Really? One small bay of young adult? What, 15 books? Or was it 12? It wasn't even a section. It was a promo--blah, blah, here's the best in YA we want you to buy. Do you realize the hottest sellers (besides non-fiction with a major platform directed at the mindless reality show fanatics) are YA? Where do they store the YA, then? I didn't have any idea. I had to ask. What did Joe Borders, an average height, average weight, twenty-something male with average length hair, tell me? "Literature. It's mixed in."
Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that before? What gets teens more interested in reading a book than calling it literature? I mean, that's why high schools and colleges name courses things like "American literature," "British literature," Chicana lesbian literature," and "sex and the human body in literature." Students rejoice at the opportunity to read literature. They run through the streets with copies of Norton Anthologies of literature, waiving them in the air, proclaiming their admiration for literature. They sit home late at night lovingly running their fingers through 2.3 billion pages of onion skin pages unable to control their teen hormones. Seduced by lore and "thou"s and page long sentences, they eat, sleep, and even make love with literature under their arms, basking in the glow of literary literosity. Literature is "bomb." It is "legit." Yer!
Truth is, there is no quicker way to turn off young adults than telling them they have to read literature. It's a burden. You could put Green Eggs and Ham in the literature section and some teenage guy will run over to the Cliff's Notes rack to try and find the Dr. Seuss edition. Actually, Borders, that would at least get you a sale. No, they'll go home and use Spark Notes or E-Cheat. What the hell are you thinking? You have a sci-fi section, a mystery section, a horror section, and even a philosophy and new age section. But not YA. You wouldn't want to make it easy for kids to find the only thing they want to read. Come to think of it, I didn't see a single young adult in the store. Hmmm... Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Of course, this is the former retail manager in me coming out. And I hate that bastard. Fuck him. But the teacher in me agrees with him. I want teens to read. Why not give them their own section, which would be undoubtedly huge considering the success of YA? They could walk in the store, head straight for their section--even put some bean-bag chairs and a rack of silly bands there to make them feel at home--buy what they want, and get out without having to contemplate the fact that they were in the same building with... ::shudders::
Condescendingadult (whispering): L.I.T.E.R.A.T.U.R.E.
Teen (sarcatically): I'm 16 years old. I can spell.
Of course, there is the writer in me. That butt-munch thinks it's kind of cool. It's a sign that YA is being accepted as a legitimate (not legit) art form in the writing community. After years of being pushed aside as dumbed-down versions of real literature (eww...the "L" word again), YA is getting it's due. It's being read by adults for crying out loud. It can be analyzed. It can have critical essays written about it. Ex-hippies with pony tails and tweed blazers with patches on the elbows can lead class discussion about it. We've made it! Look how far we've come! If mommy could see us now!
Okay, that's enough of that. The world knows YA is real. It's catching on. Do I need some huge, money-hungry conglomerate of a book store telling me that YA is real literature (I feel dirty). Screw Borders. Screw The Man. If YA's so legit in their eyes, so goddamn literary, why have the 15 book bay of extra-special, extra-legit books to force on us--none of which I have ever heard.* It's not like it was Mockingjay or something. What are you thinking Borders? Why are you so damn confused?
Or maybe I'm just being a whack-job. Maybe it just fit better that way. Maybe they didn't even put that much thought into it. Maybe I'm just venting because they made an assignment for my "individual aesthetic and process" course difficult on me. Maybe that's it.
But what if it's not? What. If. It's. Not.
*The italicized portion of this sentence, the part after the dash, was meant to be read in a snooty British accent.** I bet you wish you knew that while you were reading it.
**Scientists have yet to discover the un-snooty British accent.***
***That, however, does not mean it does not exist.