Don't be embarrassed to read Harry Potter

Through the Tumblr grapevine, I came across this article in the New York Times: Adults Should Read Adult Fiction.

Well, excuse you, Joel Stein.

I'm just going to pick apart this article in defense of reading what the hell you like.

The tl;dr version is:

Just because a book is classed as Young Adult (YA) or children's literature does not mean that it is unworthy of the attention of 'adult'* readers. Not everything we read needs to be dissected and analysed. Even so, YA and children's literature stands up to analysis just as well as adult literature, sometimes even better.

Also, what she said.

The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.”
So you, Joel Stein, would be more embarrassed to be caught reading a YA book over being caught watching porn? Well (A) you are in a very small minority, and (B) for that small minority they publish many (popular) YA books are published with 'adult' covers so that you don't need to be embarrassed by the brightly coloured covers.

[...] Horton doesn’t have the depth of language and character as literature written for people who have stopped physically growing.
And that makes it unworthy of your attention? Because you feel like it doesn't pack the literary punch of Brontë or Dickens or any number of 'adult' authors? In the same vein, do we compare Kurt Vonnegut with Helen Fielding? No, because that would be ludicrous. Harry Potter could be compared with the Hunger Games in many ways, while Harry Potter could not be compared with Dr. Seuss. They are not even in the same ball park. But this gives the impression that Harry Potter and Dr. Seuss are one and the same.
I appreciate that adults occasionally watch Pixar movies or play video games. That’s fine. Those media don’t require much of your brains. Books are one of our few chances to learn. There’s a reason my teachers didn’t assign me to go home and play three hours of Donkey Kong.
This is making it seem like books are not even a form of entertainment, only a source of information and learning. Which is complete BS. Fine, Twilight is not a literary masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but that's not why I was reading it. I was reading it for entertainment. And it was entertaining. When I pick up a book, whether it be YA or adult, I am primarily hoping that it entertains me, that when I finish the last sentence I'm left wanting more (in a good way).

John Green, one of the best YA authors (IMHO) out there, has talked about the fact that once the book has been written, it's not the author's anymore. The story becomes the reader's. We, as readers, can either read it from a purely fun perspective or from an analytical or literary perspective. On his tumblog (Only If You've Finished TFiOS), he answers questions about metaphors and literary devices etc. but always reminds you that even if that wasn't obvious to you as a reader, it does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

And also, Stein is making it appear that films, television and video games are a waste of people's time. Which I imagine a lot of people would object to. For example, video gamers have been shown to have better reactions, better problem solving and better spatial awareness, among other things. Dismissing this, as well as YA literature, is just close-minded.

As well as all that, since when is it always a bad thing to disengage when consuming different forms of media?
I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like.
I mean, how can you even judge 'adults' for reading THG without even having read the books?! How about we cut a deal, Mr. Stein? I won't judge a book by it's cover, if you don't either. I wouldn't form an opinion about, say, George Orwell's 1984 before I read it, and you, sir, shouldn't make an broad opinion about a whole genre without at least sampling some of what it has to offer.
Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know because it’s a book for kids.
Well, yes there are in a lot of cases where characters are grey, rather than black or white. You have closed off a whole host of books that delve into difficult and big issues just because "it's a book for kids". As you said before "books are one of our few chances to learn", and YA books can and do do this.
I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults.
Fair enough. There are millions of books to read, but still, it doesn't mean you can't mix it up a little, have a change of pace occasionally.
Let’s have the decency to let tween girls have their own little world of vampires and child wizards and games you play when hungry. Let’s not pump Justin Bieber in our Saabs and get engaged at Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland.
Um... no. I don't want to. To be honest, one of the reasons I still read YA literature, is to remember those times as a child and a teenager when I had less responsibilities, fewer worries about the future, when my world revolved around school and my friends. Books are there to transport you to another place, and often that place is somewhere you want to be.
Because it’s embarrassing.
Only to you.
You can’t take an adult seriously when he’s debating you over why Twilight vampires are O.K. with sunlight.
Well, no, because Twilight is never a good example. However, I can take that same adult seriously if s/he were to debate the dystopian world of the Hunger Games and the indifference of the Capitol citizens to the killing of innocent children.

*I use the term 'adult' loosely.

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