Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Scratching my head

I sometimes wonder how any self-respecting author of speculative fiction can find fulfillment in writing novels for young readers. I suppose J. K. Rowling could give me 1.12 billion reasons in favor of it: get your formula just right and you can enjoy worldwide sales, film and television options, vibrating-toy-broom licensing fees, Chinese-language bootlegs of your work, a kind of limited immortality (L. Frank Baum who?) and — finally — genuine grown-up readers. But where’s the artistic satisfaction? Where’s the dignity?
Guess where it's from. How about an article in the New York Times?

I tell you, I wonder about people.

You can argue J.K. Rowling, to some extent. (I don't think she's a particularly good author. On the other hand, she's not the one making the toys and probably even she doesn't get all that much from the movies.) But to question how "any self-respecting author of speculative fiction can get fulfillment in writing novels for young readers" is both silly and completely denigrating to the wonderful authors who do just that.

Let's review here: Ursula LeGuin, Robin McKinley, Shannon Hale, Kate DiCamillo, and Madeleine L'Engle are just a few of the many, many successful and, dare I say it, respected Young Adult authors out there. Oops, I forgot Megan Whalen Turner. And Lloyd Alexander. They don't make millions like JKR, but they write some pretty good books and to suggest that they're somehow less valid than all those 'self-respecting speculative fiction authors' is, in my not at all humble opinion, beyond silly.

Oh, I forgot Gerald Morris too.

I also find it silly to the point of ridiculous that the author assumes that only young people read YA fiction. Pardon me, but I know a good number of adults who are only too happy to pick up a YA book. I suppose I'm inching my way towards becoming one. (Does 20 count? We'll say it's close anyway.) I've read more new(ish) YA fiction in the last year than at any other time in my life.

This article probably wasn't really worth responding to. It's only the latest volley in an on-going battle. But my dander is up this morning I guess.

Hat tip to Bookshelves of Doom. (Such a cool name!)

2 comments:

Maw Books said...

Just found your blog. I like your posts. I enjoyed this one particularly. I have only started reading YA Lit in the last couple of months and am thrilled with how much I am enjoying them. It's opened up a whole new world for me and I can't wait to get my hands on them all!

MaureenE said...

----Just found your blog. I like your posts.

Thank you!

----I have only started reading YA Lit in the last couple of months and am thrilled with how much I am enjoying them. It's opened up a whole new world for me and I can't wait to get my hands on them all!

I gobbled them all down when I was in that age group and then left them behind for a few years. Now I'm glad to find that I enjoy them as much as ever. I hope you find many you enjoy.