Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Walking the Walk

So girls, I was reading a post the other day by the ever-amusing Merry Sisters of Fate. They were discussing why it is okay for us old folks to watch teen movies, but not read teen books. Tess brought up the "walk of shame into the YA section," (been there) and Maggie mentioned how women come to her signings and apologize for not being a teen.

At first I was thinking that I don't feel bad about reading YA. I mean, I LOVE it (obviously), but then I realized that to my non-YA-reading friends I often qualify my reading choices by saying, "It's all my mama brain can handle these days." Ouch. I've said that a lot. And really, it takes away from the complexity that is YA lit these days. Sometimes I find myself re-reading certain passages a few times to make sure I *get* what just happened. Other times I am blown away by a surprise twist that the author throws out. YA Lit doesn't mean easy, but I myself am guilty of shamefully bowing my head and pretending that it is just that - easy and fluffy.

The sisters do ask a good question - WHY do we do this?

PhotobucketI'm completely ashamed to admit this, but I'm guilty of having just done the "closet read" last weekend. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. When you're sitting on the airplane and you position the book on your lap so that the only way anyone can see the cover is to pry it out of your dead, cold hands.

Of course, I am an equal opportunity offender. I've taken more dust jackets off Charlaine Harris novels than I have YA books. Maybe that's because I always default to the "I'm a teacher" line if anyone questions my YA selections. Ew, I'm cringing as I'm typing that. After all, the only excuse we should need for reading what we read is because we like it, right?

Exacty! I regularly find myself saying, "I have a degree in English Lit, so I've read all the classics. It's okay for me to read this stuff right now." I'm cringing too. "This stuff," however, also includes the Charlaine Harris books . My Walk of Shame is not limited to the YA section. Before True Blood mania hit, I would take my Southern Vampire Series books up to the front of the store quite quickly and place it face down at the register. But, you're right - these books are what we like - what's the shame in that? And, they're good.

Okay, I have to admit that I don't actually feel shame. I mean, I'm sure I'm CAPABLE of being shamed, but not by my reading choices. I love to read, and I read a lot. I refuse to hide what I'm reading because it doesn't fit into the genre society has decided a 30ish mom should be reading.

Of course, I also refuse to hide the fact that I'm a video game girl, and I was known to wear green nail polish and anime tee shirts all through college. So, yeah. Maybe you should just continue this conversation without me. *runs off to teach her kids what a Moogle is*

PhotobucketWhen I was reading and swooning about Twilight, a lot of my friends razzed me about it. Then the movie came out, and suddenly all the naysayers were Facebooking about how tired they were because they had stayed up all night to finish reading the book. It's as though they needed validation to read it, and the movie franchise gave them the excuse they needed.

Well, that's a sort of group mentality that affects all of society. It's like if all the popular girls in school started playing Dungeons and Dragons, then suddenly it'd be "acceptable" to play it too. And who, in today's culture, represents the popular girls better than Hollywood?

Photobucket*going into shock* You mean it wasn't acceptable to play Dungeons and Dragons? Does this mean I wasn't as popular as I thought I was?!

But it was cool to play Cthulu, right? RIGHT?!

*confused face* Cthulu? Dungeons and Dragons? What the hell are you guys talking about? *smirk*

But you do make a good point. Once Twilight became a major phEEEnomenon (Thank you Oprah for ruining that word forEVAH), it did seem more socially acceptable to read and love those books. And, I think it's also more acceptable to read YA in general after Twilight. The girls in my book sharing club don't give me too much trouble about me only sharing YA books. In fact, they love them too. They just don't have to walk into the YA section - they all borrow mine. Cheaters.

So, what about you all? Do you do the Walk of Shame into the YA section at your local bookstore? Do you order online to avoid The Shame? Do you make up excuses like Cher and I, or do you flounce The Shame like Leigh? Do tell!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Reading Rain-bow: Paper Towns by John Green

So, you may have noticed that we are posting a bit sporadically here at Whimsical Fic. Sorry about that, but we do have good excuses. Mine is about 6 months old and is very demanding when it comes to her mama. (And I couldn't be happier about it!) Leigh is off on a fun-filled family vacation (and they haven't killed the kids yet, so all is going well). So, thanks for bearing with us during this crazy time! We'll be back on track shortly.

While on my trip, I read the final installment of the Percy Jackson series (LOVED it) and Paper Towns by John Green. (I would have read more, but I blame the awesome entertainment selections on Emirates airlines - I was finally able to watch Glee! Well, that and the complimentary drinks. *ahem*)

I picked up Paper Towns based on a recommendation by @heatherwpetty on our Kissing Scenes post. In the comments she mentioned it had a good one, so of course I had to read. The kissing scene was great, but so was the rest of the book- bonus!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

I was a little hesitant about getting this book because it isn't my usual type of YA book. As you all know, I generally stay within the paranormal when it comes to YA, but I am happy I stepped out of my comfort zone for this one.

This book is basically an intensive character-study paired with a coming-of-age theme. I loved it. I do have a soft-spot for coming-of-age books, and this one nailed that theme. Surpassed it, really, because Green's characters surprised me numerous times throughout the book. And the characters are really wonderful. I'm pretty sure my favorite character is Radar. His eccentric parents made me laugh out loud (even though they don't actually show up much, or at all?, in the book).

This is a great book for summer reading. It's funny (in unexpected ways) and interesting and will keep you guessing for sure. I definitely recommend it.