Arthur Rourke Tween Reading: a waste of paper

What is the easiest way to become a “successful” author? Is it to create a unique storyline riddled with excitement and intrigue? Does the reader need to feel some innate connection to the protagonists? Do people want a happy ending despite the cruel reality of life? Fuck no. The easiest way to get your name out there, cash in big time, and sign that lucrative movie deal is to latch on to the latest fucking fad as quickly as you can.

Children’s books represent the easiest area to monopolize, specifically that tween fiction. Vampires, Wizards, star crossed loves, and all that wonderful bullshit combine to create a fantastic niche for somewhat decently written books to make a killing. Take an unnamed series with a female lead, who is quite weak in all regards, and you’ll recognize this as the truth. The books are adequate in the sense that they are spell checked and fit between the margins, but what do the offer in ways of meaningful growth of literature. For that matter what book in the last decade offers meaningful growth, aside from the erectile stimulus some pedophiles get from imagining all the young folk getting their jollies.

There are lots of niches within the tween category, and amazingly most of them do revolve around some form of magical connection, with a slight twist of teenage angst, adolescent confusion, and the crushing weight of society’s expectations. For fuck’s sake, woe is the child that feels alone enough to cheer for a young girl from a dystopian future to succeed in her endeavour to not die. What kind of message is that?

The most enigmatic element of all this, is that publishers just don’t give a shit what their name is being attached to anymore. They mind not if the newest author on the block is serving up the same old story, with a modicum of contemporary attitudes, and spicing up the text with simple twists that you could call from several chapters away. It is a tad bit depressing that one of the largest grossing literary empires focuses in on an orphaned wizard who doesn’t really complete a single thing on his own, but relies on help from friends, an old guy, and a rag tag bunch of misfits.

So what does the future hold for our young readers? Will the days of Dickens, Tolstoy, Bronte, and others have been a complete waste? Although these young literary aficionados may one day grow into a sense of deeper understanding, gradually appreciating an author who crafts a tale with realistic characters and genuine human intrigue, we will have to wait and suffer through more tripe until they do.

The worst part of it all is that we all eventually fall prey to these passing novel fads. They creep into the home via a younger one’s backpack, only to find their way onto the coffee tables of the older folks. Well fuck, it’s a sad reality that we all face. Books are meant to be read, and no matter what the contents of those various pages may be, someone will undoubtedly pick them up, and glance at the title before whiling away the next few hours in a quasi discouraging world. Fuck it, if that’s the surest way to a paycheque, you’ll soon be seeing a series about transvestite mummies whose redeeming qualities far outnumber their burial clothes.

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