Discussion Sunday is our meme used to have an open discussion about anything books. It’s not necessarily every week, just whenever we have a topic we’d like to talk about. If you’d like to join us on your own blog, please credit us and send us the link so we can discuss your topic with you!
This week I’d like to discussion something that bothers me a lot of the time and that’s the definition of genres in literature and why they shouldn’t matter.
Now, I’m not necessarily talking about genres like horror or contemporary but Young Adult, Middle Grade, and New Adult.
A few years ago, I was at an author event with Rae Carson and a few other authors and she talked for a little bit about how she had to make some of the characters in her Fire and Thrones series a little younger so that they would fit into the Young Adult genre. I didn’t really know until then that genres like Middle Grade, Young Adult, and New Adult are just age categories of the characters who’s perspective the book is written from. I had been lead to believe (by no one in particular) that books were placed in those genres based on the reading level. Which is how many people that I’ve encountered believe. The Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. And in that case, many “classics” are Young Adult.
When talking to older readers (about 30-60 years of age), I found that many of them call Young Adult literature “kids books”. And if you read Young Adult, you know that is not the case. I’ve also found that a lot of people tend to steer clear of Young Adult because they think it’s not as high quality because it’s “meant for kids”. I’ve even found a few Young Adult readers who won’t read Middle Grade because “it’s for kids”. And I find that disappointing. It’s disappointing that some readers will limit their reading. That they won’t give new genres a chance because of preconceived notions. I like to think that genres shouldn’t matter. If you see a book that you want to read, that looks interesting, you should read it even if it’s not in your “normal” genre. Personally, I read mostly Young Adult because YA books tend to interest me most. But I do love a good Middle Grade fantasy or an adult horror or a New Adult romance. And if the right book comes along, I’ll read it regardless of genre. I think all readers should be able to read whatever they want without limiting themselves to a genre. Everyone has preferences but those preferences shouldn’t prevent one from new reading experiences. Genres like Middle Grade and Young Adult are just guide lines to the character’s age. Not rules to who should read them.
What’s your opinion on literary genres? How often do you read outside of your preferred genre(s)? I would love to know your opinion on this subject!