Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oh Grow Up, Pt 2

After railing against young adult literature's tendency to find and fill with itself whatever gap there might be in teenaged reading, my conscience requires that I give you the link to this year's Alex Awards, ALA's top ten adult books for young adults. I'm happy they chose Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which I'm listening to now on my Ipod and it's completely creeping me out, but in a totally good way.

17 comments:

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

Well, let's just rename those the dubious assumption awards or perhaps the people with too much time on their hands awards or the how to mindf*** a concept to death awards. Shewhodoesn'tusuallydothissortofthing is so disgusted that she is going out to teach her arctic rats to bring her bait to ice fish with - a useful pursuit for which, thank you jesus, there is as yet no award.

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

P.S. Welcome home, Roger. You won't tell us what you ate or what anyone said. It's a good thing you're not a novelist.

Elizabeth said...

I adored The Glass Castle, which is another Alex winner. In fact, I have been worked with our adult division to get it out to teens--it's the perfect YA read, but I recommend it for anyone. My mother's book club, composed entirely of retirees, loved it too, so it's certainly not just for the young 'uns.

ginee said...

I loved The Glass Castle as well, and somehow I don't think--though I could be wrong--that it suffers from James Frey syndrome, either. At the risk of beating a very dead horse--isn't the problem Roger cites with so many YA books the problem of the damn gatekeepers? We have a hard time letting good old Anglo Saxon words like "fuck" into the novels, let alone completely honest portrayals of teenage sexuality. It's no wonder then that this infantilization bleeds into the subjects of the books--though I would also argue that there are an increasing number of great books out there for YAs that aren't written to any particular gap or need. But alas, it always comes down to filthy lucre. If you don't think you can sell the book, you can't take creative risks. And so on. It's enough sometimes to make me want to give up and join those artic rats, even though I despise rodents.

Roger Sutton said...

I'm not so sure the problem is the gatekeepers; the problem is expecting a genre to replicate, in some way, a swath of adult literature that's already ready and waiting for readers. While we can (and should) argue about the height, breadth and composition of the gates, I think it's fine to let YA be a "gated" literature, a genre whose existence, production and promotion is enforced by those who want to give teens their own spot in the reading universe. But that teens should be free to move back and forth through the gates seems to me a more laudable situation than locking them into "YA versions" of themes and genres that are flourishing just fine already. Teens want to grow up, and "leaving behind" YA literature should be an honorable step in that process.

Anonymous said...

I truly don't understand what's being railed against here. "Young adult literature's tendency to find and fill with itself whatever gap there might be in teenaged reading"? WTF? (or, toned down a notch, huh?) You're talking about young adult literature as an organism, or a market? A conspiracy? Whose expectation is it that YA lit "replicate, in some way, a swath of adult literature that's already ready and waiting for readers"?

I'm lost and, as a YA writer, thinking I maybe I should be insulted, but I'm not sure because I don't understand.

Is it just that you're bored with YA?

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

Dear Anonymous Whose Toes Are Now in An Uproar

When you write your books do you think of yourself as writing FOR teens? do you imagine teen readers? Is the reader even in your consciousness or do you just write a book? Or are the eyes you see through those of a teen? Truly just curious if you want to respond. This seems to be the bulk of my problem with a YA category. The idea of books being for certain groups. It has a nasty big brother feel to me. It would fit in well in Never Let Me Go, books written for girls we want to create an idyllic life for while they still have it before their organs are harvested. Putting books in these categories creeps ME out. It's not that you can't have teens as protagonists or write from their view but that the books should be READ by teens that bugs me. I don't think anyone is knocking YA writers, except the hacks. And we knock all the hacks. Except, of course, the goddess, Judith Krantz. But I suspect the hacks write for markets. The writers just write.

sdl said...

I don't see anything wrongheaded about books written for people who are in a phase of life unlike any other. I live with two teenagers and I can vouch for the fact that they are different from other people in many ways. Of course they should reach up to adult books and sometimes they will want to revisit their childhood in children's books, but why not have a group of books written about and for a period in life that is like no other? That doesn't mean they're restricted to reading only those, and because someone finds it in themselves to write about that time of life doesn't mean they are stuck necessarily either.

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

Okay, I have been asking myself that question all day. What is this problem I have with YA books and I finally figured it out. When people write kids book, I think they have wide open spaces for the "big issues". And when they write adult books the same. But I think when people write for a YA market, the books inevitably become pimply YA concerns, it doesn't expand the universe for anyone, it contracts it. Very seldom does YA anything lend itself to taking people anywhere anyone in their right mind would want to go. YA is just not a good time in peoples' lives. The synopsises in the brain are exploding and I don't think legitimizing anything that arises from that should be encouraged. Perhaps everyone should be issued a copy of The Catcher in the Rye when they are twelve and be done with it. And you might ask yourself, why the ALEX books are considered adult books that teens might like and not YA books. I'll tell you why, because they are too GOOD to be YA books because they are expansive and not little and pimply. And that's my problem with the whole thing. I hate gates. i hate gatekeepers. the universe should be open for all and books should the rivers that take us there.

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

Except, of course, for Judith Krantz, who takes us shopping. (I don't want to get banned from this blog.)

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

And, I'm sorry, Roger, but if you're not going to tell us what you ate, then no more ALA conferences for you. Next time we're going to send Richard.

Andy Laties said...

Well, I just hope no-one's going to ban that fabulous Daniel Pinkwater cult confection, "Young Adult Novel". Surely the surreal conspiracies of the Wild Dada Ducks, and especially the climactic scene of their horrible humiliation in the highschool cafeteria (Grape Nuts anyone?) put this one right up there with -- umm -- Aristophanes. (?)

Andy

Roger Sutton said...

Sorry to have been missing this good fight, but I've been learning how to use the new laptop (Powerbook). First, eating in San Antonio: I had some good snapper and steak but M.F.K. Fisher I'm not. The best was the french toast and bacon I had at the post-press conference brunch with my friends, because I never cook either (French toast or bacon, I mean; I roast my friends regularly.)

I have the greatest respect for YA lit; I'm just questioning its quest to go ever-"edgier," and, especially, older. While YA used to be a genre almost exclusively for junior high girls (Richard Peck and Sheila Egoff have both asserted this), and I'm glad it has grown beyond that, I believe that rather than doing more to introduce YAs to the universe of adult books (and the Alex awards are a welcome exception) we are inadvertently (maybe) detaining them. The most extreme example is the adult book abridged and repackaged as YA (Flags of our Fathers, The Code Book, Fast Food Nation)--why not just send the kids upstairs? The other is the "edgy" or difficult novel aimed at juniors and seniors in high school--Sonya Hartnett's books, for example. Why not publish as adult? I won't even go into the arguments of those who would extend the definition of young adult up to twenty-three-year-olds because it's just too embarrassing.

Lastly: I have never been able to see what's funny about either Pinkwater's Young Adult Novel or Fleischman's Fate Totally Worse than Death. But that could just be me.

Andy Laties said...

Roger,

No soap, radio.

Andy

Roger Sutton said...

Andy,


The brick.

Roger

Andy Laties said...

Roger, (last one)

If you can't stand the punch, stay out of the punch line.

Andy
(he runs for cover)

Anonymous said...

专业的翻译公司
深圳翻译公司中领先
深圳翻译公司提供
英语翻译
日语翻译
法语翻译
德语翻译
俄语翻译
藏语翻译
韩语翻译
泰语翻译
越南语翻译
维族语翻译
瑞典语翻译
印尼语翻译
阿拉伯语翻译
马来西亚语翻译
菲律宾语翻译
意大利语翻译
希腊语翻译
柬埔寨翻译
土耳其语语翻译
西班牙语翻译
葡萄牙语翻译
能源翻译
乌克兰翻译

地质翻译
合同翻译
法律翻译
机械翻译
标书翻译
医学翻译
外贸翻译
食品翻译
保险翻译
化工翻译
农业翻译
汽车翻译
通信翻译
建筑翻译
物流翻译
工程翻译

广州翻译公司
深圳翻译
翻译公司
深圳翻译公司
英语翻译
日语翻译
法语翻译
德语翻译
俄语翻译
藏语翻译
韩语翻译
泰语翻译
越南语翻译
印度语翻译
瑞典语翻译
印尼语翻译
阿拉伯语翻译
马来西亚语翻译
菲律宾语翻译
意大利语翻译
爱尔兰语翻译
柬埔寨翻译
土耳其语语翻译
西班牙语翻译
葡萄牙语翻译
外语翻译
小语种翻译
广州深圳同声传译|
证件翻译
合同翻译
法律翻译
机械翻译
标书翻译
医学翻译
外贸翻译
食品翻译
技术翻译
化工翻译
农业翻译
汽车翻译
通信翻译
英译汉,汉译英
汉译日,日译汉
金融翻译
新疆租车

珠海翻译公司|
佛山翻译公司|
惠州翻译公司
汕头翻译公司
三亚翻译公司
东莞翻译公司
深圳投影仪租赁|
口译|
深圳陪同翻译
翻译公司欢迎您的访问!
翻译公司|
北京翻译公司|
同声传译|
同传设备出租
会议设备租赁
同声传译
同传设备出租|
上海翻译公司|
北京翻译公司|
广州翻译公司