As the week winds down, dive into some of the recent literary discussions you might have missed.
Summer Reading for Teachers
As summer reading lists for students abound, some education oriented sources are suggesting reading material for teachers to fill the summer months. In The Chronicle of Higher Education, James M. Lang, an English professor at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., points to 10 professional -development books for teachers to catch up with over the summer. For a broader list, Deborah Hofmann, senior editor of The New York Times best-seller lists, compiles a list of the top-100 best-selling education books of the year to date on paper’s The Learning Blog.
Should Adults Be Embarrassed to Read YA?
“Against YA,” a Slate article recently took on the generation-spanning success of young-adult literature. Spurred by the ubiquity of the “The Fault in Our Stars” movie (based on John Green’s YA novel of the same name), Ruth Graham asserts that adults who consume fiction marketed toward teenagers ought to be ashamed of themselves. Graham leans heavily on an implied hierarchy of cultural tastes, concluding that “if people are reading Eleanor & Park instead of watching Nashville or reading detective novels, so be it, I suppose. But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.”
Predictably, assorted young-adult aficionados of all ages took umbrage at the cultural condescension on display in the pot-stirring article. YA novelists quickly stepped up to defend their literary genre and the multi-generational audience who loves it, pointing to the porous distinction between readers of YA and readers of adult literature, the transcendence of teenage emotions, the oppressive history of high-brow cultural discernment, the multiplicity of literary aims, and a host of other arguments. Displaying a novelist’s flair for imagery, author Matt Haig (The Humans, The Radleys) writes, for example, that “dissing one of the few genre success stories in the book world, and trying to stigmatize it in the name of reading and literature, is a bit like shooting a dolphin in the name of marine biology.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.