Happy, happy, joy, joy? Well, a little anyway despite what the Wall Street Journal says (TSS)

The Sunday Salon.comIf you’ve been following along at home for a while now, you know that I start from where I am and then go from there. First thing this morning, I checked in with fellow Sunday Saloner Trish at the blog Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity to see if she had her fourth bloggiversary post up yet, and she did and does. She’s having a small giveaway, but regardless stop by and wish her a happy fourth.

Second, last night after my power went off for two hours (more on that debacle in another post) and then came back on, I discovered yet another controversy swirling in the young adult genre. Most of the time I won’t lie, I click on the link, roll my eyes and move on, but this time I was stopped in my tracks by two thoughtful posts from Pam of the blog Bookalicious:

  1. Once upon a time at Wall Street Journal
  2. TMI – YA Saves

that are a response, the first one a direct response, to an article in the Wall Street Journal about how contemporary young adult fiction is too dark for teens to handle.

Third, and on a lighter note, in case you missed it, V.S. Naipaul is an ass…as summarized in this post from

Fourth, since I’m supposed to talk about my own reading this past week and in the upcoming week at some point during a Sunday Salon post, I guess I’ll do that…if you twist my arm:

A. As of Wednesday, the first day of this month, I’ve started over and given up on future plans for reading as I’m free to read what I want, any old time.

B. As of Friday, only two days later, I concocted a new plan on reading my way through two new sections I’m shelf-reading at the library — with books that catch my eye along the way. Honestly, though, I don’t know if I’ll stick to that, because heck, I am free to read what I want, any old time — and I’m not planning on going alphabetically, if I do. I might actually just skip around the sections or not.

From that B part, I picked out two books:

  1. Booked to Die, the first of the Cliff Janeway/Bookman series, by John Dunning, which I have started and am enjoying so far.
  2. Red To Black  by Alex Dryden, the first of two books about a former British spy, Finn.

Will I stick with them? My gut says I’ll probably make it through the first one, but the second one, maybe not. My record this year with DNFs is at about half a dozen, which might account while I’m only at 21 books read so far this year. I had planned on trying to get to 25 by the end of May, but those plans were defenestrated as I already was planning on scrapping plans for the beginning of the month.

So what have you been reading this past week and what do you plan to read this coming week? What are your thoughts on the latest YA controversy? V.S. Naipaul? Anything remotely literary related?

Your Sunday morning moment of Zen:

And one last lighter moment from earlier in the week: Patron of the Month: Mr. I’m-Mad-As-Hell-At-Punk-Kids-And-I’m-Not-Going-To-Take-It-Anymore.

Peace out, y’all. Holla.

31 responses to “Happy, happy, joy, joy? Well, a little anyway despite what the Wall Street Journal says (TSS)

  1. I read the WSJ piece and felt some sympathy. So many authors want to cram reality, the uglier the better, on their readers. If I want reality, I’ll read a history book, thank you. Which is why I read so little of contemporary fiction.

    When my children were younger, I stayed away from most of the YA books as they struck me as just so much marketing: with the notable exception of Captain Underpants, my hero.

    There used to be no such thing as YA Books. Authors wrote for general audiences and some of them became favorites of teens: Alcott, Verne, Defoe and others. I still had my copies from my youth and they were fed to my boys along with my stash of classic Sci-Fi.

    Like Thoreau, I say to read the good books first. There are so many that you don’t really need to get into today’s nasty version of the pulps.

  2. There is awful lot going on in this post. I don’t know where to start responding. I was very moved by Pam’s response to the WSJ article. I think your plan to read what you want sounds great. I’ve been doing that for a while now, and although I feel guilt about it sometimes, it is remarkably freeing.

    Here is my Sunday Salon

    • I try not to be so busy all the time in my posts, but I didn’t want to go without acknowledging Pam’s responses to the WSJ article.

      I also am trying not to get too caught up in plans…although I have a few challenges still in the back of my head beckoning me to return to them…and at least a couple of them, I probably will return to do. However, I’m in no rush. 🙂

  3. You always make me laugh.

    • So are you saying I’m funny? Is that what you’re saying, huh? Huh? 😉 I try to bring a little humor to the otherwise (and sometimes rightly so, unfortunately in this most recent situation) humorless book blogging world.

  4. I had a lovely comment all typed out and then accidentally closed the window. It was totally my fault, but now I don’t know if I can re-create it. 🙂

    I do love a good reading plan, but I hardly stick with them. As for the YA links – Pam’s story is important and heartbreaking.

  5. I read the Wall Street Journal article, and I’ve got to say, I was rather shocked. I had no idea that YA fiction was that violent these days. Of course, when I was that age, I can’t remember if there was a YA section, but if there was, I pretty much read what my father read. Or perhaps I just live in a fantasy world, which is probably more the case, when it comes to my naivete with certain genres of books.

    As for this past week, I’ve been reading President Bush’s Decision Points, which is much more forthcoming that I anticipated. Afterwards, I think I’m going to see about tackling The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

    • Jeremy, I encourage you to read the other links and the responses to the article. As for YA being that violent, I’ve read some and I think it’s an overreaction by some, in my humble opinion.

      • Forgot to click the links as I read most of this stuff on my iPhone at a basketball tourney yesterday. I read the responses, and I think the best course of action would be for me to read some of the books listed in the article and come to my own judgment. Just need to find the time!

        • Always a problem…also if my response came across as harsh, I apologize. I just wanted to make sure you were getting full story, not just the one from WSJ. 🙂

          • Nah, wasn’t harsh at all, you were right on with your comment, I should’ve taken a look at the other articles first, and I’m glad I did. I think I’ll visit the library and pick up a couple of the books listed in the WSJ article, should be interesting to say the least.

  6. I took the Naipaul test and only got 6 out of 10. I thought Nicholas Sparks was a woman. Go figure.

  7. My reading has been so slow this past week. I don’t think I’ve finished one book though I’ve started about six. I love how you made a plan to not make a plan then made one. 😉

  8. Ahhh, thanks for the mention. You know that only two people have entered the giveaway? People are funny. 😉

    I saw the YASaves discussion on twitter but haven’t looked into the WSJ article yet to find out what all the bustle is. Might go do that now.

    Reading? What’s that? I’ve started Saturday by Ian McEwan but I’m pretty sure I’m going to abandon it this afternoon for something much lighter.

    • I actually thought I’d come back and still put my name in the running for the giveaway. I just didn’t want to make my comment seem too long.

      Ugh. McEwan? Yes, find something lighter, please. 🙂

  9. It would be nice if YA writing was a little more happier, but honestly been a teenager isn’t exactly rainbows and puppies, etc. Its a lot about self-discovery and finding out about who you are as an individual. It takes until one is their mid-twenties to really have a true identity and even then it may not happen. Happiness generally comes with acceptance and when you are a teenager, you aren’t happy for the most part, even if you appear so on the outside. Everybody is confused and we are all making decisions that will affect us later down the road.

    • Argh. Rainbows and puppies. That’s what I meant to say in my last response to a comment, instead I said, “Candy canes and roses.” 🙂

      Too true: about not being happy as a teen. Yes, I think that’s true for most teens…an undercurrent of melancholia even beneath the smiles.

  10. I’m conflicted about the YA thing because I think about what I read and sought out as a teen. Granted, there is a lot of dark stuff out there now. But I seem to remember YA novels in the 80s about the occult, about teen prostitutes, drug use….at a certain age I think you seek out things like that out of curiosity. The author of the article seems to make the assumption that all teens are teetering on the brink of crisis and reading that kind of book will push them over the edge. I just remember being curious about life experiences vastly different from my own.

    • I think that’s true. I seem to remember books by Judy Blume that weren’t all candy canes and roses, but that were an inspiration to girls everywhere. I remember reading S.E. Hinton books and relating to that outsider feeling of some of her characters: definitely not happy books.

  11. I missed the YA kerfuffle – will have to go read up on that. Naipaul is a pompous ass.

    And, I love the Bookman mysteries! I’ve read the first few – they’re very good, and I learned a lot about book collecting. Not just acquiring books for the purpose of reading them, like I do, but rare and valuable book collecting.

    Have a good Sunday!

  12. readerbuzz

    I agree. I, too, am free to read what I want, when I want, where I want, if I want.

    Check out The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac.

  13. Now I must check out your links! You’ve piqued my curiosity.

    As for reading whatever I want…hmm, I used to do that in pre-blogging days. I did wander up and down the aisles of the library, picking whatever grabbed my attention. I didn’t buy books as much….but since I have done that in recent years, almost to the point of addiction, I now seldom go to the library, since I’m working my way through those TBRs.

    The leisurely library days…something to post about, perhaps.

    Thanks for sharing.


  14. The Naipaul thing is so ridiculous. What a jerk. And Pam’s posts are amazing and so brave.

    • I’ve only read one book by him and while I liked it (A Turn in the South), I didn’t think he was God’s gift to writing.

      Totally agree on Pam’s posts.