Discussion Post: Originality, or lack there of.

So I wanted to write a little discussion post about something that’s been bothering me lately with the books that I’ve been reading. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so many books in the same genres or maybe I’ve read enough hyped books that I feel like I’ve read every kind of story I can in that genre. But lately, I feel like everything I read lacks some originality, or that I’ve read that story before minus some of the specifics, you know? And I’m not really talking about retellings because those are suppose to hold similarities to their original stories.

I’ve been wondering if it’s simply because I read so much in my preferred genres that I’ve overread that genre, or are authors recreating great storylines with their own twists because they think that’s what people want to read? I’m definitely not calling anyone out specifically just making a general observation. I feel like once you’ve read quite a few hyped books in a specific genre then honestly, you’ve pretty much read them all. It’s really disappointing because every genre can bring so much to the table. Now maybe some of you are thinking ‘well maybe you are just reading too many hyped books?’ but in retrospect, I try to avoid reading a lot of hyped books. I’ve DNF’d so many hyped books it’s not even funny, but at the same time I’ve loved a lot of hyped books.

I’m also wondering if it has to do with the fact that SO MANY young adult books have been published in the last few years. We went from a huge influx of YA dystopian and post-apocaylptic genre books (ie. the mass movements that came from THG and Divergent, etc.) to right now where it seems we’ve moved on to a huge influx of YA fantasy books.

Recently, I read a YA book that was pitched as Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I didn’t know this when I read it (because I almost never read synpopsis’ of books before I read them). But while I was reading it all I could think of was Percy Jackson but instead of Greek Mythology it was Witches. Maybe not exactly plot and settings exactly the same but that’s what it felt like I was reading. That alone made me want to DNF because what? I felt like I was reading the same story all over again. In the end, I read the whole thing and I was glad for it because it redeemed itself for me. But to think that within the first 30% of a book someone wants to DNF because there’s a severe lack of originality, that’s a probem. And I’ve been having that problem a lot lately.

So the question it comes down to is this: is there a severe lack of originality in some genres or have I just read too many books in those genres? And at this point I have no idea because I’ve been pushing myself to branch out and I’ve loved pretty much everything I’ve read outside of my comfort genres but I always feel myself being drawn back to the genres that I love.

How do you feel about all this? Do you think there has been some lack of originality with the influx of YA books in the industry in the last few years? Or is there a corelation to reading in specific genres and only those genres? And do you think hyped books has a lot influence when it comes to what is being written these days?

Female Characters in YA: A Guest Post!

I’m super excited to share this post today on the blog, I’ve never had a guest poster before and I can’t wait for you guys to read what Liv over @curlyhairbibliophile has to say on the topic of Female Characters in YA. Also, just throwing this out there if you are interested in writing a guest post for BookishNight please let me know so we can set something up!


I’d consider myself a feminist. Over the years, feminism has gotten a really bad rap in real life and online. If you search ‘bad rap’ on dictionary.com (I wanted to make sure I was using the correct form of rap), literally one of the first examples is: Feminism gets a bad rap, and people perceive the movement as meaning something very narrow and specific—and negative.” Dictionary.com even agrees that feminism has a generally bad reputation.

Let’s bring it back to the dictionary definition of feminism:

Untitled

For the most part, YA fiction has done a pretty good job of advocating for women. As of April 2016; most of the best seller books are by female authors. Most girls are the main protagonists of YA books, but there is still work to be done in the world of Young Adult novels.

The biggest thing I notice in YA books is how bad girls are represented in books. Girls are seen as incomplete if they don’t have a love interest which is extremely false. One of the best examples of a book where the female character doesn’t rely on a love interest is The Hunger Games. Katniss is one of the best female characters in all of YA literature. She endured some tough events through the books. There was still love incorporated in the book, but it wasn’t a key element to Katniss’s success. But when we hear The Hunger Games being discussed it’s usually: “SOOooooO who do you like better: Gale or Peeta?” That completely dismisses the MAIN PLOT of the story.

I think the reason why everyone emphasises on a strong female character is because of how there is a lack of them in the YA genre. Dynamic, female characters are a big (for lack of a better word) book turn on for me. Some of my favorite strong female book characters are:

  • Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (as I stated above).
  • Emma from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar by Ransom Riggs.
  • Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.
  • Hermione from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

There are SO many books that feature strong female protagonists, but these are just a few.

To sum up this post: Women are being represented better and better in the Young Adult genre, but there is still work to be done. By saying this: I don’t mean to forget about all the books that feature male protagonists and that are written by men. Just be more aware of the way females are being represented in books.

What do you guys think of female characters in YA? What are some of your favorite female characters? Let me know down in the comments. I’ll be looking at the comments. Thanks for reading my post, and a HUGE thanks to Sky for allowing me to guest post on their blog. Thanks again, everyone!


img_2265Hi everyone! My name is Liv, and my personal blog is curlyhairbibliophile. I have curly hair and I love to read (hence my blog name.) I love writing, reading, and traveling. I also love grammar, tea, cats, and the internet. I’ve been reading YA books for about four years, and I’ve been blogging for a couple months. I live in the North Texas area with my family, my dog, and my cat. You can reach me on my blog (see above), my Goodreads (curlyhairbibliophile), or my twitter (Grangerliv).

(This is what I look like!)

 

Asexuality and the Young Adult Genre.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post for awhile now. I want to start off by saying that I identify as asexual. I mean, I’m sure you know that if you’ve read my bio on here or on Twitter. For those of you who aren’t sure what asexual means, it’s pretty straight forward. Asexual is used as an umbrella term for individuals that lack sexual attraction towards others. Feel free to ask any questions about asexuality! I’ve will do my best to answer them for you.

Now there are a few things I wanted to touch on when it comes to asexuality in the Young Adult genre. Firstly, that as an asexual reader it gets difficult sometimes to want to read (what I know would be) really great books because the love and sex take over the plot. Of course, I’m not speaking for all books in the Young Adult genre but a good majority of them have some type of sexual action in them. Or even when it comes to things in the community like having “book boyfriends” and such. I always feel like I’m missing out on a lot of interaction with others in the community because I’ve never thought about having a book boyfriend or girlfriend or anything when it comes to the attraction of characters. I always end up thinking how weird it is honestly, and a little awkward (but hey, I know that’s just me!) I remember when they started the whole “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” thing and I was just like ????? At first I thought maybe I was just weird because I prefer women, but I still don’t think I’ve ever backed a “team” thing for book characters. Don’t get me wrong I have swooned over characters before, but not because of anything to do with sexual attraction. I mean, I still feel love, I still think cute romantic things are swoon worthy, but those are two completely different things to me. And honestly, this is almost always the reason why I don’t join any fandoms.  Sometimes it just out right sucks wanting to be involved but not being able to find a common ground with others because I don’t find a book character so attractive it’s all I can talk about. And please remember, I know I’m generalizing and that I also know that not every book, every fandom, every blogger is like this.

Which sort of brings me to my next point. The lack of asexual characters in Young Adult is disheartening. Honestly, the lack of diverse characters as a whole in any genre is even more disheartening. Like, hello? we are here! we exist! Do you know how amazing it would have been to find characters and stories in books growing up that contained all the wonderful things that make Young Adult so good just without 3/4 of plots revolving around relationships and sex? If publishers and authors think that there stories must have sex in them to sell then something is obviously wrong here. I don’t 4 star and 5 star books because of the sex. I star them highly because of their content, because of it makes me feel, how I connect with the characters, not because the characters had sex. I remember last year I mentioned the lack of asexual characters in Young Adult books and was really excited when someone sent me a link to a list of books with asexual characters. Only to be soon disappointed to find that they were all side characters. And their asexuality was almost never talked about. It was a random comment here or there to imply what they identified as and that was it. I know it’s the same for a lot of sexual orientations and gender identities in the Young Adult genre.

I think there is a general misunderstanding when it comes to asexuality. A lot of people I meet think that as soon as I say that I’m asexual their response should be “but aren’t you married? how can you be married and not have sex? I didn’t think asexuals could love other people” Like whoa, take a step back their buddy. Love does not equal sex. Let me repeat that again, love. does. not. equal. sex. Now okay, if someone identifies as Aromantic then yes, they usually don’t feel any type of romantic attraction towards others. But again, Asexuality does not equal Aromanticism but I know plenty of people who identify as both.

I admit, I haven’t really spoken up about this before because it feels like I’d be fighting a lost cause. Our world, our society is so over sexualized that it blows peoples minds that there are people out there that don’t want to have sex, or can’t have sex or are repulsed by it. There are a ton of great posts out there by other book bloggers talking about sex in Young Adult, on a variety of different levels. And I’ve read a lot of them and agree with a lot of people are saying about how much is too much, etc. But in the end, for me, it’d be nice to have everything that makes a good science fiction, or dystopian or even a fantasy Young Adult book without have to skim through chapters that have a bunch of sex in them.

I’d also just like to say this, I know there are so many diverse people out there waiting, wanting, screaming for recognition. And I stand with every single one of you. There needs to be more diversity in every book genre. There needs be more acceptance of all the amazing diverse groups out there. There needs to be books out there with diverse and accepting characters. Those books could save lives. Those books could save children, teens, adults from spending their lives thinking something is wrong with them. Because society is so stuck in it’s heteronormative ways that they are scared of anything else that might be out there. Well guess what? we’re scared too, scared that no one can see us, that no one can hear us that no one will accept us because we don’t fit into the perfect little mold society has created.

 

Why is swearing taboo for book bloggers? A short discussion post.

I just wanted to make a short discussion post on something that I’ve noticed come up in the book community ever now and then. Using swear words in blog posts or reviews.

On a language level, swear words are only swear words because that’s the name we give them. “Words are what you make them.” So what makes a swear word? Why are they so taboo when they are so commonly used on a day to day basis?

I’ve seen people say that they use swear words in their daily life but struggle not use them on blog posts. Even I’ve struggled with it before as a newbie blogger.

So that’s why I’m asking, who says we can’t? I know the first argument will be “but it’s unprofessional.” But why is it unprofessional to express surprise or shock with “holy shit!” it’s an idiom, right? swear word or not. Or saying “that’s fucking amazing!” it’s an expression, so why the hell not?

Another thought I had was are we saying swear words are taboo because we are trying to impress someone? authors? publishers? but if it’s part of our dialect why shouldn’t we speak that way? There are authors in the YA genre, who use swear words in their novels for their characters dialects. For example, Sarah J. Maas uses variations of swear words in a few of her Throne of Glass novels without a second glance. But then other authors like Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff within their novel Illuminae, chose to block out the swear words like, “████ing”, so you still get the jist. Is that because of the style of the book, aesthetics, or just not wanting to use swear words?

So answer me this, why are we still considering swear words to be taboo on our blogs? Do you use swear words? Do you try your hardest to not use swear words? Why?

I’d love to hear what you have to say on the topic!

Discussion Post ~ Book covers that change after the first (or second) book.

There’s that saying, you know “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but honestly, I’m a sucker for a good cover. I can’t help it, I’m big into art so when I see an aesthetically book cover, I tend to want to read it. Which hasn’t always turned out for the better, but that’s for another discussion post, another time. What I wanted to talk about today is when book covers change after the first or second book. For me, I find that super uber frustrating when I’ve already bought the first book and then BAM second book comes out and it’s a completely different cover. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s for the better but 9 times out 10, it’s not. Here are two examples of first books that I absolutely LOVED and then the rest of the trilogy got changed to covers I didn’t love.

Example 1: Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. Leviathan (book 1) and Behemoth’s (book 2) covers were gorgeously done, the colour scheme’s worked so well with the steampunk theme of the book.

See what I mean? These first edition were hardcover and they were perfect, I actually have a first edition Leviathan hard cover on my shelf, but I was never able to get my hands on that cover of Behemoth, sigh. So when book 3, Goliath got released, plus a re-release of Leviathan and Behemoth, I don’t know what happened.

The faces on these covers don’t even match the illustrations done in the books?? I never understood the need to not give Goliath the same cover design as the first editions.

Example 2: Dust Lands trilogy by Moira Young. Again, book 1, Blood Red Road’s cover that had a great colour scheme and composition.

Then book two, Rebel Heart and three, Raging Star are released, as well as a re-released book one cover and I just don’t even know where to begin. The same quote on the cover, the title of the trilogy bigger than the title of the book….

dustlands

I understand there can be circumstances where the covers need to be changed. But c’mon, those first edition covers are gorgeous and should have been kept consistent for the rest of the trilogy. I’m okay with trilogies and series getting new edition covers, I usually love so many different edition covers I can never decide which to buy. But at least finish out a set of covers before giving them new ones.

How do you feel about book covers changing after the first (or second) book? Do cover changes or just covers in general matter to you when buying a book for your shelf?


Disclaimer: In no way am I trying to bash these books, or the cover artists. I love both of these trilogies so much, I just feel like book covers should be consistent.