By now, most of you have heard about the atrocious, stats baiting Slate article written by Ruth Graham. I refuse to link it here, but will offer you a quote or two:
“Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.”
“Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this.”
Needless to say, while there were many who agreed with Graham via the comments portion of the site, many lost their minds in anger. There was a Twitter hashtag response (#NoShameYA) and a multitude of blog articles and rebuttals. Of course, Graham is entitled to her opinion. But I’m of the belief that no one should be shamed for what they read. Reading is for the expansion of our minds, for experiencing different lives and cultures we might not otherwise know, and yes, it’s for pleasure. Find pleasure in what you will and whether it’s a steamy bodice ripper, a Dan Brown novel, a Roald Dahl book you loved when you were ten, or a beautifully crafted book that happens to center on a young adult, embrace it. The shame is in telling others they should be embarrassed to read what they love, but never in loving, never in pursuing your reading with passion.
Entertainment Weekly (the June 27th issue with the True Blood cover) has what I think may be the best response. They have a brief spread entitled “Young Adult At Heart” which explores classics such as I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou), The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), and Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) and what their covers would look like if they came out now (undoubtedly in the YA genre). In addition they categorize modern YA with these staples. It’s worth checking out.
So read on my friends and be proud.