Monday, June 6, 2011

Books and Their People

So I've already read a couple of posts about this article, which basically says that YA is too dark or as the subtitle to the article says: "Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?" And then it goes on to say all that is wrong with the YA of today, giving examples of all the terrible dark books there are. (I don't understand where the author did their research... it is really easy to find book review websites and get some really good books about hope and other NOT dark stuff).

I'm not going to comment on the article itself, but it reminded me of an earlier issue that has been brought up time and time again that I've been wanting to touch on. People read books, or YA, and they judge them and go "this isn't suitable for children" or "there's death in this" or something, anything, condemning books and saying that they're WRONG. That people should not be writing like this, that books should not be like that.

Um, since when can books be right or wrong? Books are not math questions. They're a reflection of life that's maybe a little distorted, but since when is the answer to life definable?

Although in another sense, I think that books can either work for someone or not work for someone. This is why I don't understand a lot of reviews, because the reviewer is commenting on things in the book that maybe they like but that someone else probably won't.

People are different from each other. Since people are different, they have their own unique taste in books and need different kinds of books to read than other people. (So you can't really say if you like a book or not until you've read it.)

For example, I find Sarah Dessen books extremely "fluffy" and I've tried and failed more than once to slog through the obviousness of what's going to happen. Yet there are hundreds of people out there who love Sarah Dessen books, probably partly because of the fluff and predictability of them.

Some people think books are good. Some people think the same books are horrible. This isn't because the words magically change as each person reads it, but because the actual person reading the book changes.
Each person has unique qualities and past experiences that they bring to their reading experiences, shaping what they like and don't like.

And sometimes one person's needs differ from time to time. I'll read four sort-of romance books and then get so sick of them and then read some science-fiction thing because I need something different. Or I feel like reading something easy and not-so-real, or I'll feel like reading something really hardcore and deep. It just depends on the kind book I need at that moment.

So (back to the article), some people need those dark kinds of books, and other people need happy books. People have reading needs, and you CANNOT throw out some general statement about reading needs that aren't your own. Because they're not yours.

And, on another note, you can find happy books! Even in the most dreadful books I've read, there are little bits of hope somewhere. It's awful to stereotype anything, people, books or otherwise like that.

So I really hope I made some sense...

Anyway to check out some other thoughts on the article (although mine wasn't really thoughts on the article... the article was just a way to tangent onto another thought), visit Veronica Roth and Taryn Albright, and read the awesome thought shared over at Paper Hangover.

What do  you think?

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