Why Young Adult Fiction is NOT a Dangerous Fantasy

Out there in the interwebs somewhere exists a person with the name Joe Nutt.

Mr. Nutt has published an article that I will not link to here, as to not give his ridiculous idea more attention by way of web traffic. This article argues that Young Adult fiction is a dangerous fantasy.

Now, I do not read YA fiction regularly. I have read it in the past, and I have enjoyed what I’ve read in the past.

I am not an avid YA reader, nor can I name the top YA novels out today.

However, I am against people criticizing anyone for reading anything, .

All reading (even reading his article) is, by nature, reading. And reading is good.

No matter whether that takes the form of a graphic novel, comic strip, back of a cereal box, Shakespearean play, or YA novel.

In the paragraphs below, I will examine some of the points Mr. Nutt makes and attempt to counter them.

Be ready. This article is much more… blunt… than my typical works.


His first paragraph is probably the worst paragraph I’ve read in quite awhile, and that includes the many outrageous things Mr. Trump says.

What he describes is his idea for a YA novel, and it implies that being a transgender school dropout with autism and being a self-harmer is a bad thing. Excuse me. I’m sorry that people are transgender. I’m sorry they have autism. I’m sorry they drop out. I’m sorry they self harm.

Actually, no I’m not.

Because there are people who are transgender. There are people who are on the autism spectrum. There are people who self harm. There are people who have dropped out.

We need books that relate to their readers.

I’m sorry that your classic novels don’t relate to their readers. Not everything can relate. And that’s okay. Not everything has to relate. However, when the goal is to get people reading, having stories that they can relate to is a good thing.

Additionally, having stories with diverse characters and situations is good for everyone who reads them, even people who can’t directly relate. Because empathy is important, and spending time in a story with someone who is experiencing those things can teach us about their situation and open our minds to things we never would have seen otherwise.

As a side note, I don’t believe that embarking “on a magical quest to find an ancient crystal with the power to render all weapons useless” really is a plot line that you would find in a YA novel, anyway. That would fit better in other genres. But I digress.


Next, Mr. Nutt describes his life as a teacher of English. He describes his painstaking efforts to create “genuinely literate adults” as if “literate adults” are somehow not genuine.

Do tell me what the difference is.

Let’s take a look at what our dear friend, the dictionary, has to say on being literate:

Literate.JPG

Do you see anywhere in there where it says that a literate person has to be genuine or only read a specific type of writing? I don’t.

I see that they need to have the ability to read and write. I also see that they can be versed in literature and/or creative writing. Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the definition of “literature” as well.

literature.JPG

Hmmm. Mr. Nutt appears to be implying that YA novels are not “considered to be very good” or that they might “have lasting importance.” Now, we wouldn’t want to attempt to assume that we know what will be deemed as “very good” and important to future generations, would we?

If we look at the second and third points, we see a much broader definition of literature. Now, unless you can prove to me that a YA novel is not a book, I believe YA fits into this definition.


Next, he states that teenagers don’t like books that proselytize. No, they probably don’t. Then, he insinuates that YA novels are attempting to proselytize teenagers to something he doesn’t clearly define.

He argues that YA is “nothing more than gossip fodder” and is like reading a novelized form of a gossip/celebrity magazine.

I don’t believe so, but even if they were.

So?

So what?

People are reading. People are empathizing. People are learning.

Does it matter what form that it takes?


Next he goes on to describe that school libraries (in the UK) are emptying their shelves of nonfiction.

I can’t speak to situations in the UK, but in learning about the state of school libraries at my university here in the US, I see that budgets are being cut. When budgets are cut, libraries take a hit. Nonfiction isn’t always cheap.

Personally, I love nonfiction, and I love reading it. I see the importance of allowing our youth to read nonfiction. I will take the stance of one who encourages people to read nonfiction… just like Mr. Nutt should encourage people to read novels he deems appropriate.

However, neither of us should criticize anyone for reading what they enjoy reading. That’s not our jobs. Our job is to encourage reading in all forms and to allow them the chance to branch out. If they do, great. If they don’t, great.


After that, he goes on a tangent about how we as a society should look at how we’ve starved these poor children from a proper “literary inheritance.”

He says, “There is a world of difference between being able to decode symbols on a page and engaging with the thoughts and ideas of intelligent men and women who have important things to say, things which may even make that adult life, still some years off, a richer and a happier experience.”

Really?

It appears, again, that Mr. Nutt has placed judgement on something he shouldn’t be judging.

Are YA authors not intelligent? Do they not have important things to say? Can their novels not make adult life a richer and happier experience?


He then poses several questions to publishers.

Are YA novels culturally valid and something we should value? Do they introduce teenagers to the adult world?

He then goes on to judge publishers for patronizing teenagers and turning them off to reading “with books they think are good for them, instead of helping them seek out and enjoy books that matter.”

Tell me this is satire.

Mr. Nutt is doing the same thing he accuses them of doing. He believes he knows what is best for young readers, and YA isn’t it.

He believes he knows what books matter and what books don’t matter.

That is not okay.

I’m sorry that you can’t see the value in YA, but don’t try and shut off an entire group of books from people who enjoy them because you don’t believe they matter.


Lastly, YA is often read by adults more than teenagers, so everything he’s arguing is nearly invalid anyway.


Thanks for sticking through that with me!


Works Cited

“Literate.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2016. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literate

“Literature.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2016. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literature

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Goals for 2015 Wrap-Up

2015 has been a good year for me, and I really kept my goals in mind as I made decisions throughout the year. In this post, I’ll go over how I think everything went!

You can find my original post with my goals for 2015 here, and you can find my mid-year check-in here.


One // Build a healthier lifestyle

I’m not focused on weight as much as overall well-being and satisfaction with where I’m at and what I look like. I’m not super happy with what I look like, but I do feel a lot better ending the year than starting it.

Here’s some of what I’ve been doing to work towards this goal:

Walking nearly everywhere.

I have / I’ve been:

-walking whenever/wherever I can

-walking 20 minutes or more to meet my mom for lunch once a week

-walking to meet my husband when he gets off work and I’m free (about two miles)

-walking whenever we eat out downtown

-walked two miles for the 4th of July rather than driving to watch the fireworks

-walked over five miles with my mom for Mother’s Day

-walked a mile and a half to work and back a few times

-hiked with my parents on a few photography adventures

-completed a walking challenge at my workplace!

-walked several miles through caves for our anniversary

-walked to and from Gen Con, and walked a bunch around the convention

Drinking more water.

In the month of December, I have drank at least one 8oz bottle of water a day (with a slice or two of lemon in it), and most days, I have drank over 40 ounces a day! I hardly ever drink water, so this is a small success for me, and I hope to keep it up.

Clogging.

My mom, husband, and I started clogging lessons in September. They were once a week, and they ended a couple of weeks ago. They’ll pick back up in February, and in the mean time, I’ll be going to a donation yoga class in that time slot.

Square Dancing.903604_10208121542618984_4338893230900242138_o

Square dancing has slowed down for me since the summer, but I still dance at least once a month!

Biking.

I’ve only biked to work once this year, but I’m gearing up to bike more in 2016!

Journal-writing.

I have somewhat kept up with my journal, though not as much as I would like to. I have started a five-year journal, and I’ll be changing up how I journal regularly once I finish my current”Italy” journal.

Meditation.

I still haven’t re-read 8-Minute Meditation, but I do meditate once every now and then. I have been practicing mindfulness lately, and that is taking over my urge to sit and meditate.

Not Eating Fast Food.

This saves money and is healthy. I have limited myself to Arby’s (occasionally Popeye’s) and the occasional stop while travelling.

Loom Knitting.photo 3 (2)

My friend, Erica, taught me how to knit using a loom in November. Since then, I have knitted over 10 scarves and one baby blanket. This is an activity I use to keep my mind and hands occupied, and it’s a way to decompress after doing schoolwork.

Reading.

Like knitting, this is a peaceful activity I have tried to do more of lately. It’s much better than sitting on the computer or in front of the TV. I’ve read 50 books this year. 🙂

Two //  Spend less money on things I don’t truly need

Daniel didn’t really like the cash system, so we’ve switched back to using our debit cards. The second half of the year saw a lot of birthdays, celebrations, weddings, and holidays, but we are still doing really well and saving a lot.

I haven’t used my budget Google Doc much lately because Daniel didn’t want me to spoil my birthday and Christmas gifts before they arrived. I will go back to it in January.

Daniel and I have been doing a good job of cooking from home, and we hardly ever spend money on going out to eat anymore.

Whenever I feel the urge to shop, I do try to stick to Goodwill, and I try to purchase clothing I know is sustainable and versatile.

Three // Read A Song of Ice and Fire series (AKA Game of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin

Still not going to happen this year (or for a very long time?) 😦

Four // Finish writing my novel from National Novel Writing Month

This didn’t happen, either, but I did participate in NaNoWriMo in November.

Five // Participate in National Novel Writing Month again

NaNoWriMo Widget

After one day of writing, my word count was 2181

I did it! I didn’t meet my goal for sure, but I did write, which counts! I really love the novel I’ve started, and I hope to participate next year.

You can read about my experiences this year by clicking here.

Six // Volunteer at least once a month

I’ve kept a Google Doc titled “Volunteer Tracker,” and I update it every time I volunteer. I sort of forgot to update it a few times with details, but I have tried to keep a general tally.

I have also started keeping track of ongoing commitments. So far, I have five commitments, which I don’t necessarily count towards my monthly goal. Those don’t all have “events” where I volunteer, so I don’t count them.

Here’s how many times I volunteered each month in 2015:

January: 4

February: 3

March: 7

April: 4photo

May: 4

June: 3

July: 3

August: 2

September: 4

October: 3

November: 6

December: 4


I think that I did a good job trying to stick to my goals. I made necessary adaptations, and I accepted the goals I didn’t meet.

Overall, it’s been a great year, and these goals guided me throughout the year.

Now, on to 2016!

My Year in Review: 2015

2015 was an awesome year for me.

Here’s some of what I did (in no particular order):

  1. I got accepted to grad school!photo
  2. I accepted a graduate assistantship with Family, School, and Neighborhood Engagement.photo 1 (4)
  3. I completed square dancing lessons and went through plus square dancing lessons.10945533_10205733396476823_249063993592293292_n
  4. I started clogging.IMG_5224.jpg
  5. I attended my first two professional conferences.12238121_10207929170329797_5391703298051292162_o
  6. My best friend got married, and I was her “Lady of Honor.”photo 5 (3).JPG
  7. I participated in the IUPUI Regatta.photo 2 (5).JPG
  8. I read 50 books. UPDATE! I’ve read 52 books, since I just finished Lending a Paw and Borrowed Crime by Laurie Cass.Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015
  9. I voted for the first time.12183954_10207845843046667_8556377505169139438_o.jpg
  10. I started knitting using a loom.photo 3 (2).JPG
  11. I biked to work for the first time.photo (2)
  12. I became VP of Membership for the alumnae chapter of my sorority.12314535_674288999379794_3357469934167776297_o.jpg
  13. I successfully completed my first semester of graduate school with a 4.0!photo 4
  14. We celebrated one year with our Little!12132485_10207711842376734_5082884238161835521_o.jpg
  15. Daniel and I celebrated one year together as a married couple!11160640_10207506329359037_7245455612742873513_o.jpg
  16. I participated in National Novel Writing Month (again).Me and Kayla writing during the first day of NaNoWriMo.
  17. And just because this picture gives me so much happiness… 🙂887410_10207864805360713_50468107508961177_o.jpg

I hope you had a wonderful 2015, and if not, I hope your 2016 is awesome!

Motivation in Goal-Making

I came across this blog post recently, and I thought I would share it here. The coach believes goals should be something that isn’t exactly tangible. They should be something that you value and want out of yourself.

His points:

When I am working with people, I ask them hard questions not only to find out what external goals they want to achieve (marathons, fat loss, etc.) but I also ask them hard questions to find out what kind of person they want to be.

If you want to be a healthy person, but discover that marathons are terrible for your body, then you can be a healthy person who does yoga every day or powerlifts.

I couldn’t agree with him more, except that I do happen to like SMART Goals. And I’m happy that I came across the idea, because it got me thinking about my goals. I would check out his blog post before reading any further…

Overall, I think I have created goals that aren’t superficial and that allow me to grow as a person. I’ve created goals that are realistic and are something I genuinely want. I think they’re manageable and can always be revised, updated, and crossed out if they don’t end up being something that I think is worth the time. For example, if I end up hating the Game of Thrones books, I won’t finish reading them. However, I will try to finish the series.

Here are my goals, with some of the main reasons I created them as goals for 2015:


ONE // Build a healthier lifestyle

I want to go back to how I used to be, but with less-processed food options. Working out used to be a daily thing for me, and so far, I’m having no trouble getting back into the swing of things. Plus, home-cooked meals taste better 🙂

TWO //  Spend less money on things I don’t truly need

This one fits into a couple of my life goals: be able to travel lots and have more than enough savings to survive if either my husband and I were to lose our jobs.

THREE // Read A Song of Ice and Fire series (AKA Game of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin

I love reading, and I want to be able to discuss the series with my friends… simple enough.

FOUR // Finish writing my novel from National Novel Writing Month

This one is more because I want to know what happens. I haven’t planned out the novel, so I want to see where my characters take me. It’s more out of curiosity than a desire to publish the novel.

FIVE // Participate in National Novel Writing Month again

This goal is here simply because I enjoy writing, and I like having an organized time to push myself and write even more.

SIX // Volunteer at least once a month

I love helping others, and I think it’s my job as a human to give back to a world that has given me plenty of opportunities. Volunteering gives me a rush of happiness and a drive to do more for the world. It motivates me and gives me ideas to bring back to my job, and it educates me on social issues I may not know about.


I know I’m not a perfect goal-creator, and feel free to disagree with me and the coach. I think understanding the motivation behind my goals will making reaching them easier. They aren’t just something I’ve created to go with the trend of creating New Year’s resolutions; they’re something I want and I know why I want to reach them.

What do you think?

Goals for 2015

Happy New Year!!

As things go, a new year means New Year Resolutions, and I’ve never been a big fan of those.

During my job as an Academic Success Coach last year, I learned about SMART Goals, and they’re designed like this:

S – Specific: Know exactly what you want to accomplish.

M – Measurable: Have ways to track and evaluate your progress.

A – Achievable/Attainable: Is it a goal you can see yourself working towards? You can set the goals high, but don’t set it too high that you’ll end up making excuses not to do it.

R – Realistic/Relevant: (SMART Goals can change depending on your situation, but for this one, I’m going to keep “relevant” in mind) Is the goal something that fits into your life at the moment? For example, if I were to set a goal to make a million dollars selling real estate by June, it wouldn’t fit my life.

T – Timely: Give yourself a deadline, and try to hold yourself to it.

I have chosen to set up my goals/resolutions for 2015 with the SMART Goal system in mind. Here they are:


ONE // Build a healthier lifestyle

I’ve been working towards this since last year by moving into a new apartment that allows me to live healthier. There is a free 24-hour workout facility in the community, and it’s close walking/biking distance to pretty much everything downtown. Also, I have my own kitchen, and my husband and I have been actively working to create healthier meal plans and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diets.

I have also committed to a weekly running program with my best friend that starts January 31st, and along with that, I also committed to weekly square dance lessons. I hope to sign up for at least one other class at an affordable fitness center I attend.

Lastly, I include mental health into my definition of a “healthier lifestyle,” so I plan on continuing to journal regularly and to try the 8-minute meditation program. I’ve read the book twice, but my goal is to read it a third time, and to stick with it all year.

TWO //  Spend less money on things I don’t truly need

Living at my parent’s house last year helped me build some awful spending habits. I’m known as the “saver” in my family, thanks to my Grammy, but I started spending and spending. It started with my wedding, and it just snowballed from there. Not being able to cook meals at home didn’t help either, so hopefully my new living situation will help save more money.

I have also been creating meal and budget guidelines, so hopefully I will be able to use those as guidance and accountability.

Lastly, I plan on using cash and checks (when applicable) more. When I can see how much money I have when I’m out shopping, I am less likely to buy something I didn’t plan on (This has worked for me in the past.).

THREE // Read A Song of Ice and Fire series (AKA Game of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin

I have so many friends who have read the books and watched the television show that it’s getting hard to come up with reasons as to why I haven’t read them yet. So this year, I will read them.

Starting at the beginning of summer, I managed to read 38 books by the end of 2014. With five published books in the extremely popular series I know pretty much nothing about, I should be able to have it finished by the end of the year.

FOUR // Finish writing my novel from National Novel Writing Month

Though I “won” NaNoWriMo, I did not complete the novel. My goal is to take time at least once a week to sit and work on the novel. It doesn’t have to be edited and pretty, but it needs to be done.

This goal needs to be completed by the beginning of November 2015, as my next goal is to…

FIVE // Participate in National Novel Writing Month again

I had a blast last year, so this is a must-do.

SIX // Volunteer at least once a month

With Days of Service at my university, and with my subscriptions to weekly volunteer emails, I should be able to find something to do AT LEAST once a month.


Well there you have it. Those are my Goals for 2015. At the end of this year, I’ll take a look back and see how I did. What are your goals for the new year?

My Year in Review: 2014

2014 was quite an interesting and jam-packed year for me.

Here’s some of what I did (in no particular order):

  1. I got married.
  2. 10469373_10204820749021207_3642174395043947195_nI graduated college.10372307_10203783494930503_788805432666866692_n (1)
  3. I started working at a job that will lead me to my future career as a librarian.10559826_10204448443393799_8855281968239146763_n
  4. I joined a sorority.1779709_10203300696580846_1738315318_n
  5. I completed the 100 Happy Days challenge.10438359_10204292761821857_4367586535198569635_n
  6. I completed a Mud Run.10253790_10203810478965087_185805523995482963_n
  7. I went back to England (where I studied abroad in 2012), and visited my best friend, friends from my study abroad experience, London, and Dover.10881695_10205427552070904_1623741020512548941_n
  8. I finished a journal for the first time.60671_10205360847203324_1370337100781811454_n
  9. I became a Big Sister/part of a Big Couple through Big Brothers Big Sisters.10392370_10205357125830292_8343976812616011101_n
  10. I started Square Dancing.1618561_10205160074104122_4574066075674137892_n
  11. I moved into my first “real” apartment with my husband.10885043_10205438670948869_5105261343330654992_n
  12. I completed NaNoWriMo.10521174_10205217335535622_685972538609730621_n
  13. I’ve read 36 books since the start of the summer. UPDATE! I have now read 38 books! The 37th book goes to The House of Hades and the 38th book goes to The Blood of Olympus, both by Rick Riordan.image
  14. I started this blog!

Thanks for reading about my year. How was yours?