Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Reading YA Lit

Awhile back CindyS posted about romance readers who read YA literature. She expressed some befuddlement about why romance readers would venture into YA lit with its mostly chaste love interactions. Like Cindy, I enjoy some (ok, usually a lot) of heat in my romance novels. However, when I pick up a YA novel, I go into it knowing there will not be the intimacy levels of one of my beloved romance novels.

Cindy said, "Having puzzled on this for years it occurred to me that maybe it's because I read YA books when I was a YA."

As, did I! However, I find I'm just generally jealous of the quality and diversity of current YA literature. When I was reading YA lit I read the classics (Judy Blume), and pretty much what was available at the time: R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Joan Lowery Nixon, Richie Tankersley Cusick, Caroline B. Cooney, and Sweet Valley High (and University too! Yea, I admit it!). While that's not an extensive list, those were pretty much the major players when I was a young adult. I really just wish I'd had Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, Suzanne Collins, J.K.Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, Ellen Hopkins, John Green, Rachel Cohn, Maureen Johnson, and so many others when I was teen.

I think there's an awkward, angsty teen lurking deep down somewhere in all of us and while I'm glad I NEVER have to live through adolescence again, there's something nostalgic and endearing (for lack of a better word) about reading YA lit.

I think YA lit tackles some universal themes that most people, adults and teens alike, can relate to. Themes such as finding your place in the world, finding the strength and courage to be who you are, not what others want you to be.

YA lit also introduced me to other genres I thought I wouldn't be interested in: sci-fi and fantasy especially. Speculative fiction books like The Hunger Games and Life as We Knew It, encouraged me to seek out comparative adult titles such as Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The Harry Potter series and Kristen Cashore's Graceling & Fire allowed me to see the wonders of fantasy.

I think a post about teen lit without mentioning the Twilight series would leave an obvious hole, considering it's popularity. I read all the Twilight books. Enjoyed them well enough. Have never re-read them. On one hand, I'm glad it's so popular because, as with the Harry Potter series, a lot of adults who might normally turn their nose up at books written for teens were falling in love with the books. On the other hand, I think there are way more well written teen books out there and I'm sorry they're not getting the kind of attention that Meyer's mediocre series is receiving.

A few months back, my Book Club's book was the speculative fiction teen title, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. There were a number of reactions to reading a "teen" book. Some members didn't think twice. One of our few male members, later said, "Oh I didn't read it because it was a girl book, right? For teens?" Ummm, no but ok?! Several others just flat out didn't want to read it because it was a teen book. All those that did read it? LOVED IT.

I think Wendy, The Super Librarian, said it best in the comments on Cindy's post:

At the end of the day I've liked YA novels for the same reason I like grown-up novels - the characters. If I believe in the characters I'll follow them just about anywhere.
While the teen books may not contain the hot and heavy action that most of us romance readers have come to expect, they often take us on just as satisfying a ride as any adult novel!

Do you read YA lit? Why or why not? Would you be willing to give it a go?

Additional Reading:

Carpenter, Susan. "Young adult lit comes of age." Los Angeles Times 8 March 2010

Webber, Carlisle. "What they don't know won't hurt them: Persuading adults to read YA literature." Publishers Weekly 16 February 2009

Monday, March 29, 2010

In My Mailbox (2)


Little Bee by Chris Cleave


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I LOVE these Penguin Classic hardcovers. So pretty!

That be it!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristy, The Story Siren.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I Do What I Want!

I'll just go ahead and put it out there: I'm a blogging failure.

This is my third attempt at maintaining a blog. My first attempt (Biblioharlot's Bookshelf) ended when I got my first real job and was struggling to balance work with....well everything else. Blogging fell to the wayside.

My second attempt (Teen Troves) failed because I was attempting to review YA books for their target audience: teens. I found that I was trying to write reviews for an audience that I really didn't interact with. I'm not a teacher, I'm not a teen librarian. I work in an academic library. When I recommend teen books, I'm recommending them to other adults. When I discuss them I 'm discussing how I liked them. I'm not determining if they're appropriate for teens or how they will appeal to teens but how I, as a twenty-seven year old, enjoyed them. Because of this disconnect my reviews for Teen Troves became very generic and, frankly, pretty lame. I was censoring myself because I felt I had to write my reviews to a specific audience. Then the thought of writing reviews became more of a burden than something I was excited about doing. Then I felt guilty. Then I just didn't want to deal with it at all.

This time around I'm not putting these expectations on myself. That clearly hasn't worked for me in the past. Perhaps, at some point, I'll have more defined expectations but for now, as Cartman so eloquently said it, "I do what I want!"

Next time: why I read YA lit. Stay tuned.

That is all.

Another Nook Giveaway

Golly, ANOTHER nook giveaway!

"Tech Savvy Mama is giving away a Barnes & Noble nook" Read Letica's review of the nook and find out how to enter here.

All these nook giveaways, if I don't win one I may have to break down and buy one with my tax return....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Win a Nook!

Didn't win the nook from the ladies at Book Binge? Never fear! Louise of Mom Start has posted her Exploring the nook Giveaway! Go forth and enter!

I really, really want one!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

RT Booklovers Convention: Enjoying Ohio's Capital City - Bookstores

Those free books, ARCs, and other goodies just not enough? Want to do some additional book shopping while you're visiting Columbus? The following are the locations of several bookstores to check out while visiting Columbus. Several stores have multiple locations. I've listed the locations closest to the Convention site.

Barnes & Noble - Lennox Town
1739 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, OH 43212
Additional locations

The Book Loft (Independent Bookstore)
631 South Third Street
Columbus, Ohio 43026

4545 Kenny Road
Columbus, OH 43220
Additional locations

Half Price Books (Used bookstore)
West Lane Avenue
1375 W. Lane Ave.
Columbus, OH 43221
Additional locations

Monday, March 22, 2010

In My Mailbox (1)

So, my first In My Mailbox meme. Hosted by Kristy, The Story Siren.

The Last Track by Sam Hilliard (Goodreads First Read Giveaway)

Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Black (Carolrhoda Labs)

Friday, March 19, 2010

RT Booklovers Convention: Enjoying Ohio's Capital City - Resturants

Nath emailed me the other day to see if I was going to the RT's BookloverConvention this year since it's in Columbus (where I live!). However, I don't have the $350 librarian fee in my budget. Though, I am thinking about checking out the huge book fair, which will only set me back $5!

Anyway I think Nath and I are going to try to get together to do some book shopping around C-bus! I'm excited, I've never met any of my blogger buddies so it should be fun. I was also compiling a list of local restaurants and other
sights for Nath while she's in town. I'm sure there's plenty of events at the Convention to keep folks busy but surely they'll wanna venture out and experience some of what Columbus offers right?

So for those of you who want some suggestions from a Columbus native on where to eat here are my suggestions. Most of the restaurants I've listed are all within walking distance of the Hyatt Regency (the Convention site). The Regency is located at the corner of High Street & Nationwide Boulevard. Pretty much everything I reference will be North of the Regency on High St.

If it's nice out, I would highly recommend walking around the downtown area, not trying to drive. As in most other big cities, parking in downtown Columbus is a total pain in the ass. The Nationwide Arena and all the "Arena District" restaurants are literally across the street from the Regency. North of the Convention site lies some of the best restaurants, shops, and art galleries in Columbus in an area called The Short North (also the mecca of gay life in Columbus). Other great areas near downtown Columbus include Italian Village & German Village.

And of course North of downtown is The Ohio State University, my alma mater, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes! Obviously I'm a little biased and would suggested a stroll through campus! :)

Without further ado here are a list of some places to check out while you're in Columbus!

High Street (All North of the Regency):

Arena District
(Across the street from the Regency)

(Not within walking distance)

Non-High Street (Not within walking distance)

One event I do want to mention is the Short North Gallery Hop. I know Conference events will probably keep everyone busy but I would definitely take a stroll down to the Short North on Saturday, May 1st to experience the Gallery Hop. Here's a blurb about the Hop:

Every first Saturday, thousands of visitors converge on the strip to see new art exhibits and add to their growing collections. With dozens of galleries and non-traditional exhibit spaces, it’s Columbus’ favorite night of the month to celebrate art. Though many shops are open earlier, the Gallery Hop officially starts at 4PM and runs to 10PM with restaurants and bars staying open considerably later. -Short

You'd be able to walk a little North of the Regency and be in the Short North for the Hop. The Short North Business Association's website has a downloadable walking tour (you don't have to sign-in they're on the right-hand side) of the area. Or you can view it on their website here.

As you can see this list is mostly recommendations of restaurants. However, if people are interested, I can do a post on shopping (have some great malls in Columbus!), or local bookstores & their locations, or additional sights to see! Just leave comments about what you might be interested in learning, from a native, about Ohio's Capital City!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patricks Day!

This time last year I had just booked my trip to Ireland with my cousin. St. Paddy's was our way of gearing up for the big trip. Here are some pics from the trip.

Inis Mor, Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland

Inis Mor, Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland

County Wicklow, Ireland

Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland

Limerick City, County Limerick, Ireland

All images © Book Fare Delights 2009 and cannot be reproduced or used without permission.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Northanger Abbey

So, it figures, I start up a new book review blog...and I stop reading. Le sigh.

I HAVE, however, been getting some BBC/Masterpiece Theater productions from the library. Watched both Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion recently. This time around it was Northanger Abbey. I was pretty ignorant of the plot line, as I was when I watch Persuasion. I think the only thing I've read about NA was that it was Austen's parody of the Gothic genre and was more satirical than any of her other works.
I really enjoyed this production.

I thought Henry Tilney, played by J.J. Feild was super (cute!). I thought our "heroine" Catherine Morland, played by Felicy Jones, was a complete nit-wit. Again, I haven't read the book or any literary criticism on the book/characters so I don't know if Catherine is a parody of heroines in the Gothic tradion or what, but I really just wanted to smack her upside the head.

Overall, I really enjoyed this production. And that J.J. Feild, *swoon* !!! I'm definitly going to be checking IMDB for his other movies!

Thanks, as always, to the ladies at Lights, Camera...History! for all of their suggestions and reviews. It's my go to place to get suggestions. Here is their review of Northanger Abbey.

Some Austen Eye-Candy:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Abundance of Austen

So I have a confession. It's an embarrassing one for a former English major and a current librarian. It's downright criminal.

Here goes: until last year I have NEVER read any Jane Austen.

Whew. That's quite a load off...

We read Pride and Prejudice as one of our book club selections. And beyond that I haven't read any of Austen's other works... yet!

Now, I've always enjoyed period movies and I LOVED the 2005 theatrical release of Pride & Prejudice. I know, I know some die hard fans of the 1995 BBC version probably cringe at anyone other than Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and I know there are serious Kiera Knightly haters out there but, in truth, I've enjoyed ALL the version of Jane Austen movies/mini-series I've seen. Granted I haven't seen a ton. And I turn to the ladies of Lights, Cameras, History! for guidance on what period movies are worth my time and which ones to skip.

So last night I just finished the newest BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, which I enjoyed immensely. I have to say I think I liked it a little more than the 1995 movie with Emma Tompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. I think for one reason I have a hard time seeing Alan Rickman as a romantic hero. All I picture him as is either the evil Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves or as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. So, the Colonel Brandon in this version was a little easier for me to see as a sexy older suitor for Miss. Marianne Dashwood. Also, I'm not a HUGE Hugh Grant fan so I kind of liked the BBC's Edward Ferras better as well! Although I thought Emma Thompson made a fabulous Elinor Dashwood.

I also watched the BBC's newest version of Persuasion earlier this month as well. I really liked that too! I wasn't really familiar with the Persuasion story so it was all new to me. And Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth? *SA-WOOOON* I'm thinking of getting The 39 Steps because he's so yummi-licious! And no, I haven't seen the much beloved 1995 film version of Persuasion. But it's on my list!

I have to say I'm glad I'd seen the film version of P&P before having read the book. It's a little easier to figure out whats going on. You'd think that because my focus area in college was medieval literature I'd have an easier time reading Austen, but....not so much. It took me awhile to get through it. But I'm glad I did. I'm looking forward to many more Austen tv/film adaptations followed by readings of the books.

I've NEVER seen any version of Emma and have no idea what the plot of Northanger Abbey is, so I'm looking forward to being enlightened.

I'm also looking forward to checking out some other BBC and Masterpiece Theater productions of Bleak House, Jane Eyre, and Northanger Abbey.

As for North & South...well, I think I owe Kristie(j) a whole post on that ;) ! As a matter of fact, I think North & South opened me up to the wonderful world of BBC productions! Hmmm, think I might need another viewing of N&S... SOON! :)

So does anyone have any favorite Austen books? TV or film adaptations? Other period films to suggest? Do share!

Monday, March 1, 2010

January & February Reads 2010

Originally I had just my February reads but since the list was so pathetically small I decided to add my January reads as well. Have also included their grades:


5 Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (Book Club selection)

4 Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfiffer (Book Club selection)

3 Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

From Dead to Worse by Charlene Harris


At Face Value by Emily Franklin - Note, it was a DNF not b/c the book was bad but I was just not feeling it at the time. I may go back and try again at another time.


5 Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (Review coming soon!)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Review coming soon!)

Four Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

3 Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Angel's Peak by Robyn Carr

8 books and one DNF. And I'm STILL reading the 3rd book in the Jack Reacher series, Tripwire, by Lee Child. I WILL finish it. I just kept getting distracted by other books!
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