A few days ago, someone published an article on Slate called Against YA: Yes, Adults Should Be Embarrassed to Read Young Adult Books. This ridiculousness reminded me of when someone else published an article declaring that J.K. Rowling should stop writing to give other authors a fighting chance.

Sometimes it astounds me what absurdities people will publish to the web, and in this case, I wanted to respond with a video blog. The fact is: nobody should EVER be embarrassed by what they read. Here’s why:

You can watch the video on YouTube here. And here’s the transcript for those unable/disinclined to watch the video (new additions are in italics — sorry, I’m still new at video blogging!)

Today I’m not going to be talking about the merit of young adult books, but rather the fact that anyone should be able to read whatever they want, anytime.

1. Life is short

Life is short, and in the short time we have on this planet, you should do what makes you truly happy. According to an article on The Huffington Post, called the Five Top Regrets of the Dying, the top regret was, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” And that’s really important — to do things in your life and choose books that make you happy, not to live your life or choose books based on what you think other people will think of you, or about how other people will judge you. You should do and read what makes you happy.

2. Nobody cares what genre you’re reading

People have better things to do than to care about what you read. You might get the question,”What are you reading now?” You might say, “I’m reading The Hunger Games.” The thing is, they’re not going to ask you, “Oh, was that written for children or adults?” Instead, they’ll ask, “Oh, what’s that about?” You’re going to tell them that it’s about this girl who needs to go into this arena in a dystopian society and fight to the death and only one can come out alive. And that person’s going to be like, “Oh that sounds so cool, I need to read that!” They’re not going to say, “Oh, but was that intended for young adults or adults? I’m an adult. I’m too cool to read childrens’ books.” They’re not going to say that — that’s ridiculous.

Of course, you’ll have outliers like the person who published the piece Against YA on Slate.com. These types of people like to stir things up. Before publishing her article, the author tweeted:

Ruth Graham Tweet

Taking offense is what she wanted you to do. Sure, she has a right to an opinion, just like the rest of us. But her intention was clearly to make people mad — she said so herself. So if you take people like her seriously, she wins.

3. You shouldn’t care what other people think

You really shouldn’t care what anyone thinks about what you read. Whenever anyone asks me what my all-time favorite book is, I say without hesitation or shame: Harry Potter! I love Harry Potter. I started reading it when I was a young adult; I was 14 when I started reading, and Harry was 14 in the books. I’d just started reading when the fourth book came out. And the last Harry Potter books came out when I was an adult. And even throughout my adulthood I’ve reread Harry Potter, and I have no shame. It’s fantastic writing, the plotting is brilliant and complex, so there’s no reason anyone should judge.

And when they do laugh, I just kind of pity them — first, for being so closed-minded, and second, not having experienced this magic — no pun intended, it’s about magic, obviously. But people should not judge, and you shouldn’t care what they think because whatever makes you happy — that’s what matters.

4. You have diverse interests

Just because you read one thing, that doesn’t mean that’s all you read. I mostly read young adult books since I’m a YA author, so by reading in my genre, I’m going to improve my writing skills, but it’s not all I read. I also read adult books too: historical fiction, suspense/thriller, all sorts of books. And just because I read one genre doesn’t limit me to that genre. Same goes for you!

The point is, you shouldn’t care what people think — you should read what makes you happy.

Want to share this post? Here are some ready-made tweets:

Click to tweet: Why You Should Read Any Book You Want Without Being Embarrassed – http://bit.ly/1hxtIZ5 #YA #NoShameYA #IReadYA

Click to tweet: YA author @DianaUrban shares why you should read any book you want without being embarrassed. http://bit.ly/1hxtIZ5 #YA #NoShameYA #IReadYA

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