Friday, March 11, 2011

I Stand Corrected

For the past umpteen weeks/months, I have stated with unequivocal certainty that I have never read YA books, of any type, be they the old definition of YA (anything geared towards the under 18 crowd) or the current definition of YA and its relatively new cousin (at least for this old geezer) of MG.

After finding myself with a lot of time of my hands one particularly annoying day last week, I found myself doing a little word association. I got to thinking about a particular song from a particular movie from the late 80's.

The song in question was Don't Box Me In by Stuart Copeland and Stan Ridgway.

The movie? Rumble Fish

Yup, thinking about that song got me to poke around the dusty rooms of my memories from when I was but a lad of my son's age (18), and sure enough, I was able to conclude that I did indeed read what could be called both YA & MG books.

So my friends, come along with me on a journey of a public mea culpa as I elaborate on what I was able to find buried deep within the recesses of my memories.

Let's start our journey of mea culpa with the book that got me to this point in the first place: Rumble Fish.

I remember reading this book in my younger years (20's that is) at either a cousin's or a friend's house. If I continue to remember correctly, the book was exceptionally riveting and I think it took me about a day to read. I can't really tell you what it was about because I only remember a few bits, pieces and parts from the book, but I'm sure with only a little bit of effort, you can find a decent synopsis about it.

What I can tell you is that by this age frame, I was not a big fan of movies made from books, so even though I enjoyed the theme song, I did not watch the movie. I also did not watch the movie called The Outsiders which was based on the book that I also read and enjoyed, nor did I really watch the t.v. series based on the movie either.

Side note: I should've warned my newer readers ahead of time that I have a tendency to go off on an exceptional amount of tangents whenever I go tripping the light fantastic with my memories.

Next up on our hit parade are the Hardy Boy Mysteries.

Yes, I did read the occasional volume here and there, and yes, I did watch episodes of the t.v. series featuring Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy. Beyond that, I plead the 5th as to what further information is contained in my brain about this book series.

Moving on, we now come to the last YA/MG book series that I will admit to reading to even as an adult.

Encyclopedia Brown.

Yes, I very much enjoyed the crime mystery series that was geared towards the tween set. Matter of fact, I still enjoy reading the series to this day, mostly because they still appeal to the analytical side of my character. I love problem solving and this book series still remains a great way to challenge and stimulate those brain cells.

It's a great book series for the young and old and I highly recommend it for those who like problem solving.

Even though this was the last book I admit to reading in the YA genre that I will write about, I would be remiss if I didn't mention a few exceptional high quality children's t.v. shows that I enjoy watching to this day.

1} Thomas the Tank Engine. If you must watch the portion of the show that features people, please watch the seasons that featured Ringo Starr. His brand of deadpan humor plus the way he was able to communicate with children puts his episodes heads and shoulders above the ones that featured George Carlin.

The stories themselves were expertly created and well worth renting/buying as a stand alone. Oh yeah, forget about the movie version that featured Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor.

2} The live action version of "The Winds In The Willows". The movie and subsequent t.v. series, in my opinion, set the standard for quality children's programming that has yet to be met to this day. If you've read the book, chances are that you will like the t.v. series and movie. Don't watch the cartoon version of this because it sucks.

To sum it up in a nutshell: I have read YA before and have enjoyed YA before.

However, that was then, and this is now. Now is still not cracking open a YA book to read.

Unless it's "Alice In Wonderland", "Winne the Pooh" or "The Wizard of Oz".


  1. A favorite place to shop when I'm in the mountains is Dillsboro, North Carolina. A train track runs through it and they have a real live Thomas train every summer that kids can board, and have a ride with presumably lots of fun aboard.

    We had lunch at a restaurant during one of those times that had a sign posted on the door, "NO train whistles." :)

  2. I read a few hardy boys when I was young and loved 'em. But as an adult I tried to read one or two and wasn't too impressed.

  3. I think that I can remember reading some of the Hardy Boys. And, of course, I've read The Outsiders.

  4. Lynn: That sounds very cool indeed.

    Charles: It's funny how what found wickedly interesting when we were younger often isn't when we're older.

    Mama Z: I had a friend who read that entire series from beginning to end.

    I don't think that The Outsiders was that popular during my high school days. Everyone was more into Dunes or Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.

    I do remember quite a few parts from The Outsiders that still stick with me to this day.

  5. Yeah, things definitely seem to be degenerating. I hate books/movies/etc that talk down to young adults.

  6. R: Well, you can eliminate about 85% of the stuff that's out there today.

    Personally, I think that the YA market is seriously oversaturated to the point of no return.

    Reminds me of the Italian movie industry of the 50's and 60's when they would hook onto a genre and film it until it screamed for mercy.

  7. My goodness, I was all over the YA section when I was 11 and 12 years old. I gobbled trashy paperback teen romances with abandon. I think if I tried to read those same books today, I would feel nauseous by the second page.

    I do believe that there is some good writing out there for young adults, but it is few and far between. A friend convinced me to give Twilight a try recently. *shudder* No thanks.

  8. S.R.: If there's good YA writing out there, I haven't seen it.

    I think that the amount of gushing reviews that I've read is one of the reasons why I'm so adament about not reading modern YA.

  9. I did enjoy The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew way back when. I tried to give my 11 year old a Hardy Boys book. He wasn't impressed...

  10. Kelly: Kids nowadays are very had to impress.

    Once they've been exposed to books like Harry Potter or the Twilight series, its hard to get them to look at the classics.


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