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What are you Reading Now?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Mythopoet, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Why do you find the target age range significant?
     
  2. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

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    Yes. There's no connection for me. I just prefer books with deeper...everything. I'm also not a teen so there's that!
     
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    There are some YA books that explore plenty of deeper themes. They're not necessarily the most popular YA books, but they're quite good. But really this brings up a more interesting question from a writing perspective (and maybe one we need a new thread for)...you say you're not a teen. I'm not one either. Nor am I black, nor a woman, nor gay, nor a trans person...but I've recently read books with people fitting these various categories and I didn't find it to be a problem. So how close does a character have to be to a reader to elicit the reader's empathy and create a connection? It's a question I think about from time to time because all but one of my current works feature characters outside of the majority of the fantasy book demographic. Maybe it's worth a thread for comments.
     
  4. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

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    It's not about empathy and everything to do with love triangles (don't like those either), immature protagonists, and just not fulfilling stories for me. Nothing deep really.
     
  5. La Volpe

    La Volpe Sage

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    I've found that YA tends to use particular themes and tropes. E.g. love triangles, coming-of-age, school-themed stuff, etc. There are a lot out there that don't (or at least not enough to bother me), but the majority of them do.

    But, for example, the Reckoners series by Sanderson is apparently classified as YA and I enjoyed it. And also Dan Wells's John Cleaver books.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The very popular ones tend to--of course, the most popular books tend to tap into popular themes. There is plenty of YA that doesn't do this sort of thing. People tend to view YA as a "genre," which implies that it has fairly consistent tropes, etc. But it's an age range (or a marketing demographic, if you want to look at it that way). The books within the category can be as diverse as anything for adults.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    That's an overly narrow view of the category, imo. It describes the most popular YA somewhat accurately, at least from what I've seen, but leaves out a large number of works.
     
  8. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

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    I have read different YA books over the years, ones recommended to me and others that sounded interesting. It's just not something I like. Sorry, I wasn't trying to offend anyone!
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    No worries--there is no offense taken :) . It's just something I like to discuss. I like YA in many instances, but I don't like the typical love triangle/Twilight-esque YA. Just so people know, you have books like those by Kristin Cashore, or Speak, Brown Girl Dreaming, Code Name: Verity, Seraphina, &c. You may not like any of those, of course, but they're different from what people usually think of as YA.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  10. ^I have Seraphina and Shadow Scale, and liked them a lot.

    Does the Old Kingdom series count as YA? I have all four of those, too.

    My friend once joked that my bookshelf will one day become sentient.
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Yes, the Old Kingdom books are YA. Those are good ones :)

    If you haven't read Kristin Cashore, she starts out good with Graceling and just gets better with Fire and Bitterblue.
     
  12. teacup

    teacup Auror

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    Read "The Broken Earth" trilogy by N.K. Jemisin (well the 2 that are out so far) and they were great, can't wait for book 3 later this year. I preferred book 1, The Fifth Season, to the sequel, but both were very good. I just preferred the settings and story of book 1 over 2.
    Just started her debut series now, "The Inheritance Trilogy", which looks interesting.
     
  13. La Volpe

    La Volpe Sage

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    I agree. YA isn't a genre; it's just books aimed at the target market of "young adult".
    The question this raises is: What sets it apart from other markets? I.e. What makes a YA book a YA book? What makes these books particularly suited for the young adult market?

    My feeling (which is a guess, since I'm not well-versed in this) is that the answer lies in themes. I.e. young adults identify more strongly with certain themes, so books that touch upon these types of themes are better suited to the YA market than books that don't.
     
  14. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    To be honest, I have not really enjoyed any "western" YA that I have tried, with the exception of Sabriel. I don't usually pay attention to age demographic when looking for fantasy books, so I have read (or started reading) several that ended up being considered YA. Even the ones that I finished were usually only mediocre by my standards. And even the ones that I liked well enough (the first 3 Old Kingdom books) I would consider very low on my list compared to my favorites. (And Sabriel was by the far the better of the 3, the other two were much less enjoyable.) There are some exceptions, but usually in the case of books that were not written as YA, merely as fantasy, and were labeled as such later on. (The Chronicles of Prydain for instance I have sometimes seen referred to as YA.)

    I emphasize "western" because I read and love A LOT of Japanese comics (manga) that are written for a similar age group to YA (shonen and shojo).

    This could just be an extension of my general dislike for most fantasy written in the last few decades. I'm just the sort of person who doesn't like the modern writing style very much with its strong de-emphasis on the author presence and tendency to a very cinematic feel. It's hard to tell. It could also be the fact that American (or American-esque) teenagers are just the worst and way too many YA fantasy protags are very "American-esque" to me. (Having the same types of values, standards and desires as the typical American teen.)

    And when it comes to reading for pleasure, simply avoiding YA books is a lot better than continually getting annoyed by them.
     
    Aurora likes this.
  15. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I'm currently reading a book that I wouldn't recommend to anyone* except as a source example of what not to do: The Bastard's Pearl, by Connie Bailey.

    It's m/m fantasy romance. I was in the mood to read another from the genre, but one of the problems with the genre is that it's mostly stocked with self-pubbed and independently pubbed books, and that bubble demand and glut in this genre seem to have led to a high percentage of bad-to-mediocre offerings. But I was in the mood, and after an hour or two of reading through blurbs and previews on Amazon, I settled on this book because the first paragraph had prose that I really liked. (Especially in comparison to many of the others I'd checked out.)

    And that's one of the most frustrating things about the book. I like the prose. The content isn't necessarily handled well all the time, but the prose is the sort that I appreciate for a light read.

    The problems however come in the larger structuring of content. This book would be a classic case of what not to do with omniscient 3rd of the head-hopping variety: poor/non-existent transitioning between heads, haphazard (seemingly random) selection of which heads to enter when, and using the power of the head hop to choose a character's head simply because you can then have an info-dumping conversation by pairing that character with a novice or two who are dummies.

    There's also the problem of a main character who is too stupid to live, who has no organic character arc—guy gets tortured for several hours until rescued, then is precisely the same after as before as if the torture never happened, as just one example.

    But the world and scenario are somewhat interesting or at least intriguing, and the prose is good, and I'm continuing on to see what happens.

    *Edit: I would note, as a heads-up/warning, that the book has explicit and extended sex scenes, just on the off chance someone reads the above and is curious about the book.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  16. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

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    Teen movie dramas are some of my favorite. Just watched "It Follows" last night and it was good! Books for that market aren't to my liking. One thing might be what I noticed in that movie last night, that teen protagonists tend to be created unfairly more times than not as stupid kids that can't fight for themselves. During the movie, the protagonist had everyone doing everything for her. So lame. She never fought for herself once! Same goes for much of the YA I have read. Anyway, maybe I relate better to characters who have been through life seasons similar as mine. It's been ages since I've been a teen and I cannot relate anymore. That might be it, who knows.

    Added Cheryl Kaye Tardiff's 'Submerged' to my list. I really enjoyed 'Children of the Fog'. It was so scary and kept me awake for 2 days straight trying to get to the end.
     
  17. Addison

    Addison Auror

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    Stopped by my library yesterday. After focusing on writing for X days and hitting a stall, I needed a book bundle. I've checked out: Carrie, Joyland, Howl's Moving Castle, Coraline, The Eyes of The Dragon, The Sea Of Trolls, The Magicians.

    When my dad saw the books his jaw dropped and he asked, "More books?!" I told them they were library books and he relaxed, a bit. He joked if my "library" gets any bigger he'd have to re-inforce the sub-floor.

    Some of them are re-reads, even if I haven't read them in a long time. Yet, I went to the library to read Mercedes Lackey's "Element Masters" series. The library had every book BUT those! :mad2:
     
  18. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    So I just finished an arc of a book that is due out shortly, that is getting a lot of buzz. It's called the Marsh King's Daughter.

    It sold for a seven figure advance and the critical analysis pre-pub is very positive.

    I would add my voice, generally, to that chorus as I think it is quite strong. Hard to classify but I would call it a "literary thriller."

    The one thing I particularly liked about it was its originality. Sometimes you reach the point where you think so much of a genre (in this case the Thriller genre) is simply a rehashing of something that has been done before. Marsh King really stands out as original, in style, structure and theme. There are themes that are explored in this book that I have not seen done well in this genre in decades, and the way they are dealt with is quite original. Makes me think there is still more original work to be done, and my own aspirations to originality might not be delusional.

    The book delivers a classic emotionally powerful twist near the end that was very satisfying. If I wanted to suggest it had a weak point I would say the fight scenes could use a real overhaul, but that would be nitpicking.

    Now starting "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" a history of the hip hop movement for research on a MC character I want to write about. So far it is awesome.
     
  19. Went to the bookstore today. Still more reading to do.

    But first, I have to start Return of the King...
     
  20. ^I love the movies and books and the Silmarillion, but I've only had Fellowship read to me, and read the Appendices of Return by myself. I've never fully read all of them one after the other.

    Addison: I've read The Sea of Trolls. It wasn't what I expected, and I had issues with parts of it. Overall, it was alright for me.
     
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