Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weekly Reader: Reading YA

The Adult Lessons of YA Fiction
"'When critics decide its time to pull up the gates and seal us all inside our castle of grown-up things, they cease to be people who deserve being listened to.' So writes author John Warner, in his commentary during website The Morning News’s annual Tournament of Books literary bracket, after judge Natasha Vargas-Cooper classified John Green’s breakaway young-adult novel The Fault in Our Stars and Chris Ware’s graphic novel Building Stories (which is not young adult) as 'juvenilia.'"-- Julie Beck, The Atlantic, 6/9/14

YA and the Shame Game
"Ruth Graham recently sparked a "I'll read what I want!" furor when she wrote a takedown of YA on Slate and titled it "Against YA." Many articles chicken-littleing the inexplicable popularity of vulgar populist genre fiction have come before it and many more will come after it. The world is full of these strange, brittle people who think things are only valuable if they're uncomfortable." -- Elizabeth Vail, HuffPost Books - The Blog, 6/8/14

Should Adults Be Embarrassed to Read Young Adult Books?
"Journalist Ruth Graham thinks adults shouldn't be reading young adult books. She speaks with NPR's Rachel Martin about the criticism she's received for writing that for Slate." -- Rachel Martin (host), NPR Books - Author Interviews, 6/8/14

Grown-Ups Don't Be Ashamed of Your YA Habit
"It's all John Green's fault. I'm not just talking about the strong likelihood that I'll be ugly-crying in public alongside fellow fans of "The Fault In Our Stars" in a theater near me this weekend -- I mean the fact that I'm reading much fiction at all these days. But apparently I'm supposed to be embarrassed about my love of Green's books. Says who?" --Kat Kinsman, CNN Living, 6/8/14

I Write Young Adult Novels, And I Refuse to Apologize for It
"One of my most traumatic experiences involved a high school classroom and a romance novel. I was fifteen and devouring pretty much any book I could get my hands on, especially adult romances—the more torrid, the better. I had one of these books in my backpack when a male friend pulled it out and started to read a particularly lurid passage aloud. The whole class laughed; I was suitably mortified. It was the first time I ever felt that I should be ashamed of what I loved, and the moment has stuck with me my entire life."-- Rachel Carter, New Republic, 6/6/14

This is Why Young Adult Books Are Not Only Acceptable, But Beneficial for Adults
"You might've seen a recent piece published by Slate outlining exactly why readers should be a little more ashamed about their young adult book consumption. If not, here's the gist: novels written for a teenage audience that are intended to represent realistic relationships (think The Fault in Our Stars, not Divergent) do so in a limited and immature way. According to the author, books like Eleanor & Park tend to have neat, happy endings, thereby making them unchallenging and uncomplicated -- they're for pleasure, whereas adult literature is for ... something else, left unspecified." -- Maddie CrumHuff Post Books, 6/6/14

Ashamed of Reading YA? The Fault Lies Not in Our Stars, But in Our Stores
"Ah, the arbitrary divisions of the bookstore.Now it’s “Young Adult” and “Serious Fiction for Older Adults” and “Romance” and “Science Fiction.” In Dickens’s day, “Books About Winsome Orphans” and “Books About Prostitutes With Hearts of Gold” stood where “Teen Paranormal Romance” and “YA But Specifically YA About Finding Yourself” (a category I actually saw at a Barnes & Noble recently) stand today. I’m sure they evoked about equal measures of sneering. (Dickens was especially gifted and managed to get his book stocked on both shelves, guaranteeing that “Oliver Twist” would be a platinum-level bestseller.)" -- Alexandra PetriComPost The Washington Post (Blogs), 6/6/14

No, You Do Not Have to Be Ashamed of Reading Young Adult Fiction
"Last month, it was William Giraldi, trashing romance novels in the pages of the New Republic, who did the critic’s equivalent of dumping a bucket of piranhas into a crowded pool on the first great swimming day of summer. June brings another provocation, this time from Ruth Graham in Slate, who argues that adults ought to be ashamed of reading young adult literature." -- Alyssa Rosenberg, Act Four - The Washington Post, 6/6/14

Slate’s Condescending “Against YA” Couldn’t Be More Wrong —
Young Adult Fiction Is for Everyone

"With today’s release of the John Green film adaptation The Fault in Our Stars, Slate, a publication that has been ignoring the swell of good, interesting, arguably literary young adult fiction for years has decided to run a piece, “Against YA,” that makes the claim, “Today’s YA, we are constantly reminded, is worldly and adult-worthy. That has kept me bashful about expressing my own fuddy-duddy opinion: Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children.” It is possibly the most Slate-y piece that ever Slate-d, maintaining a contrarian and snooty tone throughout, telling you the many ways that you are doing it wrong." --Elisabeth Donnelly, Flavorwire Books, 6/6/14

Let's Just All Read More Great Books - YA Or Not
"Today The Fault in Our Stars, based on a bestselling book by John Green, will debut in theatres across America. No cultural phenomenon can go unpunished by the good folks at Slate. So we get a piece with the thesis, "Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children. Sigh." -- Michelle Dean, Gawker, 6/6/14

Against YA
"As The Fault in Our Stars barrels into theaters this weekend virtually guaranteed to become a blockbuster, it can be hard to remember that once upon a time, an adult might have felt embarrassed to be caught reading the novel that inspired it. Not because it is bad—it isn’t—but because it was written for teenagers."-- Ruth Graham, Slate, 6/5/14

*Information in this Weekly Reader post first published on the IRC News & Information Blog. 6/11/14

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