Imagine you were part of a book club that sought to expose members to new authors. Each iteration, you'd be handed a title, and you'd dive into it with no knowledge of the writer's background or their other body of work. Consider a book that the club circulates that captures you as a reader. You might even seek out other titles they've written, really becoming an appreciated or admired author.
Now at some later point, you find out that this author has social, political, or moral views that completely differ from your own -- possibly even to an offensive degree. Perhaps they've done something you consider reprehensible, or even criminal. Can you still appreciate their writing? Can you continue to seek out their books, effectively giving them your money to acquire their stories, knowing the type of person they are?
While this is a single, rather escalated hypothetical scenario, it's my no means unusual or even uncommon, particularly if you also include television, film, music, or any art form. So is there a line to be drawn, and if so, where?
From the ubiquitous appeal of the Harry Potter series, to the rocketing career trajectories of authors like Rick Riordan, Kate DiCamillo and John Green, we are at a point in popular culture where the stories and series that would categorically be branded as "young adult" fiction are more widely known and discussed among all age groups that are the more conventional "adult" titles.
Is this because of some simplification of the average reader's efforts? Is there some surreptitious effort by the publishing industry to market to two demographics with a single genre of literature? Or is the zeitgeist of the present-day reader attuned to these youth-labeled titles and tales for less conspiratorial, more wholly appreciative reasons?
Joined this week by librarian, book reviewer and technology integrator Joy Piedmont, we look at "young adult" literature as an isolated category, and why its appeal transcends this target audience.