Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays), I’ll be sharing a short bookish memory with you.
Last week, we talked about my decision to study children’s literature in graduate school. One of the many things that pushed me in the children’s lit direction was the success of The Hunger Games trilogy.
While I was obsessing over universities, the world was obsessing over The Hunger Games. Those books were everywhere. They dominated online bookish conversations; they were in the front windows of every bookshop; there was even an article about them in my local newspaper.
The only place I didn’t see The Hunger Games was in my undergraduate literature classes.
I actually remember one of the first lit classes I took at community college. This was before The Hunger Games madness. On the first day of class, the professor asked us to say our names and our favorite author. When it was my turn, I said my name and proudly declared that my favorite author was Stephen King. This was met with laughter and incredulous stares.
At the time, I didn’t know what was wrong with loving Stephen King books. As I took more literature classes, I learned that King’s novels aren’t “serious literature.” They’re meant to please the masses. They don’t push boundaries or alter the way we think about storytelling. My college classes made me feel wrong for liking “genre” fiction.
When The Hunger Games became popular, I was just as obsessed with the series as the rest of the world. Seeing people’s enthusiasm for “trash books” really made me question why we don’t study popular books in college classes. I do see the value in reading classics and literary fiction, but I don’t think we should completely ignore what’s popular right now. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to figure out what makes a book a bestseller?
The Hunger Games helped cement my decision to study children’s lit in graduate school. I was tired of writing essays about 300-year-old adult classics. It was time to branch out and try something new.
Is there a book that influenced a decision you made in your life?