A lot of people were angry today after reading an article on Slate.com titled "Against YA: Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children." Seriously cheesed off by some movie called The Fault in Our Stars based on a "Young Adult" book of the same name, author Ruth Graham chides adults for reading novels that are written for kids. According to Graham, 55% of Young Adult books are purchased and read by people over the age of 18, a fact which she finds both surprising and sad. Graham decries people who read for escapism and - gasp - pleasure, when they could be tickling their unfunny bone with material that's more appropriate - and, most importantly, approved by Graham - for their age group.
But the fact is, people are wrong to be angry, because Graham is absolutely right. Trust me - I'm a comic book journalist. If anyone knows about the dangers of reading literature meant for children, it's me. That's why I've compiled this list of four (because five is a childish number) works of mature literature that adults who are embarrassed by reading kid's books should try out.
But be warned: if you're under the age of eighteen, or recently watched a movie with anything less than an R rating, you should probably click away now. This is serious stuff, and we want to make sure you can handle it.
Ready? Here we go.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Reading about sparkly vampires creepily stalking lonely high school girls might make you feel ashamed if you yourself are not a lonely high school girl (or, we suppose, a creepy sparkling vampire). However, anyone who's anyone old enough to buy alcohol should own a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel which originated as erotic fan fiction based on Twilight. Sure, it's actually less well-written than its source material, an accomplishment in and of itself, but it makes up for the lack of literary sophistication with very mature, adult passages like:
"Before I know it, he’s got both of my hands in his viselike grip above my head, and he’s pinning me to the wall using his lips … His other hand grabs my hair and yanks down, bringing my face up, and his lips are on mine … My tongue tentatively strokes his and joins his in a slow, erotic dance … His erection is against my belly."
Now that's the kind of literature you can proudly read in public.
It's so adult, we may need a change of underpants. [src]
If you're worried that people might think you're intellectually stunted because you read too many books aimed at children, maybe you should give the best selling book of all time a try. Not only does The Bible contain a lot of words like "thou" and "shalt," clear indicators that it is written for a highly educated audience, but discerning Luddites know that The Bible also contains lots of scientific facts you can use when debating heathen evolutionists. Nothing says "I'm a grown-up" more than believing Jesus rode around on a dinosaur. At least, that's our theory.
Put down those immature Harry Potter novels and break out your crayons! [src]
The Phone Book
One of the biggest problems with young adult fiction is it's far too whimsical. Reading for entertainment is fine if you're a snot-nosed brat who's barely finished with puberty, but adults know that the literature worth a damn should be boring and inscrutable. But we're not suggesting you jump straight from Captain Underpants to the works of Marcel Proust right off the bat; we don’t want anyone to get injured. You need something slightly more tolerable and less potent a sedative as a stepping stone, so why not give the phone book a try? As a bonus, you'll learn about history as well, as the book is set in a time when people had to dial a series of numbers in order to connect with other human beings and communicate inefficiently by voice instead of just tweeting like civilized people do today.
Proust was so boring he couldn't even keep his own eyes open for this photograph. Granted, it took eight hours to take a photograph in 1900. Instagram was more like Extragram, amirite?! [src]
Articles on Slate.com
So you've conquered the other books on our list and you're ready to move on to the next level? Congratulations! Now you are a truly cultured, ripened individual. But where do you go from here? There's only one logical choice: articles on Slate.com. There's nothing on Earth more mature than chiding people for not reading literature you feel is intellectually appropriate for their age group. It's the height of sophistication, on par with watching Downton Abbey or enjoying kale, and with Ruth Graham, author of the fine piece that inspired this article, as a regular contributor, you're sure to find lots of material to validate your
smug sense of self-importance cerebral preeminence.
But be warned - the works of Ruth Graham are not to be taken lightly. If you're not functioning on the highest of scholarly levels, you might mistake her erudite discourse for the jealous posturing of a failed writer hoping that attacking the personal taste of others will distract from her failure to match the commercial success of the books she's whining about. Of course, you'd be totally wrong, but you might think that if you're not smart or grown-up enough.
We hope you've enjoyed this look at Four Mature Works of Literature for Grown-Ups Embarrassed by Reading Young Adult Novels. Do you have any suggestions of your own? Well, besides the suggestion that Ruth Graham go fuck herself. Post them in the comments below!