Posted in Book Memes, Discussions

Should readers read books outside their own age range?

“Your Noise reveals you, Todd Hewitt.”

First line in The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Welcome fellow readers. I hope you’re having a great day and thank you for stopping by. Today’s post is for the weekly meme Let’s Talk Bookish, which is hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books. Each week we dicuss a different book related topic, and this week the topic is: Should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?

It’s a heavily debated topic we’re diving into today. Therefore, I’ll start with providing a light definition of these age ranges.

Middle Grade

  • Written for ages 8 to 12
  • No profanity or graphic violence
  • Romance is limited to crushes and innocent first kisses.
  • Themes often revolve around friendship, bullying and family.
  • The characters don’t do much self-reflection, but instead react to their immediate surroundings.

Young Adult

  • Written for ages 13 to 18
  • Romance and sexuality are prevalent themes although no graphic sexual content is allowed.
  • The characters are often put in new and difficult situations and the books deal with the struggles to find one’s place in the world.
  • Relies more on self-reflection than middle grade books.

Adult

  • Written for ages 18 and older
  • Anything goes.
  • A more complex story and setting is allowed although not required.

Disclaimer: these aren’t definitive explanations because those don’t really exist. They are just to give you an idea of what I’m referring to when I mention the age ranges.

Now, when discussing the topic of reading outside of one’s age range there are two sides: to read books meant for someone older and to read books meant for someone younger. Let’s start with the first one.

Reading books written for older readers

In my opinion, this is where we run into most problems. As you might have noticed when reading the definitions above, MG and YA are mainly defined by what isn’t allowed in those books. These restrictions are there for a reason, and that is mainly to protect children and teens from content they aren’t mature enough for. I’m not an expert on the minds of children, so I’m going to go much more into that here.

However, I’m also all for breaking the rules. For a middle grade reader that means the parents can allow a book meant for someone older, if they deem it appropriate for their child. They know the child best, and in such cases I don’t think age ranges should be looked at too rigidly.

With teens, I’m fairly certain they can make these decisions themselves. Also, if you tell a 15-year-old they aren’t allowed to do something, you can be certain that’s exactly what they’ll do. Instead, I think it’s more important that teens figure out their own reading tastes and that include reading something they don’t like. I highly doubt they’ll be scarred for life.

To sum up, I don’t think anyone should feel forced to read books meant for someone older, but I do believe it can very educational in terms of figuring out what one likes as a reader.

Reading books written for younger readers

As you can probably tell, I have far less issues with ‘reading down’. There’s no more worrying about not being emotionally ready for certain topics. You can just read what you want.

To more specifically answer the question of the week: should readers read books that are written for younger readers? I think you should at least give it a shot. Reading books meant for children or teens can give you a great insight into the mind workings of these age groups. We’ve all been that age, but we tend to forget what actually mattered at that point in our life. Reading MG and YA can therefore be quite benefitial if you in your day to day life surround yourself with children or teens.

However, if you’ve tried MG and YA and didn’t like it, then of course, you shouldn’t read it. Just don’t look down on other readers who do enjoy it. We’re past that, aren’t we?

To just elaborate on that – I think it’s perfectly fine for adults to read MG and YA as long as you review the book with that in mind. What is deemed great in an adult novel, isn’t necessarily deemed great in a YA novel and vice versa. The result can be a too low rating for a MG or YA novel and that might discourage someone from the target age from reading it.

This section summed up: read what you want but be aware of what you’re reading.

That was a bit of a long one, so thank you if you read all of it. I hope it made you think just a little bit. What are your thoughts on these age ranges? Do you read books that technically aren’t meant for you? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Book Memes

WWW Wednesday – November 6th

“It was midday and the passageway quiet and cool.”

First line in Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

Hi, guys and welcome to another WWW Wednesday. It’s a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What did you recently finish?

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner which is book 5 in The Queen’s Thief series. It’s also the last published book in the series which means that I’m finally caught up. I loved the book so much however! I meant to take my time with it but it completely took over my entire Sunday. I read it as an ebook and the last 60% was just over in a flash. So now I wait for the sixth and final book in the series.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading two books as usual. My commute book is still The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, which I started last week. I have about 110 pages left. My feelings about it haven’t changed – I still can’t get enough of it. Everyday I’m hoping my 45 minute bus ride will be longer because I just want to keep reading. Yes, I’m actually wishing for more time on public transportation. That’s how much I love it.

Just last night I started You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman, so I’m only a single chapter into that. The first impression isn’t that great though. That first chapter felt incredibly rushed. I feel like I’ve already been introduced to every single character and all the plot points – both big and small. I didn’t have time to grab onto any of it, but that can change of course so crossing my fingers.

What do you think you’ll read next?

As soon as I finish The Girl in the Tower, I’m going to pick up the final book in the trilogy The Winter of the Witch (see me being good and finishing series). I’ve already picked it up from the library so it’s for sure happening.

How is your week going? Also, let me know if you’ve read The Winternight Trilogy and what you thought of it.

Posted in Book Memes

WWW Wednesday – October 30th

“Jarred stood unnoticed in the crowd thronging the great hall of the palace.”

First line in The Forests of Silence by Emily Rodda

Hi, guys and welcome to another WWW Wednesday. It’s a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

2 books (techically 3 when I’m writing this). This weekend I started Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner, which is book 5 in The Queen’s Thief series. It is one of my favorite series ever, and this is the last book that is currently out. Even though we’re following a new character, I only had to read from his POV for 5 minutes before I was in love with him. In other words, I’m enjoying myself.

The second book I’m currently reading is The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, which is book 2 in the Winternight trilogy. I’m 50 pages in but I’m already feeling the cold. Like literally, it’s freezing here in Denmark.

Technically, I’m still reading The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill, but I only have 25 pages left and should finish that today.

What did you recently finish?

I actually finished The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson after I’ve been reading that since August. And then I actually finished it a week earlier that I planned to simply because I couldn’t stop myself. It was so good! Amazing fantasy and I need more.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Honestly, I don’t have a clue. I just started two new books so it will be at least a week before I pick up something new again. I think I might just go down to the library this weekend and see what’s available. Maybe the last book in the Winternight Trilogy to tick that series off my list.

Posted in Book Memes

Are TBR’s necessary to be a book blogger?

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.”

First line in Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Hi, guys and welcome to another Let’s Talk Bookish post. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books. Each week we discuss a new book related topic and this week we’re on the topic of TBR’s. The specific question is whether TBR’s are necessary to be considered a book blogger or a reader.

I will start off by saying that the only thing necessary to be considered a book blogger is that you talk about books. Nothing else. In what way or how much you do it are solely your own choices. Therefore, no, TBR’s are not necessary to be a book blogger, but they can still be convenient.

If you’re able to stick to your monthly TBR (more or less), I think it’s a great way to let your followers know what to expect on your blog. Personally, I like to look forward to a review on a book I love because I’ve seen it on someone’s TBR. That also means, of course, that it can be frustrating for your followers if you post a TBR and then don’t stick to it at all. I know that I don’t like reading monthly TBR’s that include 20 or 30 books, because I know they’re not going to read all of them anyway.

I don’t post monthly TBR’s myself because I never know what I’m reading, and it would stress me out too much to try and stick to it. For me, seasonal or maybe even yearly TBR’s work better.

Posting about your TBR (not necessarily monthly) could also just generate some buzz around those books. Through your comments you can find out what other people think of them and find out which ones your followers look forward to your review of the most. It could help you pick out which books to read first if you care about that sort of thing.

That was it for me this time around. Do you think TBR’s are necessary? Or do you find them too restricting? If you’re someone who do monthly TBR’s, let me know why.

Posted in Book Memes

WWW Wednesday – October 23rd

“The Fourth Crown Princess of the Blue Crescent Islands had sixteen rituals to observe from the moment of waking to when she broke her fast.”

First line in Dragonfly by Julia Golding

Hi, guys and welcome to another WWW Wednesday. It’s a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading 2 books and they are repeats from last week’s post. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, which I have about 210 pages left of. I’m also still reading The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill, which I have about 190 pages left of. A part of me is hoping to finish this one today actually. I’m on vacation from work this week, which means I’m able to spend 3 hours on a train to visit a friend. Will I be able to read 190 pages in 3 hours? Stay tuned for next week’s post to see how this cliffhanger turns out.

What did you recently finish?

I finish 2 books within the last two days and my enjoyment of them is at each end of the spectrum. Bad one first: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski. Last week I talked about how I wanted to DNF it but I managed to pull through. Not that that made it any better though. 1 star.

The perfect one: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell. That feeling when one of your most anticipated releases turns out to be just as good as you expected it to be. I read it in 2 days and that was me trying to read it slowly. I’ll have a review up for it soon so that you can all see me gush about this book. My rating of it is 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5).

What do you think you’ll read next?

I just picked up The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden at the library so probably that.

That was my weekly update. I’m so happy to have time off from work. I’m definitely using it to catch up on some reading. How is your reading going this week? If you have a WWW Wednesday post yourself, feel free to link it in the comments so that I can check it out.

Posted in Book Memes

Underrepresented Tropes and Characters in Books

“Today is the last day I will see my brother.”

First line in Taken by Erin Bowman

Hi, guys and welcome to my first post for the weekly meme Let’s Talk Bookish, which is hosted by Rukky over at Eternity Books. Each week we get a different bookish topic to discuss, which is always great and educational. I’ve been reading her posts for this meme for a while and so I finally decided to take part. This week’s topic is tropes/characters that I think are poorly or under represented in books. I think these things are very genre-specific so I’ll stick to my favorite genre, fantasy. It will also mostly be relating to tropes and characters I miss in YA although it can apply to adult fantasy, too. I will also say that I haven’t read every single fantasy book ever (unfortunately), so these might appear in books I just haven’t read. However, since I haven’t come across them, I will still say they are underrepresented.

The introverted, socially anxious girl who isn’t good in a fight

It isn’t completely odd to see this type of character in books but most often they appear as side characters. This type of girl is never the main character in fantasy. She pops up more often in contemporaries, and I love reading those. I would really like to see her more in fantasy basically because I would love to identify with female fantasy characters more. Don’t get me wrong, those kick-ass, well-spoken women are great, and they definitely also need to be there. They serve a very empowering purpose for other women which is what we’ve been craving for a long time.

Now, they’re just everywhere and I think there’s a need to show some more flawed women in fantasy or at least women with some other qualities and assets. Specifically, the introvert who’s not physically strong but has other attributes. She could be highly intelligent and/or empathetic. There are many options, so dear authors, please include this character type some more. I know it can be difficult to incorporate this character into an action-packed fantasy story but I believe it can be done.

Sports in fantasy worlds

We all know about Quidditch, but I when I was thinking about making this list, I couldn’t recall any other sport from a fantasy world. So many parts of fantasy worlds are copied from our own world so why are sports not more common? The only thing that really come close are those deadly competitions where people gather to watch someone die. Those appear quite often in fantasy. I was thinking of a slightly less violent version of that which of course would incorporate whatever magic the world has. Like Quidditch.  

Only one point of view

I’m not sure if this is considered a trope but I wanted to include it anyway. In fantasy, it’s become more and more popular to have several POV characters in books. Please stop that. There will always be a character I like more than the others, so I’m bored or annoyed when I have to read chapters from the other POVs. It doesn’t mean I hate the book, but it would be nice to just once in a while read a fantasy book with only one point of view. Especially in YA. A YA book doesn’t need so many main characters because they don’t need to be that complex in terms of characters. Remember Harry Potter? The Hunger Games? Only one POV character, and those books are still considered some of the best YA books ever. It can be done.

I’ve also noticed that many authors use dual perspective – a girl and a boy. I think it’s very clever to include different genders to get different perspectives. If it wasn’t because they ALWAYS fall in love, I would love it. Another advantage of a single POV there. At least it would be a little bit more of a surprise who the love interest is (because you know he/she is going to exist).

Do you miss these tropes and characters as well or are there others you wish authors would include more? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Book Memes

Extraordinary Book Titles

“Chapter the first, in which the Messenger of the Immortals arrives in a surprising shape, looking for a permanent vessel; and after being chased by her through the woods, indie kid Finn meets his final fate.”

First line in The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Hi, you lovely people. I’m here with another Top Ten Tuesday post and this time the topic is extraordinary book titles. It’s the kind of topic that is open to interpretation because what is an extraordinary title really? For me that means titles that are completely their own. Titles that can never fit another book and at the same time captures the essence of the content of the book. I have found ten examples of those unique book titles and I’m very excited to share them with you.

Remember, Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Go check out her blog for future topics.

As mentioned, I have ten titles for you. The first 5 are titles of books I’ve already read while the last 5 are books I want to read. Many of these books caught my attention by their title so enjoy!

Books I’ve Read

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Reasons for being awesome:

  • The promise of mischief.
  • All the L’s. I love saying it out loud.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Reasons for being awesome:

  • The hint of both America and Britain and their blending together.
  • It fits the story perfectly. 

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Reasons for being awesome:

  • Sounds like something out of a Shakespeare play.
  • Could also be the title of a dramatic song in a Broadway musical (the true goal of all book titles).

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Reasons for being awesome:

  • Hilarious!
  • Makes you intrigued as to who ‘the rest of us’ are. And why are they just living there?

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Reasons for being awesome:

  • You know the ending but still want to read it (how is that even possible?)
  • You know you’re going to cry so no unpleasant surprise there.

Books on My TBR

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

Reasons for being awesome:

  • It reminds me of the song by The Beatles called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (which is funny because I don’t listen to The Beatles).
  • The implication that there’s an entire hotel filled with loneliness and sadness (I like depressing books, alright)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Reasons for being awesome:

  • It’s way too long. I love it.
  • Makes me imagine a cute, little planet with a face on it. I just want to give it hug.

Autoboyograhy by Christina Lauren

Reason for being awesome:

  • Clever!
  • You might need to read it twice to get it.

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Reasons for being awesome:

  • The word ‘library’.
  • Hints at a library with secrets. What is unwritten??

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

Reasons for being awesome:

  • So relatable!
  • Thought-provoking in the best way possible.