Bravo, Ruth Graham

AGAINST YA: Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.” Ruth Graham in Slate

Score. Ruth Graham achieved every journalist’s dream: she sparked a national controversy, scored hundreds of thousands of hits for Slate, got people talking, and maybe even got  some people thinking.

Yet her assertion—“These (YA books) are the books that could plausibly be said to be replacing literary fiction in the lives of their adult readers. And that’s a shame.”—seems fundamentally flawed. If I eat at McDonald’s, you can’t assume I don’t eat anything else. If I read John Green, it doesn’t follow that I don’t read Steinbeck. And even if I live on McDonald’s and young adult novels, it’s my choice. Some people would argue it’s a poor choice. But their arguments would not sway me.

east of eden, steinbeck, the fault in our stars, john green, coexist

Graham also doesn’t take into account that the majority of adults don’t read literary fiction. Period. Romance novels generate over a billion dollars of revenue annually while literary fiction pulls in less than half a million per year.

And I am never embarrassed to read Dr. Seuss.

Poetry, writing, rhyme, dr. seuss


7 comments on “Bravo, Ruth Graham

  1. Once in a while I read books from my elementary school years such as ones written by Virginia Lee Burton. I also read classics from the 1960s. No harm in that. Folks need to relive their childhoods.


  2. I was part of a literary critiquing group for literary fiction, and 90% of the stories I read were appalling, not just stylistically, but morally so. I find I read YA books not because I love acting like I’m 12, but because they seem to be some of the only books that don’t make me feel ashamed to read. Well said, Dawne. I agree completely.


  3. I myself am never ashamed to admit being a huge fan of Bill Watterson.


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