What Being a Mature Reader REALLY Means

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Does this post title annoy you?

It annoys me, but it gets the point across about what this post is about the most effectively.

As a reader of YA, I have been told that I need to ‘mature’ my reading habits, or else I wouldn’t expand my knowledge of literature. So, these are my thoughts on what think maturing my reading habits mean.

So, what we all know some people mean by being a ‘mature reader’ is that they…

  • Read ONLY classics.
  • Read adult ‘literature’.
  • Thinks YA is only for teens.
  • Thinks they “graduated” from YA.
  • Looks down on people who read things other than classics.

Obviously, there’s a lot that I missed, and obviously this exclude people who just enjoy classics for what they are. But people who think this way have a very narrow way of thinking, and, frankly, it’s pretty pretentious. As someone who reads a lot of YA, but not exclusively, I do have to say that there’s really not much of a difference between YA and adult lit. Literally the only difference is the age of the characters. (Literally, that’s how the “genre” is chosen. A book isn’t YA or Adult or Middle Grade based on subject. Nah, they’re based on the age of the protagonist. Although, sometimes they vary on writing style, but that’s a different discussion for another time.)

Basically, we know that the above isn’t true. What you read doesn’t make you a more mature person or reader. It’s how you act upon it. Me constantly reading YA and NA (new adult) doesn’t affect my maturity. Even when I’m not reading, I’ve had people mistake me for drinking age and college age based on how I conversed, how I held myself, and how I looked. Maturity depends on random bits like that, and not what you read. (My AP Lit teacher and I are always discussing YA novels!)

Here’s a list on what I think does make you a mature reader:

  • ability to recognize differences don’t make people better or worse
  • understanding complexities in text
  • large vocab (not necessarily HUGE)
  • ability to talk about novel with others

and basically things that show that you know what you’re talking about. Notice how not all of them even relate to actual books? Notice how you can get those abilities from other activities?

I’m sorry if this post was a little unnecessary, but I really just wanted to say something on this topic. I hate being told that my reading habits show my maturity, even though reading habits don’t affect that type of thing. I’ve met plenty of childish people who are book snobs that insist you can only read classics. Some of the most intelligent people I know are MG/YA/NA book lovers.

How do you feel about your reading habits reflecting your maturity? Tell me what you think!

(I would also like to ask for feedback on my discussion posts! I sometimes feel like I just ramble along and don’t get to the point, or I circle around it with never even touching on the intended subject. So, please, if you have any feedback, please comment/email/message me!)

7 thoughts on “What Being a Mature Reader REALLY Means

  1. I haaaate when people say that if you read YA, you can’t be a mature, smart, sophisticated, (insert other adjective here) reader. I think in order to be a “mature” reader, you just need to be able to think critically about a text, regardless of what *type* of text you’re reading. And plenty of readers of YA can do that.

    • RIGHT?? The best example I can think of is actually this one guy at my school. He think he’s the shit, reads all classics, and says he’s better than everyone else–but then can’t pass basic English class. It’s so infuriating, but at the same time, they probably don’t realize what they’re missing.

      • Yup, there was a kid I went to high school with who was like that and he always annoyed me so much. He’d try to say insightful things but you could tell he just got the ideas off of SparkNotes because when he was questioned further, he suddenly didn’t know what to say lol

  2. I don’t have enough fingers to count the amount of times I’ve heard that. It’s as if they think YA books are constructed of simple-minded words and three year old drawings. Someone can read all the classics they want, but if they act like a douche canoe every hour of everyday then they are not mature. Excellent post and don’t worry, rambling always gets the point across!

    • Haha, I love that!! “Someone can read all the classics they want, but if they act like a douche canoe every hour of everyday then they are not mature” is now going to be how I express this instead of a rambley post. Thank you!!

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