As an avid reader, I spend a lot of time on book sites, particularly Goodreads. One of the benefits of using Goodreads is being able to ask questions about a book. People ask all sorts of questions from the content to formats to the movie, when applicable.
While leaving a review about A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, I saw a question that made me pause and it stuck with me.
A 25-year-old male stated that A Monster Calls, which is recommended for ages 12 to 17, sounded great. He wanted to read this book, but he worried, given the age recommendation, if he would enjoy it or not.
I didn’t respond to his question because other Goodreaders already had. But this is a book topic I feel strongly about. And my response is simple:
Just read. And read whatever you like.
The “age recommendation” is a guide for parents to assist them in determining whether the subject of the book is appropriate for their child. In the case of A Monster Calls, it recommended starting at age 12 because the subject matter deals with death and there is a monster in it (hence the title). For some children, even some 12 or 13 year-olds, these may be things that are too difficult or disturbing. And I agree that parents should consider the book’s subject matter against their child’s age, maturity, and capability.
But for adults, there are no limits. No set recommendations. No boundaries other than what you choose to read. I admit, I still enjoy the works of Dr. Seuss, who’s books are recommended from ranges of birth to age 9. And Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, recommended for ages 8 to 12. And who hasn’t read, or at least seen, one of the many Harry Potters? The recommended age for the first HP book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is 9 to 12.
So my advice to you is just read. Comic books, graphic novels, children’s or young adult books. Fantasy, western, mystery, science fiction, biography. Whatever genre, whatever subject, just read more books.