Friday, June 1, 2012

Joel Stein Can Bite Me

Joel Stein penned this article for the New York Times, "Adults Should Read Adult Books".

Quoting from the article, Stein says, "I appreciate that adults occasionally watch Pixar movies or play video games. That’s fine. Those media don’t require much of your brains. Books are one of our few chances to learn. There’s a reason my teachers didn’t assign me to go home and play three hours of Donkey Kong. I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults."

There are perfectly acceptable reasons to read besides learning or gaining insight into the human condition. One of those is escapism. Besides, what's it to Mr. Stein? Oh, that's right he's an author. Of a book called, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity. (I'm not linking to it because I'm not helping you or anyone else seek this book out.) Man Made describes his escapades shadowing firefighters and driving a Lamborghini- amongst other "masculine" pursuits. To this I say, it sounds like you've written a perfectly ordinary book. Maybe not a good idea to name drop Thomas Pynchon or David Foster Wallace unless you're in their league and, from the looks of your book, you're not and probably never will be.  Oh, and even though you're mocking Suzanne Collins- I hope it hurts that you lack the talent to even write the kind of books you look down on- let alone hope to have her kind of sales statistics.

I read 400+ books a year. Where do I find the time? I must spend all day reading, right?  No, I have a job and three kids- two of them homeschooled. Well, I can read 1300+ WPM (yes, per minute). I've never taken a speed reading class. I've done it solely by reading books. Books of all kinds, including young adult, mystery... all of the types of books that a literary snob would look down on. But I have this to say- I probably read more "real" literature than you do (literary snob) because of how fast I read. So, don't judge people by what they read, just be happy that people are reading.


  1. Wow, where do people get off telling other people what to read? Seems like a case of professional jealousy to me. If you enjoy it, read it, that's my philosophy!

  2. I can't believe Joel Stein wrote that. I used to like him for his sass, but now he just seems like an arrogant a--. (Sorry not sure the language allowed on the blog. :) )

    I just finished the Hunger Games and it was a sensational read. The best I've read (in ease of reading and character development) for ages.

    I know which book I hope my kids read as they grow into adults. Hint: It won't be the one with a flash car and idiot driver.

    1. Kenneth, The Hunger Games trilogy is one of the few YA series I've ever reread. So, obviously I loved it. Collins got some criticism that her books looked like they "borrowed" the idea of The Hunger Games from Battle Royale.

      When I first read The Hunger Games, it reminded me of (the movie) The Running Man. (Which was based on the book of the same name by Richard Bachman, a.k.a. Stephen King) The author of Battle Royale was himself questioned about the similarity of those books to The Long Walk (also by Richard Bachman)

      In my opinion, there are few, if any, original ideas left. What's important is what the author does in the story- especially with creating wonderful and memorable character. Which I think Collins did because I noted the similarity and just moved on into the wonderful world Collins created.

  3. Another person who reads like I do! I'm with you on this one. Who does this pompous jerk think he is??? I read 'adult' books long before I was an adult. I read everything and anything I can get my hands on now. Some of that is YA. Who does he think he is trying to tell people what they are 'allowed' to read??

  4. I saw your blog on Book Blogs and I'm so glad I followed the link. I really enjoyed reading your posts. I am now following you on email. If you are looking for a very different read, please visit me at:

    1. Thanks for following me, Gwynneth. I'm following you, too. When I have more time, I'll go through your blog and leave comments. I love the look of your blog- very clean and crisp looking.


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