Booking Through Thursday: Blogs

Yvonne asks:

What do you look for when reading a book blog? Does the blogger have to read the same genre? Do you like reviews? Personal posts? Memes? Giveaways? What attracts you to a book blog?

I have to admit, I don’t read a lot of book blogs. I think book blogs are great, but I have trouble keeping up with them, so I don’t usually follow book blogs the way I follow writing blogs. That said, I think book blogs are GREAT. The book blogs I run across without actually following them (and that’s a lot of them) keep me pretty well-informed about what’s happening in the publishing world. I do usually read YA-focused blogs, since it’s what I write, though.

What really brings me back to a blog are things like dissections of trends going on in the Young Adult publishing world, and posts that talk about the issues in books. Posts that try to be aware of not just how good a book is, but also the effect of popular books on teens, as well as on the genre and the publishing industry. I feel like book bloggers get such a great view of this—they’re not nearly as pinholed as I am in my reading usually, so they get a wider view of how the Young Adult genre is growing and maturing. I like the extra perspective.

Booking Through Thursday – First book

Looking through the archives of Booking Through Thursday today, since I don’t really have a good answer for today’s question. Instead I looked backwards a few weeks and found this:

Do you remember the first book you bought for yourself? Or the first book you checked out of the library? What was it and why did you choose it?

I have a couple of answers to this. Firstly, library books. I can’t even tell you what the first book I checked out from the library was, except to say that it had  to have been a school library book. I know that I LOVED non-fiction books when I was little. In elementary school I was always checking out learning books… about dinosaurs, about foxes, about planets. Anything that struck my fancy, I’d be in the non-fic department, burying myself in learning about it. I wish I still had that love for non-fiction today… I need to forcibly make myself read non-fiction. I still find it fascinating, I just tend to blip it out of my mind when I’m in a bookstore. There are so many fake stories I want to know! Le sigh.

I think the first book I ever really bought was at a Scholastic book fair with what I believe was a couple of dollars from my mom. I was in either the third or fourth grade. I bought Alice in Wonderland. I had fallen in love with the live-action movie of it and Through the Looking Glass, and I already had a beautiful copy of Through the Looking Glass that I’d been given for Christmas, so I wanted to read the first book first, naturally. It was just a trade paperback and not very pretty, as opposed to my copy of TtLG, which was gorgeously bound with inserts of painted illustrations sprinkled throughout it, but it did the job so far as the story goes. I remember being mesmerized by the idea that you could make words on a page actually form a picture of sorts, and Wonderland is still deeply embedded in my imagination, as I’m sure it is in many peoples’. I’m delighted it’s getting the attention in new fiction that it is today.

The first book I bought at an actual bookstore was Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume in the fifth grade. I’d borrowed it from the library after a friend suggested it—I’d already been a Judy Blume fan, what with the Fudge books, etc.—and thus started my life-long love of Young Adult books. I loved the book so much that I then had to, had to, HAD to buy the book for myself, along with whatever other Judy Blume books I could. She is still undoubtedly one of my favorite authors, and a huge inspiration to me.

New Spin on Vamp Books?

Or maybe I should say… books about vampires that I actually WANT to read?!

Because I DO. Oh I do.  There have been not one, but two vampire books that have caught my attention in the past couple of days that I just… want. Is it because they promise more Edward-Cullen-esque smolder?  Nah… I was always a Jacob Black fangirl, thanks very much. (Not that I don’t like Edward… I just get sick of him easy).

So why do I want to read these books?  Because I think they are a brilliant response to the flood of vampire books that have been well—everywhere. I did say flood, right?  Right.

Book Number One: Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls.

Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before–he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part. With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it’s surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected. This hilarious debut novel is for anyone who believes that sometimes even nice guys-without sharp teeth or sparkly skin–can get the girl.

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O.M.B.

I think this is brilliant.  I admit, I was hooked from the first three sentences. SUCH a smart pitch! I would LOVE to read this book, and it is definitely on my TBR list.

Book Number Two: Fat Vampire by Adam Rex.

Doug Lee is undead quite by accident—attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it’s just not the same.

Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her—hard. Yeah, he wants to bite her, but he also wants to prove himself to her. But like the laws of life, love, and high school, the laws of vampire existence are complicated—it’s not as easy as studying Dracula. Especially when the star of Vampire Hunters is hot on your trail in an attempt to boost ratings. . . .

Searing, hilarious, and always unexpected, Fat Vampire is a satirical tour de force from one of the most original writers of fiction today.

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I actually like the summary on the back much better, but that’ll do.  Again, a brilliant twist on vampire-mania. I saw this idea toyed with on the short-lived show Moonlight (Oh hai, second Jason Dohring TV show that cancelled on me way too soon.) (Bitter? Who me?) but this novel promises a much more in-depth approach to the idea of being fifteen and awkward… forever.  I was hooked at the tag-line: “A Never Coming of Age Story.” I couldn’t help but  think how poignant that was. A critic quote on the back of the book makes it clear that this isn’t just a satire, either, but a rich full story that’ll make you hurt and laugh. I so want to read it.
The thing that gets my goat? These ideas aren’t far-fetched or even particularly ground-breaking. What they are, are great examples of taking something that’s been done to death (or undeath, if you will! I’m all about the side-comments tonight, hm?) and spun them on their head, attacking them from a different, original angle. Something not like the piles of vampire books that line the romance and YA shelves at Barnes & Noble.  They don’t just make a mockery of the genre either, though… they’ve found good, legitimate reasons for hitting a subgenre from the side and turning it into something new. And I think that’s brilliant.