Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Adult" books

I found this debate today in the New York Times, and I wanted to share it with you, and to share my opinion. 

What makes a book and "adult" book? It's complexity? the subjects that it touches? when is it right to read a certain book and when isn't? and while we are at it, what exactly makes an adult?

I'm 26, and I had my share of "young -adult" books, but also what apparently is called "adult" books. I read Gone with the Wind when I was still a teenager, as well as Madame Bovary, The Odyssey as well as all the available series of "Goosebumps" in my schools library. I always thought of them as books, that's it. Sure, they were genres, horror, fiction, non-fiction...but I never discriminated them for the age-public they were aiming at. I do not agree with Joel Stein, saying that adults should only read adult books. Partly because I think there are really amazing things about Harry Potter that you see differently with age. But mostly, because I think in a society that reading is being left behind, any opportunity that a person has to submerge in a book, and maybe find out what really moves them should not be left behind.  

I think however that are books that should be read after you have a certain background (I don't like to use th word maturity in this context). I think your first contact with a "love story" should not be The Twilight Saga, but I read it, enjoyed talking about it with my friends, all the time knowing that this was not the ideal relationship (far from it) vampires or not vampires.
So what's your opinion?  Let me know :)


  1. I'm 20 years older than you, and if there was such a thing as YA fiction when I was a teen I wasn't aware of it. There were children's books and then "regular" books. I remember books like "Gone With the Wind" and "The Thorn Birds" in the library at my junior high school. I also remember reading (but not necessarily understanding) Harold Robbins before high school.

    I've seen Joel Stein on TV and he generally is trying to be funny, so I didn't take his column seriously. If I were to take it seriously, I would comment that Mr. Stein does not know the education level of the person he is sitting next to on the plane or the bus. My late MIL barely had an 8th-grade reading level and she started reading YA books with my kids. She got great enjoyment out of sharing something with them and actually being able to understand what she was reading. I wouldn't take that away from anyone.

    1. Thanks for your comment. You are right, I should have read his column with a sarcastic tone in my head. I think you raise a great point that I forgot to mention, and is the fact that parents (or grandparents :)can share reading with their kids. My grandmother read the Twilight Saga to know what was it about, and we both had great time talking about it!

  2. When I was a teen (about 15 years ago), there was no YA literature, if you consider R.L. Stine and Lois Duncan literature and if I did want to read something, I usually had to read adult literature in order to read something. Now that I am over 30, I find myself reading a wide variety of YA literature and seeing a wide variety. Thank you for linking to the debate.

    While there were books out there that I enjoyed during my teen years, most of what I ended up reading was more adult in nature.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I saw your list of reading right now...WOW! I seem to be unable to read more than 2 books at a time. :) Enjoy all of them!