What's in a Label II

It has been a while since I have written anything here, but sadly life sometimes gets in the way and keeps me from doing the things I want to do. The good news is that remember what I was going to say following my last post about genres of books. Along the same lines as all of the categories and sub categories of genres for books, everybody wants to classify books in terms of for what age they are appropriate. Yes, I agree that this is a good thing to some extent, but just as with the genres, it can be misused. I have seen listings where they expect you to list your book in one age range spanning 2 years only. Now, I don't know about you, but I see a lot of crossover being possible when working with such limited groupings. The issue can be even more interesting when you consider the ever popular "young adult" age range that everybody is so desperate to get into.  Yes, I see that it can be helpful to have that sort of intermediate grouping between 'kids" books and "adult" books, but there are a few issues I see over and over with this. The first issue being, in the effort to take advantage of this hugely profitable grouping everybody wants to be classified as young adult. I know I have in the past read a book and enjoyed it, only to find out that it was classified as young adult. This has at times caught me by surprise because the book contained some rather adult situations. I know that everybody has their own idea of what is appropriate for different ages and it really should be a family discussion between the children and their parents, but I find it shocking what you can find just in young adult books. The use of horrible gruesome death and torture, breeding farms, rape, and prostitution can all be essential parts of many stories. Still, if it is essential to have those things for the story to work, maybe it isn't best suited for an age group that includes 12 year old readers. Yes, all kids are different and some 12 year old kids can handle all of that and more, but some can't. Again, people should be free to read what they want to read and will enjoy, but when you use the label of "young adult" as such a wide umbrella (especially while making us pick 2 year age groups in other cases) it can get a bit tricky for people to anticipate just what might happen within the pages of the book. Not every parent has the time to look over every book before their child reads it. Even those who do try to be aware of such things can't always tell byt the description and rely on the "young adult" label to assume the book is age appropriate. That brings me to my second point-what is age appropriate? Everybody is different in regards to what they enjoy reading and can handle reading. What some 13 year old children can read without issue others can't, and the same goes for 40 year old adults as well. Besides, as I have mentioned, I enjoy reading many things and some of the books I read are generically labeled as young adult. I can see why with most of them and I can understand how junior high and high school kids would enjoy reading the books, but reading them as an adult with a wider base of information and education often lets you enjoy a book on multiple levels, similar to watching reruns of old tv shows from your youth and seeing things in a very different manner. Still, when an adult is seen reading a "young adult" book it is general seen as strange or childish to read such a thing. Why? A good book is a good book. Besides, just because you see me reading Harry Potter one day doesn't mean I am not also reading Greek philosophy or Shakespeare at home later that night. The way I see it is that reading is VERY GOOD, so read whatever you want. Don't pay attention to labels of genre or age grouping, just read what you want to read and what makes you happy. Read as much variety as you can and explore everything, you never know what you will find that you enjoy. Don't judge entire genres or age groupings on any single book and don't judge a book by its labels. In other words don't judge a book by its cover-but jedge it on its story.  Just keep reading 

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