Should Adults Read Young Adult Books?

March 30, 2012 § 10 Comments

Or: A Reaction to Joel Stein’s “Adults Should Read Adult Books”

Or: The Narrow-Mindedness of the Literary Elite

Yesterday the New York Times published an essay entitled “Adults Should Read Adult Books” by Joel Stein. The gist is obvious from the title, but I posted most of it below (and if you’re like me, your irritation will carry you through it quickly):

The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads. « Read the rest of this entry »

2 things the Hunger Games film reminds us about the book industry

March 23, 2012 § 9 Comments

It’s not a big secret that I’m pretty conflicted about books that are made into movies, even (and sometimes especially) if the movies turn out good. That said, it’s been incredibly encouraging to see all the hubbub created by the release of the first Hunger Games movie. I’ve talked to dozens of people who would never have heard of the book if it weren’t for the movie, many of them who were reading it to see what the commotion is all about. Even better–“something better than getting people reading?!” you ask–yes, even better is that it’s getting people talking about the themes of the book, like privileged people taking what they have for granted and turning a blind eye to the suffering of others, and being used by non-profits as an opportunity to raise awareness about world hunger.

And I have to admit that it would be dishonest of me to say that I haven’t been stoked to see it.

So rather than get down about the fact that many times more people are going to see the movie than will ever read the book, I’m looking at the positive. « Read the rest of this entry »

…and we’re back. With presents.

January 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

I just got back from two glorious weeks away with family and friends for the holidays, hence my silence on the blog front. My house is currently a minefield of partially-unpacked luggage and despite the fact that it’s only 6:30 in the evening, I feel ready for bed because I spent last night (and the wee hours of this morning) having way too much fun with college friends I hadn’t seen in way too long. All that to say that this will be short, sweet, and unrevised but I wanted to get back on the proverbial blogging horse. So here are my belated Christmas gifts to you, dear reader: « Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review: Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

To say that J. D Salinger focuses on character rather than plot in The Catcher in the Rye would be an understatement.  The book follows troubled teen Holden Caulfield through three days of his life.  By some estimations a lot happens in these days, but by others, nothing happens at all.  The book paints a fascinating and compelling portrayal of the life of one teenage boy, and is an amazing lesson in characterization.  Interesting side note: the phrase “screwed up” originated with this book.

Book Review: The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

September 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

There wasn’t much to make me love this book.  Ember is the only city in a world of darkness with no sun, moon, or stars, and the supply of light bulbs (and everything else) is rapidly diminishing.  Twelve-year-olds Doon and Lina don’t believe that Ember could be all there is in the world and they strive to discover the truth and save mankind from the impending darkness.

The biggest problem with the book is that it didn’t make me care about any of the characters.  I didn’t hate the bad guys, and I didn’t care much about the good guys.  Also, the plot has been done before (most notably in The Giver by Lois Lowry, but also in Robert Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky, which I love), and there were some serious plot holes like the fact that no one, in the hundreds of years they’ve lived in darkness, has thought to make a torch or candle to help explore the darkness.  If you skip this one, you won’t be missing much.  That said, I love the attempt and will be curious to see what DuPrau writes after this series is completed.

If you’re wondering what you should read instead, check out the reading recommendations for great reads for middle grade and young adult readers.

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

September 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Loved this book!  A great read.  I read this back in January, but I still can’t say enough about it. Set in a future where the world has been ravaged by nuclear war and North America has been divided into twelve districts all ruled by the elitist capital, each year two children are chosen from each district to fight to the death in the Hunger Games. Loved the setting, loved the characters, loved the tension. I checked it out at noon and didn’t sleep that night until I finished it. It’s a great example of a young adult book that appeals to all ages. The sequels don’t quite capture the magic of the first, but it’s a book you don’t want to miss. Here’s hoping the movie doesn’t ruin it.

For other Young Adult books you shouldn’t miss, check out the reading recommendations.

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