Comments: 7
RedT Reads Randomly 7 years ago
Good advice, and a good topic. Thanks for posting.
It's a Hardback Life 7 years ago
Thanks! Sometimes it's just nice to go on a little ramble.
I'm sorta on team just read: I definitely think you should read what you want. And hey, it used to bother me that people weren't reading intellectual stuff ever, but just reread whatever series again and again. I've mellowed a bit. People read for different reasons, and when and how they want. That's cool with me.

But for me - and I only apply this to myself - it's not a matter of what genre I read, but sometimes I want to read for intellectual purposes, and the writing needs meat to it. And honestly, one of the richest series I read that has the most meat to it is one of the current Transformers comic series - which seems like it should be ridiculous, but isn't. It's thoughtful, it's meaningful, and it makes me question the world around me, my place in it, religion, philosophy, tolerance, and well, I could list things all day.

So here's the thing: if this was being put out every day, to the point where I didn't have time to read anything else, and it was doing it for me, great. (Although sometimes I /do/ crave brain candy.) But if something in YA is doing it for you and that's inherent in YA/you can't find it elsewhere, then pick and choose what YA does it for you. Some YA /is/ brain candy and some rival the classics as far as depth and meaning go. So in my opinion, you can do what you say - read voraciously, read widely - and still not jump out of YA. Even in YA, you have brain candy, and books that make you think: you can progress to something that is exactly like adult fiction - in how you have to think and interact with the book - but written for teens. Does it /have/ to be a progression 'out' of YA? I don't think so. I think intelligent, thoughtful people of all ages read YA. If that's what they choose? Good. (I also think that interacting with what you read is important. Question the things you read, and that will turn even brain candy into something that can expand your mind. If you decide not to interact with the book? Well, then, you won't expand anything. I honestly think how you choose to read - thoughtfully or not - is far more important than /what/ you read.)

PS - I would agree with your advice, particularly for myself. I tend to read mostly fiction as I enjoy it more than non-fic, but I've kinda been trying to sneak non-fic in there! And as advice, it's great. Having been in the place where I thought everyone should read like that, and then getting more like, shrugs, I can't control anyone else? I would add let others be when they read. You can hope they'll read your favorites, or expand, but the truth is they know themselves best. Leave them read and let them be.
It's a Hardback Life 7 years ago
I definitely agree on intellectual "meat" being required when I'm looking for informational reading, rather than pure entertainment. In this case, I wanted to limit myself to fiction based on the question posed on the podcast, as well as the fact that this was already 3 word doc pages long by the time I was done.
Oh, yeah. Like that ten page review I wrote, realized that I'd spent six hours of my life on one third of a Transformers book and went, ugh, this is gonna be a /thing./ That eats my soul if I don't stop. Sometimes it's just too damn much.

I read whatever looks good to me. This works pretty well, I think. (I read something in just about every genre except, I don't think I've ever read a Western, and I'm not big on horror.) I think I do agree that you can have too much brain candy. On the other hand, a little brain candy can keep you sane! Gotta have a balance of some sort, I think.

I do not have a problem with "not reading enough non-fiction," though! (I love big fat history books.)
BradK 7 years ago
Some authors have "matured" out of the YA category. Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown -- went on to the disturbing Deerskin. I don't know if her delightful Sunshine is a crossover or still YA, it seems either adult or crossover. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Balance of Trade could be considered YA, I think, yet the sequenl Trade Secrets I would think is definitely on the adult side of the line, as are the rest of the Liaden books. When you class Susanne Woods Fisher's Amish romances, are they YA for lack of gritty bits? Or do they focus on the relationships and values that other so-called adult books tend to gloss over on their way to frolicking and angst?

One way I think of (the best of) YA fiction is the coming-of-age story. I find this endlessly fascinating and usually inciteful about facets of personality, character, and responsibility. The best books reveal something new with each re-read. When I have been criticized for re-reading treasured books, I respond, "You know, I don't recall ever hearing a Pastor say he read the Bible once, and that was enough." If nothing else, I am different the next time, for what I have thought, or read, or who I have interacted with since the previous read.

Recently I dipped into erotic romance -- Cherise Sinclair, some of Tymber Dalton -- and what I like there is the growth and healing of the central characters. And usually the gritty bits (a line from Elizabeth Moon's delightful SF Once a Hero) are necessary to that character's growth. And the frolicking focuses on paying attention to your partner's needs. But I don't think this is necessarily a progression from YA to encourage . .