Book reviews & writing tips from a wannabe YA writer
Yesterday’s year-end wrap-up of the top 10 YA hotties was fun, but today the word of the day is…quantitative!
This year, I finished 102 books, up 45% from last year.
The breakdown by genre:
The breakdown by rating:
2009 was also the year I started this blog:
Taking into account number of comments, feed reader views, and web page views:
A graphical representation of the top words used on this blog, thanks to Wordle:
Did I really use “slut” and “slutty” that much? Geesh.
Before starting this blog, I didn’t know any adults who were as crazy about YA as I am. Now that I’ve found a whole slew of you, I don’t feel like such a weirdo anymore. Not only that, you’ve cheered me on when I needed it, commiserated over TBR lists, encouraged me to try new things. You rock.
By the way, I just installed a new commenting tool, DISQUS. Check it out at the bottom of this post, and let me know what you think. DISQUS integrates with social networking tools like Twitter so you can see the entire discussion in one place.
Your Turn: Whew. I honestly can’t think of anything else interesting to quantify, but let me know if you can, and I’ll consult the spreadsheets.
With Christmakwanzahanukkah well over, I bet all those gift cards are burning a hole in your wallet. So let me help you spend them.
In order of lesser known to most popular*, these are the best 10 books I read in 2009. I got all but one of these books from the library, so I slapped a $$$ icon next to books I’m going to spend my gift cards on this week. These are the titles I foresee rereading one day or lending out to my non-YA-reading friends.
In the mood to drool over a sweet new honey? Try these 2009 releases.
Jack Tumor by Anthony McGowan $$$
When’s the last time you read a book with a talking brain tumor? That’s what I thought. This book has gotten the least attention of my entire top 10 list, and that’s a damn shame. It even has the stamp of approval from my reluctant reader hubby. (Psst, Guys Lit Wire, this one’s for you!)
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine $$$
Another absolute hottie that didn’t get nearly enough play in its first year in the US. Rowan is a girl dealing with grief and a depressed mother, which sounds like a drag but add in the love interest and clever writing, and this one will hit all the right spots.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson $$$
A haunting beauty of a book. Knowing that it was about a girl dealing with an eating disorder, I didn’t want to read it. But I saw it in a bookstore, read the first 15 pages, and was hooked. It took all my self control to put it back on the shelf and wait for it to come in at the library. Which is funny since this Friday, I’m going to my local bookstore to buy a copy to keep anyway.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The second book in The Hunger Games trilogy is bit of a tease. But in a good way. You’ll have to wait til August for the final installment, but in the meantime you can have a taste of the juiciest love triangle in all of YA.
Sure, they’ve been around the block a few times. But trust me, they know what they’re doing. You won’t regret taking them for a spin.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta $$$
This story unfolds a little at a time. Every time you get another glimpse of the full picture, it’s like a finger beckoning you to come hither. A bit of a heartbreaker tempered by humor and hope.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The sexual tension and flirty banter will get you all aflutter, but the depth of the story will hit you where it counts. This one has the added bonus of a geek chic author, so even if the book isn’t your cup of tea, you can flip back to the author photo every now and then to get your fix.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
My review is forthcoming, but in the meantime I can tell you that this dystopia has just the right amount of social and political commentary (i.e. barely any at all) with the perfect dose of heart-stopping mystery and love.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Girls who kick ass get my heart racing (see also: Buffy), and Katsa could kick your ass in the time it would take you to flip to the next page. This is fantasy done right: The world rings true, and the sexy bits will warm you up on a nippy night.
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Parker is a perfectionist who’s made a huge mistake. From the first page, it’s obvious she’s having a hard time coping with that reality. With her biting sarcasm and dark humor, she’s not a fun person to be around. But she sure is a good read.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The cougar of this list has an undercurrent of war that will keep you on your toes, but the 15-year-old narrator makes the book. Don’t be fooled by the name Daisy—she’s no vapid little flower. Her funny, clever storytelling is likely why this book is the most popular* of all the titles on my 2009 list.
For a complete guide to all the “best of” lists out there, browse the “Best of 2009″ Book Lists.
*Popularity determined by Googling the title plus the author’s name, then counting the number of hits.
Technorati just started hosting original content, so I threw my hat in the ring as one of the authors for the Entertainment channel. The topic areas for that channel are Celebrity, Film, Gaming, Music, and TV. Nothing for books. Let alone YA.
So my first post is geared towards helping adult readers see the YA light: 5 Books to Recapture Your Youth.
I highlighted five YA books that adults would enjoy. Here’s what I chose, in no particular order:
For all but the last title, I’ve recommended it to a non-YA reader, and they’ve enjoyed it. I also tried to pick recent works to show how YA has grown up in recent years. It was all very scientific, you see. But I’m curious as to what other YA aficionados would have picked.
Your Turn: Which five YA books would you recommend to an uninitiated adult?
Photo by m7780a82.
A couple weeks ago, one of my Goodreads kindred spirits said she’d like to see my TBR list. And suddenly my skin felt a little clammy.
Because I don’t want anyone to see my TBR list. It’s sort of…big. Minus the “sort of.” I’ve been adding books to it since 2003, but books don’t come off at anywhere near the rate they go on.
How big? 555 books, to be exact. At my current rate of reading, it would take me over 5 years just to read what’s currently on my list, which doesn’t even take into account all the new books coming out in that timeframe that I’ll want to read.
I bet this sounds familiar. Maybe your TBR list/pile/albatross has a physical presence on your bookshelves. Sure, I’ve figured out some tricks to help me resist the urge to buy books, so my list is virtual. But no less overwhelming.
I never want to pick a title off my list because I know I’ll never get through it all anytime soon. If I read a good review, I add the title to my library hold list. Unless my hold list is already maxed out. Then the title goes on my TBR list, and it’s never going to get out of that list alive.
What would you recommend as my next steps for whittling down my list to something more manageable?
I’d like to get my list into shape so I can convert it from my Google Docs spreadsheet to a Goodreads and/or LibraryThing list. But in the meantime, at least I can show some pretty charts from the spreadsheet.
Dursley-ish parents throwing a fit over their kids reading a curse word or about—gasp!—magic, books thrown into bonfires, kids having to make do with My Friend Flicka when the mean people make Captain Underpants go into hiding. These things are not good, I think we can all agree.
But there is one situation when banning books is a good thing. And that’s when you’re addicted to buying books.
My name is Kelly, and I am addicted to buying books. There was a time when I couldn’t walk out of a bookstore without spending over $50. And we’re talking weekly visits, if not more. My husband knew not to take it personally that I never made eye contact with him while inside a bookstore.
When all 5 bookshelves in our house were overflowing and I had to choose between installing bookshelves to span every wall and putting our animals in storage to make room for more books…I knew I had a problem.
I know, it’s fun. Reminiscing about the good ol’ days up there made me a bit twitchy to get myself to the nearest bookstore NOW.
Even if I could afford to spend that much on books, there’s something about finding a book, holding it in my hands, and deciding I want to own it that gives me a high. Maybe it’s the possibility that the story within will be an instant favorite. Or I could be about to discover a hidden gem that I can tell the world about.
But what I learned is that I don’t have to spend my hard-earned money on a book to fall in love with it. And if I do find a new favorite, I can always buy it after I return my library copy.
Even if you’re not addicted like we are, cutting back on the new books you buy has a few benefits:
Ready to try it out? We pulled together some handy dandy tips to guide you in your journey to healthier book buying habits:
For more great tips, check out these posts!