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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

    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
  2. ^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.
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    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.
  4. teacup

    teacup Auror

    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.
  5. La Volpe

    La Volpe Sage

    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.
  6. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    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.
  7. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    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
  8. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

    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.
  9. Addison

    Addison Auror

    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:
  10. Russ

    Russ Istar

    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.
  11. Went to the bookstore today. Still more reading to do.

    But first, I have to start Return of the King...
  12. ^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.
  13. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    Rereading the Narnia series again. Finished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe last week; now it's The Horse and His Boy.
    Aurora likes this.
  14. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Started Where Eagles Dare by Alistair Maclean, mostly to look at story structure. And because it's a classic.
  15. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    I finished reading all the Clark Ashton Smith Zothique stories. Finished up last night with Xeethra (since they were in alphabetical order) which was an interesting one. Zothique is definitely dark. Almost none of the stories ended positively for the main character. And iirc most of the stories ended with the main character dead. But that's precisely the sort of atmosphere Smith was going for so I'd definitely say the stories are a success. And they've given my imagination one or two ideas.

    Actually I think there are a couple stories that weren't in the collection I have for some reason. I'll have to seek them out. For now moving on to one of Smith's other settings.
  16. C. A. Stanley

    C. A. Stanley Minstrel

    I just finished reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. The most thrilling book I've read in a long time. At first exciting, then increasingly dark. A real eye opener on the subjects of gender and power, and what happens when power structures are suddenly inverted.
  17. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

    Ah, cool. Reading CAS also fires my imagination in a manner similar to Lord Dunsany (a largely forgotten gem). I think one reason CAS resonates with me so much are the elements he emphasizes: original high-concepts, and rich, lush prose. If there is anyone better at these things, I've yet to discover them.
  18. Addison

    Addison Auror

    I will soon be reading "Murder and Magic: Lord Darcy Book 1" by Randall Garrett. From my research he's the first author to write an urban fantasy where magic and man openly coexist in our world. Although it will be a race to see which book arrives first, Lord Darcy or the first in Mercedes Lackey's Element Masters series. Either way I'm waiting by the door so much akin to my dog that it keeps giving me looks.
  19. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    I'm reading a classic right now; David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
  20. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Personally, I vastly prefer both Dunsany and Lovecraft to CAS. CAS has some really great concepts and atmospheres but tends to not explore them as satisfactorily (to me) as Dunsany or Lovecraft. Also, it seems strange to say this, but I honestly think these Zothique stories were more depressing than most of Lovecraft. So my preference for this type of fiction would be Dunsany > Lovecraft > Howard > CAS.

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