as capable of dealing with deep topics as adult novels. And even the books that don’t tackle deep themes, what’s wrong with that? Not everyone wants some life changing read all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree!! People read for all different reasons– what I pick up when I’m sad or want to be cheered up is completely different from what I’ll read when I want to challenge my beliefs a little and think a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Sometimes I’ll seek out books with heavier topics because I WANT to learn something through the book and, as you said, challenge my beliefs. But other times, like when I’m in a reading slump, I just need that shorter or quicker fun read that I might not remember too much about many years in the future, but it’s what I need at the time

        Like

  17. This phrase annoys me so much. Books are books, and you’re following a narrative thread. Granted, there is some writing that I don’t care for. I’ve reviewed writing that I don’t care for, and books that I have taken an opposition with, and that’s okay, part of why I read and review books is to see a different point and view, and explain why I disagree. Am I going to reach for certain things more than others. And if it’s a fluffy romance…just get out my way, I need to give my brain a break!

    Like

  18. A lot of my student’s parents complain that their kids choose to read “trash”. I try to explain to them that at this age (I teach young kids) it’s important for them to practice and become comfortable reading, understand what they read, and enjoy it. Those are the skills that they’ll need to be good readers throughout life. I don’t usually address whether the books that they’re reading are of good literary quality. For one thing that’s totally subjective, and for another, at the level these kids are at, it’ doesn’t matter. They’re building important skills and learning that reading can be fun.

    I don’t know if that’s taking a “but at least the’re reading something” stance. And I don’t know if it’s different when you’re looking at from an educational standpoint, rather than just as a leisure activity. But I do think that at a certain age in the educational process reading is important. The quality of the book doesn’t really matter.

    However, I also think that a lot of the distinction between “literary” and “commercial” and “genre” reading is arbitrary. Sometimes I want something that will stimulate me to think in different ways. Sometimes I want something that will draw me in with beautiful language. Sometimes I just want to escape into a good story for a while. I consider myself fortunate that there are books that serve all those purposes. What I’m reading at any given time means absolutely nothing other than that’s what I’m in the mood for at that moment.

    I also- strongly- object to the idea that children’s and YA literature is somehow inferior to adult literature. I think the people who make those claims are adults who haven’t picked up a children’s book in many years. Children’s books can have beautiful language. They can present challenging ideas. They can be metaphorical, subversive, humorous, and just about anything else you can think of. YA is the same. And actually the distinction between YA and adult fiction is largely based on marketing. Sometimes a publisher will read a book written for adults and decide that either due to the age of the protagonist, or the subject matter, it will sell better if it’s marketed to teens. I think that if To Kill A Mockingbird or The Catcher in the Rye were published today, they’d most likely be published as YA. That doesn’t diminish their quality at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I agree it’s a frustrating phrase. And I say that as someone who DOES think some books are better than others. (Not necessarily by genre, but some books just are better written or more complex, etc. than other books.) But I don’t consider myself the reading police and I don’t comment on what people read.

    Besides which, the fact that someone is reading a book I think is awful doesn’t mean they always read books I don’t like. One can read Twilight (not that I have a personal issue with Twilight, but it’s an example people use of poor writing all the time) AND War and Peace, so why should I make snarky comments if I see them holding Twilight? Also, people read for different reasons. Maybe they just want to be entertained or want to read something fun and uplifting. Not everyone’s life goal is to read the “Top 100 Classic Books” or whatever.

    Like

    1. I love the point you bring up about everyone reading for different reasons because I think that often gets lost somewhere along the way. What I read when I’m sad or need to be cheered up is completely different from what I pick up when I’m in the mood for something that will challenge me a little and make me think.

      Like

  20. I’m so with you on this, but at the same time, while I don’t think about books like this, I do think about, for example, the youtube and facebook content I consume as being less worthy of my time if it isn’t intellectually stimulating, and I don’t know what that says about me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You bring up an interesting point about other content like Youtube and Facebook. I would say I tend to agree with you, though I guess it depends on what it is (article/educational video vs. memes or something like that).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tv is not what it used to be and believe it or not it can be (at times)profoundly intellectually stimulating. I try to remember that behind each good movie or show, theres a powerful book or script. Justbecause the delivery medium is visual doesnt make it less worthy, only more accessible.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve had that said to me often by people who read only non fiction or politics. Even people who exclusively read newspapers and journalistic magazines that deal with hard hitting topics. I don’t know how to deal with them without being condescending myself. It’s so annoying!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This is a great post that has sparked a nice discussion. I don’t typically find myself saying “at least you’re reading something” but I do say “well at least you’re reading.” I do this because I work in a factory and about 95% of the employees will talk about the TV bingewatching marathons they’ve had but then they also claim that they don’t read or they don’t have time to read. So when I say “at least you’re reading,” no matter what they’re reading (Young Adult, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Graphic Novels, Manga, Romance, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, etc), I’m just glad to see that people are still reading.

    I suppose that’s why I am so glad to be a part of the online book community, because I can spend time with people who do read. And I’ve found some great new reads that I possibly wouldn’t have discovered or picked up on my own. Different genres are wonderful because they allow us to experience things in new or different ways, and that is wonderful.

    I try not to be a book snob, but I am aware that sometimes I am. As someone who typically reads 100+ books a year, and who has a BA in Literature and a Master’s in Library Science, I have designed my life to revolve around books, and yet I live in an area where it seems most people find reading to be nearly worthless as a hobby.

    So for those of you who read, whatever you decide to read, at least you’re reading.

    Like

  23. SO MUCH YES TO THIS POST. The other day I was reading a Batman graphic novel in a cafe and my mom was chatting to this lady she had just met and telling her that I want to study astrophysics etc whilst I’m just chilling there, reading my book. Then as we get up to leave she’s like “I can’t comprehend how a clever girl like you can read a Batman comic” – IT ANNOYED ME SO MUCH. I don’t understand why people always have to try to ruin books that other people enjoy. Like yes, I read Batman graphic novels and that’s perfectly okay. I also read theology books and physics books and young adult books (shock horror) and you know what? THEY’RE ALL PERFECTLY OKAY TO READ. LOVE this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I 100% agree. Reading is reading, and no matter what a person is reading they are getting something from it. Whether they are reading a comic, a biography, a YA or a classic. Whether the only thing it is providing you with is a good laugh, or you are having some deep and meaningful epiphany thanks to the the story. Both experiences are important and are giving the reader something!

    I love books about younger characters because I think they are simply more exciting (obviously not all the time, I am just generalizing). As a teenager everything you feel is so amplified. Your first love, your first heartbreak, friendships, betrayal, failuer, success… everything! Mistakes are easier to forgive in a younger protagonist too, as they are growing and learning. I feel like writers can do more with a younger character than they can with an adult. And I feel like a coming of age story can be just as complex as anything written about or for an older audience. (I am a sucker for a good coming of age story).

    Some people can get so judgey about what someone reads and what they don’t, when really we should simply celebrate the fact that people love to read! And I feel like you can never judge a person by what they are currently reading! You have no idea what they were reading before that, or what they will be reading next. One day you will find me reading middle grade, and then the next you’ll find me reading a classic. Not that we should be judging people at all! Everyone should just read what they want and enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. YES YES YES. This is such an important discussion! I’ve had teachers who tell me that I should read more intellectual books, whatever that means. One time we got this talk on feminism at school and the person told me that YA was sexist (she claimed that most of the main characters in the bestsellers were male/male authors. I vehemently disagree, but I didn’t to her face so whoops). Anyway, I guess I do believe that some books expand your vocabulary more than others, or teach you more about a certain people group or time period or culture, but I don’t think this makes them ‘superior’ to other books. Reading is subjective, and I think you’ll always get more out of a book you’re enjoying, classic, nonfiction, fluffy YA or whatever it is, than one you’re not enjoying.

    Like

  26. Ah, I didn’t even think about this? When I first saw the title I was like “wait I’ve said that” but I haven’t said it in the context that you discussed. Anytime I said it, it wasn’t to place any sort of hierarchy on books, just that the person was reading in general. But in this context, it is rather annoying and I’ve actually had something similar said to me because I read YA. There’s all sorts of stigma against YA novels, especially if you read them as an adult. Its unfortunate because those people are missing out on some awesome stories.

    Like

  27. Wow I’d never though about it like that! I always just though “at least you’re reading something” was more used in reference to reading one book over many. I think often some people can have that sort of condescending view towards people who read young adult mainly because they are reading not for the enjoyment but for some sort of intelligence gain.

    Like

  28. This is an interesting read, but I’ve got to say I disagree with the sentiment in the end. I do consider there to be a hierarchy of literature and I do believe some literature to be more beneficial and fulfilling than others (an example in our household would be my partners love of crime fiction and my distaste). I think it all comes down to taste – everyone has there own taste in literature and what you take as an individual from one type of novel will differentiate depending on this.
    I think the key is not to force your own hierarchy upon other people. As someone who loved twilight (suck it haters) and Harry Potter (I feel your pain friend), they are a part of my hierarchy…
    Tell me this Harry Potter lovers; when someone says Harry Potter isn’t good how angry did you get? That’s just the same thing in reverse… I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I love this post so, so much, Holly, and 100% agree with you here. I often feel like I’m criticized or something because I love YA books…there is such a misconception of what YA books actually are and are dealing with. Often, people think they are just “childish books” or something, but more often than not it’s not the case. ANYWAY, everyone should read what they love for sure and there should be no judgment whatsoever about that! 🙂 Great post! 🙂

    Like

  30. Wow, people can be so ignorant. Adult fiction is hardly better than YA, to me they cover some of the same problems in different styles. And most of the ‘great’ books of literature weren’t even considered adult literature when they were published. Dickens published most of his works in magazines, and Mark Twain sneered at Jane Austen’s books.
    People just need to calm down. Books are books. Words work. Ideas make us think. Genres don’t really matter, it’s the thoughts behind books that make books great.

    Like

  31. Hmmmm… This is very interesting.
    I mean, I guess I’ve been a culprit of dismissing some books. Your choice of Twilight, for example. I’ve never read it. I don’t have anything against reading it, either. But I can remember the first time I ever heard of it. My cousin practically threw it in my face, she was so excited about it, and said:
    “This is the best book EVER! It is such a good book. I can’t even put it down, and I don’t even read!” (To be clear, she meant read regularly. She does know how to read.)
    My first thought was very snobbish. I thought, “Wow, then you must be a GREAT connoisseur of literature. I’ll for sure listen to your opinions and suggestions.”
    My second thought I’m more proud of. It was, “Actually, that’s really, really cool that she’s found a book that interests and excites her so much. Good job Stephanie Meyer!”

    And I think I agree with you most of the way. Almost completely, really. I do think that people should be careful of what they consume, be it in film, literature, music, etc. If you are constantly taking in ideas of racism, hate, violence, negativity, etc., I think that those things will affect you. We should at least try and balance it out with uplifting things.

    The other thing that might be worth mentioning is books or works that increase our cultural literacy–our ability to know what is being referred to when we hear someone refer to Romeo and Juliet, or Zeus, or Don Quixote. Of course, you don’t have to read the classics to know about those things (I don’t think that anybody should read Romeo and Juliet anyways–it’s a play for Pete’s sake. It’s supposed to be watched.) You can learn about Zeus by watching Disney’s Hercules, for example. In my family, we like to learn other culture’s myths and legends by getting picture book versions from the library, as another example. Those books hopefully increase our cultural literacy, and in turn help us understand other things at a greater depth as well.

    But I’ll be darned if I’m going to give up my “silly” fantasy novels, because sometimes you’ve just gotta read about dragons and swords and magic and elves and not have Tolkien’s boring writing get in the way.

    Like

  32. Hey Holly. On the heels of this post, could you do a post recommending some great teen reads you’ve loved? I’m not well-read on the topic & would love some quality suggestions. No worries if you’d prefer not to! Just asking, & it might make a great post. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Dont know if this was said above, but during different stages in life, different books seem to speak more clearly. I read Bleak House first in college and was indifferent to it, then again after law school and my first two children. That reading resulted in a binge read of everything Dickens, then everything Victorian. Reading mark twain as an adult is very different than reading him as a child. So to judge a persons bookshelf by their books’ intended audience is misjudging indeed. Who doesnt still love Alice in Wonderland even at 60? Or the Narnia books or a childs garden of verses?We share them with our children not because they are age appropriate, but because they are good.
    Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Some great YA books out there, definitely don’t think it should be dismissed as a genre! Just finished reading The Hobbit with my son (is that technically children’s or YA… it’s pretty full on for children’s!). Probably most frustrating line for me is, “Ohhh, well, I don’t have time to read” said in a way as if reading were something that was only done by people who didn’t have anything better to do…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s