Saturday, December 1, 2007

YA- Why Not?

YA refers to Young Adult-(Teen)-literature; books written for, and sometimes by, teens.

It’s a genre I read a little about when my kids were growing up (trying to keep up). And then in library school I took a course in YA lit. . It was fun. Then I became a YA librarian –serving the population that makes up ¼ of our users. And I met some really cool authors along the way; I’m hooked.

If you have teens in your life, you’ve heard of some of these stories. Even if you don’t, but are aware of popular culture, you’ve been exposed to the genre. Eragon, a movie released last year, is a YA novel. It was written by Christopher Paolini when he was 15 years old. The book is better than the movie, by the way. It’s a fantasy novel about a young man who hatches a dragon and becomes a dragon rider and tries to save the world he lives in. I have yet to read the sequel, Eldest, and I’ve heard the third will be out next year. I’d better get busy. Too busy reading Harry Potter most likely (speaking of popular….)

Kissing the Bee by Kathe Koja was a surprising little book. It really reminded me of some of what it felt like to be a teenager again and it really made me think it would be a great book club book because there were so many talking points: if you could get the young people in your life to open up about all that stuff. Kathe Koja is an author who lives here in Michigan and has won awards for her novels- now I have to read more.

Then there’s Stephenie Meyer’s story of modern vampires in Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. The first one was good; the second was ok (I still wanted to know what would happen); but by the third….it was C’mon already (I really wish you could hear the whine). I know the book was written by a Mormon Mom but some of the plot lines are a little far fetched (even considering it is a vampire/werewolf series and that’s not the part that was far fetched.)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was a great book. Set in Nazi Germany and narrated by Death, it was a great story of the human spirit. It was written as an adult novel but when he sold the rights to an American publisher, it was decided it would be a better fit for a YA audience. All I know is that I liked the book.

There are plenty others out there: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (or anything by her), anything by Chris Crutcher (including his autobiography King of the Mild Frontier), Meg Cabot, Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan, anything by Robin Hobb or Jane Yolan or Brian Jacques or even J.K. Rowling (I know some of you have read all the Harry Potter books) or Donna Napoli’s retelling of fairy tales or even Sarah Miller’s new one Miss Spitfire.

So feel free to take a look at what one quarter of the population reads.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

I get to read for my job. Not on the job, usually, but because it is the nature of public libraries (and I’ve found out even academic libraries do a roaring trade in Reader’s Advisory too). Usually, it’s stuff for book groups or for the reader’s advisory programs we do here at the library. But sometimes, I get to read for me.

Today I’m going to talk about the books I read because I like them. They’re never gonna win Pulitzer prizes but sometimes, it’s ok to be a little less driven.

The first is Creation in Death by J.D. Robb (also known as Nora Roberts) is the 25th book in the Eve Dallas series. It’s billed as a futuristic thriller with a romantic component tossed in. It’s set in New York City in the mid 21st century where Eve is a lieutenant with the New York police department. In this one she has to race the clock to find a serial killer. I knew how it was going to end and in the middle it did seem a little too true to formula but by the end I was unable to put it down because I wasn’t sure how she was going to pull it off. I enjoy the series because it is well written enough so you want to read them. And there’s the sexy Irishman that is Eve’s husband-Roarke. Who doesn’t love a tall, dark, handsome, and RICH man with an Irish accent?

The other is A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton. This is her 6th entry in the Merry Gentry series. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy series set in the human world and the realm of Fairie. It’s not a very fast paced series (the 6 books cover about 1 month of time but then the author writes that time moves differently in Fairie) but it can be very entertaining.
I should warn that this is a very adult fairy tale (bordering on erotica) as the fey( those fairy folk) have a concept of love and sex that is not bound by human convention. This book finally returned the story line back more to the political ramifications of what going on with Princess Merry and her boys rather than what she and the boys were up to( trying not to give the whole plot away). I like the way all the old fairy tales and folk tale heros are brought into the story. Laurell has really done her homework.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Getting Started

I've been thinking about this for a long time and finally decided it was time to put it out there. In my job, I have to be fairly tech savy. This is just one more way to make sure I'm keeping up on the information superhighway (Still staying in the right hand lane for now).
I'll be posting my opinions on books, maybe movies, tech trends (which will be very basic as that's how I learn-one small step at a time.) I hope you find something here and I'm always looking for new selections.

Here's a book I read recently :Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Carrell. It was a fast moving mystery/thriller with lots of reference to Shakespeare, Elizabethan society, and the age old question- DId Shakespeare write all his own stuff? Read the book and find out what they think.

Next on my list to conquer is wikis. They seem pretty easy to get started . I'll let you know. DId you know that wiki means fast or quick in Hawaiian? I just found that out. Now I have another obnoxious way to annoy my kids when they aren't moving fast anough for me!