Tag Archive: reading


There seems to be, yet again, someone bashing anyone who reads YA but especially targeting those considered to be “outside” of the acceptable age range for the genre. Setting aside the fact, for a moment, that I believe any reading should be encouraged and that we, as individual people with individual interests, shouldn’t judge what someone else finds interesting or life altering for them, the fact that this blog is so self-serving and judgmental as to bring words like “shame” and “embarrassment” into the conversation loses sight of the argument.

Does this make me heartless? Or does it make me a grown-up?

An article that would have the above statement anywhere in it has, already, devolved into a subjective, limiting, and uninteresting conversation about “what it means to be a grown-up,” and “let me tell you how I am better than you by making you feel ashamed about something.” Sounds like high school politics to me.

These are the books that could plausibly be said to be replacing literary fiction in the lives of their adult readers. And that’s a shame.

That has kept me bashful about expressing my own fuddy-duddy opinion: Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children.

The issue of shame is an interesting one, when it comes to reading and writing in general. Who decides what is shameful? Who decides what should create embarrassment, create a negative emotion centered around societal rules and impositions, on an individual who is reading? According to this article, reading should be some sort of societal movement, a groupthink reality in which we “should” read a certain quality of writing, a certain type of book. Good “literature,” noting, of course, that the article seems to believe only the white, Western ideals of literature are worth noting, are the only ones worth spending any amount of time pursuing.

There are a number of response pieces to the above article, here about Millennials and here about feminism. Looking at these, I feel as if this is a song and dance that has happened so many times.

As a writer, I feel somewhat constrained by the idea of needing to write something that is “adult” or “grown up,” because I feel that no one goes and says “I must read a mature book that others will agree is worth reading.” It’s a little too English Lit major for me (I was an English Lit major, fyi). Why? Why does it matter how I decide to tell my story?

The difficulty with fighting back against this opposition is the very fact that these arguments use words like “shame” and “adult.” The vehicle itself is devalued, therefore any arguments come from a place where you must first justify the entire genre before you can speak to its merits. The context of the historical novels that these articles often cite aren’t discussed, such as how the general population accepted these books when they were first produced, and there is this nostalgic “in my day” quality to everything these articles say.

One of the points that the first article makes is that great literature, such as Jane Austen’s novels, are of great value than YA literature today. Here’s a little quote from Wikipedia on that very subject:

Jane Austen‘s purpose never was to write historical or social novels, nor to provide a balanced and objective picture of late 18th century England. Her stories—considered as “comic”, because of their happy endings—all take place in the society she knew, that of a small rural gentry family, rather well-off though without fortune, around the 19th century.

Interesting, isn’t it? These novels don’t always set out to “define an age.” Not to mention, the “unsatisfying ends being adult” that the first article alludes to goes in direct opposition of Jane Austen’s novels which, for the time, all ended with spectacularly happy endings. Love, wealth, prospects, property…all ends well in Jane Austen novels. This is just one example, but my point is that one can disseminate all of these instances.

YA novels offer a platform to discuss difficult topics of the day. A substantial chunk of the population is reading YA novels, so what better way to create a societal conversation about these works? Not to read them is to blind oneself to the conversation entirely.

Advertisements

Epenthesis-Episode 014: Villains

Funny thing is, I just finished making the villain for my story a couple days ago and I got an email last night to talk about it! It’s weird when these things happen.

Hope everyone is having an awesome NaNoWriMo if you’re participating!

Epenthesis-Episode 013: Believable Characters

Summary: Talking about Murdering Your Darlings, creating believable flaws, and how you can avoid making Mary Sues. I also talk about Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series and how to use unexpected contradictions to surprise the reader.

I’m thinking of writing a text blog tomorrow to give me a little break from podcasting. Or maybe a video blog! Would you guys like to see me making faces while I talk about writing?

 

 

Happy Tuesday everyone! I’m slowing down a bit posting the podcasts since I recorded nine of them before I put them up on the blog. Now that I’m getting closer to “real time” so to speak, I’m figuring out how often I want to update. Might be fun to go three to five times a week. Anyone have an opinion, leave me a message. I’m hoping that these are useful!

Today’s podcast follows:

Epenthesis-Episode 008: Dialogue

This is Part 1 of the Dialogue Series (dun dun DUN!) and I get pretty passionate about it. I also have a nice little tangent in there about the History of Reading class I took in grad school, and how grammar came to be. I might do a video at some point about it since I would have a lot of fun with visuals!

Next episode: Dialogue Tags (Part 2)

Edit: Action Around Dialogue (Part 3)

Epenthesis Podcast – Episode 001: Naming

My very first podcast! As such, it is a little sucky, but only a little bit. Hope you enjoy me talking about how I come up with names and how that effects the way your reader thinks about that character throughout your story.

When you build a character from the ground up, the name is the first piece of that character’s foundation. If not the name, the way he or she is referred to. The reader get’s a strong first impression and everything after that molds the way the reader sees that person. So make it an awesome name!

Logical Conclusions

I’ve been reading a lot more mystery novels lately. Wonderful things really, always good to exercise the brain sometimes. That led me to thinking about constructing intricate and logical plots (for mysteries, this is essential) and how I could apply some of the concepts I’m learning from mystery-reading to my own work.

That got me thinking of geometry (god, I hated you geometry, but some part of you penetrated my poor, abused brain and has stuck with me ever since I had to take you). The same concept was in my LSAT prep book and they called it logic games. Essentially, the point of the exercise (in geometry and also in law school) is to find the flawed logic, that place where you jump to a conclusion that has no real evidence. Something may seem to have a specific conclusion but not necessarily.

Continue reading

I have been arguing with a friend for the past few days about romance, chemistry, and relationships in writing. In the course of our conversations, I said something that made me think about something that has been obvious to me for a long time.

A relationship is its own character.

I’ve been reading a hell of a lot of books recently: anything written by Josh Lanyon (but especially his Adrien English series), just finished “Matched” by Ally Condie, I’m halfway through “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld, and I recently read “Discord’s Apple” by Carrie Vaughn. A quick plug: Josh Lanyon is m/m (male/male) or LGBT. His books are PHENOMENAL, his character building and world building are AMAZING. Not to mention his storytelling is out of this world. Check out anything by him to see all of the following points illustrated masterfully.

Now, I’m going to address three key points by using the other three books as examples that I found while reading. SPOILER ALERT. I will be half-reviewing, half-discussing these books so don’t read further if you don’t want to know what happens in the books. You have been warned!

Continue reading

10 Influential Books

I know I just posted my huge Kindle reading list earlier this week (and believe me, that took a lot of doing considering how long it is) and right after, Marissa Meyer posted her top ten (or at least ten) books that influenced her. Pencil_gal responded here and Loki_onyx responded here to Marissa’s question: which are ten books that influenced you?

Continue reading

Currently Reading

1)   The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Yes, I am still reading this one. I keep getting interesting books and I want to read them right away so I read this between whatever I’m currently reading.

2)   Traitor’s Moon by Lynn Flewelling

I think, if I could only ever read one author for the rest of my life and no one else, it would have to be Lynn Flewelling with her Nightrunner series. It is so good, I can’t even stand it. This is the third book in her series. In a nutshell: her main characters, Seregil and Alec, must journey to Aurenen (Seregil’s birth country) to help Skala in their war against Plenimar. Amazing, brilliant, gripping, I can never stop reading her words. I’m only about a tenth through it and I’m already wishing she had a hundred more books for me to read.

3) The Scene Book by Sandra Scofield

I’m already about two chapters in and it’s rhetoric with a few good points so far. I need to try one of the exercises because thus far, I’m not sure if it will help my specific issues.

Continue reading

While I was checking up on my normal round of blog posts, I saw this post by Cassandra Clare (author of the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices, the first of which is the prequel Clockwork Angel, which I am currently halfway through). And wow, that was a lot of links! Anyway, I was thinking about strategies for marketing books, as it becomes more and more difficult to market books (at least if you don’t know how the industry works). Just by visiting these sites, however, you can see a number of ways that Cassandra Clare has done a phenomenal job with her own marketing.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: