books · discussions · Shar

On the Wrong Approach to Not Reading YA

Hello Virtually Readers! I hope this’ll be an interesting post, but first we have a few announcements. First, Shanti and I will be away next week (hopefully we’ll return with beautiful photos & such) and so Shanti has scheduled posts but we won’t be *around* the blogshpere. Second, Shanti and I both guest posted on Heather’s blog  at the end of April so you should go an read that, unless you have already. And third, we’re almost done with all our exams, so hopefully we can do more blog reading/commenting/posting then. Anyway, *shrugs* on with the show!

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If you read this blog often (or you just randomly stalked one of my posts in January) then you will know that one of my reading goals this year was to read stuff outside my comfort zone. So far this year, I’ve read Fahrenheit 451, The Catcher in the Rye, The Color Purple, (which totally helped me on a recent english exam), and, most recently, Cloud Atlas. Generally, the experience has been good- Fahrenheit 451 is probably one of my favourite books, The Catcher In The Rye was 5 stars, and I loved The Color Purple (yes. That is not the way colour is spelled but it is the book’s title. Sorry anyone who spells properly isn’t from the US.). I also enjoyed Cloud Atlas (it’s so pretty, right? I photographed it with one of Shanti’s shirts).

But I have been reading it since about the middle of April, until I finished it the other day. That’s a long time for someone who likes to eat books for breakfast. As I ploughed (or, to be more precise, trailed) through it, I realised that there two things that were bad about my approach to reading it. But I didn’t stop myself, even though I wasn’t loving it ,(it has 11 sections set in different time periods; I liked some significantly more than others.) because I thought that if I didn’t finish it now, I never would.

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The first reason  I wanted to finish it is because it was recommended to me by various classmates. Quite a few (meaning about 2) of the same people make fun of my choice to read ‘fluffy’ YA, and I wanted to prove I was sophisticated. I personally think YA can tackle some of the biggest issues about being a teenager, or just a person, as well as containing fabulous writing, but these people don’t (idiots basically). And you know the problem with that? I started to believe them. I wasn’t even really enjoying Cloud Atlas, and I can’t say that I really get why it’s so acclaimed-because it’s a new concept, or wrought with the symbolism of reincarnation, or something? But I started to feel like I was special just because of my reading material that I didn’t even get, and that is both stupid and wrong.

The other ‘wrong’ thing I did when reading this is forcing myself to read stuff I wasn’t enjoying. I really think reading should be primarily for enjoyment, because you can’t learn anything from a book you have negative attitude toward (this is just an opinion- you don’t have to love the entire book, IMO, but you can’t hate it). I enjoyed the stories and their connections but I was mainly forcing myself through it. I didn’t see that it was thematically more deep than certain YA novels, but I forced myself to read it anyway. I liked the satisfaction of finishing the book, and sacrificed my enjoyment and possibly learning for this selfish notion. I personally don’t see the point of finishing books if you’re not enjoying them until you are ready to enjoy them, but I disobeyed my own rule for the egotistical reason of finishing it.

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As soon as I did, I rewarded myself with P.S I Still Love You, which I really enjoyed. (If I need to reward myself for reading then I do not know what is up with this world.) (This was promptly followed by Isla and the Happily Ever After, which I enjoyed less.) So, Cloud Atlas is an example where I tried to branch out in the wrong way. I’ve learned now. Don’t be like me.

Have you ever done this? Do you agree/disagree with me? What was the last non-YA book you read? Did you enjoy it? Do you believe in finishing a book no matter what? 

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16 thoughts on “On the Wrong Approach to Not Reading YA

  1. Well, I don’t remember the last time I read YA books. It has been ages (yikes, my age is showing!). It’s a personal preference, though. I read adult books during my teenage years, books for teens just never sparks my curiosity or interest.

    In order to switch to adult books, maybe start by reading the genres you like. If you like fantasy, read fantasy for adults (GGRM, for example), if you adore romance, read adult romance (Jojo Moyes, Nicholas Sparks, etc). That way, you won’t feel like reading a foreign material 🙂

    I believe books are like food. Some are meant to be savored by each words of it, like puddings. Others are meant to be read fast, like hot spicy curry and the rest are like pop corns, taste good but offers no satisfaction.

    There are so many books out there, I’m curious, why stick with only YA? 🙂

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    1. As hopefully evidenced, I don’t only stick with YA. I am, however, a young adult, and do therefore primarily read young adult fiction, which I think often captures issues for teenagers as well as being quality writing in general (not always). This post was more about my struggle because I forced myself to read a book I was not enjoying because it had been acclaimed. But thanks for your advice on reading adult books! It is very sensible. I like the book/food analogy 🙂

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  2. YOU KNOW WHY WE SPELL COLOR THE WAY WE DO? BECAUSE WE DON’T NEED U IN OUR LIVES, THAT’S WHY.

    *leers*

    Anyhoo, on that note I recently read The Color Purple too and it was amazing and I heartily agree. Worth it. I’ve also heard good things about Cloud Atlas and I mean to read it someday, but so far I haven’t. Still, if I don’t like it, then I won’t. I mean, my general thoughts are that unless I’ve bought something with my own money, I really have no obligation to finish the books.

    Still, I also have more of a tolerance for more ‘sophisticated’ books, I guess? So, hopefully Cloud Atlas appeals to me a little more. Who knows? I will find out.

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    1. WELL OBVIOUSLY SMART PEOPLE KNOW THAT THE COLOR PURPLE IS GOOD. (but some smart people aren’t smart enough to deal with complicated things like u’s.) Cloud Atlas had a lot of good parts to it. Maybe I was just not reading it at the right time. It’s nice to know that not everyone feels obligated to finish books they’ve started. 🙂

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  3. It’s not color, it’s colour. Heck yes.

    I think that YA is a hecka interesting genre, but A LOT OF IT sucks… yeah. I’m talking about the cliché romance stuff. I read this book and I thought it was so beautifully written but man, it was so cliché I considered it as a waste of talent. To be honest, I don’t really have any right to say this because people are supposed to write what they want. *shrugs*

    I also want to read stories out of my comfort zone- dystopian and fantasy. I usually read contemporary fiction, classics and historical fiction. I do think that reading should be for enjoyment but it feels so darn weird to just leave the book like that. I regret it afterwards but still, there’s less of a weird feeling to it.

    I think you might be a Cecelia Ahern fan. Am I correct?

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    1. Actually, the book I was talking about is P.S I Still Love You, by Jenny Han. But I have heard of P.S I Love You and I might read it sometime. *shrugs back*
      OMG YA with the cliches is just the worst (like fall in love with the boy next door, or the couples totally definitely stay together for ever unlike every high school romance ever) (and I’m even speaking from experience). I think there is so much to be gained from reading outside your comfort zone, but only if it’s done right, you know? In terms of not finishing books, I think it really depends on the person. I recently have become finished more books I haven’t liked. And books which are well written but not deep are such a waste of talent. Thanks for commenting!

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  4. I don’t know if this will go to you Shar – but I found Cloud Atlas a little too confusing and intermittently tedious and couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Great minds!

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    1. I actually did enjoy it, but probably not enough, considering my main motivation by the time I finished it was that I could start reading YA novels again. But yes, great minds!

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  5. Oh, I totally know what you mean. *nods* And I really hate the stigma that YA is automatically “fluffy” too? Gah. But I basically avoid non-YA books like the plague and SOMETIMES I feel bad about this because I should stretch my brain and all that. Ahem. But a few years back I tried to read LOTR…for exactly the only reason so that I could say “I’ve read LOTR”. I hated it. 😂 Halfway through the second book I realised my reasons for reading WHERE NOT GOOD and I should stop. Omg. So yeah! I think if you’re going to read outside your comfort zone, you have to go in expecting it to be a different experience and enjoy it for what it is. Although you can still learn from books you hate! Some of my writing has definitely been influenced by books I really hated…because they made me think or something?! IDEK. I’M AN ODD FISH. 😂

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    1. Well maybe you should read books you hate more… (just kidding). BUT do you think that your writing is like ‘let’s be the opposite to this book’ or ‘this book MANGLED an awesome theme and I won’t’ ? I also read LOTR, although my reasons may have been a bit dubious, come to think of it. But it took me 1 1/2 YEARS so I kind of forgot everything when I wasn’t reading it. But also, YA is so not fluffy! And ‘adult books’ and classics aren’t necessarily un-fluffy either. WHY THESE STEREOTYPES,WORLD? *leaves odd fish swimming happily in water*

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  6. OH YES, I LOVE THIS!!! Sometimes people think that YA is all fluffy and shallow, but in many cases, that simply isn’t true. And I agree, reading should be primarily for your enjoyment, which is why (unless I’ve been asked to review something) if I’m not enjoying a book, I just stop reading. There’s really no point to reading if you’re not enjoying yourself and you’re not learning anything, so why waste the time?

    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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    1. Thank you! *hi fives for agreeing* It’s good that you can stop reading whatever you’re reading if you don’t like it. I think agree that genre of book can be fluffy or poorly written, just as any kind of book (even picture books) can be challenging and deep and thematic. *hi-fives again*

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  7. I have often tried to read books that were meant to be good. Vikram Seth’s “suitable Boy springs to mind. It won all sorts of prizes and lots of people raved about it and… it was almost unreadable for me. In fact after forcing myself for about 200 pages because it is a famous ought-to-had-been-read book it was unreadable. I stopped. No regrets. But i reckon reading stuff that is out of ones normal zone and therefore following other poeple or reviewers (aka other people) is good. I once read a book called Vernon Little which is written like nothing I have read, about a type of character i have never thought about by an author totally out of my galaxy. I read it because someone recommended it. Fantastic.
    so there.

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    1. Cloud Atlas was recommended to me, so I guess this shows that recommendations are a tricky subject. But while branching out ant trying new things is good, I’d argue that it’s only when you have the right reasons for it.

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