YA? Y not?

Sorry about the title. There's no real excuse for it, so I'll just ask for forgiveness instead.


I have a bone to pick, and a change to announce. First the bone. I hate the way literature is divided up into groups, into genres, into narrow unhappy rooms that serve to keep people in and out. A long time ago I was wandering around a very lovely and otherwise unimpeachable bookstore, looking for The Habit of Being, a collection of the letters of Flannery O'Connor (which is really amazing, even if you're not a writer's letters sort of person). I couldn't find it, and asked for help, upon which I was told to look for it in Women's Fiction. Can you imagine what Ms. O'Connor would have thought of that? I don't think she would have liked it one bit.

I think that naming things almost always serves only the narrow them and their audience. (Unless you're talking about the true name, a la Ursula LeGuin, which I don't think we can say is happening here at all.) In my ideal bookstore, everything would be all mixed up, allowing me to stumble on John Milton when I only meant to get a copy of Uglies. Or organized by some crazy impossible order: books the owner loves most, ones she hates, ones she thinks are good to read aloud, and so on.

I know, I know: this isn't practicable. No one would be able to find anything. People who hate nonfiction would be bombarded with it. It would be chaos. But it would be the kind of chaos I like most, where borders blur and all of a sudden you end up reading Amazing Hockey Stories when you meant to read A Little Princess.

Ah well. All of which is an extremely long-winded way of getting to: we're going to start reading more YA on this blog. Though calling it YA gets to me. We'll figure out how to throw it into the categories over there on the right, somehow. It just makes sense—people are getting more grown up around here.

In a way we've always read it, even if we haven't named it so, but maybe it will help someone to name it? Someone who is wandering the internet looking for a book to read, and the only way they think about their reading is as YA, and we can find them something. And then maybe, someday, they'll just be person who reads books.

Any ideas on what to name the category? I mean, other than YA? Put them in the comments, please!

3 thoughts on “YA? Y not?

  1. I love reading Young Adult Fiction. Even though I am no longer young, and I am not sure I have ever been categorized by my peers as “adult.” I am certainly not creative enough to come up with a better name for it, the only one that pops into my head is “Teen” which, really? Am I really that bland? Apparently.


  2. So I guess “Drugs, Dystopia, Dragons, and Death” isn’t any more helpful?
    (I read YA, just don’t always appreciate its frequent focus on the darker side. But I’ll keep the dragons/magic part.)


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