Reading Teen Fiction

Over the years, I’ve read quite a lot of teen fiction, or young adult fiction and immensely enjoyed it. There are so many gems in the genre, and some amazing writers.

Whilst studying English literature at undergraduate level, I discovered that there was some dissent to even considering teen fiction as literature.

There seems to be a stigma around reading teen fiction, about perhaps the way it is not considered literary enough for it be anything noteworthy. I have personally never understood this concept.

Literary fiction implies that the novel that is published under this name is somehow superior. The Oxford Dictionary describes literary as “Concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form.” Quality of form implies that it is a well-written piece, or it is valued for it’s form, and it’s use of language, perhaps over the plot of the writing. This could also be seen as marking ‘literary fiction’ as a superior writing genre, as it is ‘quality of form’. It could could also imply that the person writing in this genre is somehow better than someone working in teen fiction, or even children’s fiction.

I’m curious as to why that is. Is there a certain aspect of teen fiction that doesn’t meet a certain criteria? Is there an element of classism that makes it not literary?

Classism wouldn’t be hard to rule out, if it is viewed as not literary, then that implies a substandard. That only ‘real’ readers will reader literary works, and that the ease of access of teen fiction or the aim at younger reading implies that there can not be a literary concept to teen fiction. The ease of access implies that anyone can read it, whereas if it were considered literary, it could imply that it is inaccessible to ‘normal’ readers.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Your Top 5 Book Recommendations!

We all have our favourite books, but what are your top 5 reading?

What are the top five books you can think of that you always go back to reading?

Mine would be:

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (technically it’s one book!)
  2. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
  3. More Than This by Patrick Ness
  4. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

All five of these books have influenced me in quite a large way, either growing up or as a person. I always struggle to think of my top five favourite books as they change quite frequently. For example, if you’d asked me maybe ten years ago, Harry Potter would have been on that list, too. And whilst Harry Potter was still an influence part of my reading, it’s not in my top five anymore. Maybe in ten years, my top 5 will have changed again.

What are your top 5 favourite books? Let me know in the comments!

What Do You Think Makes A Successful Novel?

What do you think makes a successful novel?

What does a successful novel mean to you? Is it how well it does sales wise, or is a successful novel because you enjoy it?

There are two ways to look at success in a novel, and for me they are both just as important as the other.

Sometimes successful novels that sell well are not always successful novels in other ways. For example, there’s sometimes always the negative connotation that successful popular literature is not successful in the writing department. This is not always necessarily true, but for some, it is not a successful novel to them.

In another sense, a successful novel might not be as popular as some, but is successful in drawing in a reader and is written successfully.

Success within writing is always a matter of personal opinion, and how you understand an authors writing. It’s how you relate to the way the author writes. For example, I personally, really enjoy Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy, but when I’ve recommended it to people, they have not enjoyed it as much as I have due to the writing style of the book. For me, the novel was a success, for others, they might not agree.

What is your interpretation of success? How do you value a successful novel?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Happy Pride Month!

June is Pride Month, and to celebrate, let’s share our favourite LGBT+ novels!

Is there a character that you feel you can relate to?

Do you have a favourite author from the community?

Patrick Ness is an amazing teen fiction author, and his characters come from a wide variety of backgrounds and sexualities.

As an asexual myself, I have not yet found anyone to relate to myself. This could just be because of my avoidance of typical romance novels, or perhaps I just haven’t looked hard enough.

Share your thoughts on your any good reads from the LGBT+ in the comments below!

Well-read

What constitutes as well read to you?

For me, when I picture a well-read book I think of broken spines and the indescribable smell of paper.

A book that is well-read has the signs of being read and loved.

As a younger reader, I used to loathe the idea of breaking the spine on a book and the thought of bending pages on it would send a shiver up my spine, but there’s also something special about a book that has obvious signs of reading.

A book can tell a story, but it can also tell a story about the reader. It can show your reading habits, how much you’ve enjoyed the book and how much you’ve taken from a book. A book that sits on your shelf or next to your bed looking too read is just as amazing as a book that looks untouched.

I remember once going to a book convention in London, and I apologised to the author who was signing my book about how unkempt it looked. But they told me it showed them I had enjoyed.

There is always another side to the story, and what you take from it. I used to be so bad about preserving my books the way I’d bought them, but now I don’t mind so much when they end up a little worse for wear.

Do you have any unbreakable rules when it comes to looking after your books? I find a lot of people differ on their views on books than I do, and it leads to an interesting discussion!

A Book Cover

Many of us, like me, find a kind of solace in visiting the book shop. There’s something about the smell of a bookshop that greets you and welcomes you.

The first thing you notice about a book? For me, it’s usually the cover.

If the book cover is interesting, I find myself more drawn to the book.

Perhaps more of a coincidence than anything, but most of my book covers end up being blue. A blue book cover must really spring out to me.

I always admire the effort that goes in to making a book cover, there are so many out there! From shiny, to simple, to abstract art. A good book cover is imperative to get the readers to your book in the first instance.

Where do you place the title of the book? What kind of font is it?

These are all things that interest me.

There are suggestions that with the rise of ebooks and digital reading, the book cover has lost it’s meaning, or is of less value than it used to be. I would like to disagree, with the rise of social media and images being readily available, the book cover has now been granted more than one meaning. Walking into a bookshop and seeing a book cover is one meaning, using the book cover online to promote the book has another.

Browsing through your online stores is similar in principle to walking into a store. You scroll through the lists of books and pick out the ones with the most interesting covers and titles. You make your first instinct of the book based entirely on it’s outside attributes.

Essentially, judging a book by it’s cover. This is why the book cover is necessary, and the need for marketing a book will always secure the use of a book cover.

The book cover is your first impression, does it draw you in? Does the cover of the book give away a little of the story? Does it intrigue you enough to read the summary on the back and to skim a few pages in the book shop?

What do you think? I love a good book cover, especially when I’ve finished and I can tell people about it. A book cover will always make someone interested.

How Do You Read?

In this day and age, accessing a book is getting easier and easier. Accessibility in books is also getting better. We now have e-readers such as Kindle and Kobo, we have the paperback, the hardback, the audiobook.

The different mediums of reading is so interesting to me. For example, growing up, and with the introduction of e-readers, I hated them. I always thought the paperback book was better.

I still do, but I have also discovered how useful my Kindle is. Gone are the nights where I’d be forced the turn my light off early, bring on the nights of reading under the bed covers with my kindle.

The hardback book is also fun, you get the soft feel of the dust jacket. The smell of a new book. The enduring strength of a hardback book is not one to beat.

The paperback is a long enduring favourite. The covers, the ability a paperback has to pull another into a conversation. A book cover speaks volumes, and, for me, nothing beats the ache in your hand when you’ve been holding onto a book for too long!

Then there’s the audiobook. Ever wanted to lulled into a fantastical world with soothing voices? The audiobook is definitely one for you. Recently, I’ve found there’s been a boom almost in people listening to audiobooks, and it’s probably due to the increased availability of the audiobook. You no longer need to buy them on CD/Cassette, it’s available at the touch of a button.

With so many different ways of enjoying literature, which one do you prefer? There are so many now, and I find it harder and harder to choose!