I avoid ‘teen’ fiction or ‘young adult’ fiction as much as possible. It’s in a limbo where it’s too old to be ‘silly and childish’ but too young to risk being ‘complicated and challenging’. Basically it’s airport fiction with 17-year-old protagonists. I guess it matches the self-absorbed brooding one-dimensional stereotype of a teenager.

But four out of the five books I’ve borrowed from the ‘staff reading copies’ at work have been children’s book; the other one was non-fiction. I love the simplicity of them — they’re not dressing themselves up to be taken too seriously. They’re not pretentious and self-important. If I read past the first page of them I usually find them hard to put down again. They’re the bouncy 80s pop of literature — slightly naff, but easy to enjoy.

A woman in my book I’m writing has a moustache for no reason. It’s only referred to twice throughout the entire book. This is the reason I can’t write childrens books — no woman would so casually have a moustache in one of them. It’s far too unusual from the sort of thing that kids are normally subjected to. In fact it never happens in adult books either without it being a big deal.

(Although I have thought of writing some really basic nonsensical short children’s books about transvestites and lesbians and selling photocopies in the middle of Cuba Mall for parents who would go for that sort of thing. I think that would be really fun.)

Anyway, I think my favourite authors had something of the child about them. Just a resistance to conforming to the kind of self-importance that’s expected of adults, or something like that.

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