28 March 2011

Year of Reading Youthfully - Epilogue

So, if you've been following my YoRY posts, there may be one question as yet left unanswered in your mind: Why is the author of erotic m/m fiction reading young adult novels?

Am I right? ... I thought so.

The simple answer is: Because I like YA fiction. And it's true. I don't like all of it, but I don't like all of any category of books. What I have found lately, though, in returning to the realm of YA, is that a lot of it is, quite frankly, better written than "grown-up" fiction. That's not to say "adult" fiction, with all of its sundry connotations, but books written with non-children as their target audience, whether erotic or otherwise. With a few notable exceptions (::cough::twilight::cough::), we seem to expect more of young adults and children as readers than we do of adults. I'm sure there are many sides to that discussion, and I'm not going to cover them all here because no one person can sum up the whole of literature. That's just a silly idea. But in my experience over the past few years, I've found that I've tossed aside a goodly number of adult-targeted books of a variety of genres because they bored me or they irritated me. (I've tossed aside a couple of YAs for these reasons, too, just so you know.) Either the story was far too simplistic or predictable, or the characters weren't interesting or even likable. In one case (an erotic romance), the title character was, frankly, a loathsome person and I saw no reason to give a damn whether he lived or died. Another book (technically a mystery), which I unfortunately finished because it was for a book club, was utter shit. Award-winning, gods know why, because it was GARBAGE. (On the up side of finishing it, one does like to be fully knowledgeable about one's subject when eviscerating it with friends.)

The books I have continued to read and finish (or intend to finish) for my own enjoyment have a high expectation of the reader. Boneshaker and The Ark, for example, are both books that expect a certain level of attention, comprehension, and retention from their readers, and that makes me more interested and excited to actually read them. They make me think while at the same time providing me with an escape and entertainment. Maybe that's why I've been diggin' on the YA so much. It takes a lot to get a teenager to sit down and focus on something that isn't a video game, or a TV show or movie, or any one of far too many means of social media and electronic communication. We're all moving too fast these days, and it seems to me the current teen/tween generation are taking the brunt of it. So, to get one of them to sit down, slow down, and read tens of thousands of words on a single subject... Well, you'd better be damned good at what you do to make that happen.

So there it is, for what it's worth. And now if you'll excuse me, I have a stack of books awaiting my attention. :-D

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