I do everything in seasons. The music I listen to is dependent on temperature and the films I crave depend on how late the sun is up. For instance I only watch serious movies in the winter and I like ones set in far away places in the spring. Even my television habits are seasonal - fantasy (Doctor Who, Merlin) when it's cold, sitcoms in the summer, dramas in the fall. I don't do this intentionally, it's just how my mind works. I have actually said "this is winter music" to a friend and had them look at me like I was insane. I've come to embrace this part of myself.
So if all my other methods of cultural consumption are cyclical then it should come as no surprise that my reading habits are exactly the same.The spring is all about new releases and books set in far away places. When the grass gets green and the flowers pop up I want to read about Paris, or China, crap I'll even read about Oklahoma, just give me something that isn't middle America. Summer inevitably leads to a very passionate one sided affair with historical fiction. The War of the Roses, the French Revolution, World War II, I'm sold on all of them. Fall makes me studious, maybe because I miss school, maybe because I always have associated dead leaves and early sunsets with classics, modern or otherwise.
Which brings me to the point of this post. It's most certainly winter. Judging from all the snow outside it'll still be winter for awhile. Winter draws me to two very distinct genres - young adult fiction and memoirs. While in years past I've fallen head over heels for David Mitchell, Stephen Fry, Tina Fey, really any comedian or interesting person, that's not really the point i'm trying to make here. I'm here to talk about my relationship with Young Adult fiction.
When I was in the YA target demographic I was reading Hemingway, Heller and Hugo. If you think that sounds pretentious you should know that's exactly what teenage me was going for. I wanted high brow, I wanted adult, I wanted to be well read and mature and often times forced myself through books I really didn't enjoy just so I could say I'd read them. The only time I really read YA fiction in high school was my yearly (even then) reading of Harry Potter. Now that I'm comfortably in my mid twenties I'm opting for things i want to read, and not for things that I should read. The result is A marathon reading of Hunger Games in 2012, Beautiful Creatures in 2013 and Divergent this year.
My lack of experience with young adult fiction and the general attitude I had towards it in my young and bratty years has meant that I rarely skim the surface of what's actually happening in the genre. I hear about big blockbusters and see the most reviewed books on my blog roll, but I rarely spend more than a few seconds in YA section of Barnes and Noble. I've read John Green and Marcus Zusak, but I can find them on the shelves at Target. While I stay on the side of the mainstream there is something YA has done for me. Inevitably every winter when I'm feeling sad, cold and unmotivated it shouts at me to come read. And read I do. I shout through these books like candy and I consume them till my mind is too full of words to continue. Then I set down the unread books that I've invested in (*cough* Delirium *cough*) and hide them away till next year.
I love what YA is. I wish I had the stamina and the excitement to delve deep into all of it's stories, dystopian to romantic, but alas I have many things to read. I have a Jar full of all the books I own that I have not touched and now is not the time to lament my less than fair treatment of a genre. In truth I love anything that get's people reading. I may not have been inclined to read Twilight but I always appreciated what Stephenie Meyer's had done for a whole generation of new readers. The same goes for Dan Brown, and E.L. James. I want people to read and I don't care how they start.
So I'm sorry I've neglected you, Young Adult Fiction. You're a good seed. I think you've got oddles of personality and all the potential in the world. We should totally get lunch, I'm free till the end of March 20th. Then I gotta start reading about Paris and flowers. Much Love,