Young People Do TOO Read!

July 22nd, 2009 • Kate

thumb_pinkI shared this on Twitter, but it’s awesome enough to require additional reposting. Lili Wilkinson, author of Pink, responds on her blog to an article that says, in part:

TEENAGERS are not like us. They grunt rather than converse, slouch rather than walk, sleep till noon and their preferred dress is grunge—any black T-shirt featuring gross green slime dripping from a skull will do. They don’t read, don’t pay for music, don’t listen to adults and don’t care about Twitter.

I call bullshit, of course, but Lili does it much more politely. In part:

You’re wrong when you say young people don’t read. Really wrong. In Australia last year, six of the top ten bestsellers in ALL genres were young adult fiction titles. In the US, Borders is ditching their music/DVD sections and replacing them with sprawling teen sections to capitalise on the enormous boom in young adult fiction. Last year, booksales as a whole dropped 4.7%, but YA sales were up 13%. Our website gets thousands of visitors a day, young people desperate to talk about their favourite books. Young people respond creatively to the books they read, with fan fiction, art and music. They love literature so much that they want to spend more time with the characters they love.

Read the whole thing.

What intrigues me (maddens me?) about the article in question is that the author’s entire basis for saying teenagers don’t read is his 15-year-old grandson and an article in the Financial Times that very specifically says teens don’t read newspapers. Well, hell, I don’t read newspapers, either. But no one’s saying I don’t read books, are they?

Argh. Anyone else feel like sounding off their frustration in the comments?

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10 Responses to “Young People Do TOO Read!”

  1. Kiersten White Says:

    I am just going to echo you and Lili with a big, fat "LAME."

    Lame, lame, lame.

    But I loved Lili's response.

  2. Michelle Says:

    Oh my goodness. How insulting.

    I just did a blog interview with a young girl who started a Facebook reading group that now has over 1,300 members. They've interviewed authors like Lisa McMann, Elizabeth Scott, and Cynthia Leitich Smith.

    For that matter, I know quite a few teens who not only read voraciously, but are agented and/or published.

    Sure, there are plenty of teens who don't read, and who fit the description the writer puts all teens into. But this is what happens when you stereotype.

  3. Jamie Harrington Says:

    Who the hell reads newspapers? Why would I want to read yesterday's news?

    Ugh… this frustrates me! If you write it they WILL read it!

  4. Andy Brokaw Says:

    Newspapers? Sheesh. Beyond that, I'm closer to this person's teen stereotype at 32 than most of the teens I know. (And, yes, most of them read a lot. And pay for their music, thanks ever so much.)

  5. Alina Says:

    The guy really must be walking around with his eyes shut and his fingers in his ears yelling "LA LA LA LA LA LA!" Really? Green slime and dripping skulls? C'mon.

    Hooray for teens who read! A really LOUD hooray so the millions can hear me.

  6. B.E. Sanderson Says:

    If he's going off his anecdotal evidence as fact, then according to my own, teens read voraciously – because my 15-yr old daughter goes through at least a book a day, often several. I'm a little sad that kids don't learn about the news, but I can't blame them for not reading a newspaper. Those things have always been unwieldy. Still, it's not proof teens don't read books. Silly man.

  7. Sara Raasch Says:

    I just LOVE when people make big, bold statements like that with little to no support to back it up. I mean, who wouldn't? The guy who wrote that article is clearly an expert, what with his whooping two resources. Reign it in there, bub, two might be overkill.

    (That was a little mean. But I'm slightly tired of people claiming to know things about my generation. We've got enough stuff to deal with without the added accusations of bitter grandpas.)

  8. Leslie Ann Says:

    As a kid I hated to read because I was required to do book reports. Then in about 8th grade I started reading for fun. One because my teacher said that book reports are pointless and two because I found the YA section in the library. I was fourteen when I started reading for fun. I actually started to write a novel because I was inspired by so many books. Unfortunately that book discarded my freshman year it was uncompleted (about forty pages handwritten) and I was a slow typer so I never bother typing it. But at that time I was reading four books a week. My sophomore year I had an idea for a novel I really wanted to finish so I ended up reading more than I ever did those ten months I started writing it. Then as I was revising twenty times I still kept reading. I had school, school activities a family and my favorite television shows but I still had time to read. In my high school career I’ve had educated conversations with many of my peers about books. So yeah, we like, totally read books and stuff like that.

  9. Kerrie Flanagan Says:

    Clearly the man who wrote that doesn't hang around many teenagers. My 14-year-old daughter goes through books like I go through potato chips (and I love potato chips!) She averages one novel per week–this past week she read two. Teens DO read, they DO pay for music and they DO listen to adults–at least the one's I am around do.

  10. Emma Knight Says:

    'Twilight' anyone?