The Monday Mix is a meme created by Alexa over at Alexa Loves Books. This meme post basically gives bloggers the opportunity to share some of their favorite posts from other sites from the past week. I love this idea because I often find posts that I love or want to read but don’t have time to, and The Monday Mix seems like a great way to keep track of things and share some blogger love.
1. Over at Presenting Lenore, Lenore Applehans (author of Level 2, a. k. a. The Memory of After), made a list of pitches that grab her and pitches that turn her off to a book. I’m definitely with her on fairy tale retellings, parallel worlds, travel, dystopia, and music/dance/art. I, however, would love to see the stream of consciousness style spread into the young adult genre, especially since I like writing quirky things like that myself. As shown by my review of Zenn Scarlett, I am also not a fan of books about animal (or in this case alien) cruelty/rights.
2. I’ve been thinking a lot about mood reviewing lately as more posts on the subject keep popping up on blogs like YA Book Lover. I don’t think mood reviewing is necessarily a problem as long as you’re aware that you do it. I know that I’ve done it sometimes. I’m sure most readers are more willing to bash a book in times of distress and turmoil, and even though we might try to ignore our own emotions and make objective judgements, you read with your heart, and if your heart’s not in the right place, it will probably affect how you feel about a book.
3. I also liked Book Chick City’s post on cliffhangers. I don’t always like cliffhangers. Sometimes, when I’m reading a series and the book ends on a cliffhanger, I end up remembering the cliffhanger and forgetting most of the story when I read the other books. I think that if your series is really good, you shouldn’t need a cliffhanger to keep readers interested, which is one reason I imagine authors do it. The one cliffhanger I’ve read recently-ish that worked for me was the ending to Pandemonium, which I honestly hadn’t been expecting at all. I thought it was funny that this book popped into my head right as I began reading Book Chick City’s post, and then she wrote that the cliffhanger in Pandemonium made her refuse to read Requiem.
4. More about Maureen Johnson’s coverflip contest. She wrote about how even though we’re not supposed to judge a book by the cover, everyone does, and you base your expectations on what’s inside on the package it comes in. Of course, just because a book comes in a girly package doesn’t mean its contents are inferior, but people are more likely to judge them as such because of our patriarchal society. On YALSA, Julie included some of her own questions about covers and whether or not they really related to the author’s gender and/or the story inside. I was struck by Why We Broke Up and Looking for Alaska, which have covers no one would ever describe as “girly,” though one of them is narrated by a girl. For those two covers at least, I don’t see what the image outside has to do with the writing inside, and it does make me wonder how much cover designers are influenced by the author’s gender as opposed to the content.
5. Anna of Anna Reads wrote this cool post about traveling with books, something I imagine all book lovers need advice on now and again. Before I had a Kindle, I didn’t really think about picking books to travel with based on whether they were paperback or hardcover, although obviously one would be lighter than the other. When I’ve been abroad I’ve only every brought physical books, but depending on where I go next I might bring my Kindle instead. Traveling in the country, I always use my Kindle now because it’s light, though of course I do worry about losing it or breaking it.
6. At Reader of Fictions, Christina wrote a post about her appreciation for the blogging community. She talks about both positive and negative aspects of the community that I think are important to think about, such as how invalidating someone else’s review invalidates your own. Great blogger lessons to live by.
7. Lisa of Read. Breathe. Relax. was definitely a unicorn in terms of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday about books dealing with tough subjects. While everyone else was focusing in on the contemporary genre, she went rogue and talked about books from mainly the fantasy genre, which I thought was super cool. You go, Lisa!
8. I like Pure Imagination’s “Book Breakups” feature a lot. I always have a hard time putting down a book, even one I don’t like, because I feel like checking it out/getting it from a publisher/buying it means I need to commit to it even though it makes me crazy. I just feel bad when I don’t finish a book, even though I know no one else will know and sometimes you just don’t click with a book. Maybe I’ll adopt Book Breakups, too.
9. I did a presentation on YA adaptations of Jane Austen in my college writing proficiency course (ew, required courses), so of course I had to include YALSA’s post on Persuasion and For Darkness Shows the Stars this week.
10. In response to Cuddlebuggery’s post about book OCD, Jaime wrote a post about her lack of book OCD. She continued on that track this week in a post titled “Sometimes I Do Things That Would Probably Make Some of You Cringe.” I myself do all of these things, but don’t feel it means I don’t respect the book. Books are meant to be loved, so loving them is okay!
11. There’s this amazing post that features photos of handwritten outlines for novels by famous authors! I wish I could somehow zoom in on the pictures/decipher the terrible handwriting, because I’m really curious about each person’s system for novel-planning. My personal favorites are J. K. Rowlings chart for Order of the Phoenix and Faulkner’s notes on the wall of his office. <3Faulkner
12. I am a big fan of flowcharts when they concern YA books, so of course I loved this one on finding the funny YA book that’s perfect for you. Super cute, plus, I was really happy to see Going Vintage on there, because that’s definitely been one of my favorite reads of 2013.
13. I was very moved by E. M. Kokie’s post about female desire in YA as well. This is a topic I feel doesn’t get dealt with enough in YA lit, partially because it’s so overshadowed by frilly, substance-free romances. It’s certainly true that there are more books dealing with male desire in an open way than books dealing with female desire. I tried to think of some of those books but could only think of 3 off the top of my head (Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt, Judy Blume’s Forever (of course), and Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick). Authors seem to be much more willing to be sexually explicit when the narrator is male, but not so much for female narrators. I think that is partially because as a culture, we judge men less for their sexual actions and desires than we do for women. This post also made me think about how it’s very important for an author not to judge their characters, and in relation to this topic, maybe we again judge boys less harshly than girls for their desires and actions.