The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Stay ‘Hungry’ for reading

I’m going to preface this article by saying that I haven’t read or watched “The Hunger Games” and I can’t say I have much of an intention to do so.

Young adult fiction just isn’t really my thing. I distinctly remember reading the Harry Potter books as a child and enjoying them for a brief while, but I never felt compelled to dress up as one of the characters while going to see one of the movies.

The same goes for “The Hunger Games;” references to Katniss and Peeta and whichever other characters might be in the story have gone over my head for weeks now, and I have to say I’m pretty okay with that.

What I’m not okay with, however, is people disparaging readers of young adult fiction as if those readers’ preferred pleasure is beneath other more “enlightened” literary indulgences.

Recently Joel Stein wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he proclaimed that “adults should read adult books.”

Stein believed that seeing adults reading young adult fiction on airplanes is about as embarrassing as seeing someone watching pornography in public: “I’m sure all those books are well written. So is ‘Horton Hatches the Egg.’ But Horton doesn’t have the depth of language and character as literature written for people who have stopped physically growing.”

I can understand Stein’s point: when it comes to literary depth, there’s a marked difference between J.K. Rowling and James Joyce. However, the fact of the matter remains that although James Joyce might have been one of the most accomplished novelists of the 20th century, Ulysses does not make for particularly good bathroom reading.

I see no reason why a person shouldn’t be able to enjoy a more “simple” piece of fiction if the work is actually engaging and pleasurable.

We should be lauding young adult fiction for encouraging readers of all different stripes to satisfy their literary diet rather than criticize its readers because they’re apparently not allowed to enjoy the same books that teenagers might.

Moreover, I wonder why exactly a person can’t enjoy “high-minded literature” as well as “lower” forms of fiction.

Though I might not enjoy most forms of young adult fiction, I consider myself to be a sci-fi junkie. Star Trek: The Next Generation is still one of my favorite shows on television, and I’ve played through the Mass Effect series more times than I can count.

Does my fascination with science fiction suddenly make it impossible for me to appreciate the verse of W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney? I doubt it.

Literature is literature; while not all forms of it might be of the same caliber, people shouldn’t feel ashamed for enjoying one form of fiction over another.

To claim that people who enjoy young adult fiction are small-minded and of immature taste is elitist, audacious and downright obnoxious.

Mr. Stein need not enjoy “The Hunger Games,” but at the same time he need not parade around his pretentious aura in his op-eds either.

He did, after all, start off his career writing for Martha Stewart Living, and I think he’d be hard-pressed to defend that publication as having any more intellectual merit than even something by Stephanie Meyer.

Brandon is a sophomore majoring in English, political science and history.  

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