Jul 18, 2013

Busting YA Myths {the.book.chat.}

In a recent writing class, we were asked to share our reading habits and favorite authors.  And would you guys believe, I was the only person to claim Young Adult fiction. While everyone else was too busy name-dropping Virginia Woolf and Fitzgerald, I showed zero shame in announcing that John Green was the writer I admired most. I couldn't help but feel the intense stigma that young literature carried in my class (and to feel the stigma in an online class is saying a lot).  Who do they think is writing this stuff?  
As an avid YA reader (and defender), I have encountered some criticism surrounding the genre that really pushes my buttons.  Here are some major myths that I would like to expunge right now...

They are only for teenage girls.
I don't know exactly where that line is drawn, but I do know that it doesn't matter.  I read YA, and I'm clearly not a YA.  Just like you don't have to be a alien to like Sci-Fi, or a vampire to like Paranormal, or a ripped Highlander to like Historical Romance, you don't have to be a teenager to enjoy stories written about them.  The great thing about YA is there is something for everyone.  
YA recommendations for boys: The Maze Runner, Ender's Game, author: Walter Dean Myers.

They are easier and/or smaller than adult novels
While there are a wide variety of reading levels within young fiction, the assumption that it is all made simple is, quite simply, an insult.  There are a wide variety of reading levels in adult fiction too, and not all of them are Faulkner.  You'll find the same cast of literary devices within any YA novel as you will a contemporary one. And as for smaller, have you seen the doorstop that is the The Half-Blood Prince?
Proof: the poetry of Sonya Sones, historical fiction by Laurie Halse Anderson, the imagery of Tahereh Mafi

The characters are flat and stereotypical.
I admit, I have complained in the past of the Bella-mold protagonist before. "Clumsy and humble" does not a flawed character make.  It's true that YA does tend to lean more toward likeability with their character development, we can't dismiss it all. There are equally as many amazing and complex characters to come out of this genre.
Proof: The Book Thief, anything by John Green and David Levithan

The subject matter is less mature.
As if adults are fighting bigger battles than teenagers.  As if adults need relatable literature more.  Teenagers are only dealing with flirty romance and math quizzes, right?  Were you sleeping through The Breakfast Club? (look it up, kids)  You thought The Hunger Games was dark. Psh.
Proof: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, The Book Thief

It is not real literature.
While literature majors and contemporary writers are turning their noses up at the Young Adult genre, YA authors are making new readers everyday.  If kids are reading, what could you possibly have to complain about?  And who knows, maybe today's YA readers will grow up to be tomorrow's Adult readers...but then again, maybe not.  

YA has come a long way.  Do you know what the Young Readers shelf looked like when I was a teenager?  Teachers were giving us Hatchet and Island of the Blue Dolphins, and for entertainment, we had The Babysitter's Club and R.L. Stine.  While those were great, I would have devoured the YA shelves we have today.  What am I saying? I still do, even at 30. I remember reading The Giver as a young teen and falling in love, but I really had nowhere to go from there.  Now, the genre has a wide selection of dystopian, contemporary, romance, paranormal, LGBT, crime, history, sci-fi...I can keep going.  Can't you just feel the excitement around this entire genre right now?  I would be so honored to someday contribute to it. 

What are your thoughts on this genre?  What are some of your favorites?  I would love to hear your thoughts!  Link up below to share.

Our co-host today is the reason I've read most of the YA books that I've read.  She has great taste in music and books and shares them all on her blog.  Please add her to your reading list.  

To join in...

1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.


Jul 11, 2013

the.book.chat. {book playlist}

Welcome back, book chatters!  I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far!  We are at that part of summer where we don't have a lot planned and we're just trying to avoid boredom while staying cool.  So far, it has been fun though.

As for today, the book chat is back!

And the lovely Erica of Looking to the Stars is our co-host today!  If you are not following her yet, you should be!  Please go say hello.

Today's topic is a favorite of mine.  It's always been a nerdy habit of mine to create little playlists to collaborate with whatever I'm reading.  I love to share them on the blog and you can find some of my past ones here.


Sadly, I haven't done this in a while for two reasons.
One - We no longer have SiriusXM.  Turns out you can't get satellite radio in Europe.  Get some new satellites already!  I was addicted to AltNation and XMU, two stations that played the best in Alternative and Indie.  I'm SO behind on music right now, it makes me want to cry.
Two - I'm on VERY limited internet so Spotify and streaming is out of the question.  I don't even buy any new music online because I would then have to download it and take up my precious gigs. Brutal.

Anyway, I'm done complaining now.  I can still play along today and share a few good song/book combos.

"Brave" by Sara Bareilles
This new single by one of my favorite singer songwriters reminds me a lot of the character Lou.
(THIS book has a DOOZY of a review coming soon)

Oh and right now you can stream the new SB album in iTunes.  So, go, stream away, stream for me!

"Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
This song screams Dauntless.

"A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri
I get a little weepy every time I hear this song because I associate it with this book.

"Sacrilege" by Yeah Yeah Yeah's
They both have that dirty, naughty, slightly twisted feel to them.

So, that's what I have.  I could go on for days.  Bringing my two favorite things together.  I love it.

So, I hope you join in!  You can do a playlist you like to listen to while you read or do what I did and share a song or two.  If you've never done it, you should try!

To join in...
1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.


Next week: It's all about YA lit!  Share your favorites, least favorites or just your thoughts on the topic.

Jul 5, 2013

Read-a-thon Update

So, this week I've been participating in this Read-a-Thon.
While I haven't been speeding through books like others probably do, I have been reading a lot more than usual.  I love these Read-a-Thons because they inspire me to read more during the day.  The laundry can wait, right?

This Read-a-Thon is fun because they have daily events and blog prompts.  I haven't been able to post every day (too busy reading!) so I thought I would do a little catchup today...

On Wednesday, they asked us to share our favorite female fictional characters.
If you remember, we had a book chat post of this topic, and it's one of my favorite book chats.  I think this topic needs to be recycled, no?
You can read that here.  

On Thursday, they asked us to share a quote from a book we're reading or a book that pulled at our heart strings. 
Well.  Well, well, well.
I'm currently listening to this book from Audible.

I am LOVING this book and the writing so much.  But I just KNOW tears and heartbreak are in my future.  I HAVE to keep listening, but at the same time, I'm terrified to keep listening.  I want to share a quote; however, like I said, I'm listening to it on audiobook, and I'm too scared to look up quotes for fear that I will read a spoiler.  Can't take those chances.

Today, they asked us to share our progress in the Read-a-Thon.  
Like I said, I haven't read a ton of books, but I have nearly finished two which is a big deal for me right now, since I'm getting over a reading slump. I haven't completely decided what I'm reading next.

If you've thought about joining a Read-a-Thon, you should.  They are so fun and inspiring.

Jul 2, 2013

Goodbye June, Hello July

Wow.  June is over, just like that.  I can't keep up with these months anymore.  They are just flying by! I can't believe my baby will be THREE next month.  That crept up on me.

Anyway, we're back!  We've been camping all week, and it's been amazing, and I have so many incredible pictures to share, but for now, I have some serious blog business to catch up on!

Prepare yourself, because there is so much coming at you in this post...

First up. June's recap.

Now for July. July has a lot in store, blog & book wise.

As I've mentioned before, I have decided to take a break from reviewing for the summer.  I will still be reading, of course, but I'm not promising any reviews to publishers and/or authors.  I will probably still post reviews of whatever it is I decide to read.  I will pick back up with ARC's and reviews in September.  I really want to make this a summer of FUN reading.  I tend to read very slowly during summer anyway.

I am participating in two fun Summer reading challenges!

The first is the Summer Lovin' Read-a-thon.  I need to kick off this summer right!  If you are stopping by from the Summer Lovin' party, please read more about me here.  I can't wait to make some new book-lovin blog friends!

The read-a-thon is basically what it sounds like.  A lot of reading.  But also, a lot of fun participating with other bloggers.  My goals for this week are to finish the two books I'm reading now, Shadow and Bone and Me Before You.  Then, I will hopefully finish Siege and Storm too.  I so wish I could knock out four or more books this week, but I have two kids on summer break and a husband on leave, so I'll be lucky to finish one.  I'll still give it my best though!

For today's question, they asked: What is at the top of your summer must-read list?  Well, you will see my summer list below, but honestly, the reason I decided to take a break from ARCs is because I want to make time to read the new Dan Brown and Khaled Husseini books!  They are two of my favorite authors, and I just know I am going to gobble those books up!

Next up is my favorite reoccurring reading challenge.  I admit, I was a little nervous Megan wasn't going to be up for a reading challenge this summer, what with all of her travels and such.  But she pulled through, and I'm thrilled!   I have participated in all of her reading challenges and have yet to finish one! Ha!  However, they are so much fun.  Her categories are always so inventive and I have a ton of books on my "favorites" shelf all because of this challenge.  It really makes you stretch your reading selections.  So, I will share my selections here, but to be totally honest, I always change them up once I start reading.

5 points: Freebie.  I will leave this one blank for now.  
5 points: A book with less than 150 pages.  Night by Elie Wiesel
10 points: A book with a color in the title.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
10 points: A book that is not the 1st in it's series.  Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
15 points: A book that everyone else has read.  I already know what every book chatter is thinking here.  Yes, I will FINALLY read Harry Potter.  And more than one, too!
15 points:  A Banned Book.  Heck, I might even read more than two HP books.
20 points: Written by a celebrity.  Haven't decided on this one yet.  Considering Mindy Kaling's book.
20 points: Non-fiction this is not a memoir.  Does instructional or motivational count?  I have a new Apartment Therapy book from the library.  I've never read an informational book from front to back like a novel, so maybe I'll try.
20 points: A book that takes place in a state you've never been.  TBD
25 points: A book that has at least 400 pages.  This is a toss-up between three of my favorite authors.  Khaled Husseini, Dan Brown or Carlos Ruiz-Zafon.  
25 points: A book with a main character with the same name as me.  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty (The Jessica Darling series)
30 points: A book written by an author born the same year as me (1983).  This is a tough one! The only one I have found is Christopher Paolini and I have Eragon.  I'm considering reading it to Jonathan.

So, there you have it.  I can't wait to get started!

  • July 4th - No Book chat.  Happy Fourth of July!
  • July 11th - Book inspired Music playlist
  • July 18th - Young Adult lit
  • July 25th - Favorite book covers
I still need a co-host for the 25th!  If you have asked me to co-host, I promise I will get back to you!