Monday, June 6, 2011

My Two Cents

This weekend I hopped on line to check on some things and found the internet (or at least my Twitter friends) ablaze with comments on THIS article from the WSJ.  There were many wonderful comments on Twitter (you can find the at #yasaves)

As I haven't read the books (at least the newer ones) discussed in the article, I don't feel I can comment one way or the other on that part of the article.  (I do know several of these books will be appearing on my TBR pile!)  But I wanted to share some observations I had.

First, if you are going to comment on books (either good or bad), you really should read them first.  I am not saying the author of this piece didn't read them-- I have no way of knowing if she did or didn't.  However, I know from personal experience how easy it is to be self-righteous about your POV.  See, when I was in college I wrote a paper about how violence in TV was bad for children, and encouraged them to behave violently.  The two shows I wrote about were the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-- shows I had never watched.  Fast forward about 15 years to me and my 6 year-old son watching those very shows and me loving the lessons they taught.  I happened to stumble across my college paper and laughed at how naive and biased I had been. Unless you have actually read/watched what you find "offensive" you really can't comment on it correctly.  You are entitled to your opinion, but I will respect it more if you do your research.

Secondly, I found it rather ironic that the author of the article used previously banned books to support her view that these new books are not things teens should be reading.  In fact, I have found that the more you make a book controversial, the more people want to read it, just to see what the controversy is about.

Thirdly, there are too many people already telling us how to live our lives and what are children should and shouldn't do.  Children have parents for a reason, and if I think my son is old enough to read a book with "dark" content, or play a realistic war game, that is my decision, not yours.

One other thing. I find it really hard to believe there were no other books than Vampire or issue books at Barnes and Noble.  What about GRACELING?  or Frank Beddor's LOOKING GLASS WARS series? Those were ones I thought of immediately.

Agent Bree Ogden mentioned in a tweet about going from reading RL Stine to Ayn Rand, and it made me think of my reading progress as a teen.  For my sixteenth birthday (IIRC) my mom bought me a subscription to Harlequin.  Not something most people would do, but she knew I could handle the content.  And that is what I think this entire debate comes down to.  Knowing your children, and knowing what they can handle in reading/games/life in general.

What do you think?


  1. Good post Mary. The article was extremely myopic. I hated the article, but loved seeing such a strong writing community react. . . with poise, personal stories and most of all - passion.

  2. Maybe it did what it was intended to-- get all of us talking about it!

  3. I think the issue is that our new fiction...the dark stuff. Some what replicates real-life. These things written as fiction actually do happen--cutting, rape, suicide. People were comfortable with werewolves, zombies, faeries and vampires because they knew that those were less plausible than what is being written now.

    Sorry about my rant -- those are just my thoughts. Great post!


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