This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: What is a contemporary book you think might become a classic? Or should become a classic? This is a difficult question for me because I don’t read a lot of literary fiction which is, in my experience, what is most likely to be taken seriously. Even within genre fiction I’m not super likely to read the critically acclaimed literature as much as I am to read the fun literature.
But perhaps I have a bit firmer of a grasp on what is going to be remembered in children’s literature and YA. While kids lit has a firm set of books that are by and large considerd “classics”, YA is so new that other than The Outsiders it doesn’t. But since there is so much content written for teens now, I think it’s inevitable that these lists start coming out.
When thinking about what would be included in a list of YA classics, it’s impossible to believe that the list would not include something by John Green. He has been consistently producing work that has received critical acclaim for long enough to be, well, influential. The only question would be, which book? Looking for Alaska is the most widely used in schools, while The Fault in Our Stars is easily the most popular of his books. In my opinion Paper Towns has the most to say about what it means to be human. I think ultimately Looking for Alaska’s consistent use by teachers and frequent bannings (which keep it on the librarians’ radar) will land this book in the YA cannon as that begins to develop.
Full disclosure, we don’t celebrate Mother’s Day at my house. I mean, it’s nice to have a day where everyone remembers to say “I love you Mom!”, but I kind of hate random gift giving. Sorry, tangent.
This week we’re celebrating books with great mother/daughter relationships! Family dynamics are one of my favorite things in a book, especially when they’re done right. Unfortunately parents are absent in a lot of books, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been gravitating towards more adult fiction lately.
Before I go on to my pick I want to give a quick shout-out to The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan! I read this book last summer and just fell in love. I felt like it really captured the complexities of the mother/daughter relationship in a way nothing I’ve ever read before has. And it also made me feel like I understood my own mom better. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend.
Now on to my pick! My favorite mother/daughter relationship in a book is…
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
I have always felt that it’s important to differentiate between something’s quality and how much you personally liked it, but with Turtles All the Way Down that distinction is even more necessary than usual.
I am a fan of John Green’s. Not his books, so much, John as a person. I’ve been watching him on YouTube since before I even knew he was an author. John and his brother, Hank, are both amazing people who really care about making the world a better place. They’re funny, smart, kind, and giving. Plus, like half the good things on YouTube are there because of them. (slight exaggeration, get over it)
When I first picked up An Abundance of Katherines in 2013 because John was starting to become pretty big in YA, the trend was to LOVE his books, especially The Fault in Our Stars. It wasn’t unusual to see teens living their life in TFIOS t-shirts or with DFTBA accessories. John was appearing on talk-shows, they were turning his books into movies, and people basically adored him.
Since I became a book blogger I’ve noticed a different trend. I guess John’s been popular for long enough now that it’s become cooler to not like his books. I typically expect to see criticism when I see his name on a book blog.
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…
Of all John Green’s books, Paper Towns has been my favorite. This is probably because the main character, Quentin, reminds me strongly of myself, and his other main characters have always irked me. But the concept of the book was also distinctly more interesting to me. It is written almost as a mystery novel, and I found myself fascinated by the unraveling of Margo’s clues. The themes were also themes I think are important for young adults to understand. The idea that everyone is a human being just like you seems on the surface so obvious, but when you really stop to think about it, is so profound. We are all interconnected, each individual as complex and unfathomable as the next. As Quentin finally learns, you can’t be mad at anyone for being who they are. But I especially intrigued by the idea of Margo as a paper girl. She puts on an act of what she wants everyone to see, the whole time hiding the complex person she really is, and hating the life she is leading. How many young girls can relate to Margo! I hope she gives them hope, and helps them understand that they just need to be themselves.
The only thing I didn’t particularly care for about this book was the large amount of swearing and underage drinking. Now, I understand that John writes about real people, and that real teenage boys swear and have an unhealthy fascination with their sexual organs. But I feel that when writing for young adults you become a role model. Especially when it comes to teen drinking, an extremely unhealthy activity (no matter how much we want to ignore that fact), YA authors should be presenting a better example. And as much as I love John Green as a human being, I feel that all of his books fail to provide this positive role model that our youth so badly needs.
There is basically no rhyme or reason to the way I choose books. Sometimes I take recommendations, sometimes I just spot a book in a store that looks interesting, sometimes I seek out a particular kind of book. So this tag should be fairly interesting! Thanks to The Orangutan Librarian for tagging me!
Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I was actually working at Borders Books when they went out of business, and I got this book during the liquidation sale. 40% off! I wanted to read Sherlock, and this was the first I’d ever seen that was a stand-alone. Continue reading “How I Choose My Books Tag”→
Goodreads is my favorite way to decide what books to read. I love that I get a summary, reviews from all kinds of people (usually good and bad), discussion questions, and a set of books its similar to. Plus, if I’m not sure what to read next, it makes recommendations! And don’t even get me started on the yearly challenge.
But there is one thing I just hate about Goodreads.
Created by Little Blind Book Finds. View the original post here.
It’s been ten entire years since I was a freshman in college. Wow. It doesn’t feel like it. I’m not very good at this adulting thing… Anyway, but because I am a teacher and my husband works at a university, I don’t feel all that removed from the college experience, so this book tag really caught my attention. This should be fun!
Give credit to the creator. (That’s Little Blind Book Finds, y’all.)
Answer the questions to the best of your ability! You don’t have to be in college or have gone to college to answer these!
Tag three people to complete the tag.
Roommates can be a hit or miss experience freshman year, especially when you don’t get the opportunity to pick who you room with. Name a character you’d love to be roommates with and one you’d hate to be roommates with.
There are two book characters that I would have loved being roommates with in college. The first is Cath from Fangirl. Cath would be a great roommate because she is low-key, preferring to stay in rather than going out all hours of the night (just like me!), and low maintenance. She would be there to hang out with on a Friday night when everyone else was out partying, but if I needed some space she wouldn’t be desperate for my company. Plus, if we can just pretend Simon Snow is Harry Potter, than we could have been the biggest fangirls of all time together. I don’t know anyone else who loves Harry Potter like I do! The other character who would be a great roommate is Sam Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings. If he took care of me the way he took care of Frodo, I would call myself one lucky hobbit.
I would absolutely never ever want to be roommates with Draco Malfoy. He’s a jerk, he’s a racist, and I would get tired of hearing him talk about himself all the time. And even though his mom was always sending him sweets, I bet he never shared. Continue reading “The College Freshman Book Tag”→
Last night my husband asked me how my day was. After filling him in on what my toddler and I had done that day, nothing too different from what we’ve done every other day this summer, I admitted that I was already getting kind of bored. Not because I am already tired of not going to work. Oh no, not at all. But the things that are fun for my toddler aren’t necessarily all that fun for me. For example, yesterday he wanted to play Boo. It was sooooo cute and sooooo much fun … for about three minutes. But he kept playing for seventeen minutes longer. And heaven forbid I pull out my book and start reading while I play with him. He will have none of that.
Anyway, I felt (and still feel) kind of guilty admitting this. I love my son, and I enjoy playing with him, but … I don’t know. Not as much as I think I’m supposed to.
Later we watched John Green’s Vlogbrothers video from yesterday, and it really struck a chord with me.
John talks about a phrase he heard in a movie he really likes called Rushmore, where a character says “I ain’t even here, Sergeant. I’m in Cheyenne, Wyoming.” John talks about how ever since then, he has used the phrase “Cheyenne, Wyoming” to describe when he is really immersed in a project. He often seems to be not there, even when he is, because his brain is so totally focused on his project.
This is something I can completely relate to. I get more than a little obsessive, and have been known to stay up until one or two in the morning (more shocking when you consider I usually go to bed at nine…) because I can’t sleep because I just HAVE to get started on a project.
And I realized, that’s why I’m feeling a little frustrated with my obligations as a mommy this summer. I’m currently in Cheyenne, Wyoming.