I cross posted this on Medium. I think this debate is important.
There is always this debate that crops up in the book world. What makes a book worthy and valuable.
There is the classic lit vs modern lit, romance vs all books, YA books vs adult books, and so on, and so on.
It seems that the two areas that crapped on the most are YA and romance. People don’t view them as worthy or valuable and don’t think that people should even be reading them. Let me tell you, as someone who reads both YA and adult romance, and YA fantasy, both YA and romance are worth being read by anyone who likes those types of books.
Something I want to remind you of here is this:
- YA books are NOT a genre in and of themselves. They are books that describe the general age range they were written for. YA books can be romance, sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, and any other genre that exists.
Now, let’s move forward. When people decide to wholly state that they don’t think romance is worthy, or that YA books aren’t worthy, or that any other type of books are not worthy, most of the time they haven’t actually read books in any genre or age range that they are venting about. Yet these people feel qualified to say that X book is not worth reading.
Think about what this says about books and reading and all that entails. When you say X,Y,or Z book is not worthy, and doesn’t fit the standard, you’re are saying that readers of those books are not real readers. They aren’t living up to some arbitrary standard set by snobs, so they must not be real readers.
But when someone picks up The Fault in Our Stars, or The Ex Hex, or Act your Age, Eve Brown, they are picking up a book where they may learn about what cancer does to your body, or what it’s like to help people learn to love who you are as much as you do, or what can happen when one little spell goes awry. That last one is just for fun — but hopefully you’re getting the idea. Books can be for learning things, for growing, or, frankly, just for fun.
We don’t always need to read highbrow lit that’s going to teach us tons of things just to be taken seriously as a reader. We read because we love books, and some books are going to resonate with certain readers more than they do with others. And that’s okay. I love romance books. I love them! I also love fantasy books. And occasionally, if I’m in the right mood, I love a good cozy mystery. (This seems like the perfect time to plug Mia P. Manansala’s books! They’re fantastic.)
If you love classic lit, that’s great. If you absolutely love romance, that’s amazing. If you only read mystery’s, perhaps you can help me solve the mystery of how to fit more books on my shelves. Because at the end of the day, we are all readers, and all books are worthy. Don’t look down on a certain of book just because you wouldn’t read it.