Fairytale news | We should ban all books.


'Mel on reading' is a little feature I created as part of my Fairytale news. It's my way to show my thoughts on topics that go from pet peeves in reading to my favorite things in books.

Today I read this very enlightening article on Slate [link deleted], that points out why you should feel embarrassed when you read YA books when you don’t fall in that category. This opinion is based on very strong arguments that I have to share with you:

“But the YA and “new adult” boom may mean fewer teens aspire to grown-up reading, because the grown-ups they know are reading their books.”

Because yes, that is definitely something we must be afraid of. Imagine that people only read the books they enjoy! THE HORROR. We all know that reading isn’t meant for that type of enjoyment. We should force ourselves to read other books in order to complete our lives and to grow from it. There is no such thing as reading for pleasure or satisfaction. It’s the same with movies. We don’t watch those because we enjoy them, no, we should learn from them of course! We set a terrible example for our teenagers when we show them that age doesn’t matter. When we make clear that you should do what you want, as long as it makes you happy. Oh no no no!

“I have no urge to go back and re-read them, but those books helped turn me into the reader I am today. It’s just that today, I am a different reader.”

Oh, do share those books with me. I’d love to turn into a snob and a judgmental reader! That is something we all aspire to be after all. Why wouldn’t you be happy that reading is becoming more popular? Why would you stop caring about what other people read, when you can judge and spread nonsense? I say we put patrols in the stores. If you want to buy a YA book, you have to show your ID and if you are too old, you should be put into jail. That will teach them.

“It’s not simply that YA readers are asked to immerse themselves in a character’s emotional life—that’s the trick of so much great fiction—but that they are asked to abandon the mature insights into that perspective that they (supposedly) have acquired as adults.”

It is in no way possible to connect with a character much younger than you, because it’s obviously not-done if you remember your past. You can never look back at your youth. You can never try to understand the way you felt back then, because you are so much older and wiser now. Let’s forget everything you’ve ever done, because you are an adult now. So never answer your children’s questions when they ask you about your past. Don’t comfort them with things like ‘I used to feel that way’, because you can’t remember that anymore. You are all grown-up now.

So that is why I propose we ban all books.
-You can’t read books about witches, vampires, mermaids, dragons, zombies and any mythical creature you can think of. How are you supposed to connect with any of those?
-You can’t read books about princesses, princes, kings, queens, because how on earth are you ever going to understand their lives?
-You can’t read books about war and soldiers, because you are save sitting in your house and you can’t possible feel how they feel.
-You can’t read classics, because you’ve never been in that era.
-You can’t read historical books for the same reason.
-You can’t read books about characters older than you, because you don’t have the ‘mature insight that fits that age.’
-You can't read books about people with your age when it's not about something you've experienced.
-You can’t read about super hero’s, because we can’t fly, shoot spider webs from our wrists or become invisible.
-You can’t read comics, just because.
-You can’t read a bedtime story to your children anymore. Be ashamed of yourself, for reading a book out loud meant for little children!

So let’s make it easy and just say that you can’t read anymore.

(I do sincerely hope that you guys understand this is sarcastic. This is the only way I could reply to this crap. I tried to find words to write down my thoughts and feelings, but I can't find those. I'm mad and saddened that there are people out there who think like this. You should never ever ever ever be ashamed of the things you like and I don't get why some people make such an effort to tell you otherwise.)

61 comments

  1. Yes! Ban everything! There is no practical use of Dickens, since we don't live in the 19th century anyway, so let's get rid of it

    Imagine the space on our shelves o:

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    1. I would have so many room! I could fill it with.. non-bookish things, I guess.

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  2. Yes, brilliant idea LOL

    By the way, this writer should be asked about the Harry Potter series! It's read by ANYONE and EVERYONE!

    Amazing work on this- I could feel your anger!

    This age specific issue is going beyond the limit. So irrational. I think people should go back to not caring about what us read. It used to be much easier.

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    1. We should just let go of these 'age limits'

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  3. Hahaha I too wondered about how she hadn't bashed Harry Potter.

    And you're right about how if we go by what she says, practically every book is a no-no. What she says here: "These endings are for readers who prefer things to be wrapped up neatly, our heroes married or dead or happily grasping hands, looking to the future."

    So what? The characters shouldn't be dead or alive or happy or sad? Does that even make sense?

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    1. RIGHT. Like, every life is supposed to be unhappy or what?

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  4. Maybe they want us to end up in a world like in Fahrenheit 451?
    I've studied literature a few years ago and already had problems at university because I read different books from all the high standard canon works I was supposed to read. I think it's wonderful that there are so many books for so many different people. I don't get why there must always been so much critique and talking down of things that are obviously a great success. Great post, I totally agree with you!

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    1. Different people, different books. We should embrace books and reading, no matter what you read.

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  5. Wow, state the obvious much. Obviously, we need to all stop reading. We should just watch movies about real people. Because people in movies are all easy to relate to and not supernaturally hot. ;) Also, everything needs to be here and now because we can't be in the past or future. Because the point of reading totally ISN'T to go into a new world! Loved this post so much Mel haha!

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    1. Perhaps we could do something safe, like knitting and art! But only self portraits, because you can't identify with anything else :p

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  6. Great post! I'm a 35 yr old mom of three kids who loves YA, and I also love adult books too-it doesn't have to be one or the other sheesh! I love good books. Period. :)

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  7. Haha, I love this post!

    "You should never ever ever ever be ashamed of the things you like" THIS. <3

    And really, that post is just ridiculous - it's so obviously written for attention.

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  8. This just makes me angry. If I were in front of the person who wrote this, I will blatantly say in front his/her face, that I will read what I want, when I want. No matter what age I am. I'm insulted. I'm 16 and I still reread Alice in Wonderland. Just because!

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  9. Ban everything? Only read stupid books I don't care about? Sounds like a lot of fun. Let's do it!

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  10. Erm... I'm not sure how to live by then if all books were banned. Dx!

    THE APOCALYPSE IS NEAR. O_O

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

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  11. I think that your reaction is exactly right. The article seems to think that people should not be able to read things of any age or genre because we haven't done those things for ourselves. I was reading adult books since I was young and yet I'm 23 and I still actively read YA all the time.

    Sigh some people!
    Great discussion!

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    1. I've read Adult books in an early age too and now I've switched to YA. I don't think there is anything wrong with that :)

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  12. I will never understand how people can think reading, in any way, could be a shameful thing! And just because those adults are reading YA does not mean they're not reading other things as well. Like you said, obviously, no reading should be for fun, only for learning. Sure. And the author of the article seemed to think that because she knew about Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Fault in Our Stars she knew YA. Because those are the only YA books out there, and obviously the pinnacle of the genre.

    This is a fantastic post Mel! So perfect.

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    1. Thanks Rachel! It also seems like she was trying to impress people with some YA book titles, but it made her seem even more stupid in my eyes. Knowing three books doesn't mean you can say something about the genre.

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  13. That article was so ridiculous. It's hard to believe it was anything more than click bait, and unfortunately, it worked. I found it very telling that the author never commented on which books she finds acceptable. How can you attempt to ban readers from reading an entire genre of books without pointing out which books are "OK" to read? Was she afraid that someone would criticize her taste as not being hoity-toity enough?

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    1. Perhaps because somewhere deep down, she knows she is talking crap? :p

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  14. OMG I love this post so much! This is basically my thoughts after reading that stupid article that woman wrote. It's ridiculous how she wants to prevent adults into reading young adult books. There's so many problems to fix in our world and preventing adults into reading young adult books is definitely not one of them.

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  15. I read the post title and your first paragraph an immediately cracked up! Lol! Who is the journalist/opinionated person writing for that publication??? Have they read YA lately or any good YA? Have they talked to us people who do? See this is where I actually agree with Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. She said that books are categorized too much. That a good book should be a good book and you shouldn't read it or not read it based on genre alone. I'm just paraphrasing here. I tend to stay away from Adult novels because of content, so I wish there were different ratings, like content and just age of characters, or age span. There are plenty of books written for children or adults that are great for all audiences too, like the Narnia series and Dickens (which I read when I was quite young) and These Is My Words. Really I think we should be more focused on if a book is good. If there's enough layers in a story than it's really suitable for everyone. Plus I do have to read a book just for fluff entertainment sometimes as a de-stresser. I don't need to always learn something from it. :)

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    1. I agree with her as well. The only categories that should really matter are 'fantasy/dystopian etc.

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  16. HUZZAH THIS IS THE BEST. But you were sarcastic? What...no... XD lol I loved this so much. I agree that article is fifty billion tons of complete rubbish and I was so so angry afterwards. What made me most angry, though, is that the article-writer assumed that everyone thought/felt/acted like THEM. We're all individuals!! If someone likes to read books, why the heck would you slam that?? Reading is a sure fire way to use your brain and develop skills. I can't believe that article is out there and it really makes me sad. :( I hate the way it called Divergent "trashy" too, because, hellooooo, have they even read the book?? The amount of YA hate in that post just makes me want to cry. Okay. Rant over. Hehe. LOVE this post, again, just, you know, to repeat myself. x)

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  17. LET'S START A NO-READING STRIKE! BURN ALL THE BOOKS!

    On a more serious note, I'm 14. I read Children's, MG, YA, NA and Adult. Who's to say I'm not mature enough/young enough to read what I want? How could these people possibly know my level of maturity if they've never met me? How do people know I can't relate to kids' bedtime books just because I've grown out of them? Whoever said that crap is going on my hit-list.

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  18. Ugh I absolutely was raging when I read that post. Yeah, ban everything. What's the point? But honestly speaking, would that mean the authors should stop writing the YA books as well because they are adults? Gosh.

    Lovely post, Mel! <33

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  19. You are the best I LOVE this! :D
    That article actually made me laugh out loud instead of being pissed. I don't really care what that one person has to say. What I thought right after reading it though was "does he know we also read middle grade books?" XD

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    1. Haha, perhaps that's an article for next time :')

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  20. Haha, this post is amazing! That whole article was just ridiculous and I could barely stand to read the whole thing. It was all just rubbish in my opinion, like he was talking about something he didn't really have any clue about, which he probably doesn't. I read and enjoy and love a lot of adult fiction, but YA fiction is brilliant and nobody could ever make me ashamed of reading it. I am happy our library does displays that encourage adults to try YA fiction. That guy should come see how many people return them to the counter instead of the self-service so that they can gush about how much they loved it and ask us to find them another YA book. I definitely think that you should read for YOU and nobody else. I also feel that article was written just to get a reaction and it makes me mad that it worked on me, haha.

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    1. Haha, it worked for me too, unfortunately.. I'm just afraid that there might be people out there who will feel ashamed after reading such an article.

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  21. hahaha I love this.
    I totally agree that the Slate article was ridiculous. What even...there are so many people not reading any books at all, but instead of trying to encourage reading, no! Let's judge everyone who reads young adult books! Ugh -_-

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  22. Awesome response, Mel. I laughed a lot and could totally feel the rage brewing behind the lines. I just found out about that article today and was furious. It was so condescending and elitist that I couldn't believe someone would say such an ignorant thing! Obviously, she's not a widely-read reader considering she does not see the importance of reading, any kind of reading, to anyone. And besides, books shouldn't be defined by their genre but by their own merits alone, so her nonchalant way of dismissing books just because of a label made me fume. I can't wait to discuss this issue with my co-bloggers, as this will be our first topic on our podcast. Expect swears from me!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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  23. The problem I have with authors of articles such as this one from Slate, is that they judge us by the books we read, and consequently putting us in a box that classified us as bad readers. Just because teens (and adults alike) read YA does not make them an eternal reader of the genre. Teens do grow, as do their reading tastes. Besides, who cares? Reading is reading. I don't care what everyone's tastes are like; I'm not going to sit here and judge you if you're a 50-year-old-man who reads comics.

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    1. I'm happy that everyone is reading so much. Why would I care if they pick up an YA or adult book (or anything else?)

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  24. I also recently came across the article and was enraged as well. It just saddens me that people truly think this way. I can't even begin to imagine my life without books, and even the thought of banning books just makes my heart hurt. I think you've managed to get a grasp on the article and stated your response in a respectful, entertaining way - so bravo for that! Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. Thanks Zoe, I can't imagine my life without (YA) books either!

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  25. I'm so sick of all these articles/people telling us what we are and aren't allowed to read! I heard about this article the other day but I haven't bothered to look it up because I don't want to give the author anymore attention, grr!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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  26. I wish this article was still available so I could read it. Then again, it would probably infuriate me. I am furious just from the few quotes you provided. I totally got the sarcasm and I think it was appropriate and deserved. That guy is a judgmental, nonsensical moron. He deserves all the backlash he gets. Ugh.

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  27. Haha Mel, I love this! :D

    That article made me so angry. Who did the author think they are, to dictate what people can and can't read - it doesn't matter what age you are, you can read WHATEVER you want. GRRR.

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  28. HUGS! This post is awesome, whenever I think back to reading the Slate article it makes my blood boil. Honestly, I'm jealous of the awesomeness of your post, whenever I attempt to write something about it, I just start ranting... again. haha
    For somebody to think he has the right to dictate what we can and cannot read is too infuriating for words. This post sums up my thoughts exactly!

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    1. I was ranting first, but then I decided I had to go another way :p

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  29. oh my God I LOVED THIS POST!!! just.. dripping with sarcasm and just perfect. You nailed it Mel! I especially loved "you can't read comics, just because". That article is horrendous and so narrow minded and stupid. I'm sorry but I'm pretty sure we are all more mature and intellectual than the person who wrote that article. Pretty much your post is made of awesome <3

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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  30. Ha! Yup, let's ban everything! That's the only way some of those morons could be quiet for once and maybe then they would leave us be! But seriously, you make excellent points. Just thinking about that article makes me mad but reading your thoughts here made me feel better! You're right too: we should ALL read WHATEVER makes US happy and to hell with the critics. This post is the best ♥

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    1. Big middle finger to the people who say otherwise!

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  31. Brilliant post! I also read Slate's article and just thought what are you on?! All well said!

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  32. Amazing post, Mel. <3 Thank you so much for sharing. I do agree with you very much. Sigh. I just don't like it when people tell me what I should or shouldn't read, lol :D I haven't read all the articles online, as I'm trying not to care too much about it. But I love your post about it. <3

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  33. This is an awesome post, Mel, and the fact that it's sarcastic makes it all the more great because it relates exactly to what the article said.
    I could not BELIEVE that they published that post. To say that people should be ashamed of reading YA books is ridiculous. The only reason YA books are called YA books is because of the age of the characters. It has nothing to do with who it's targeted at (or at leas that's how I see it). I can still read books about 14 year olds and enjoy them, even though I am 21.
    I just - this article made me so pissy.
    And does the author not know that most authors of YA novels are in fact, much older than the characters that they are writing about? Does that mean they should be ashamed to be writing the books that people of all ages are reading? Geez.
    I think its wonderful that people in a wide range of ages can read YA. It's one of the reasons it's so beautiful and popular. Because adults CAN remember what it was like to feel the all consuming love of teenage romance, and they can reminisce and feel those feelings all over again.
    I don't think anyone should ever be told which books they should and should not read. It's just ridiculous.

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    1. I guess some people have such old souls that it's hard for them to relate to younger people? It's a good thing we all have young, open-minded spirits to be able to enjoy YA!

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  34. This is such a great response to that load of crap. Thank you thank you thank you. I'm so tired of all the stuck up readers trying to tell people what is right and wrong for them to be reading. If you like it, read it. Why is that so difficult? I wonder if the author is that bitter in everything they do or if they are just a special brand of book snob. Hopefully the backlash will teach them and the others like them to keep their uptight crap to themselves.

    Thanks again so much for this response. I always love a good batch of sarcasm.

    --Katie at The Pop Cultist and The Fiction Diaries

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    1. Or they just want attention.. and that's what they got :p but not in a good way if you ask me.

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  35. So I saw this post a while back, but didn't get a chance to properly sit down and give a good comment on it. Second time reading, and your sarcasm is just as slamming and epic as the first read, Mel! HA! Honestly, I would love to take a look at this article myself. It presents an...interesting..view, I'll say. To be fair, it does no wrong for us YA fans to take in other books that may be intellectually beneficial, blah blah. But the way the author of this article just pigeon-holed into those arguments just showed how truly immature he/she is about the art of reading. Anyhow, loved this post. Couldn't have come up with a better reply myself!

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  36. Great response! I think the whole thing is so particularly ridiculous when you view labels such as middle grade, young adult, new adult, and adult as marketing tools rather than the actual quality of the book.

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