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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  2893 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: CS Lewis explains why you should be proud to read children's books.

    A stupid, shaming, linkbaity screed--

Did Cory Doctorow-- heh.

In any case. Lewis' piece is very well known and I'm basically certain Doctorow won't get new mileage from it.

    To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence.

Oft-quoted. True. But I'll just point out two things:

a) the quality of children's literature has nosedived since 1952 so I no longer think Lewis' thoughts are relevant to the discussion. In 2014 his opinion would be, not different per se, but qualified with caveats. There's children's literature and then there's books written for kids aged 5 to 15.

b) I know the Slate piece was submitted to hubski but I couldn't find it in a cursory search. I don't even remember what I said when I commented. However, it's worth nothing that the (sane) argument against reading young adult fiction has absolutely nothing to do with "growing up" and everything to do with not wasting your time reading trash. No one ever complains when someone is reading The Twenty-One Balloons. It can be argued that if I'm 40 and I've read Terry Brooks 17 times I would've accomplished more by ending my life before I reached voting age.

You shouldn't be proud to read children's books. You should be proud to read good books.

GenghisKhan  ·  2893 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Quite frankly in our day and age, you should be proud to read books at all.

exNihilo  ·  2893 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've always felt that this was a very intellectually dishonest way to look at things. Has there ever really been a period in history when the majority of the population was highly bookish? Books have been around for centuries and literacy has only been since the advent of the printing press. The popularity of e-readers the rise of the superstar author is proof of this.

Sure, we may not spend all our time reading David Foster Wallace and Pynchon, but is this any different from history? Was the typical farmer or craftsman in 18th century England reading Kant? People generally read what is familiar and easy to them. Which rather underscores what Lewis is saying about reading children's lit.

user-inactivated  ·  2893 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Has there ever really been a period in history when the majority of the population was highly bookish?

When people excoriate the new generations for not reading, they're generally contrasting them to a period from about 1750-1980. How many Americans read Common Sense? New Yorkers lining the docks to get the next Dickens serial. A bunch of college-age Democrats assigning a poli sci reading list to each other in order that they might write a coherent Port Huron Statement.

If you were to compare the ratio of literate to literary, I imagine you'd find it at a low ebb.