Young Adult Books

Is this crazy popularity of young adult books new? I swear I don’t remember there being such a craze ten or fifteen years ago. Harry Potter is the closest thing I can think of and I always saw that as a children’s book (I read the first one in 4th or 5th grade). I can’t think of any other books I read around that time that I still like or would consider rereading today.

It’s the only young adult-like book I can remember from over ten years ago. Maybe I was painfully out of the loop and there are plenty more massive young adult books from that period that rival the popularity of Divergent and Hunger Games and the vampire one that’s called something along the TWILIGHT!

The weirdest part of this craze isn’t the popularity, but the popularity with older people (20 and above). I certainly don’t remember 20-something’s reading about teenagers in love during weird post-apocalyptic worlds.

1. Were young adult books always so popular?

2. Were young adult books always popular with people over the age of, say, 20?

I haven’t read any of those books, and therefore won’t comment on the quality. Even still, I do find it strange that the books teenagers are obsessed with are the same ones 20-somethings (and above) are obsessed with. Surely, there is something about those books that excites teenagers specifically. Surely, that something is rather simplified or amplified to appeal to teenage sensibilities. I don’t think it’s impossible for a young adult book to be good. But I have to imagine it’s as rare as a genuinely good children’s movie. There’s a reason Pixar is held in such high esteem.

And I’m not knocking you if you enjoy an occasional young adult book. I fully accept the possibility that I’m missing something, or simply have different tastes. If all you read is young adult books, then I find that a little strange, but only because, young adult or otherwise, having such specific and limited interest is putting an unnecessary cap on the world.

Anyway, just some questions I had in stumbling around the Internet, reading blogs, and seeing the Divergent trailers.

Young Adult Books

Tell Me What To Do

Literally, give me a task. Obviously it has to be relatively simple, but if it’s doable, I’ll do it. Send me a message with instructions of what to do, watch, listen to, or whatever, and I’ll do it. It can be meaningful or it can be stupid, your call.

examples:

“I love this band and this album, go download it and listen to the whole thing and write a short review of each song as you listen and post it and/or send it to me.”

“My favorite movie is Jack and Jill, featuring the always hilarious Adam Sandler. Watch this movie without willing all your senses to immediately and permanently shut down.”

“Here is a link to my favorite painter. Go to her page and pick out your favorite work and tell me why you like it.”

“So and so has brilliant ideas and his/her explanations are so lucid and enlightening, it changed my way of thinking. Listen to or read this.”

etc.

Basically, what is something you love? We all have those things that made huge impacts on our lives. Those things we always want to share with the world. “If everyone knew about this, the world would be a better place” type stuff.

I always wish people were more forthcoming with the things that really matter. But I think fear of being shot down or, more so, fear of being ignored stops us (i.e. me) from sharing openly.

How often does another person give you the time to share something meaningful? How often do you show someone a song you love and the person can’t pay attention for the 3 minutes? It happens to me all the time and it’s disheartening.

So, I’m offering myself out. Throw the shit you love at me and I’ll truly dive into it and give it the time it deserves.

inspired by: I have a break from school right now and am interested in finding new things to get into. I only have a few books left on the shelf then I’ll be looking for more. But it doesn’t have to be a book. In this moment, I have the time to explore stuff outside of what I’ve been learning in college for the past few years.

Tell Me What To Do

I’m having a bit of trouble sleeping tonight. It’s been a long few weeks. Somehow it rained tonight. I say somehow because it was a warm day. The pavement outside is wet and calm. Standing pools of water and the lack of people. No ripples. No splashing. A lack of activity. Just an infrequent car, or train passing. I find it comforting to feel alone sometimes. My campus during the summer when the numbers drop dramatically is one of my favorite places.

When I was younger and a fair amount more romantic, or stupid, or both, I would walk around my neighborhood at 2 or 4 in the morning while I talked on the phone with a female friend of mine. I walked down the middle of the road, stopping to sit down on the curb or in the middle of the street, to talk about something unendingly dramatic, and unnecessarily so. It was always so wonderfully quiet, save for me blabbering on.

There’s part of me that misses that version of myself. The one who would read poetry and song lyrics (not to mention writing my own that are infinitely worse and embarrassing to think about) to my girlfriends. The early model of myself that wanted to leave everything behind and run away with a girl I thought (and believe to this day) I loved more than I would consider healthy. The reality is, I had nothing at that time. I wasn’t leaving anything behind. There was no risk. It was solely poetic or cinematic or theatrical or whatever-ical. It was a show because I was unable to think of any other way to demonstrate how much I liked her. More than any other asshole at school was capable of. I could make those statements of love because, really, what the fuck else was I doing? Rock shows and falling in love. What, was I supposed to be awake during high school English? I’m sure I didn’t miss all that much, and I bet I now write and read as much as the valedictorian does.

I’m not sure what I started talking about. Something about sleeping. Something about love. Something about the past. Something about how much I hide from the present and future. Something about the fear of reality. Something about nothing.

Little thoughts and stories and memories to erase the doubts. Erase the sobering statistics. The tiny, paltry, negligible (rule of three’s) possibility that I will do something I deem worthwhile in my life.

To watch dreams fall. To witness the death of hope. To acknowledge reality. I’ll repeat the same sentence a hundred different ways. It all comes back to the truth. I, like so many others, hope and dream and wish and want and need and strive and aspire and demand (rule of 3 x 2.66666666666) greatness in our own little ways. And I, like so many others, will never reach it.

Sex? Gross. A 2 am rant.

note: this is sort of about sex, as the title would indicate, so I thought I’d warn the people that don’t like reading about that sort of thing.

Something about winter makes me feel like having sex, which is at odds with what I want. I’m not too interested at the moment. I’m not against it, just focused on other things. Such are the pains of having a body, right? It’s just so damn annoying. Why can’t our bodies realize we’ve moved past that moment in time? We don’t need mates anymore, stop trying to tell me I do. We trick you all the time, body. You think it’s warm, but it’s a jacket. You think it’s day, but it’s a lamp. You think we’re involved in an adventure, but it’s a book. And you think I’m reproducing… oh you have no idea what’s going on. If only you could see all the ways things have changed since you were last relevant. That savanna is long gone. We’re on two legs (and it’s killing our backs and our sinuses… you win that round). And most worrying for you, we are aware of how you try to influence us (well some of us are).

And so I feel like I want sex. You still have a powerful hold, no matter how much I rebel. But try to catch up please. Things are different now. We have the internet. We have science. We have a million things to occupy every second of our lives. Those basics aren’t such a big deal anymore. You care so much about sugar and reproducing. Sugar is everywhere to the point where everyone has diabetes, and there are too many billions of people in this damn world. I know you don’t care about that stuff, but damn it, you should. I want to visualize the 4th dimension. Where are you on that? Flying wouldn’t be so bad! What about quantum mechanics? I’ve never been so disappointed in myself as when I realize how much I’m not capable of understanding. We’re not meant to understand the massive universe or the microscopic. Medium sized, medium speed animals. Not meant to understand complex mathematics and million year timescales. GROW UP! And stop bothering me about this sex nonsense. Yeah, it’s great. But I know it’s just you trying to trick me into having kids. Damn you! Damn… me!

Honestly, you know what I really want apart from what my body is telling me? I want those first few months. Even the first year. When everything is terrifying and awkward. And sex isn’t really an issue because making out is still unbelievable at that point. Not that relationships suck after all this passes, not at all. But there is always a point when you become comfortable… which isn’t bad. Anyway, I’m not arguing the pros and cons of long term relationships. I’m just longing for that high school feeling. It’s always the same, those first few months. That moment when the switch is flipped and all sort of possibilities appear. Love? A future? Magic? Unicorns? The obviousness of it all, yet somehow mysterious at the same time. Everyone is disgusted or annoyed by your slow progress, and you are too when it happens with other people. They tell you to get on with it already. And you say the same thing when your cynical, jealous side is witnessing it, and wishing it was you. It’s exciting and stupid. I’m not exciting often enough, even though I’m stupid constantly.

Well, at least things appear to be warming up. The cold is leaving, maybe this feeling will go with it.

Sex? Gross. A 2 am rant.

I’m No Adult

I’m not grown up yet. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I do generally feel more in control than I did when I was 19 or 20… except when I look at pictures from when I was 19 or 20. I really missed something there. How can I regret something so much when the actual chances of it ever working were almost zero to begin with. Let’s be clear. I am over it. I wasn’t thinking about anyone until I decided to write about random music memories (a post I never completed). I thought it’d be fun to remind myself of small, relatively innocuous, moments from my life that I associate with a song or album or band. Turns out it just reminded me of a picture from 2005 of two friends and me sitting on a beach in Santa Cruz. I haven’t seen the picture for years, but I remember it vividly. So I went looking for said picture and just dug up tons of memories from when I was socially happier. It’s a weird dichotomy because overall I was very unhappy at the time, yet it was my most socially enjoyable period and I miss certain aspects of that (when I say socially active, it means I hung out with the same 4 or 5 people all the time). I could never find a balance though. I realized that even back in high school. If I could hang out with someone, I would, every single time. Which means I wouldn’t get anything else done. I think it goes back to wanting to live a Bukowski-esque life. Being a complete mess was the most romantic lifestyle. I had no hope or future back then, but I did have some amazing friends. Sometimes, I so badly want to go back.

But what is it about this specific time? It must be different in some way because there are other people I’ve fallen out with. They were very important to me too, but I don’t feel this pained when I think about them. I’m able to happily enjoy the memories of these people without attaching the miserable realization that we are no longer friends.

I always was rather proud of my ability to look back at people and not have any negative feelings toward them, even if we had a bad end. I can talk about old friends and be happy I had those people in my life even if something stupid happened later. I don’t hate or regret my past relationships, not even the girls that broke my heart, or did something I considered shitty at the time (which includes breaking my heart). So why is this bothering me?

Maybe it’s because I never “replaced” them. In my junior year of high school I lost all my friends, and moved to a new group of friends. It’s a long story that I’d rather not get into at the moment. Point being, I lost three very close friends, that were eventually replaced with five very close friends. A few years after graduating from high school, I lost four of those friends and replaced them with a desire to make myself as smart as possible. I know what you’re thinking. ‘It must not be working, he sounds like an idiot.’ True. I study science not writing. I’m trying though, no need to be rude. I now have two people I can confidently call friends. I have about three people I can probably hang out with every once in awhile but never really talk about anything meaningful with them.

I never actually thought about this possibility before but it sounds like a reasonable explanation.

Memories aren’t made as often. Everyone has stories they can call up in a conversation. “This one time…” All of my stories are getting old.

I guess I’ve gone to the other extreme. I ignored everything except my friends, and was terrified of the future. Now I have responsibilities and goals and no friends, and I’m often lonely. Although, I was lonely back then, too.

Like I said, I brought this stupid nostalgia on myself… damn, I wish I didn’t think about that picture. I’m an idiot.

And you know what, fuck you… well not you, but fuck… it, or whatever… I don’t want to be an adult. Goddamn it. I like this. I like being unhappy and confused and annoyed and everything else. I like it because I love people. I love life. This is a part of life. I’d rather feel discontent than be blind to what’s going on or place importance on stupid, worthless, meaningless bullshit. The world is full of throw away people, throw away ideas, and throw away goals. I’d rather struggle. I’m never gonna be lukewarm.

My mind is full of images of people I really, really loved and really, really, goddamn really, miss.

Well, there’s some mindless rambling for everyone. If you made it to this point, good work! I can only imagine how difficult it was to get through. I’ll leave you with a song that 14 year old me loved a lot. And it still makes me happy… or okay with being sad. Either way, it’s an improvement!
Not really sure how to post videos so here’s a link if it doesn’t work and you are actually interested

 

Every day seems the same to me 
I sit around and think about how alone I feel 
then I wind up rather enjoying loneliness because it’s the comfort of being sad- 
sometimes it feels so right 
and sometimes I’d like to be around no one for ten straight years 
but I know this feeling can’t bring me places 
and I know I’m losing lots of ground 
but to keep up means to get up
and why does it have to be 
the world keeps on changing while I just stay the same? 
I feel like being down doesn’t mean enough to anyone anymore
and I guess the world has made emotion obsolete 
and I don’t think I feel the same ’cause after all 
who says what happy really means? 
Tonight I will redefine everything and tomorrow I will start in on my better days 
and to each their own definition of happiness 
but no one ever reaches it so I don’t think I’ll breathe that way 
but happiness is when there’s nowhere left to go

I’m No Adult

A memory

She was gorgeous. Or maybe she wasn’t, I honestly don’t know. I just remember loving every part of her body. Conventions get lost when you fall for someone. So there’s a chance you wouldn’t think she was gorgeous. Either way, I thought she was, and in my memory she is the most beautiful. And I craved her all the time.
I hadnt learned her name yet. We had only come in contact once. She was elusive in her popularity within our little group. I was a peripheral figure. Drifting in and out when I had enough will power to force myself to face how uncomfortable I was and hang around with everyone. I had two ways in. Two friends that would invite me over. The rest of the group hardly knew me. They were aware of my existence but didn’t acknowledge it much. I faded into the background and would pop out to throw a little sarcasm at a comment someone made. I got laughs and I was proud of that. But I was too inconsistent to make a name for myself. too inconsistent to fill a niche. That sounds better.
She was always there. And everyone was always around her. She talked and talked and laughed and fought and did whatever she felt. Her personality was foreign. I couldn’t grasp how she could do what she did and needed to figure it out. I had to get close to her and learn everything about her. I had to absorb her. She was just fun and who doesn’t want to be around fun?

Years later, I still wonder about her. I wonder what she does now. I wonder how she has changed over the years. I wonder if I would still love her. I’m convinced I would because I need to hold on to the possibility. Really, I just want to think about how nice it would have been with her. I don’t want to think about all those obvious issues we would have had if things worked out a little differently. She would have killed me.

She was great. I imagine I’ll miss her for a long time. It’s been five years already, not long in the scope of a lifetime, but it’s not really letting up at all yet.

Theres a lot of music that reminds me of her. I saw this band with her 7 years ago. (Band: The Good Life, album: Album of the Year)Image

A memory