Just Read It, Okay!

I’m not a YA fan, I’m never going to be a YA fan, I’ve read one Harry Potter book (the last one), and a smattering of John Green’s novels, and only after I’d been watching his and his brother’s YouTube channel for about a year– and thus knew he wasn’t a hack. I’ll be the first to admit it, but I am a literary snob, which is even harder to swallow when I come across even bigger literary snobs than me who out rightly write off The Hunger Games trilogy, because it’s A. Popular. B. Young Adult fiction, and C. It’s been bought and sold and turned into a successful film franchise. Which brings me to today’s fuming moment of well, fuming. Should The Hunger Games Be Read Or Watched? Was published today, and I read it, and while the author spouts a healthy dose of wishing more people read, and blah blah blah– he also comes off as a healthy, and giant ass-hat. Why? Because The Hunger Games trilogy doesn’t meet his apparent standards of difficulty. I’m sorry, are books that are worthwhile only worthwhile if you have to read them along with a dictionary, and then also read esoteric academic papers pulling the plot, characters, and nuances in the text apart, is that the only and proper way to read a decent piece of literature? Erm, if that’s so, then I need my English degree ripped from my cold dead hands, and also my giant copy of The Yale Shakespeare burned into a smoldering pile of ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Have you noticed a growing theme through the last few paragraphs? If you haven’t, then buurrn (see, there it was right there). Okay, here’s the deal, while I’m a sizable proponent of encouraging reading, and basking in the lovely, warm glow of a good book, I am frankly irritated by the continuous, and pompous manner in which reviewers, and critics yammer on and on about the declining intellectual fortitude and engageability of the younger generations, especially where it comes to their book-burningliterary proclivities, and yes I am wholly aware that I just used a non-word. Yeah, it happens, meaning reading falls in and out of fashion, I know it does, you know it does, but while it is disturbing I am also increasingly and somewhat equally disturbed by seeing junior high school kids in sweatshirts, and shorts walking to school in 28 degree Fahrenheit weather (yeah, That was another hint).

See here assholes who can’t get past the fact that The Hunger Games trilogy is categorized and cataloged under the Young Adult book sections of our book sellers and libraries, because I read them– and my favorite novels feature hard-core adult themes, including “the sex.” Nope, not Fifty Shades, I’m a literature snob remember, and I’m not going to read that, ’cause I could daydream up better kink than that woman whilst sitting in traffic. I’m talking the big books like East of Eden, and Nabakov, and other hard to read shit, because it’s about unpleasant, gritty stuff, and the authors liked to use ten cent words, and pretend I’m blowing a raspberry, ’cause I am that mature.

The size of it is this, or the biggest fuming moment (s) of the article linked to above was the author’s blatant, flippant, and ignorant bringing up of two things: One being Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and how today’s youth are rapidly turning our world into the world in which Bradbury wrote, yes where books are lost forever in burning piles, and ignorance is rampant, tra la la la. And Second, the peice de resistance, he lets out a subtle hint (if you’re paying attention) that he probably has not read Mockingjay. Please, just sit with that for a second.

Someone call Star Squad 451! Also, it’s Friday the day I can find anything to be snippy about.

Them There Eyes

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4 comments

  1. I have an English literature degree as well, and what I have found is that the symbols, and layers of THG are accessible. I didn’t need a shriveled professor to tell me why it was a good book. I didn’t need the meanings interpreted for me. I happen to prefer that over, hmm, War and Peace, where Tolstoy rambled for 50 pages at the end. So shoot me.

  2. Twilight (which I loved for a bit but now realize had no purpose) is dumbing down the young generation. The Hunger Games (or the Unwind dystology, which is the only other Y.A. worth reading for its similar accessible themes, symbols and layers which encourage the young (and old) readers to question society and preconceived notions) is helping our youth to feel engaged to very real human issues that we face in real life by putting it in a compelling story that doesn’t underestimate their intelligence.

  3. Just so you know, someone (a current English major, actually) posted a comment today on the article, and pinpointed that judging the relative “complexity” of a book was basically “meaningless”, along with some other good points and insights. Like how the term “Young Adult” is mostly a means of categorizing and placement, and not indicative of a book’s complexity or literary worth.
    Also, where are you seeing “junior high school kids in sweatshirts and shorts walking to school in 28 degree Fahrenheit weather”? 0_o

  4. I totally agree with your comment. Lots of books now in the “classics” section of your neighborhood bookstore could be just as well in the YA section. Seems the only criteria is a young adult protaganist and PG-13 rating on any romance scenes. “Catcher in the Rye” and “Lord of the Flies” are about kids. “Pride and Prejudice” is frankly pretty simple reading but for the period idioms and “fluffy” subject matter, but is thought by some to be high literature. Romeo and Juliet were a couple of teenagers too. In 20 years The Hunger Games will be in the classics section, and we’ll all remember when it was “popular”. It will stand the test of time, unlike many knock-off YA series out there.

    True, it doesn’t use lots of big, obscure words. Part of the genius of her writing is how Suzanne Collins can break your heart and blow your mind with such a simple phrase, or how she can convey such moral complexity with such accessible analogy. As a lawyer, that is what I try to do with my professional writing every day to convey my message clearly.

    I read all kinds of stuff. Some of it critically acclaimed, some very popular, some thought provoking, some pure escapist fluff. It depends on what mood I’m in. Mockingjay was more deeply thought-provoking and emotionally moving than most of what I read in my college English Literature classes. It might not be what some people enjoy reading, and that’s fine. But objectively, it is well-written and as serious as anything out there.

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