Monday, April 9, 2012

Adults Reading Children's Books

I just finished reading a children's science fiction book written by an Australian.

The Fallen Spaceman by Lee Harding.

I enjoyed reading the book. It was easy-to-read, touching, sweet, and adventurous.

I liked it much more than certain adult books I've read recently—ones that were difficult, pretentious, depressing, and worst of all...boring.

That's not to say all adult books are bad. And I'm not saying all children's books are wonderful. There's good and bad in each category; and in which of those the book is placed depends on the individual reader.

My blood boiled a bit when I read Joel Stein's recent rant about adults reading children's books.

He starts his editorial by saying 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.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.

Later Stein says....

I have no idea what the Hunger Games is like.

Should he be judging a book if he knows little about it?  

I do feel for Joel Stein.  I know what it's like to write a rant that offends people.  We all have the right to our rants.  And then it's nice when other people can respond and give their opinion in return, without threats, ignorance, hyperbole, and name-calling.  

Now Stein will need to do what I've done when faced with people who strongly dislike my opinions.  Think, read, research, and think some more. Then he can decide if he stands by his original opinion.   Or maybe he'll want to change it.   

My fantasy is that he'll read something like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.  He'll read the book, love it, and write a humble apology.  Or maybe he'll read the books, dislike them, and stick by his original opinion.  Then he can remain embarrassed of people like me, and I can continue to feel embarrassed for him.  Different strokes for different folks. 
There's a lot of great comments on Stein's editorial.  My favorite quotes from C.S Lewis.

Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

How about you?

Do you like any books written for children or teens?   If the answer is yes and you're not a child or teen yourself, are you embarrassed to be reading these books?   Do you hide them from public view? 

Have you ever written a rant that offended and/or angered people?   Did you regret writing the rant?  Did the responses make you change your opinion?   Did you feel those in disagreement treated you fairly or unfairly? 

Do you prefer dark chocolate or milk chocolate?   Or no chocolate?