Not signed in (Sign In)
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.21)
    Nice list of authors there. Haven't read Nabokov or Hesse, but Rushdie and Vonnegut are two of my favorites. Used to be a Kerouac fan, but now, meh. Anyway, point is, as a fellow literary snob, I hope you give me a bit of credit when I recommend the HDM trilogy.

    I also enjoyed Harry Potter. I wouldn't say it's the greatest thing on earth, but they were fun reads.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.22)
    The Onion has some stuff to say on this issue.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.23)
    I also enjoyed Harry Potter. I wouldn't say it's the greatest thing on earth, but they were fun reads.


    Yeah, they're not the greatest stories ever, but they were my money's worth.

    I also loved His Dark Materials. Is is primarily for kids? Sure, but it's well-written that adults can enjoy them, and really, those are the best kind of "young adult" stories, to me.
    • CommentAuthorInsect King
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007 edited
     (278.24)
    I think the sacredchao had a very insightful even cheeky response right there which is if someone fills your anus with the boring (how a certain topic is against another topic and must be banned/boycotted/nailed to a cross) you should rather go to the Onion and read something written by intelligent and calm people. Let them cleanse the irrational out of your colon with high grade irony.

    Ahhh. Relief by Onion, smoothing nature's rough edges and stupids since fuck knows when.

    C.
    • CommentAuthorAlexa_D
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.25)
    I'll never know why grown adults read children's books.


    Well, as a 20-year-old who reads anything she can get her hands on, perhaps I'm at just the right age to get away with reading children's books, but the answer remains the same: I like good stories. When I pick up a book or comic, I want to be entertained, and maybe have the deeper parts of my soul touched. And I've gotten that from Vonnegut, from Harry Potter, from Michael Chabon, and His Dark Materials. If I didn't get the results I wanted from children's/YA books, I wouldn't read them.

    I'm also reminded of a story that Neil Gaiman told, about how a friend once gave him a copy of Coraline with a Post-It attached that said, "Some mad person put this in the children's section."
    •  
      CommentAuthorMiss
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.26)
    Regarding the opening post, my mother was at a card game last week and the Golden Compass film came up in conversation. She pretty much had to bite her tongue being the black sheep of the block (an atheist lesbian with a Jewish partner living in a churchgoing suburb), but from what she told me, these people probably saw either this email or one of the various articles along the same lines. Verdict being they're not going to see it, let alone take their spawn along. As for Pullman, I recently got a letter from evil humanist scumbags telling me they were going to give him an award at their 2008 conference. Clearly he is one of those Satan things.

    As for other stuff said, I still have a soft spot for certain kid's books (including those further back from YA), possibly because I'm not far out of that stage and am rather childish by nature, I don't know. I've never felt the need to justify it. In my opinion, there is as much merit in reading Watership Down as there is in reading The Gulag Archipelago. Beatrix Potter books still have a place on my shelf right alongside a bunch of more socially acceptable authors, some of whom have been mentioned in this discussion.

    As for the other Potter? Harmless fluff and decent potboilers. I read the first three on a long-haul flight and found them to be good timekillers that didn't require brain breaks. Like Alexa, I read whatever I find to be enjoyable. Some of it is pretentious wank, some of it is popcorn, some of it happens to be found outside of the "grown-up" sections.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.27)
    Kids books are often much darker, nastier and more intelligent. Escapist fiction for adults is mostly pretty appalling and full of mary sue characters, happy endings and is generally a bit wanky. With a few notable exceptions I've given up on adult genre fiction. I still find a lot to offer in the kids' or young adults sectors because, I think, the writers assume they're writing for intelligent kids instead of the arrested adolescents that make up the main audience for most 'adult' genre works.

    ie - the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter books are massively popular genre fiction that's labelled 'adult' because of the sex and violence. They might well be 'adult', but I'd say with absolute conviction that Phillip Pullman's writing is a great deal more mature and intelligent. I got halfway through an Anita Blake book, which on paper ticks all the boxes of stuff I'd enjoy, but I actually wanted to tear it up so no one else had to suffer it because it was so badly written.
  1.  (278.28)
    Me: 'I think You'd really like Watchmen, or Sandman, or the Invisibles. They're not what you think.'

    Other: 'No thanks, those are comic books. Why do grown adults read comic books?'


    Apples and oranges. None of them say "children's fiction" on the back, for a start.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFredrik
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.29)
    Really, if their faith and arguments cannot stand up to questions asked by children, provoked by a fantasy novel, there's just something wrong. Which, I guess, is what they're afraid of finding out.

    I totally have to check out these books now, if I can find the time.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.30)
    @Fredrik
    Really, if their faith and arguments cannot stand up to questions asked by children, provoked by a fantasy novel, there's just something wrong. Which, I guess, is what they're afraid of finding out.
    I forget where I heard the following quote, but it was some televised report. The man saying it was a cleric of some persuasion and to paraphrase it went something like this: "Faith not strong enough to withstand a film like this could use the exercise." I wish the angry religious people that are afraid of losing their stranglehold on truth would embrace that philosophy.
  2.  (278.31)
    @Warren
    "I'll never know why grown adults read children's books."

    Wow, that's a bit of a gross generalisation. Do you mean "badly written and patronising books marketed for that demographic of children who haven't yet discovered what reading should be"? In which case, I'll certainly never know why grown adults read Harry Potter either. As for other children's books that are well written, imaginative and un-patronising, why not? Some of the best books I've ever read are intended for children, and one of my favourite illustrators only does "children's" picture books.
  3.  (278.32)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Warren, what's not to like about <em>Alice in Wonderland</em> or <em>Watership Down</em>?

    I'd like Pullman more if he was a more efficient writer (This should be required for children's fiction) and wasn't so blatant about his anti-religious motivations within the text itself. I don't mind his message (I'm an antitheist), but it takes away from the story when it's so prominent. Honestly, <em>His Dark Materials</em> really isn't that great.
    •  
      CommentAuthormrkvm
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.33)
    This is actually a really great thread.

    Ares nailed it here, I think: "I don't like children's literature, I like good writing."

    That's very much how I feel. I'm not particularly worried about what section of the book store it came from or whom it is being marketed to if there's a good story with thoughtful/fun/pleasing writing inside. Another example of this would be Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy, which was recommended to me by a couple friends. I was quite hesitant about it, but then gave it a try. Some of the most unique fantasy I'd read in a long time (though I gather some of his other books are crap).

    The other piece of this is that I have a daughter. She's only 2 right now, but my wife and I read to her constantly. She's already obsessed with books and going to the library. So, you know, when she's old enough to read longer works, I'll surely read them too so that I can talk to her about them. That way, I figure I can help find the engaging and challenging work over, say, the total empty junk.

    I'm highly amused by the some of the reactions to HDM, and it's made me more interested in the series. I want to see the movie, because, well, the imagery looks kinda cool. Plus, I hardly get to see movies (see the note about having a 2yo above). So, I figure I'll read The Golden Compass and then go see movie just to see.
  4.  (278.34)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Let's face it though: It's hardly a feat antagonising or offending the Christian majority. It's really quite boring, actually.

    From what I understand, the film's potential is squandered in favour of special effects. I don't know, I don't plan to see it either way.
    • CommentAuthorAlexa_D
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007 edited
     (278.35)
    Do you mean "badly written and patronising books marketed for that demographic of children who haven't yet discovered what reading should be"? In which case, I'll certainly never know why grown adults read Harry Potter either.


    Well, that's certainly not patronizing there, Paul.

    Speaking as somebody who started reading Harry Potter as a child and finished them as an adult, I can tell you, Harry Potter played an integral part in my maturation as a reader and my appreciation for literature. For one thing, they actively encourage the reader to analyze the text and characters for foreshadowing and general themes. For another, have you seen the size of those things? Before I read Harry Potter, I was reading 150 page "chapter books" far below my actual reading level. When it came out, Goblet of Fire was the longest book I had ever read, and it boosted my confidence in my abilities as a reader; without it, I am quite sure that I would not have picked up Lord of the Rings the next year with relish, I would have been scared away by it's girth. And if nothing else, it got me into the habit of reading. For a while, I was just cycling through the first four books over and over, but yeah, it got a little tedious after a while. But I couldn't fathom the idea of not having a book ready in my backpack, and so I found other things to read, most of them at the recommendation of fellow Potter fans (these included LotR, Oscar Wilde, Sherlock Holmes, and Neil Gaiman--who got me into comics and is why I'm even here). Now it's surprising when I have less than 5 books going at once.

    So I can't objectively answer why adults read Harry Potter, but I'm going to guess it's got something to do with what I said before: good story, engaging characters, escapism that rings true.

    And sorry for getting defensive, but it really irks me when people criticize other's taste in books just because they didn't get the same thing out of them. Frankly, I found the Narnia books far more patronizing and badly written; I finished the fourth one, looked at the fifth one and thought 'Why bother?' But when my roommate raves about them and takes the CS Lewis class at my university because of them, I don't scoff and say, "don't you know what real books are?" I just think it's cool that she found something to enjoy about them.
  5.  (278.36)
    Mmm, I don't really see them as kids, or YA books. Almost everyone I know who has read them thinks they just stand on their own as literature.

    And as for the story - so good I cried.

    And as for killing God, I didn't feel he tore down the Christian religion, as much as he did the Church, in all sorts of insulting ways.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAva Jarvis
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.37)
    Books get called YA when the main characters are children or animals. That's why Ender's Game, Watership Down, Uglies, and other books of that ilk, which we think of as plain old literature, are considered YA.

    Apparently there's no such thing as adult fiction that contains main characters that are mostly children.

    Which is why you can't toss all of YA into one basket, and why the situation does resemble that of comic books, even though YA is a subclass of a medium whereas comic books are their own entire medium. If YA is colored by Scholastic Specials, then comics are colored by superheroes. And we all know that neither generalization holds true.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAva Jarvis
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.38)
    By the way -- Swanwick's Iron Dragon's Daughter? Considered Sci-Fi YA.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.39)
    Ender's Game and Watership Down, fit for young people? Uh... No.

    I mean, yes, but only if you WANT them to end up people like us.
    • CommentAuthorAlexa_D
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (278.40)
    By the same token, Vonnegut is considered "adult" literature, but everyone seems to discover him in their teens. Obviously they continue to love him into adulthood, but no one can deny that his general themes of tragic optimism and crest-fallen fury at the state of things appeal most to teens, when they're beginning to discover terrible the world is for themselves.

    Also, if you read Young Avengers or Runaways, guess what? You're reading YA!

    Feh, it's all arbitrary, really.