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Let me ask you a few simple questions: Do you think fantasy is a fluff genre, not worthy of inclusion with “real” literature? Do you believe that people who read it are either unintelligent or refuse to challenge themselves? Don’t people only read it because they love dragons, or possibly elves? Are you condescending to people who have read fantasy other than The Lord of the Rings (or if they read it BEFORE it was a movie) and Harry Potter?

I was recently directed to a post that made me laugh out loud while nodding (thanks, Michelle!). And if you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should read it.  If you like fantasy, you should also read it. Some of my favorite quotes:

  • “So no, I don’t particularly want to read a book you think of as mediocre merely because it has a dragon on the cover.”
  • “And as fantasy readers aren’t all, to steal a phrase from Terry Pratchett, a fourteen-year-old boy named Kevin, we all value different aspects of our reading and read for very different reasons.”

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten the once-over look from the librarian when I walk up with my mixed pile of  fiction, YA and fantasy novels when I look like a “normal,” 20-something woman.  The fact I’m often on my way home dressed in a suit seems to add to their confusion. So I think it’s time for a public declaration.

Yes, I LOVE (good) fantasy. Yes, I LOVE (good) YA. Yes, many of the books labeled as classics trigger a gag reflex in me (yes, I’ve read a fair number of classics and no, this is not a universal reaction among fantasy readers). And I’m okay with that. Is there an element of escapism in my reading? Sure – I read medical records, police reports and case law all day, every day. Please forgive me for wanting something with a plot (and good grammar… that doesn’t involve constipation). Is it a literarily worthless genre? The English professors who wrote much of it probably don’t think so. Is it the choice of an uninformed and/or uneducated and/or uncultured reader? Well, I’d like to think I’m informed, at least relatively cultured, and about as educated as anyone – and I love it.

I could keep going, but I won’t. So, if you’ve been holding out, here’s my challenge – give fantasy a chance. I’m happy to give you a recommendation!

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Niece pictures!

Meet Zoe:

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Rating: 2.5/3 

Summary: From the back cover — “She sees dead people – and they see her. Chloe Saunders used to have a pretty normal life. But that changed on the day she met her first ghost. Locked up in Lyle House, a group home for troubled teens, she find out that there’s more to the home’s teen residents than meets the eye. Will Chloe be able to uncover the dangerous secrets of Lyle House … or will its skeletons come back to haunt her?” 

Reaction: I like supernatural talents. Being able to see dead people (or do other simple magic) is neato. The book gives us interesting questions – is Chloe mentally ill or born with a special gift? Did she get placed in this particular home accidentally, or is something sinister happening? Who should she trust – her fellow “inmates,” her family, or the doctors attempting to help her? Do supernatural powers come with the onset of puberty? Is it a good life choice to fall for a guy locked in a group home with you? There were some interesting plot twists that I won’t spoil for you, but the book didn’t pull me in and force me to stay up past my bedtime. I’m a bit disappointed. It’s well written, but not compelling for me. Additionally, it was more of a teen suspense/thriller (though not particularly scary) when I expected a greater focus on the magic.

I did find it interesting that Chloe is a movie buff who wants to write screenplays and direct. That’s not my hobby of choice, but I thought it was a different way to add depth to her character while simultaneously using it as a method to occasionally describe things through two sets of eyes – Chloe’s and a director’s.

All in all, it’s not bad – it’s just not for me. Perhaps this one of those YA books that really does appeal more to someone who is actually 15… Unclear at this point if I’ll read book two.  Can anyone tell me how book two compares to the first one?

 

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I have a new niece, Zoe, who was born today and is weighing in at a healthy 7 lbs., 13 oz. She’s 19 inches long, and I’m going to bore you with pictures just as soon as I have some!

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Without whom I would not have started this blog. I’m hoping to combine two of my favorite things in life – books and food – in this blog.

My disclaimer is this: I read often, but I have very specific taste in books. Due to the day job, I’m not a fan of the dramatic, the heart-wrenching or the horrific books, nor do I like any book that takes two chapters to state what could have easily been expressed in two paragraphs. I lean strongly toward fantasy novels (not sci-fi), and currently I’ve been reading quite a bit of young adult stories. If it tells a good story, I’m there.

Here goes nothing.

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