Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reading Roundup

I had a giant chocolate truffle last night that my husband made. It was delicious. And the sun is shining this morning. In case you were wondering. ;)

So waaaay back in the last week of February--c'mon, people, if I can remember back that far, y'all can too--I posted how I had all these awesome books to read, yet I hadn't read more than the first chapter of any of them.

Well, it only took me a month, but as of this weekend, I've finished three of those books:
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
Soulless, by Gail Carriger, and
Fire, by Kristin Cashore

Now I can plow through the rest of the fourth and fifth Percy Jackson books and not feet guilty. ;)

But I'm glad I read those three book when I did. Frankly, I was getting a little burned out on YA paranormal romances, which is a genre I love to write. I kept telling myself I needed to stay abreast (that's right, I said abreast *giggle*) of what was being written in that genre, but the more of them I read, the more I felt like my work was too different from what people expect from the genre to be popular or successful.

Of course, they said epic fantasy was dead and look at Kristin Cashore. Reading Fire was like going back in time... ya know, to that time like fifteen years ago when I read a ton of epic fantasy. I've got to read Graceling, now, too. She not only revived the genre, but reminded me that not every YA novel has to be set in a high school. Sweet.

That's just one of the aspects I enjoyed about The Maze Runner. Not only did the prose live up to the premise, I really found myself rooting for these kids until the end. Hell, I'm still thinking about them, so guess what's got two thumbs and is going to be coveting the sequel when it comes out in October? *points thumbs at chest* Yes, me. Huh, that bit doesn't go over so well in print. But anyway, if you like adventure novels or are looking for a good book for your 12-35 year old son/husband, it's a sure thing.

As for Soulless, I realized that it was the first non-YA book I'd read in quite some time... not since I read Dearly Devoted Dexter in December--look, I can be alliterative, too. Both of these books have a way with words that I adore. I'd love to be able to do that with my own work, but I fear it would come across as too pretentious for YA, and not suitable for my current urban fantasy. But they were fun to read. It reminded me that I need to read more widely.

In fact, I'd recommend that to any writer feeling frustrated with their chosen genre. Write literary fiction and keep moaning how you'll never be the next Ian McEwan or Margaret Atwood? Read some genre fiction instead. Maybe shifting gears will get your brain out of that rut. And all us old people writing for teens should remember to read books written for old people every once in a while just for fun. ;)

Or just read outside your comfort zone for a change! When was the last time any of y'all read an entire book of non-fiction? That's what I thought. Try it.

You might be surprised by a good book you never thought you'd read.

Anyone been pleasantly surprised by a book lately?

And don't forget today's Beta Club!


Susan R. Mills said...

The only non-fiction I've read lately are books on the craft of writing.

Abby Annis said...

I can't read anything with too strong a voice when I writing. I find that it filters into my own stuff and then I have to rewrite. Sometimes this happens with movies too. Hmm. I think I feel a blog post brewing. :)

Pleasantly surprised? Sadly, no. The book I'm reading right now, just came out, and it breaks like four of those "don't ever do this in chapter one" rules. I guess this should make me feel better, since by this example, I obviously don't have to be perfect to get published. But it's frustrating more than anything. Yeah, I know that didn't really answer your question. Feeling kind of ramble-y today.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

That's great advice, Tere. I agree with you. I think we should all break out of our genres and comfort zones once in a while. :-)

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, my gosh, I just got to part three in Fire and had to go to work! I can't wait to get home and finish it. :)

Sara McClung ♥ said...

gah! I run in fear from nonfiction. I can't help it. Okay, fine... Maybe I'll try it eventually.

PS the fifth book in the Percy Jackson series is made of awesome.

Jade said...

I just finished Soulless too. It was such wicked fun and refreshing to read some non-YA. I also adored Maze Runner.

I've yet to read Cashore but I did just order Graceling.

Tara McClendon said...

That's awesome that you enjoyed Maze Runner so much. I'm tempted to check it out--mission accomplished.

L.T. Elliot said...

I am set in the genre I write but I am a wandering gypsie when it comes to what I read. I'm ecclectic, to say the least. It mostly comes from always needing something to read.

Tere Kirkland said...

Forgot to bring Percy to work yesterday, but I had an "emergency" book in my desk, so I read that during lunch. Turns out it's a modernization of Much Ado About Nothing, one of my favorite Shakespearian plays. Not a whiff of paranormal anything. Been a while since I read one of these, but the voice is SPOT ON!

Glad I had it on hand, because I think this will wind up being one that I pencil notes in the margins. ;)

KM said...

I LOVED "The Maze Runner"!!!!! I haven't read "Fire" yet, but "Graceling" was ok. I wasn't crazy about the MC, but from what I can tell, the MC in "Fire" is a lot different. I'll have to try it.