In today's edition of The New York Times (aka, Rory's mothership), Joel Stein (the guy who's really only relevant for talking about crap like the Rubix cube and Hall & Oates in VH1's "I Love The Decades" series) authors an article titled "Adults Should Read Adult Books". As Mr. Stein obviously lacks creativity, the subject of the article is pretty apparent. In his (narrow) world, adults should only be reading the big, scary books and stories like The Hunger Games should be left to mindless teenagers and children.
Joel Stein attended Stanford, therefore, we should all be listening intently to his message. Katniss Everdeen's epic struggle for survival as she rises up against a tyrannical government is children's stuff. Might as well be reading The Berenstain Bears Go to the Circus. The imagination and wonder in the Harry Potter series is for babies... especially given the fact that the story is indicative of Hitler's Holocaust.
In reading this article, I started to get the sense that Mr. Stein assumes adults don't read that often... therefore, when they do, they better make it count. And he'd be incorrect. My readers have been with me through this journey... they've seen me finish a long series of Dickens, only to start a story about Harry, Ron and Hermione. They've seen me read Tolstoy... and then pick up The Shining. Although the writing in books found in the Young Adult section may not be changing the world... the MESSAGE just might be. The writing in The Hunger Games didn't blow me away, but Suzanne Collins' commentary on reality television, the role that government plays in our lives and the power individual citizens don't even know they hold DID! It was one of the few times where an author refused to underestimate children... and it's obviously paying off for her.
In the end, I believe my point (and one of the things I've learned thus far from the BW&R Challenge) is...
be a well-rounded reader
Don't read only what you believe will impress others. Read everything you can get your hands on. If you enjoy it... don't be ashamed that you read it. Some of my most brilliant friends devour the cheesy romance novels where the chiseled man is clutching a gorgeous woman with the proverbial "heaving bosom". I have a friend who possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of history, and she prefers to read 99 cent paperbacks. Reading something "smart" doesn't make you smart. What truly makes you smart is being able to read a book and extract the higher meaning out of the words... regardless of the books intended audience.
Mr. Stein... I'll continue to read (and *GASP* enjoy!) The Hunger Games. And then I'll pick up Swann's Way and read (and enjoy) that too! And unlike you, I'd rather spend my need-for-mindless-entertainment time reading a "lesser" book instead of obsessing over the latest exploits of the Kardashians. My tv watching habits are FAR superior. ;o)
Click here to read the opinion piece this post was inspired by.