As I believe I have freely admitted before in these pages (pages? entries? updates?), as a rule when I dip into contemporary fiction, it’s fiction for the junior set. I’m a fan of the Harry Potter series. And I recently devoured the latest Eoin Colfer/Artemis Fowl while being ferried down the New Jersey Turnpike. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this. Will they come and take away my English degrees if I acknowledge that a great deal of contemporary adult lit-fic leaves me cold?
Well this weekend in the NYT book review was a (positive, not critical) essay about adult fans of YA/middle reader books (though the essay lumped the books all under YA). In two quotes it neatly summed up what I like about Books for Younger Readers and don’t like about a lot of contemporary adult literature.
The first, from historian and author Amanda Foreman: “There’s a freshness there; it’s engaging. Y.A. authors aren’t writing about middle-aged anomie or disappointed people.”
The other from the book critic Lev Grossman: “A lot of contemporary adult literature is characterized by a real
distrust of plot. I think young adult fiction is one of
the few areas of literature right now where storytelling really
As I regularly point out to people when explaining why I rarely read any contemporary literary fiction, if I wanted to be depressed, I could just read the news.