Saturday, November 29, 2014

Are you there, readers? It's me, Ed Grimley.



I just erupted in giggles while at my very serious job at the Young Adult Reference Desk. Now, erupted is a very strong word that evokes imagery that, on close inspection, may make the reader suspect that I exaggerate a bit when I describe myself giggling. And to the reader I say, calm down. It's a common expression. Let's not get sidetracked. 

Here's what caused my mirth: I was browsing through Amazon's best books of the year according to celebrities, looking for gems I may have missed while ordering books for the YA collection. Of course, I had to click through and see what Martin Short had to recommend. Martin Short, for those of you who were not born in the 80s, have never seen season 10 of Saturday Night Live, or generally don't pay attention to the important things in life, is an actor, comedian, and skilled musical theater performer. I'm telling you this because he's only tweeted 126 times and most of those are re-tweets, so he may as well not exist.

Anyway, I was looking at Martin Short's recommendations and there, right there, was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. We Were Liars is an incredible YA book I can't tell you too much about because of reasons. You should just believe that it's good and read it now. It involves boats, aunts, grandpas, love, private islands, pain, more pain, and ice cream. So Martin Short has read We Were Liars and liked it so much he recommended it to the dozens of people at least who read Amazon's book lists. Martin Short reads teen lit. This makes me giggle because it never occurred to me I could have something in common with Ed Grimley, except maybe for morning hair. And it makes me happy for many reasons: 1) Martin Short is not afraid to declare his affection for a teen book. He shouldn't be. E. Lockhart's book is literary and masterful. It pulls off writerly things that are very difficult to do. Being a teen book doesn't make it less than an adult book, in my estimation it makes it more. 2) We Were Liars is not a funny book. I like being reminded that funny people do not pursue laughter all the time. I think we expect our comedians to always be on, always make us laugh, pressure that can make healthy people overwhelmed, and sad people sadder. 3) I recently brought a box of beautiful, brand new YA books to a family event and invited my loved ones to pick one to keep. Strangely, they were all reluctant, pawing through the books tentatively and repeatedly asking me for reassurance that they were worthwhile in spite of being YA. The teen lit prejudice affects my work at the library where I'm faced with countless opportunities to defend YA against doubters and haters, but I've never had it strike so close to home. Thank you, Martin Short, for restoring my faith in grown-up human readers. Now people, listen to Uncle Marty- Go forth and read YA!

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