any good movies lately?
and recommend it.
an ode to young adult fiction
by Yee-Fan Sun |
a look next to my bed, and youíll always find a stack of books, each
with a bookmark tucked partway through the volume, all at varying stages
of being read or re-read. At any given moment, thereíll be a
Contemporary Great (serious stuff, brainy stuff, the sort that all the
critics are currently waxing rhapsodic over), a
Classic Great (same as above, only old), generally an Overrated
Classic (one of those books I bought ages ago, because everyone told me
how phenomenal it was, only four years later and I still canít force
myself to read it all the way through, though I valiantly continue to
torture myself to the finish because Iím bewildered by how all those
smart people could be so wrong), maybe some non-fiction as well.
Right now, for instance, thereís Don DeLilloís White Noise
(overrated), buried beneath J.D. Salingerís Catcher in the Rye
(classic) and Yann Martelís Life of Pi
sitting atop a fat, weighty textbook on evolutionary biology (this last,
my attempt to get a clue about what it is that that my grad student boy
actually does with his non-hanging-out-with-me time). These are my Real
Books, the ones Iíll tell my friends Iím reading should dinner party
conversations veer towards the literary.
But sharing that night-table
space with all that certified, snob-approved Literature, thereíll
always be a thin, pocket-sized paperback book hiding near the back, its
spine gently broken, the corners worn down, cover faded, the pages
beginning to wiggle loose. Thereíll generally be a teenage girl
illustrated on the cover, or sometimes a boy, looking serious, and
thoughtful, and earnest. These books will probably never be discussed in
a college English lecture, or over-analyzed in a term paper; many are so
long-forgotten that theyíre out of print and impossible to find at
most bookstores. But truth be told, theyíre the books I love best, the
ones I find myself turning to when Iím a little blue and looking for
comfort in a good, familiar read. Theyíre my young adult books, those
slim little paperbacks youíd find tucked away at the back of the
bookstore, on the edge of the childrenís section, if you ever ventured
that far from where the literature meant for grown-ups like yourself
generally lives, that is.
|Many of these books are the
very same volumes Iíve owned since I was twelve, thirteen, fourteen
years old, probably purchased at the Coop in Harvard Square, where my
parents would bring my brothers and me on weekends when we were lucky
enough to be granted an escape from the dull suburbs. I have always been
a bookworm, but never more so than in those angst-filled adolescent
years, when books were my method of choice from escaping from the world,
and my parents would have to ration out my book purchases for me during
long, boring summers, because Iíd run through books faster than they
could bring me back to the store to buy more.
|(Library books, sadly,
have never been a favorite option of mine: Iíve never liked their
musty smell, the thin layer of grease and dust that comes from having
been thumbed by too many grimy paws.)
So maybe part of the appeal comes from the nostalgia factor:
these books have been with me a long time. I know their stories as well
as my own history; Iíve loved their characters for so long they feel
to write for Digs?
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