Wednesday, June 23, 2010
So girls, I was reading a post the other day by the ever-amusing Merry Sisters of Fate. They were discussing why it is okay for us old folks to watch teen movies, but not read teen books. Tess brought up the "walk of shame into the YA section," (been there) and Maggie mentioned how women come to her signings and apologize for not being a teen.
At first I was thinking that I don't feel bad about reading YA. I mean, I LOVE it (obviously), but then I realized that to my non-YA-reading friends I often qualify my reading choices by saying, "It's all my mama brain can handle these days." Ouch. I've said that a lot. And really, it takes away from the complexity that is YA lit these days. Sometimes I find myself re-reading certain passages a few times to make sure I *get* what just happened. Other times I am blown away by a surprise twist that the author throws out. YA Lit doesn't mean easy, but I myself am guilty of shamefully bowing my head and pretending that it is just that - easy and fluffy.
The sisters do ask a good question - WHY do we do this?
I'm completely ashamed to admit this, but I'm guilty of having just done the "closet read" last weekend. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. When you're sitting on the airplane and you position the book on your lap so that the only way anyone can see the cover is to pry it out of your dead, cold hands.
Of course, I am an equal opportunity offender. I've taken more dust jackets off Charlaine Harris novels than I have YA books. Maybe that's because I always default to the "I'm a teacher" line if anyone questions my YA selections. Ew, I'm cringing as I'm typing that. After all, the only excuse we should need for reading what we read is because we like it, right?
Exacty! I regularly find myself saying, "I have a degree in English Lit, so I've read all the classics. It's okay for me to read this stuff right now." I'm cringing too. "This stuff," however, also includes the Charlaine Harris books . My Walk of Shame is not limited to the YA section. Before True Blood mania hit, I would take my Southern Vampire Series books up to the front of the store quite quickly and place it face down at the register. But, you're right - these books are what we like - what's the shame in that? And, they're good.
Okay, I have to admit that I don't actually feel shame. I mean, I'm sure I'm CAPABLE of being shamed, but not by my reading choices. I love to read, and I read a lot. I refuse to hide what I'm reading because it doesn't fit into the genre society has decided a 30ish mom should be reading.
Of course, I also refuse to hide the fact that I'm a video game girl, and I was known to wear green nail polish and anime tee shirts all through college. So, yeah. Maybe you should just continue this conversation without me. *runs off to teach her kids what a Moogle is*
When I was reading and swooning about Twilight, a lot of my friends razzed me about it. Then the movie came out, and suddenly all the naysayers were Facebooking about how tired they were because they had stayed up all night to finish reading the book. It's as though they needed validation to read it, and the movie franchise gave them the excuse they needed.
Well, that's a sort of group mentality that affects all of society. It's like if all the popular girls in school started playing Dungeons and Dragons, then suddenly it'd be "acceptable" to play it too. And who, in today's culture, represents the popular girls better than Hollywood?
*going into shock* You mean it wasn't acceptable to play Dungeons and Dragons? Does this mean I wasn't as popular as I thought I was?!
But it was cool to play Cthulu, right? RIGHT?!
*confused face* Cthulu? Dungeons and Dragons? What the hell are you guys talking about? *smirk*
But you do make a good point. Once Twilight became a major phEEEnomenon (Thank you Oprah for ruining that word forEVAH), it did seem more socially acceptable to read and love those books. And, I think it's also more acceptable to read YA in general after Twilight. The girls in my book sharing club don't give me too much trouble about me only sharing YA books. In fact, they love them too. They just don't have to walk into the YA section - they all borrow mine. Cheaters.
So, what about you all? Do you do the Walk of Shame into the YA section at your local bookstore? Do you order online to avoid The Shame? Do you make up excuses like Cher and I, or do you flounce The Shame like Leigh? Do tell!