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?  


FruitCake said...

The last time I wrote a rant - sounds like a line from Dr Seuss - I regretted it. I always regret rants, because they only happen when I'm angry, and are frequently misdirected. If I've been particularly unfair I belt myself up for days if I don't apologise. It becomes more about me than the victim which leads me to give myself another slap around the chops.

I try to be aware of my mood and, having written something at the wrong time, usually leave it 24 hours before sending it after which time I invariably feel stupid and delete it. Which is to say I'm given to occasional bursts of anger - e.g. when I feel overwhelmed by impotence.

Dark or light depends very much on the brand. Unfortunately, the quality of brands in many foods or products shifts as one company merges with or is taken over by another.

Dina said...

Fruitcake: I think we're talking about two different things.

I'm talking more about writing something very opinionated (and maybe controversial) for a public audience.

What you're talking about...I call an "Angry letter" or "Angry email".

But yeah. An angry letter would be another type of rant.

Anyway, I agree about angry emails. They're usually best not sent...and deleted.

Good point about the chocolate.

I wonder if Cadbury has diminished in quality since being bought out by Kraft.

Gun-bae!!! said...

I'm very proud to read Hop on Pop in public!

FruitCake said...

Oops...yes there is a difference between angry letters and opinionated pieces. I didn't grasp the distinction at all. Sometimes I fear, though, that too many of my posts are opinionated, and nearly all driven by anger, frustration or even rage. "Wrote Rage".

Kraft own Cadbury? I haven't noticed a difference.
Peters ice cream though, ooh, what Nestles done to our ice cream is downright un-Orstraylyen.

Dina said...

Gun-bae: I think we should have one of those big international protests...or whatever.

Have a bunch of adults out in public reading children's books. Although I think we should wait until Stephen Colbert's pole book is published.

Fruitcake: It's a shame about Peter. Sorry.

Yes, your blog is full of rants. But they're interesting, educational passionate, and warranted.

Plus you have a great sense of humor (without being snarky). I think that helps make rants much more palatable.

...In my opinion.

francisco.j.93 said...

i have wrote rants, ironically, about people who criticize child like adults. i was really angry, but then i read it, and i felt ashamed when i saw how insulting i was, and that i could have made my point without being offensive.

Dina said...


Well. You know what. I like that you recognized and regretted your mistake.

I can relate. I have regret for times that I've been too harsh.