Lit nerds shaming (just what the world needed)

bookwarRuth Graham’s new article on why adults should be ashamed to read YA literature seems to have brought all the literary snobs out of the wood work. You know the type, your friend who only read Joyce in public or lament much to loud and publicly about poetry that rhymes. Of course this tends to be an issue, that comes to surface again and again and again. It isn’t enough to read, you have to read the right work.

When I was a child, the devil was Goosebumps. How could kids waste their time on this, there was no literary value…blah blah blah blah blah.

I was one of those kids wasting my time reading these poorly written crap, which they were, no moral, no plot development and frankly about half way through the book, I could tell you how it was going to end. But to my third grade self, there was nothing more exciting than getting my next book-order in with my new Goosebumps book.

Mind you, before those books I HATED reading. I’d only read what was required in school. And eventually I became bored with them and moved on to the classics (Fahrenheit 451, Tom Sawyer, etc).

Here is something to think about (from 2013): 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read:million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read.

We do not need to be shaming people on their literary choices. Yes, there are more engaging and mind boggling works than YA (though some are pretty darn powerful like 13 Reason’s Why), but frankly as long as something keeps you reading, that is something.

And let’s talk about some of the classics, with a plot break down:

Old man and the sea: Old man goes fishing. Has a lot of regret. Finally catches his giant fish. Sharks eat it. He is defeated. Dreams of lions (dies).

The Catcher in the Rye: A whiny boy whines for way too long.

Need I go on? (Don’t get me started on Pamela.)

In all, Graham’s article seems to forget:

Reading is a personal choice and what is engaging or deep to someone is completely person.

Frankly, I challenge all of you to go reread Dr. Seuss’s work, there’s some deep social complementary in it.

And there is an art in simplicity in the ability to expound deep thoughts to younger audiences.

So go out, read what you want. Be it a magazine, a best seller or a classic and don’t let anyone give you crap for it.

 

Pemberley High Part 2 (Pride and Prejudice re imagined )

Ok guys, I’m a couple days late (oops) but here is part two of my for fun writing project. If you haven’t read part 1, read it here.

PART II

Pemberley High was built, if Lizzi were to venture a guess, during the early 1900’s. The town like to claim it was much newer, circa 1970 but its dilapidated, crumbling gothic architecture made her rather suspicious. During her sophomore year, she had launched an investigation into the history, but the Principal quickly shut it down.

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The school was small, almost dying.  For years, the town council had argued that it should be shut down, and the kids shuttled off to other towns to attend schools. But, with most of the parents being rather wealthy (Lizzi’s parents were the notable exception), they were able to pull the political strings to keep the school open. As a consequence, Lizzi knew every one of her classmates and had been in the same class with all of them since Kindergarten.

Lizzi and Jane arrive at school on their matching blue bikes.

“Jane!” a gaggle of girls rang out.

As Jane smiled and greeted them, Lizzi slinked towards the door.

“Lizzi,” Charlotte, a slightly round mousy girl engulfed Lizzi. “ugh I missed you. I almost went insane at my Aunts. No TV. No WIFI. No internet….I was so bored, I learned to knit.”

“That sounds wonderful!” Lizzi said. “My mom had me in modeling sessions all summer.”

Lizzi contorted her face.

“I learned that ugly is beautiful,” Lizzi continued, “and unlike my nearly perfect sister, Jane, who as our coach said, was almost too beautiful to model, I had the perfect amount of flaws.”

Charlotte gasped. Lizzi couldn’t tell if it was shock or if she was a bit envious.

Charlotte and Lizzi had been friends for as long as Lizzi could remember. Their mothers, both stay at home mothers, who worried much too much about their daughters, had quickly bonded over the twos mutual social awkwardness during the great kindergarten Valentine’s day buddies debacle. Lizzi, who had decided by then that Valentine’s day was an over commercialized- consumer driven holiday had refused to participate and instead brought a homemade heart shaped protest sign which read “Love doesn’t come from a store,” to school while Charlotte, who because of a nasty paste-eating habit and cootie scare, had been labeled as “the weird kid,” sat crying over the lack of valentine’s in her un-decorated shoe box.  What started out as a play date to socialize the girls and a chance for the mothers to drink some wine and lament, quickly turned into bff bracelets and secret handshakes.

Though recently, Lizzi worried they might be drifting apart. She had engrossed herself in every art and political outlet she could think of which seemed to bore Charlotte. While Charlotte had joined the school’s flag guard and was reveling in what little social status that seemed to bring her.  

“I even had a few job offers.” Lizzi said, “Of course I immediately turned them down and told my mother that my coach said I was a hopeless case.”

“Lizzi, you’re awful.”

“ What mom doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” Lizzi said with a smile.

“Oh hey,” Charlotte said, she arched her body around Lizzi, “ I’ve got to go say hi to the other guard girls before class. You have first period Chemistry right?”

“Yeah.”

“Awesome.” Charlotte said bouncing away. “See you then.”

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