Saturday, February 25, 2012

Out of the Closet, Back on the Shelf

Well, it's official. AARP Magazine just featured an article on the goodness of YA books and the emerging trend of adults buying and reading them.

Actually, some of us never stopped.

Every year, I get a craving to re-read Jane Eyre. I also re-read all the Maude Hart Lovelace Betsy-Tacy books, set in turn of the (last) century Deep Valley, MN; Lenora Mattingly Weber's Beany Malone books, set in a WWII Denver when teens still worked at car hops and went to college in their hometown (paying for tuition out of their own earnings); and, in the dregs of winter, Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, because I can't possibly complain about my January claustrophobia when I'm reading about a family huddled in a single room around the only stove they have, twisting hay into sticks to burn as their only fuel.

I automatically turn left when I first enter the Chattanooga Public Library so I can browse the young adult shelves, as well as climb the stairs to the children's room to see the familiar covers of other amazing books by authors like the Brits Nina Bawden and Susan Cooper. I used to feel a little embarrassed at checking out so many children's titles. Then I started homeschooling, and, what do you know, I had an excuse. And now, as my homeschoolers grow up and away, AARP has sanctioned my addiction.

Yes, I read newer books, too, including, gasp! horror! Twilight, which I won't dignify with anymore space than this. But it's the older YAs that got me through so much of childhood, and they remain among my closest friends.  If you haven't picked one up in a long time, or ever, I can't recommend them enough. I review a paltry few each month for the Sewanee Mountain Messenger and am always glad to suggest titles (Civil War fan? Try Rifles for Watie. Interested in social justice and immigration issues? Lois Lenski's Strawberry Girl and the more recent Esperanza Rising.) Oh, I could go on and on.

But--I'd rather be reading.