Thursday, May 19, 2011

Booking Through Thursday--Age Inappropriate

Here are last week's and this week's Booking Through Thursday questions, because they go hand in hand, and I didn't answer last week:

Do you read books “meant” for other age groups? Adult books when you were a child; Young-Adult books now that you’re grown; Picture books just for kicks … You know … books not “meant” for you. Or do you pretty much stick to what’s written for people your age?

In contrast to last week’s question–What do you think of censoring books BECAUSE of their intended age? Say, books too “old” for your kids to read?

Last week's answer: When I was a kid, I reveled in reading things that were too "old" for me. I liked reading things that I thought were mature, that might teach me something I didn't already know about the adult world, that might unlock some adult secrets.

Now that I'm grown, I will sometimes read a young adult book, because I've heard it's fantastic, or because it reminds me of the very satisfying reading I did as a kid. I read picture books because I've got kids, and I've got no choice.

For this week's answer: I don't really censor books in my house. I figure that if you're going to learn something that's too "old" for you, the gentlest and most forgiving way to learn it is in the pages of a book. Not, say, in the graphic imagery of a movie or even a video game. And we don't have anything on our shelves that I think would be too shocking or would scar my kids for life. Except there might be an old copy of The Joy of Sex lurking somewhere around here, with those hilarious 1970s drawn illustrations. That might freak out the kids a little.

But I have a soft spot for the idea of a kid sneaking off to read Lolita or something she's heard is titillating. I think it's a rite of passage for readers.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I like your comment about sneaking off to read Lolita. Yes, that does seem to be a rite of passage and many readers can name that book they secretly read. Did it do us any harm? No, probably not. Plus kids are now much more informed so I doubt they'd be shocked by books like that.

Sally said...

I love your answers. I totally think that learning through books is the best way to go.
Sally. go.

Jo said...

Chuckling now at the thought of my children sneaking off with The Joy of Sex! Not that I have it here (too young)!
But I'd like my kids sneak off with whatever grabs them. I just hope they feel able to come and talk to me about any issues after. Its the attitude I'm trying to foster anyway.

Gentle Reader said...

booknympho--I agree it didn't do me any hard, and I also agree that kids these days (I sound like my mother when I say that!) are exposed to so much more in the media than we were, so I doubt anything they would read on my shelves would shock them!

Sally--enjoyed your post :) I agree, books are the way to learn, especially the difficult stuff!

Jo--I'm hoping to foster that attitude here, too. But we also provided age-appropriate books about the facts of life to our boys when we started talking about that stuff, so they had good sources of information that were less embarrassing than talking to mom and dad (when they got to the age where it's all embarrassing!).

Bybee said...

I remember finding a copy of The Love Machine in the 6th grade and being shocked when I saw the word "tits" used in dialogue.

Susan said...

..."the gentlest and most forgiving way to learn it is in the pages of a book" - Beautifully said and so true. Even still, I try to keep my "Rated R" books up higher on the bookshelves just in case :)

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