The current topic of discussion is children’s and young adult literature.
Last week I read a blog post — “Missing the window on kids’ books” — that I really identified with. I know there are a ton of great children’s books out there that I didn’t read when I was young, or that have been published in the years since then. But now is just not the time for me to read them. Without the nostalgia factor, I can’t connect with them at all. So my consumption of children’s literature is on hold until I have my own kids, and then maybe I can recreate some of the magic, seeing it through their eyes.
Young adult is a different beast, if only because it’s so huge right now. And because it’s so huge… I honestly get a little resentful of it. It’s not that I don’t think that YA is for adults. It’s just that it’s not for me, at least not in the amounts that YA bloggers devour them.
And it’s everywhere. I hear about an interesting premise, and it turns out to be YA. I’m not going to completely dismiss a book because of that, but I’d so much rather just get the story, without the requisite love triangle and general adolescent angst. I think it’s great that teens these days have so many stories to choose from, with interesting worlds and relatable characters. But those characters just aren’t as relatable to me, and I can only take them in occasional doses.
(I also really hate reading an incomplete series, so a lot of the really hot books out right now, I probably will read once the trilogy — it’s usually a trilogy — is finished. Divergent comes to mind as one that’s on my radar.)
As for my own favorites from my younger years, there’s nothing out of the ordinary. Chronicles of Narnia, Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew (typically not Hardy Boys, although I did like some of the crossovers), Babysitters Club, Fear Street… your typical big name series.
But there are a couple titles that come to mind that are more obscure, books that would fit right in with today’s paranormal trends: You Can Never Go Home Again, and its sequel, Save the Last Dance for Me, by Dyan Sheldon. The second was published in ’95, meaning they were probably some of the last books I read before school sucked my reading soul away. I’d be curious to read them again now to see if I enjoy them as much as I did back then.
As an adult, do you rely on nostalgia to enjoy books aimed at younger readers? Or can you appreciate them for what they are?