Genres, Formats, Literatures

Mark,

I agree with you that Lesesne and Chance were talking more about format than genre. Although, as you saw, the title of their PowerPoint was “Collapsing Boundaries,” even though the program description did talk about blurring genres. For me, though, this circles back to the (not new) question about what is YA? It’s not a genre in and of itself; it’s definitely not a format. This kept coming up last year when I was YALSA President, and talking to reporters. They always wanted to know about “the YA genre” and I kept having to say that it’s not a genre, that it contains all genres. I guess it’s a “literature”? As in YA literature, children’s literature, post-modern literature, classical literature?

At that same session, Amy King said, “If there was a freedom genre, that’s where they would stick me.” I guess that was really my point. I think a lot of teens read in the “freedom genre” (or format! or literature!). Even if right now all they want to read is zombie books, in a few months it will be something else.

Moving on, though, to talk about another book that mixes formats, I noticed that over at Someday you mentioned in the comments that you had loved Cecil Castellucci and Nate Powell’s Year of the Beasts, even though it didn’t make your top ten of the year. I started it, but had a hard time getting into it. I know this is largely my fault as a reader; I have never really gotten the hang of reading graphic novels (too much of a text person). But I also wasn’t terribly enthralled by the prose portions of the book.

So I’d love it if you would talk about it a bit, and give me some encouragement to go back and stick with it this time.

- Mom

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