One of the many things I love about being a part of the online reading community is how you get a peek into other people’s reading lives. Stripped down to its bare bones, reading is a pretty solitary hobby; you get yourself a book, you sit down (or lie down, or stand – whatever floats your boat) and you read that book. It’s just you and the characters, the story and the world of the book. It doesn’t feel lonely at all (this is something most readers will agree upon, I think), but it is something you do alone, most of the time.
And then you go online and talk about that book you’ve read with other people all over the world who also love to read. I love it! I’m very lucky to also have friends who love to read and love to talk about reading, but I’ve seen quite a lot of people within the community say how happy they are to finally be able to talk about books with other people who understand. I just think that’s wonderful.
Before I started blogging I had never even thought about setting myself goals when it came to reading. I read what I wanted when I wanted to read it (apart from the required reading for my university courses). But then I discovered book blogging and Goodreads, and, a little later, the Goodreads reading challenge and a whole new world opened up before me
, shining shimmering splendid.
I’ve had the idea for this post for a while now, after talking about it with my friend Emmie from Another Night of Reading, but I’ve been kind of scared to actually write and, more importantly, post it, because it’s kind of a sensitive subject. Or, at least, it can be for some people, because it involves criticism regarding the portrayal of virginity in Young Adult literature. Oh, and feminism. Lots of people are offended by that. So, if you don’t feel like reading a feminist and critical take on sex in YA I’d recommend not reading this post. If you do, read on, my friend!
A while ago, Beth from The Quiet People did a post on her definitive ranking of the seven Harry Potter books, and I enjoyed reading about her choices so much that I decided to do my own post about it. I’ve never attempted to rank the books before, so this ought to be fun. Or, you know, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. One of those two.
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read the Harry Potter books, first of all: HOW? and secondly: this post contains spoilers. Seriously, if you haven’t read (all) the books and do still want to: DON’T read this post.
This is something that’s been bugging me for quite a while now – so much so that I actually considered writing my dissertation about it, but then I changed my mind/realised it wasn’t all that viable. The question at hand is: where are all the parents at in young adult literature? (you know, just in case you missed the title).
I’ve discovered two rough categories when it comes to parents in YA novels:
- The “normal” parental unit
- The problematic parental unit
I will explain these below, but first I want to emphasise that this is a rough division of two trends I’ve noticed and that there are plenty of novels that don’t fit either of these two descriptions!
Another disclaimer: the quotation marks are very important here! In my opinion there’s no such thing as “normal”, but unfortunately society thinks otherwise (but let’s not get into all that right now).
As a bookblogger, I cannot help but compare myself to others from time to time – as I’m sure we have all done at least a few times in our blogging careers (and in life). One of the things I’m always most baffled by with other bloggers is their reading speeds. How some people manage to read over 100 books a year is beyond me (and I know a lot of you do!). I barely managed to read 50 books in 2015, and I spent quite a lot of my time reading in that year.
So, I wonder, what’s the big difference?
The first thing I do after I finish a book is go onto Goodreads to rate it. I click on “I’m finished!”, look at the five greyed out stars… and that’s when the first wave of anxiety usually starts. What did I think of this book?
If it was mindblowingly good and an absolute new favourite (such as Throne of Glass), then the choice isn’t that difficult. Same goes for books I flat out despised (which doesn’t happen that often – which we’ll get to in a minute). But if it is a book that I simply liked, or even really liked, it can take me quite a while to decide upon a rating. I start comparing the book to books I’ve read previously to decide if it’s “worth” 5 stars, which is often like comparing apples and oranges.
It’s a real struggle, you guys.
Lately, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what makes a book review a good book review. It began when we discussed this topic in my modern literature class, and I felt like I didn’t really agree with the strict rules most people thought a review should adhere to.
Before I started blogging (almost two years ago already!) I didn’t read a whole lot of YA (Young Adult). I was mostly reading the books I had to read for my literature classes, and not much else. Then, in the summer of 2013, I read The Fault in Our Stars and fell absolutely in love with the story.
Not long after that, I started blogging and a whole new world of YA literature opened up before me.
Technically, I’m no longer part of the target audience, since I’m not a teenager anymore, but we all know that that whole age group thing is irrelevant anyway. I know there are some people who think it’s ridiculous that “grown people” read YA, but that’s a discussion I don’t even want to have. If you think people should not read YA because they’re no longer teenagers, you can move right along, thank you very much.
Lately I’ve been daydreaming a lot about all the books I want to buy when I have some money again to do so (the summer months are expensive, guys, phewee!). I actually have a notepad lying lying next to my computer with a list entitled “Books I Must Get My Hands On ASAP” and it features books from the likes of Crown of Midnight to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and the vague “something by Rainbow Rowell”.
That got me thinking, though, about my book buying habits. Part of the reason why I started blogging back in October 2013 was because I wanted to read more books. As a logical result of that, I now buy a lot more books than I did before I began my blog. However, I also realised that the way I buy books has changed a lot as well, which I thought was really interesting.