Friday, February 5, 2010

Love the books; don’t lick the books

When asked about the benefits of corresponding with fans via email, Douglas Adams once replied, “It’s quicker, easier, and involves less licking.” While I can’t say I’ve ever licked another writer (which is good since OPWFT is a PG-13 rated blog), I will say that Nick Hornby is on my short list of author crushes.

When did he make the transition from an author whose books I really enjoyed to full scale author crush? It was last summer when I picked up a secondhand copy of Housekeeping vs the Dirt ( a collection of columns he had written for the Believer) and read what he had to say on, well, reading.

In the preface, Hornby talks about a culture war which divides books into two categories: trashy and worthwhile and the effect this has on reading rates and the public at large. He reminds us that there’s nothing wrong with reading for enjoyment and, equally, that it’s not a cardinal sin to set aside a book when you’re not enjoying it. His columns reassured me that it’s okay to have read Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason eighteen times and only made it through four chapters of Pride and Prejudice.

–Right about now I’ll bet you’re wondering how I’ll tie this back into YA. Patience, young grasshopper.–

With more and more young adult titles gaining crossover popularity, I’ll wager there are a fair few adults who have felt twinges about being seen reading “kid’s” books (after all, someone buys those Harry Potter and His Dark Materials paperbacks with the sleek, grownup covers).

My thoughts? Put away the guilt and embrace the original editions. Don’t be afraid to get caught reading Twilight on the bus. Don’t be ashamed of heading to the counter with a stack of John Green and Courtney Summers. The fact that you’re taking time out of your day to read should be celebrated.

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