Monday, May 10, 2010

Young Adult literature as Adult Literature

I find this movement in reading very interesting.

Part of me wonders if this has something to do with the reading levels of us as Americans.  Are people starting to read "young adult" literature because they do not feel comfortable reading "adult" literature  Now I am by no means saying this is the case for everyone.  As I know from class, everyone can read adult literature and still enjoy young adult lit.  But I was thinking more people outside of academia, maybe people without any college or with very little.

Maybe people have been corrupted by lifestyle and technology, and now feel that adult lit is too different from who they are and too much to read.  It seems to me that what is popular in young adult lit is things that are very big in the media (and not for being controversial).  Maybe that is a big reason for this phenomenon.

These are all just thoughts.  Maybe literacy and reading level have nothing to do with why young adult lit is such a phenomenon.  It could all just be a matter of taste, or something else.  It would be hard to come up with statistics on these things unless you did some sort of wide-ranging, scale-upable survey.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Men in Book Reading Groups

Our discussion on men in reading groups was very interesting and I thought that maybe I could make comment on it, seeing as how I am a man.

Now I don't know if I qualify as a "regular guy" or if there even is such a thing.  But I wonder if one of the reasons that men do not attend book groups is because of a feeling of alienation.  Because women seem to be dominating book groups, men might feel like they won't belong.  Now women might feel differently or even offended that someone might feel like they won't belong, but it can be intimidating. 

Another reasons could be because men might be lazier, or feel they have more important things to do with their time.  Now this does not necessarily mean watching the sports game thats on tv or something, but maybe they value time with other men or friends more than participating in a reading group.

A third reason might be that reading groups simply aren't reading books that men want to read, or they feel that they will not in the future.  Girls might be more comfortable reading from a large spectrum of books.  Men however, are probably less comfortable with books that are considered to be "feminine." 

Finally, maybe men are coming to expect reading groups to be composed mostly of women and reading "feminine" books, and thus won't even give advertisements for them the time of day.  Because reading groups have been so for a bit now, men might have bad assumptions about reading groups.

It seems that the hurtles reading groups have to overcome for more men to join are quite a few.  As for myself, I simply don't have the time with graduate courses and work.  But hopefully I can help up the statistics for men in reading groups in the future.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

YA Crossover Novel

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
By J.K. Rowling

The Final Chapter in the Harry Potter series. Harry and the gang set out for the final battle with Voldemort, the ultimate evil. Epic battle scenes ensue as questions are answered in this wizard free-for-all.

What makes this a YA crossover:
- Contains many adult themes such as: death, coping with it, and good not being absolute
- While geared towards teens in a fantasy/adventure level, adults can connect with the characters on a deeper level and still enjoy the adventure
- With this book especially, the writing is on a level adults can enjoy
- Contains a bit of romance, something that tends to attract older readers
- Characters age throughout the series, therefore the themes get more and more mature with each book

Check out this site for a great list of read-a-likes:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nonfiction Review

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity by Richard Rorty

 A book on "postmodern" philosophy, Rorty offers insights into how we relate to others (whether or not we can, etc...) and what that means to us as humanity.

Who I would recommend this to:
- Anyone interested in postmodern philosophy would be interested in this book.  Rorty just recently died so he is very current when it comes to philosophy
- Hard to say, philosophy is such a limited genre, people don't really venture into philosophy (especially this far) without usually knowing what they are doing and really wanting to
- Might be better for someone doing a philosophy research project, or maybe even something psychological

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Landscape (Fantasy) genre book review

The Eye of the World (book 1 of the Wheel of Time Series)
 by Robert Jordan

- A journey begins for Rand al'Thor and his friends when his town is attacked by dark beasts.  Rand's is a world with magic and ultimate evil threatening their future.  Rand and his friends are on a path to fighting this evil, but with 12 or 13 books left in the series, they have a ways to go.

How is this a fantasy book:
- Detailed setting, this series has its own world and mythology, similar to a Lord of the Rings deal.
- Magic, magic, magic. Different than Harry Potter though, in this series they weave magic.  Maybe a good series to read for those interested in basket-weaving (joke).  But characters do obtain the ability to use this magic.
- Good vs. Evil is a large part of the story.  On top of that, good and evil are very clearly defined, there is no room for misinterpretation.  Because of this characters are usually either good or bad, no gray area.
- Large mood range, can be humorous and also very serious.  Characters can make you laugh or make you very angry (they say stupid things often).
- Sow start as the world/mythology/characters are set up and started.
- Medieval type setting so jargon is based in a similar style.

- The Final Empire (Mistborn series) by Brandon Sanderson
- Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth series) by Terry Goodkind
- A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire series) by George R. R. Martin
- The rest of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
- Dungeons & Dragons/Dragonlance series's by Various Authors

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Intellect Genre (Literary fiction) review

Invisible Cities
 by Italo Calvino

 Marco Polo tells Kublai Khan of the cities he has seen throughout Khan's vast empire.  The majority of the text is a description of the different cities and what they hold.  Each is very fantastical and different than any other.

What makes this book literary fiction:
- Style is important, Calvino is very unique and this book is no exception
- Structure of the novel is experimental
- Not much to be said for characters in this novel, unless you consider the cities to be characters, each of them is unique and metaphorical
- Storyline is thought-provoking, unique, and philosophical
- Pacing is... well depends on how much time you want to spend dissecting each city
- Tone is thoughtful and hard to pin down, some cities are more morose and others are more happy

- Caspian Rain by Gina Nahai
- The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch
- Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
- The Heart of Redness by Zakes Mda

Sci-fi Genre Read

2001: A Space Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke

When a black slab is discovered on the dark side of the moon (insert Pink Floyd reference here), Mankind is lead on a journey out to Saturn. With a supercomputer along for the ride, the astronauts leading the mission are unaware of what they are really looking for.

How does this fit into Sci-fi:
- Advanced space travel and technology, but also maintains a sense of realism
- Ethics reexamined in light of new technology
- Science creates an important frame of the story
- Focus of story drives the pacing, set in space so seems somewhat slow at times
- Clarke is considered a key author in science fiction and 2001 a classic.

- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
- Mars by Ben Bova
- Starfarers by Poul Anderson
- White Light by William Barton