June 11, 2009

Drama and Books and Such

"Teenagers have historically shown a certain appetite for calamity; they like a little madness, sadism and disease in the books they curl up with at night."

The Wall Street Journal article about YA lit tries to be positive about the dystopian and/or what they see as darker YA books, making special notes of 13 Reasons Why and Wintergirls as examples of particularly depressing fiction that may seem, to uninformed adults perusing the copies, "fairly uncommon and overwrought." I'm glad to say that the writer does sound quite a bit more informed than many who write about YA lit (although to blame all dark books on L.H. Anderson, as the "doyenne" of such -- eh?), however, despite the popularity of The Hunger Games and If I Stay, the overarching theme of YA lit as "dark" is obviously a matter of ...opinion. Or maybe I just like "dark?" Anyway, obviously not all YA books embraced now are depressing -- or bleakly mindless. There are plenty of other options, which is why I'm glad that Colleen is looking at What A Girl Wants. Depression and snark aren't the only things teen girl readers look for, is it? These writers say no.

And speaking of Katniss -- casting calls are going to be going out soon for The Hunger Games movie. Mitali has an intriguing question about... what the characters look like. Check out her 12-second-tv spot.

Man, the Bay Area booklights a lot of us have known forever continue to go dim. Black Oak Books is closing. That's a real shocker, and the community is speechless -- as there was no warning. Ugh. WHY do they keep doing that? Can't they at least say, "Help!" so the community can rally 'round? Aargh.

On a happier note, though, I just discovered Charlotte's post which announces the new Meghan Whalen Turner Attolia book, A Conspiracy of Kings!!!! This makes life somewhat more worth living.

And this little vimeo on BookMoot's blog is so me, it made me smile. Books really are where I live. Lately I haven't been getting to read enough. Time to change that!


Charlotte said...

I hadn't realized you were a MWT fan, Tanita, although I'm not surprised! :) I don't know if you need another distraction, but I enjoy the LJ MWT community (called Sounis) very much--endlessly picking apart tiny, seemingly unimportant details that actually are very full of meaning, both plot specific and metaphoric. My admiration for MWT knows no bounds.

a. fortis said...

Oh no...Black Oak Books, too? Yikes. That is really sad news. I think we need MORE independent bookstores, not fewer, but...man. Depressing.

adrienne said...

It seems to me that a fair number of teenagers are looking head-on at a lot of the things that are difficult about life, and stories like the ones mentioned in this article tell them that life is worthwhile even when it's hard. They tell you that you can make good choices. Even 13 Reasons Why and Wintergirls end hopefully, with characters making better decisions.

That said, I love what Meg Cabot had to say on her blog about this article and why she writes funny stories because when *my* life was at its worst, all I read was Meg Cabot.

DiamondsandToads said...

I think we are in a golden age of YA. I read a lot of books geared to young people. The genre is getting better all the time.
The WSJ is not.
I am linking to your blog. My college students who take my fairy tale class will be inspired by you.

Saints and Spinners said...

Ditto DiamondsandToads regarding the golden age of YA. When I was a teen, so many of the new books that weren't science-fiction seemed to be issue-specific books. I started keeping a tally of the humorous YA books. The number wasn't high. Then again, I was obsessed with Marion Zimmer Bradley, and she certainly was no barrel of laughs.