Today’s post as you can see by the title is a Discussion post. I feel like it has been a while since I have done a discussion post and yet they are one of my favourite things to do because it gives me the opportunity to rant and it starts up conversations with you guys. I love hearing your opinions.
Today’s topic is ‘Reading YA as an Adult’.
I chose this topic because of the backlash that some people (including myself) can face because of the choices of books they read.
I love to read YA books. YA books of any genre, from realism to fantasy, romance and dystopian. I love them all, so much so that I’m writing my Dissertation on some.Young Adult books are marketed towards the ages 11-17, yet of course this isn’t a law. Anybody can read them so why when people out of this age range choose to pick them up do they face backlash?
For me the backlash is something I have experienced before. I know this may sound crazy to some of you who haven’t had this but I have been told many times that I should read ‘proper books’. Is a YA book not really a book? Is it any less literature purely because of the age it is predominately marketed for?
The answer for me is of course No. No matter the age range, YA books are still very much literature. They are still important and they still hold important messages.
I finally picked up the Harry Potter books when I was 20. I’m 22 now and I’m still in love with them and they are typically marketed as Young Adult/ children’s literature. Harry Potter and many series like it truly offer moral tales that no matter your age you can learn from, you can sympathize with the characters and you can also find inspiration. I would encourage anyone to pick up Harry Potter, even my 80-year-old Nan. Which brings me to the question is it more frowned upon to read YA books out of the age limit when the books are less known? Do people think it is more childish because they don’t understand them or perhaps they themselves only class classical literature from 19th century and earlier real literature?
‘Don’t you think your too old for that?’
Sadly I’ve seen this judgement time and time again, where people have questioned another person’s reading choices and told them that they would do themselves a bigger favour by picking up the work of Bronte, Fitzgerald and Austen. I mean of course they are brilliant books but at the end of the day who cares? Lets just celebrate the fact people are reading, books are still being bought and stories are still being written.
The saddest thing for me is when I find my friends editing their own reading preferences based on a comment they’ve had made to them because more often than not they then fall out of love with reading. If you like children’s literature like Coraline or Narnia and you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or older then keep reading. The hidden messages you will also pick up on from being older is absolutely fascinating and brilliant as well as the enjoyment you get from the books you read.
On a final note being 22 now, I read Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella last year. A book in the YA genre. A book that features a young female protagonist who suffers from Anxiety. Suffering from Anxiety myself I was drawn to it and I can safely say that reading a YA book like that helped me. It normalized mental illness to an extent. Here I was reading about a character that was like me? I loved it and I love how it was going to be teaching younger children about Anxiety. Hopefully it could help alot of people.
So what if that character was 10 years or more my junior?
In conclusion I think those who pass such judgement on reading preferences are snobby in a way. They have this hierarchical establishment of literature in their minds which can only feature certain ‘great authors’ such as Jane Austen. But times are changing and now great authors for me at least now feature writers such as J.K Rowling and I wholly stand by the idea that anybody should be allowed to read whatever books they like.
Books can change your life, don’t limit yourself by listening to someone else’s opinion on what is a ‘good book’.
My message for you today is; read whatever you want to read. Never be ashamed of your reading preferences. I for one will never stop reading and loving Harry Potter no matter how many times people tell me ‘i’m too old for it’. You’re never too old to read a book. Their isn’t any rules.
As J.K Rowling famously wrote – DON’T LET THE MUGGLES GET YOU DOWN.