1. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Angst canon

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by thirdwind, Dec 10, 2013.

    There was this article published last month about there being a canon of books called the angst canon, which is basically a collection of books that a lot of teens tend to read because it deals with things like isolation, existentialism, drug/alcohol use, etc. When I was a teen, I read a lot of the books mentioned in that article, so I have to wonder if there is any validity to this notion of an angst canon. What are your thoughts on this concept? Did you feel drawn to certain types of books when you were a teen?
     
  2. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Fits my experience and that of a lot of others I've talked to who come from a similar background. There's more to the social push for the kids who read this common set of books to read these kinds of books than their being teen boys. A lot of the themes of these books reinforce many of the common precepts of this group's sense of identity and view of the world.
     
  3. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I haven't read any of these. I don't need more angst, what I do read that comes out of the YA section is manga. Cheery manga with hot guys that take my mind off of my angst.
     
  4. MmePlanetKIller
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    MmePlanetKIller Member

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    I feel misled by this thread title.

    I read a couple of the books mentioned. Mostly I thought they were pap, except for Catcher.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I've read all but one of them. One of them, Nineteen Eighty-Four, is the first book that really changed my life.

    'Angst canon', though, is certainly a descriptive name for it, but I don't think it's a fitting one. With Nineteen Eighty-Four, the isolation and fighting society is really the meat and bones of the novel, the soul is an examination of totalitarianism, and questions about freedom and free will, which again comes into the Existentialist philosophy, but it's really more tackling those themes in a political way (though of course, the idea of us being always truly alone because we can't get inside someone else's head is actually addressed in the novel).

    I remember being a teenager, I was one only 3 - 4 years ago, so I understand angst - and wanting to read angsty stuff. But I also understand appeals to intellectualism, if I want to put it in a really pretentious way. Some teens are precocious, and want to read 'good' books. It just so happens a lot of those books are also considered 'good' books by most people with even a hint of good literary taste.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Just wait 5-6 more years. You'll be reading angsty literature just like the rest of us. ;)

    You're giving teens way too much credit here. :p

    In all seriousness, you bring up a good point. I wonder if these books became part of the Canon because teens were reading them so much or if teens read them because they are part of the Canon.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I must admit, I was one of those precocious teens I was thinking about. :oops:

    But, while I still think Canon is the wrong word, there is something to those books that appeals to teenagers - and it is weird how those books have just entered teenage life. I mean, I remember when I was 15 or 16, everyone I knew was reading The Catcher in the Rye. This is a book published many decades ago in another country entirely, but kids back in 2006 in a tiny, English town were reading it as if it spoke to them. An in a way, I guess it does. I remember the first time I read Catcher in the Rye, it was thrilling to read something so lurid and rebellious. Since then I have developed a reading of the novel, that the novel is about post-traumatic stress, but regardless of any reading you can offer, it still has a certain culture around itself now.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I should clarify that when I say Canon with a capital C, I'm talking about your typical Western Canon, not the angst canon itself.

    Anyway, like you, I read Catcher when I was in my late teens (I didn't particularly like it, but that's a separate issue), and I read it again a few years later. I probably won't be reading it again anytime soon, however. I think once you get beyond a certain point in life, some books just aren't as appealing.

    On a separate note, I'm surprised One Hundred Years of Solitude is mentioned in the article. That doesn't seem like a particularly angsty novel.
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Ah, I get you now. :)

    Me too, actually. I wondered about that.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    nope!... i'd been a voracious reader of just about anything, from the moment i learned to read... in my teens i can recall reading a lot of historical, sci-fi and mystery novels... and short stories... though i was certainly a 'romantic' back then, i never did cotton to the 'romance' genre, since the writing was so awful and i was a nit-picky editor even back then [all 3 years in hs, of our student newspaper]...
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. The kind with printed words on paper pages. Even before I was a teen, in fact. When my mother found me (at 7 or 8 years old) squatting in the attic reading Earl Stanley Gardner novels, from a carton full of them next to me, she went straight to the store and bought me a bunch of Hardy Boys, Ken Holt, Tom Swift Jr, and Rick Brant books. It didn't stop me, though. Before long, I had unearthed and read my mother's college chemistry text as well, among other dusty tomes.

    No book was safe from me!
     

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