I made another friend at the library today. It’s easy for me to chat with people, and of course I have a natural affinity for other book lovers. Today I had a lovely conversation with a librarian who works in the teen center. This section of the library has some computers and tables reserved for teenagers, but it also has a lot of books I really enjoy. Most of the graphic novels are shelved there, and there’s also a lot of great fiction.
It’s an odd thing. I’d never want to be that age again, but I love young adult fiction. I don’t quite know why, but I suspect that some of it has to do with the themes of the books. I love any book that stresses that a person should be who they are. I think I probably identify with some of the chaos in these books, too.
I also suspect that books for this age group take more liberties with reality. I love fantasy and science fiction, and many young adult books border on the fantastical without stepping all the way into the boundaries of one genre or another. The authors take risks that people writing for adults sometimes don’t. It’s nice, too, that there is sometimes less vulgarity and coarseness within the pages. Vulgarity is the perfect complement to some works, but it’s overused and I find it becomes tiresome.
The librarian I chatted with seemed to be in her twenties, and she was just as enthusiastic about young adult books as I am. When she saw me grab a few titles from the display, she recommended other great reads, and said that she was willing to make up reading lists for interested people. I appreciate that. I don’t have kids, so I don’t always hear about these books through the grapevine.
When it comes right down to it, I don’t think it matters what genre these books fall into. I have one criterion for things I read. Poet Oscar Wilde once said: “It is absurd to divide people into good or bad. People are either charming or tedious.” I believe the same can be said for books, and many of these books charm me. That’s enough.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
167. When was the last time you read a young adult book (besides Harry Potter)? Browse the YA section in a bookstore or library and give one of the titles a try. Was it charming or tedious?