Should Certain Books be Read by Certain Readers?

No. It’s a simple answer to a dumb question.

Imagine if Barnes and Noble (online) or Amazon asked you prior to checkout if you’re a man or woman. Or if you went to your local bookstore and they took one look at you and said the book you’re trying to buy is only to be bought by someone who looks different. It’s crazy talk. And you probably read this as if it’s somehow funny. It isn’t.

Remember that article (even though everyone knows it was clickbait) about adults reading YA? And the big fuss that arose from it? When someone says that any book should only be read by a specific reader, they are embracing the same stupidity present in that article. Imagine if Harry Potter could only be read by young boys. No girls. No men. No women. Or if The Hunger Games could only be read by teen girls. The list could go on and on.

Most genres have a target audience, but any popular book will transcend that audience and be read by just about any reader. So if a guy wants to read YA or erotica or any genre generally perceived as female, then who’s to tell him he shouldn’t? I’d make the same case for girls reading “male” genres, but I’m not sure which genres fall into that particular group.

What do you think?

On this day in 2014 I published A Literary Tattoo? I think Yes!.


37 thoughts on “Should Certain Books be Read by Certain Readers?

  1. I’m a firm believer that people should read whatever they like. I read picture books and get mocked… .but since I write picture books… Duh, I should read them. I read everything and I don’t think there should be any constraints on what I read.

    I do think that YA is written more for adults though instead of young adults. The themes are much more adult than I think they should be. So in that manner of speaking, if less adults read YA, maybe the writers wouldn’t write for adults. Simple logic.

    But other than that, read whatever the heck you want.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Readers are eclectic, not stereotypes. There’s no stopping anyone from reading whatever they wish – a good thing. Stats around age and gender preferences might be interesting, but they’re just guidelines in my view. The quality of the writing is what matters:)


  3. i think when you are younger no matter how mentally impressive maybe you shouldn’t read some books because they require maturity that people assume you haven’t yet acquired or most of your age mates but as an adult i think you should whatever it is that interests you and even that which doesn’t, its all about diversity.


    • Are you talking about certain topics or just chapter books? Cause I think a talented writer can easily write books specifically for children that deal with “mature” topics. They’re doing it all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • i meant certain topics but i guess it depends on the skill of the author like you said some can deal with relying ‘mature topics’ to children seamlessly.But isn’t that just a matter of opinion because a good writer to you maybe a horrible one to me, there can be no universal standards and i think we need standards when it comes to children.Don’t you?


      • wait a minute of course i think there are standards for children’s books specifically but i thought we were talking about books in general. I am not opposed to children reading children’s books that have mature topics but have been ‘checked’ (like abridged copies of like classics for children) so to say my issue is with children reading books that have mature topics and are not necessarily age-restricted.Because kids are curious i know cause i was curious as a kid and i wouldn’t want to encourage a child to consume just any kind of literature even though they can understand its language and the author has shown great skill in the past of treading lightly on mature topics, these are the books that are of some concern to me because honestly once you are exposed to some things in a very raw manner before you can handle it there’s no going back and i think ideas are lethal to the young mind if poorly presented before full maturation is achieved.


  4. I would hope we wouldn’t be restricted by our age or gender or anything else. I still read Dr. Seuss and i’m in my 30s.


  5. This is my pet peeve. Every time I pull up Pinterest someone else has written a booklist for girls or summer reading for boys. What happened to reading a book because it’s good. What does gender have to do with it? Gah! Now I’m all fired up! 😡


  6. Ultimately, I think books shouldn’t have a target audience, or at least, the author should not concern themselves about the target audience. Just simply write a good story. I can read almost any genre if it the story appeals to me in some way.


    • I disagree. There’s always going to be a target audience. And the author need to know it because the target audience is the target audience because they’re the ones buying the book A LOT. But that doesn’t mean the target audience should be the only audience. If that makes shy sense at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I see your point. I guess what I was trying to say is, writing should be more of an art than science. If writers start worrying about what should be added or how their stories should be written to be considered fantasy, romance, or young adult, the writer’s craft or authenticity will be lost. As a writer, I would worry about genres lastly and write the story first as I intended to.


  7. Well it is ridiculous! First of all, every person should read whatever they want to read and second of all some 15 year old children can be more mature than an other 15 year old. So not everyone is the same! I mean there are also different school levels, so not everyone with the same age can/will/is able to read the same stories/books as others. So let reading be fun and pick out your own books, no matter if you’re a girl, boy, child or an adult. It’s the fun you have while reading that matters the most! 🙂


    • Exactly! To classify all readers of the same race, gender, or age as the same is ridiculous! Sure there might be some readers who lack the maturity to read about certain things, but that definitely can’t be used to generalize a group of readers.

      Liked by 1 person

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