A weekly post about writing and life in general
You may have noticed (or not, I don't know, really) that I haven't been posting much YA lately. There was a recent online kerfuffle that really put me off of YA for a long while, just couldn't even stomach it at all. (I don't want to talk about it.)
I'd either start listening to an audio book and find that I'd drifted off for 30 minutes and had no clue what was going on (I've since switched to podcasts like Twisted Stitches and Joy Sandwich) or read a few chapters of a new (and popular, and best-selling) book and find myself scoffing at every sentence. Normally, I enjoy a good scoff, and will read a train wreck of a book to the end just to see what happens, but I couldn't be bothered this time.
It's been so negative and so annoying for me that I actually quit my YA book club and gave away hundreds of my books. I still have a few hundred to go through that I'll be selling, and a few that I held back for friends but forgot to give to them. I made a few exceptions for reading books I'd already committed to blogging/promoting before I got all grrr/arrgh.
So what have I been doing post-kerfuffle?
- Went to school. I have had to take the summer off because of Comic-Con and many things I signed up for before I knew I would be in school this year.
- Read middle grade like Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave and The Incredible Three and a Half Superheroes
- Visited my cousin in upstate New York. I was trying to help her clean her mom's house to prepare for her coming home from her first round of chemo, but then my aunt passed away while in hospital. More on that later this week when I write about Me and Earl and The Dying Girl. Also, I watched Me and Earl and The Dying Girl. You should, too.
- Reading picture books like Kate Beaton's The Princess and the Pony and Paley-Phillips & Deppe's Little Bell and the Moon. More on those later this week, too.
- Knitting and sewing. I am switching back and forth between an Aerea shawl and a Moone Boy hat (will be posting the chart for that when I finish it!). I have a few sewing projects too but I haven't worked on them recently.
- Buying fabric. I blame Thuy.
- Watching The Jinx on HBO. So creepy, I actually want to watch it again.
- Playing Fallout Shelter. Tip: Women and pregnant children are invincible, so kick all the men and non-preggie ladies out into the Wasteland then Rush all your rooms multiple times to rack up some Caps. It's time-consuming, but no one dies and you can really max out your resources if you're patient.
So how am I feeling about YA now?
Previous obligations: I had some commitments to fulfill in terms of posting blog tours, which I did even though I was really struggling to write about YA books without writing about it. I went to a signing for Undertow where Michael Buckley begged me to come back to the community (I said I'd think about it!) and a Fierce Reads event so Thuy wouldn't have to go by herself. Undertow was the last YA book I bought, by the way. I also still had to help run the Pasadena Loves YA festival (which went really well, but I haven't had the urge to blog about it--maybe Thuy will come through for you with a recap ;)
Social media: I think as long as I stay off of most social media, I can handle it without getting all GRRR again. It's tricky since I have so many online friends who are very involved with YA. The recent John Green Tumblr debacle did not help, but I was able to walk away from that one after reading just one post (of the rational variety, which I think helped a lot). So, yeah. Social media filter is on high alert.
Audiobooks are OK: I have "read" a couple of YA books this week that didn't make me feel ill or make me roll my eyes--they were actually quite good and didn't trigger the aversion I had from a couple of months ago. One was Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu, which you can enter to win here until 6/29/2015. I don't know if I would have gotten through it without a plane ride and the audiobook version. The other was The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson, also on audiobook, which I listened to on the plane coming back from NY. I'm a little lukewarm with the book itself, but I really enjoy the reader (and the 30 different accents she has to use for the various characters) and can't wait to start The Shadow Cabinet.
Enthusiasm is contagious: I also recorded a Tagalog tutorial for Leigh Bardugo to introduce her to some words for her Philippines tour. So if she told you "Maraming salamat!" and pronounced it correctly, then I say "Walang anuman!" I am having so much fun reading the PHYAbloggers recaps and looking at their photos, so if you saw her in Cebu or Manila, please leave a link in the comments so I don't miss your post. I love her so much, and I am waiting on tenterhooks for Six of Crows to appear in my mailbox.
Me and Earl and The Dying Girl: I cannot emphasize this enough. If you love cinema, this Sundance Grand Jury prize winner is a must-see. I am preparing to go on about it at length.
So yeah. I have not forsaken all things YA. I joked to a friend of mine that I'm making exceptions for YA written by white male authors and personal friends of any gender. But beyond taking photos of our incoming mail, I'm leaving the reviews to others on the RNSL team. It still takes so little to set off my ire, annoyance, and frustration--I think I'm going to stick with the picture books and middle grade novels for the moment.
I found that post-kerfuffle, I'm not as jealous of people going to BEA and ALA as I have been for the last couple of years. It's also been nice to have some of my personal time back. Do you have any idea how much time I spent per week reading, writing, and promoting about YA? A lot! Going to signings was especially time-consuming. Fun, but I don't miss it as much as I first thought I would.
I'm also going to be moving to a new apartment next month, so I don't anticipate getting much reading done until August when that's all over. But I did start moving some "white male/personal friend" books to my office bookshelf so I can try to get back into the reading groove in short bursts on my lunch breaks and 10s at work. Baby steps.
So, how's your reading life going? I genuinely want to know.
If you're reading this reasonably close to June 20th, you can see my Instagram stream of the past few weeks here: You can also check out our blog's Instagram @readnowsleeplater.