Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Journey Into Insanity and Adolescent Literature

If you have been following my blog posts since August, you are well aware that I have been buried in adolescent literature since the summer. That meant 9 required texts and our choice of an additional 3,000 pages before December 2nd. Let me repeat that: 9 books, 3,000 pages. That's something around 5,000 to 6,000 pages of adolescent literature. Approximately 5,500 pages of young adults complaining about their teenage problems. That and textbooks. And nothing else. Since August.

Okay, it wasn't all that bad. And I am more than happy, overjoyed in fact, to announce here that I AM ALMOST DONE!!! I've read all 9 core books and I have something like 2,965 pages read, analyzed, and ready to go. I have to say I am a bit disappointed that the last book I read didn't quite make those final 35 pages, but I'll just flip through a Goosebumps or something over break.

One thing that has been made extraordinarily clear to me since I started this insane literary adventure is the amazing variety of adolescent literature available. I read books about magical lands where the only bad thing that happens is the disappearance of a couple princesses (The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.) I read about a horrible dystopia where no one makes it past the age of 25 (Wither by Lauren DeStefano.) I read about rape (Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson,) about teenage alcoholism (The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp,) about growing up on a reservation (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.) The variety was astounding, not to mention the huge range in age appeal. It seems like every age has a series of books that would appeal exactly to them, and then within that series a variety of topics, issues, and themes are covered. This is pretty amazing considering that adolescent literature as we know it today has only been around arguably since 1967 when The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was published.

And despite all of the complaining I have loved doing over the past four months, I also learned that adolescent literature can be good reading for adults, as well. Some of the most intriguing plots I have heard of for a while are coming out of adolescent literature right now, and they usually read a lot faster than any adult novel. They are meant to entertain a generation that was brought up with YouTube, so you know they have to grab your attention as quickly as possible.

Continue reading the Old Firehouse Blog for the second installment of my journey into insanity through books. Next spring I am enrolled in Shakespeare II and Modern British and European Drama. I will read nothing buy plays from January until May. That's right. I did it to myself again.


  1. Kelsey, Would you mind posting a comprehensive list of all those that you read? I'm really curious - will give me some good ideas! :)

    Miss you guys!

  2. Hey, Molly! The required texts were the following:
    -The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (lots of pictures, like a culturally diverse Diary of a Wimpy Kid)
    -American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (a graphic novel-- I think you'd love this one)
    -Black Box by Julie Shumacher (deals with some dark of suicide issues very well)
    -Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle (I was really impressed by this one-- deals with a young girl finding out she's gay)
    -Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury (didn't seem to fit as well as the others)
    -Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi (has some vulgar language, about a young teen in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina)
    -Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp (talks about teen alcoholism poignantly, but also controversial)

    There is plenty more where that came from, but my brain is frying just thinking about it. Feel free to e-mail me if you need more suggestions!