So as you know, I've spent the last 31 days of March reading only middle grade books. I felt like I was a little deficient in the area, and I wanted to see if I could find some good recommendations for people who visit me at work.
And boy did I!
I honestly thought I would get bored reading middle grade books. I thought I'd be dying to return to the land of YA books--and it was a little bit hard, I'm not going to lie. I kept seeing books on my floor (overflowing shelves might be a problem at my house) that I really wanted to read. But I as I rolled along, I kept adding to my middle grade selection stack as well. And I was really bummed when I realized I only had 5 days left in March and several books I still wanted to finish!
And then I realized I'm a moron, and just because I dedicated a month to a book age range didn't mean I couldn't read it outside of that month. That's when I realized that I was enjoying myself. I wanted to read more middle grade books! Sure, some of them were a little too simplistic for me to get much out of at 23, but some of them had me sobbing and reconsidering my views on life (looking at you, Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.). I found a new favorite author (Kate DiCamillo now owns a piece of my soul) and I opened up my eyes a little more. It's so easy to little yourself based on your age, and I'd already lowered that barrier a little bit by still reading YA books when I'm out of college and picture books that I can finish in a few minutes, but for some reasons middle grade books had seemed like a territory closed off to me, and now I've opened that back up. I'm not a huge fan of dictating books based on age in the first place, so I'm not sure why I did it to myself.
For those of you who think you can't or shouldn't read a particular genre, I think you should undertake this task: read the genre for a month. Put a different book's dust jacket on it or blame a small cousin or only read it on electronic devices, but for just a month branch out a little bit. You might find it rewarding.
(Also--April's started out pretty fantastic since I got into the only graduate school program I applied to on April 1st. Really. Not an April Fool's joke. I was worried it might be until the next day when it was still true. Guess who's moving 2,600 miles??)