First, a very welcome and insightful review of Kissing the Bee. . .

. . .and then a thought on Krystel’s sidebar notation that she’s “given up on books for grownups.” While I can’t know what prompted her escape (or retreat) from adult lit, it does make me think about crossing that Maginot Line, and why there is a line at all.

We won’t get into the whole issue of marketing (books in bookstores, virtual and brick-based, need to be commercially arranged somehow, etc. etc.), when it may be, for each reader, more an issue of emotional categorization: is The Velveteen Rabbit “for” kids, babies, sentimental grown-ups, fantasy readers, or . . ? Is Wuthering Heights “for” romance readers, Bronte fanciers, lovers of English novels, moor nuts. . . .How about Harry Potter and his friends? Everyone reads those books. And what about poetry — who in the world (or out of it) is Emily Dickinson “for”?

The text exists to give the gifts it has to whomever can receive them. The more giving the text, the more it can offer to readers on differing levels of understanding and desire. The only way I can judge if a book is for me is whether or not it speaks to me. If the voices your reader’s heart echoes are found primarily in YA, that’s wonderful, there’s a depth and breadth in the field one can spend happy years exploring. If not, that’s fine, too. To read is to enlarge the self as well as escape its physical boundaries as long as the story (novel/play/poem/examination of 18th century French politics*/whatever) lasts. Read on, Krystel! and all the rest of us, but do keep your eyes open to all the gifts LitWorld has to give.

[* My current readerly obsession is Talleyrand – three biographies going at once, and I’m utterly enthralled by a subject I knew little about, and cared less for, about three months ago. A chance encounter, a stray book review in The Economist, and voila: love!]