Are we too dark?

Someone, please, turn on the light.

There's this article published in the Wall Street Journal recently that I think you should take a gander at. It's called Darkness Too Visible. When I read it, I thought: When did reading become a bad thing?

If you've already read it, please let me know what you think.

If you haven't read it yet, click on the title of the article, then let me know what you think. 

It actually kicked up a storm on the twitterverse. And it still is. 


  1. I think that the article doesn't mean anything but it's their opinion. Even dark books are great because in some part of that book we can connect with the evil or with the character. I like to live in fantasy land. I also think their is positive to come out of each dark book. I learn from each one I read. Thanks for this post today. Interesting article by the way. Jackie

  2. Ignorance is darkest.

    I ranted, I mean, blogged about it yesterday ;)

  3. @Jackie = I always find it interesting what other people might think of something, especially that article. Teaches me that I don't live in a bubble.

    @Lexus = Many "blogs" have been posted about this article. Quite a stir this caused.

  4. It seems like people or experts are attacking a lot of different genres of reading lately. I was reading yesterday about how a shrink is saying reading romance messes with a person's head and now it's another "expert" saying young adult is too violent. Personally, I think whatever genre someone reads is their own business and people should be happy that readers still exist. Books are no more violent than television or video games and in most cases they're less dark and violent than those. Maybe the "experts" would be happy if we all became mindless illiterate people who entertained ourselves only by television or video games. Even then I don't think they'd be happy because of course actors have to read scripts. At this rate it's only a matter of time before book burnings come back and idiots are burning the priceless stories shared in books because of some censorial reason or other.

  5. I agree with Jackie on this one. There has been numerous books considered "dark" books. A lot of them do have happy endings. In my opinion, life itself isn't always happy. I've been through what I would call "dark" times. More happened to be while I was a teenager, but it was always nice to talk about it to someone who'll say, "I've been there." It shows that there is help and that there's a way where healing can take place. Books I've found to be very comforting. Although the work itself is fiction, there are most often times, a character that relates to a specific problem that I have or had. They are the greatest healing tools than paying someone else to diagnose or misdiagnose what's wrong. Life isn't always happy and fine. There are moments in life where even the happiest person goes through some really rough times. But you know, that's how I feel.

  6. @Jenn = You're right. In ever generation there will always be those who believe in progress and those who are more conservative.

    @Millicent = We've all gone through our dark periods, which is why I wonder why the writer of the column didn't just think back to those times and realize that books help let anyone know they are not alone.

  7. What a frustrating article to read. I was just appalled to see some of the books that that journalist was criticizing.

    I don't believe that writing about things like cutting runs the risk of "normalizing" these behaviors, and thus making them "okay" for young adults to perpetuate. If anything, writing about them helps young adults realize that there are many people, young and old, that struggle with these things and reading about it can be a great mechanism for healing.

    This Week’s Teaser Tuesday: Storm Front

  8. Ehh, when I was 8 I read the Tommyknockers by Steven King and when I was 15 I was reading Henry Miller, appropriate? NO. But I was excited and curious and engaged and reading. I had an excellent vocabulary and comprehension level for my age.

    Ultimately it's up to parents to know and regulate what their kids consume (and I say that as a parent so I know what kind of work goes into doing that and it's not always easy) but in the end reading, reading ANYTHING, is good for the brain and the imagination.

  9. As a teacher and a reader, I feel like young people should read anything and everything and they will figure out what they should be reading based on that exploration.

  10. Thanks for posting this! It needs to be read and discussed. What do I take away from this discussion? There is no one "correct" way to write, or topic to write about, and to censor books is to censor authors' creativity. If a parent does not like the subject matter of YA books, then don't buy it for them or talk to them about other choices. You won't be able to stop them from reading what they want if they are going to read it at school or a friend's house, though.
    The same plots in current YA books are on tv, video games and movies; this is how our society rolls nowadays. I dare to argue with the folks who say they can't find "decent" YA books for their kids. They're out there! You just aren't looking hard enough. Some e-books I have read recently have been pretty mild in content if that is what you are seeking out.
    Speaking as a mother, grandmother and former educator, I would not fuss over this new trend in books. What's important is that young people just keeping reading. Rae

  11. @Carissa = Sometimes there are things out there that get written and we can only really stand in shocked silence for a moment.

    @Pavarti = I agree. There's really nothing to stop a child who wants to read. Regardless of the novel's content.

    @Anglophile = I have the same philosophy as well. I was a former educator too.

    @Best O' Books = You're right, Rae. If young people want to read, then they should be given that chance.

  12. Interesting article. Books are no different than television, radio, CD's, movies, DVD's or games. An involved, educated parent who takes the time to get to know what is out there, and what their child is showing interest in will have more control over what is ultimately viewed, read, heard and purchased. It all comes down to choice along with consistent parenting. While for myself, I do not like to read the really "dark" stories or ones dealing with is obvious there is a market for them. I simply choose not to purchase them, just as those who like them choose to.

  13. Interesting article, Kate. I would've replied on your blog, but I haven't read much YA lately. I was surprised by some of the content -- makes my occasional curse word and implied sex scene, etc. look G-rated!

    I do remember reading "I Am the Cheese" in the 5th grade. (It was required reading for my class.)

    I'm all for creative freedom. But to be honest, if I were a parent, I don't think I'd want my ten-year-old to have to read mature content.


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