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Since I heard that Teen Vogue had become more newsy and political, I’ve been following them online. Best. Decision. “What Defunding Planned Parenthood Means.”

Why I read YA and What Led Me Here

YA young adult fuelled by fiction fueled by fiction

My name is Beth, I am an adult (sort of) that reads YA. 

For as long as I can remember, my nose has always been in a book. I remember when I was a kid I was obsessed with Franklin and wanted to read every single one of the books about him. Then I graduated to chapter books and so on and so forth. When I was a middle grader, I loved fantasy. I was all about the fantasy. I loved Harry Potter, anything by Cornelia Funke, the Serpent’s Egg series, etc. Loved it. As I became a teenager, I “outgrew” dragons and magic, and had to read more things more “grown up.” This translated to stuff like any and all things by Sarah Dessen, The Book Thief, and the Twilight series. 

Again, when I became an “adult” I had to read more “adult” things too. I abandoned young adult literature, relegating it to a shelf in my past. Until this past year, the only YA I had read since I was a teen were The Hunger Games and Divergent. I thought that reading was about growing and moving forward, not looking back—each genre (middle grade, YA, Adult) a step toward maturation. While to some extent that is true, I didn’t grasp the importance of a good ol’ change of perspective every once in a while. 

In the fall there was a controversy surrounding adult readers of YA—an article was published shaming them! At that time I wrote a post about it. Since then I’ve been reading even more YA, and reflecting on my thoughts about what reading it means to me.  

People read books for all sorts of different reasons, and take away different things from each book. Some people read books to learn, to better themselves, to be challenged. Some people read for the escapism factor, to have fun, to be entertained. Some people read for a combination of the two. Neither is right or wrong! I think the best part of YA is that it can do all these things. It can be fun and exciting, but draw in tough and challenging themes in an accessible way. For example, All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is an amazing YA book that came out earlier this year. It’s very popular and for very good reason. This book talks about first loves, parents, school, friends, all that good stuff. But it also explores mental health issues and the support systems and structures that society is sorely lacking. 

Adolescence is such an important time in life. Everything is so powerful,  meaningful, and life changing. Everything is a first. Every character is on the verge of growth and development. That’s what makes it so interesting.

If you had asked me a few years ago what I thought about YA books, I would have turned my nose up at them. I was too high brow for that. Now I see the merit in them—for myself and for others. YA has this unique ability to make people super excited about reading (fandoms anyone?). If you look around the internet, the most excited and passionately vocal readers are often talking about YA (maybe not exclusively, but they usually touch on it). It’s because of these excited readers that I brought YA back into my life. And I’m so thankful.

I realize that YA is not for everyone. There is no one thing that really is for everyone! But YA writers today are churning out some amazing stuff, and I’m so glad that I’m not missing it.

In March, Bewitched Bookworms did a post about why YA rocks and I totally agree. 

… Because it makes me excited! The stories draw me in and get me hooked! 

… Because adolescence is a microcosm for life as a whole, really. 

… Because coming of age stories are awesome, always have been and always will be.

… Because there are so many kick-butt heroines gracing their pages.

… For a change of perspective.

… Because emotions are heightened. THE FEELS. ALL OF THEM.

… Because… It’s amazing

Do you read young adult books? Why or why not? 

Literary Lifestyle: Let’s Shake Things Up

For the last few months, what I’ve been reading has changed a lot. If you were to compare the things I’ve read in the last few years to what I’ve been reading lately, you’d see what I mean. Before I joined the book blogging and BookTube community, I mainly read classics and adult fiction—varying from general, to thriller, to literary.
However, since I joined more of a community of readers, I’ve found more things that I like! I have always had eclectic interests, but my reading didn’t really reflect that.

As you probably know, a great, great deal of bloggers and BookTubers discuss, almost exclusively, Young Adult books. Before I frequented blogs and BookTube channels, I hardly ever read, or thought about, YA. I read what I knew. I honestly hadn’t read any YA since I was a teenager. And when I was a teenager, I didn’t read many different sub-genres of YA. I read almost nothing but fantasy when I was a kid and in middle school, but when I was a teenager, I gravitated more toward realistic fiction (except for Twilight of course. I loved those books when I was in high school! No shame). 

Lots of people today love YA, especially fantasy, and there seems to have been somewhat of an explosion of books in this genre. Because there is so much of it, and so many people talking about it, I have been exposed to more reviews and more titles in YA. This exposure has led to an exponential increase in the amount of YA I read. Specifically, I have been reading a lot of YA fantasy, and I am loving it. 

However, there are drawbacks to this as well. Because I have been exposing myself to so much of one genre, it has begun to limit the diversity of genres I read. Instead of expanding what I was reading, it has changed the focus, leaving it still equally narrow. This realization though, is helping me toward my goal of reading more diversely. Identifying the issue is half the problem! I want to read more diversely in many ways. I want to read a wide range of genres, from a wide range of authors, chronicling a wide range of experiences. I want to step outside of my comfort zone and test the waters, finding different things that I enjoy. 

When I sat thinking about this, it reminded me of something that Amanda Nelson said in a video on Book Riot’s YouTube channel. While discussing diversity in books, Amanda noted that we buy what we are sold. The things that are thrust at us, the things that we see and hear about the most, those are things we are going to read and buy. I have personally experienced this in my newfound love of YA fantasy. I heard somewhere that there are usually five points of contact before I person will purchase something. This means that the consumer will be more likely to buy something after they see it or hear about it five times. If you are complacent, you will continue to buy what you are sold! But if you take an active role in your consumption of books, this can change. 

If we buy what we are sold, we need to diversify what we are sold. This is not going to happen without an effort. We need to seek out books in different genres, books from different types of authors, telling different types of stories. You may be perfectly content with what you’re reading now—but what are you missing? The straight white man’s story is not the only one out there worth telling. YA fantasy is not the only genre worth reading. If we expand what we expose ourselves to, we will expand our interests and our libraries. This leads to expanding our minds. 

If you are a reader, you know the impact a book can have upon a person. Books let us experience things completely outside of ourselves, allowing us to grow in empathy and compassion. They teach us things from the eyes of others. If we are only reading one type of book, what are we learning? We are enjoying ourselves, and that is totally fine, but what about the myriad other things that books have to offer?

I’m not saying you should feel bad about what you read or what you like. I’m saying that we should allow ourselves to be exposed to other things. Maybe we will find something else that we like! For example, I have taken some tiny steps—I’ve subscribed to more channels and blogs that talk about various genres—not just YA. The things I read about are more diverse now, so hopefully the things I read will be too. 

What have you guys been reading lately? What are you interested in? What do you think about reading more diversely? How important do you think diversity in reading is? What can you do/are you doing to encourage diversity in books? And in your reading life? 

Literary Lifestyle: Gift Ideas for the Bookworm In Your Life

No matter the occasion, when it comes time to get our loved ones a gift, we want to show them that we care and that we can be thoughtful about it! If you’ve got a bookworm in your life, here are some ideas that might tickle their bookish fancy! Or if you are a bookworm yourself, here are some things you might want to add to your own wishlist! 😉

The first and perhaps most obvious thing to consider buying your bookworm is a book. If your loved one is a hard-core reader, this might not be as easy as it sounds. How do you decide what book to get them? What do they not already have? What have they not already read? What would they like to read that they won’t have have bought for themselves before you give it to them? How you go about this depends on what kind of gift giver you are. Do you prefer to surprise your loved ones? Or be more straightforward to ensure they get what they want? If you are the latter, then you’ll probably just ask them! If you’re the former, here is a quick sleuthing tip. Try to make a tentative decision based on there Goodreads “To Read” page! Most bookworms will be frequent flyers on this bookish social media site. If you can, take a quick gander at their bookshelves to see if they already have a copy. If you’re not feeling the effort, or if they are just impossible to buy for, consider a gift card/certificate to their favourite bookstore (online or off).

If you are feeling more adventurous, here are some ideas:
(The pictures are links)

Litographs is a US company that makes shirts, totes, and posters out of book art! This art is especially neat because it is entirely composed of words. And not just any words–the words of the book it’s about. For example, the poster here is Wuthering Heights. It’s not just a picture of Wuthering Heights, the picture is made up of novel itself. And it’s readable! (The tote here is Tess of the D’Urbervilles and the t-shirt here is Oliver Twist).

Out of Print Clothing also has a lot of really cool stuff! They have T-shirts, totes, phone cases, jewelry, and other neat accessories printed with classic book cover designs!

Bookish Jewelry
This beautiful sterling silver pendant is from the New York Library and is engraved with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

This pendant is a quote from Jane Eyre and would make a great gift to a wife or bride! You can find it on Etsy! 

Know a Salinger fan? This necklace from Out of Print Clothing is Holden’s hunting cap from Catcher in the Rye!  

Take a trip down the rabbit tale with this Alice in Wonderland necklace from Out of Print Clothing!

Any girl with a book in her purse could use a few dangling from her ears! Charm your lady book worm with these Stack of Books earrings form the Literary Gift Company. 

This is another excellent Etsy find! 

Bookish Apparel
This top is totally me. Anyone else? 😉 It would make a great PJ or lounge top!

This beaut is from Fellow Threads and is part of a collection of Harry Potter themed tops! This one is my fav! 

These gems are Etsy silk-screen creations. I love the old timey ampersand print! They would make an excellent addition to the closet of your well dressed, font-loving man!

This top is Harry Potter meets Doctor Who and would be a great gift for your chic geek! 😉 

This is a leather hand crafted bag that is modelled after the door at Bag End from Lord of the Rings! Although it could be unisex, it would probably make a better gift for the lady LOTR fan in your life!  (cough ME cough cough)

These cozy onesies would make a great gift for any Harry Potter fan! What house would the sorting hat put them in?

I feel like this all the time.  Your bookworm who likes graphic tees would go for this one!

This cozy hoody printed with this classic Vonnegut quote  would warm both body and spirit on a cool wintery day 🙂

Bookish Mugs
When the weather outside is frightful, a hot beverage is certainly delightful! Especially when you’re drinking it from a neat mug while curled up with a good book!

This great mug from Modcloth would be great for either the bookish dude or the bookish lady! Let them know that they are Just your Type!

Gotta love this “Lost in the Stacks” mug from Strand books!

“Bookish …And Proud of it” I certainly am. Know anyone else who is? 🙂

Misc. Bookish Items

 These pillows would make a great addition to the home of any book lover. They are so cool!

Paddywax has an entire “Library” collection of candles whose scents are inspired by famous authors. Want your room to smell like Jane Austen? Get one of these!

Gotta buy a gift for a serious bibliophile? Consider one of these personalized embossing stamps! It’s much classier than simply writing your name in the book and takes less time.

These adorable book ends would look great keeping that certain someones books neat and organized!

Got a classic lit lover? These BBC collections would be a great edition to their library! (I love the BBC’s Jane Eyre!!!)

Bookish Totes
Every book lover needs a good tote. How else are they going to carry around their books? They are especially useful when book shopping. And they are environmentally friendly!

This one is so neat!

 Share the love!

 Books and cats. Am I right?

I have this one and love it!

 Love the design on this one. Simple but cool!

Library Card!

Hope this has helped inspire you! (Either with your own Christmas list or picking out things to buy for your loved ones).

As always, let me know what you think!

PS. I want all of these!