Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life
Hiya, this is Jenn. I am a reference librarian at my local public library in Indiana and I am using this blog to get some practice reviewing books and (hopefully) discussing them with others. Of course, don’t expect this to always be one of those professional blogs, because everyone needs a place to rant about random things, don’t they?
I have always been a big fan of YA literature, though I generally steer clear of the realistic fiction YA, as it tends to focus on the typcial adolescent drama, which I didn’t enjoy even when I was that age (though I having been dipping my toes into this genre recently with mixed success). Speculative fiction (generally the more realistic kind without elves and wizards) is my main choice for reading material, as its foreign settings and epic adventures really allow one to escape the stress of life.
I also enjoy history, provided it’s a time period I enjoy learning about. I’m not the biggest fan of westerns or anything to do with the American west, but I’m a happy camper reading about the American Revolutionary period or pretty much anything to do with Ireland or Scotland. I will avoid like the plague the ‘bodice rippers’ that often have a dash of history thrown in for good measure (and really weird names, such as Daegus and Drustan), as well as books that overly focus on war or military maneuvering. I like a good battle scene or sword-fight as much as anyone, but I’d much rather hear about the social aspects of the time period (i.e. what was life really like for people during this era? How did they behave and interact with one another?).
Above all, I cherish vivid, engaging characters in whom I can’t help but be interested. I can often tolerate a less than stellar plot if the author has created great characters. My ideal character need not be perfect (because that would be utterly boring), but I enjoy it when they have a sense of humor or quick wit, intelligence, and a bit of sassiness. If you want a great example of this kind of character, look no further than Megan Whalen Turner’s Eugenides, from her Queen’s Thief series. Even if a character has none of these redeeming qualities, at least they ought not to be a whiny, spineless ingrate. Is that too much to ask?
Those are my reading preferences in a nutshell, and you can expect to see reviews from books that fall in any of these categories, though I may surprise you from time to time.
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