Adults shouldn’t read The Hunger Games, Twilight, any of the Percy Jackson books, or even Harry Potter (it’s a children’s book too you know!), Oliver Twist, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Jungle Books….wait wait I haven’t made my point yet…. because we, as adults, are meant to work at our desks from 9-5 p.m., punch our time card, go home and attend to our personal responsibilities, kids, dinner etc. And then before we shut our eyes in anticipation of another day at our desk, we must read a chapter or two of serious nonfiction, poetry by one of the romantics, or a classic novel with outdated language and drawn out plot lines. How am I supposed to maintain my sanity in this kind of world?
Joel Stein in his opinion column on The New York Times “Room For Debate” blog says simply, “Adults should read adult books.” His quick argument is that you don’t need a brain to read young adult or children’s literature.
To me, adults should be able to read what they want. I’m not going to look down on a fully-suited man on the metro reading The Hunger Games just because he’s looking for a little adventure on his way to work. What you read doesn’t imply that you’re an idiot or not. Many people read a wide variety of different books. In fact, some of the young adult lit I’ve read has some of the best plot twists, irony, nuance, and storytelling than any adult novel (Take a gander at the Newbery Medal honors and winners. You’ll see what I mean.) Not all YA is great. It’s true. And I enjoy reading novels, nonfiction, and classics. There is 3,000 years of literature out there after all.
Stein is right that books offer a chance to learn. But video games (in moderation and depending on your choices, like, oh, the books you choose) also offer us a chance to learn about strategy and problem solving. We can learn about the world and all that’s in it on the internet. Music (yes, even Justin Beiber) teaches us about rhythm and tone. And young adult literature teaches us that you don’t need to wallow in a world of suits every day and to embrace the adventure.