Break Time

Hey y’all,

I’ve fallen a little bit out of line with my blogging again so I think it’s time for me to say that I need a break from blogging for two weeks. That should do it. Amidst my troubles with semi-unemployment and the pressure of job searching (plus anger at this country for saying the job market is better but that’s not actually the truth for early-20-somethings), my passion for reading has fallen a lot. I’m gonna try to take some time to reread my favorites and hopefully that’ll get me going again. I hope you guys understand! <3

Parallel by Lauren Miller

Details: 419pp, Harper Teen hardcover
Series: N/a
Rating: 6.5/10

Summary (from Goodreads): Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She’d go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she’s in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it’s as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby’s life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby’s senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby’s never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn’t choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that’s finally within reach. Continue reading

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday (38)

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a meme hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. Simply share the first paragraph of the first chapter of the book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.

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Wow, it’s been awhile since one of these! Back for this week, at least. I started Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater on Sunday night — here’s the very first paragraph! [No spoilers for the previous books in The Raven Cycle.]

Persephone stood on the bare mountaintop, her ruffled ivory dress whipping around her legs, her masses of white-blond curls streaming behind her. She was gauzy, immaterial, something blown between these boulders and aught upon one of them. The wind was fierce up here with no trees to block it. The world below was gloriously autumnal.

What are you guys reading (or plan on reading) this week?

Speaking of… (7)

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What books qualify as “challenging”?


Saturday brought my first experience with the Texas Teen Book Festival, and with it came the myriad of overheard conversations when people stand all too close to you in line. My first “huh” experience of the conversations came when a family was discussing their reading habits: they all enjoyed YA literature the best. (Duh.) But as a passing remark a girl simply added to her admission that, although she loved YA, she never felt challenged by it.

Immediately I began critiquing this information. 1) Of course it’s not challenging — you’re in your twenties; 2) So what kind of books do you think you should be reading?; 3) WHY THE HECK do people consider it important to read challenging books?; 4)…but what the heck makes a book challenging?

Feel free to disagree; in fact, please do. (That’s what comments are for!) To me, when people use the word “challenging” to describe a book, they’re generally talking about classic literature and current literary fiction (i.e. Donna Tartt and Haruki Murakami, among others.) But what kinds of things can you find in literary fiction that you can’t in YA? Quality writing, some would argue. However, given the inclusion of Sarah Maas and John Green in YA, I think quality of writing in YA covers just as large a scope as current literary fiction. There are some pretty crummy adult writers out there. And then there’s the subject matter. Remember my review of Free to Fall by Lauren Miller? As long as you’re always reading with an open mind, your mind will spiral into what-if scenarios therefore challenging you to discover all the what-could-happen-ifs and think on how society today relates to your book.

How do you guys decide if a book is “challenging”? Do you like to be challenged while reading?

Speaking of… (6)

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WTF is “genre fiction”?

I’m not entirely sure where this particular topic idea came from, other than the question that came to me in some random shower musings: when people say “I don’t really enjoy genre fiction” in response to being asked whether or not they like reading science-fiction or fantasy books, how does that not exclude all fiction? Even when shopping the “Literature and Fiction” section, there are genres within that: historical fiction, contemporary fiction, classics, and isn’t “literary fiction” just as much a genre as some people consider “young adult” to be a genre? Uh…yes?

To put it in simpler words, I guess, all fiction has a genre. In that case, why have I seen/heard several different people use the phrase “genre fiction” as a condescending way to refer to science-fiction or fantasy when it really refers to all popular fiction (according to Google)? What are your opinions on the use of the phrase “genre fiction”?

NOTE: This question came about after one day at work I was talking about books with a coworker and I said I liked YA, sci-fi, fantasy, books like that, and she said, “I don’t really read genre fiction” in a derogatory tone.

A few updates and one October goal

Scrambling to find a literary or bookish internship to begin the new year has proved fruitless so far. For any of you in the publishing industry, is there anything specific to do when trying to work your way into the industry? I thought (maybe wrongly) that an internship in a city not quite as intense as NYC would be a good place to start, so I’ve been looking at literary magazines in Seattle, Portland, and Washington DC (so far). But it seems that not enough of the magazines even want an unpaid intern? I just want to do something I love — I’ll find pay at an additional job especially if it means I get to do something literary too!

Aside from my researching on my days off from retail, I’ve found my to-read shelves are piling up again. To clear them out just a little bit, I’ve come up with a short-ish list of books I’d like to read by the end of October….

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  • Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (re-read)
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (re-read)
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (if I have time! If not, then November)

Hopefully of that list, I’ll be able to read the first 2 by next weekend, which is Texas Teen Book Festival…where Sarah J Maas will be appearing! I love meeting authors. I will definitely be taking my books to *hopefully* get signed and I’ll *hopefully* purchase Heir of Fire there. And the others… I just love The Raven Cycle so much and I want to re-read before BLLB comes out!

I’ve also got a list going for November, which is the seemingly widely celebrated Sci-Fi Month. I’m not officially signed up to participate, but I will be using the month to read as many of my to-read sci-fi books as possible!

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Details: 466pp, Bloomsbury hardcover
Series: The Bone Season, book 1
Rating: 9.5/10

Summary (from Goodreads): It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut. Continue reading