Posts Categorized: Discussion

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Guide on How to Determine the Audience of a Book: A Discussion

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How do we define the various demographics books are published for? Publishing is split into Adult publishing and Children’s publishing but what determines who a book is published for? This is something I’ve thought about for a long time (especially since my primary focus in undergrad was on Children’s lit) but it recently came up on Twitter and I thought it was worth talking about. 

I think the first answer that always comes at point is the age of the main character but a number of books that would be YA/MG based on the age of the character are often published as Adult. For example, The Girl With All the Gifts. A non-literary example of this is Stranger Things – a show with younger characters that is aimed at an older audience.

So how is it that we determine who the audience of a piece of work is going to be? Is it based on the content within the book? 

The short answer seems to be yes but it also brings up the question of what and how do we determine what is suitable for kids and this is not an easy question to answer.

Children’s literature is seen as a happy place full of unicorns and rainbows and that is simply not true. Children’s books have //always// been dark. From picture books that at first glance seem pretty innocent and turn into narratives about death to complex YA novels that tackle war and death, darkness is deeply embedded into the roots of children’s literature. 

Anyone who has studied children’s literature for any period of time or even just reads children’s books frequently knows this. It is a truth universally acknowledged amongst us readers. And yet, there are some books I will read that I will instinctively say are not for children, all the while knowing that there isn’t truly a limit to what they can handle.

Although, perhaps that isn’t true. (ANECDOTE TIME) When I was 13, I read Mystic River by Dennis Lehane which is a complex book and its only purpose seemed to be to drive home the point that human beings truly suck. I read it because it was available in my school library. I thought it would be fine but I was definitely not okay reading that book and its complex exploration of the evils of humanity. I was traumatized by it and didn’t read a book for a long period of time after I finished reading it.

Having said this though, there was a part of me then and now that acknowledges that Mystic River was an incredibly well-written book (I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads I think???).

So. My long meandering argument has now just collapsed on top of itself. YAY. It was totally intentionally, you guys.

Maybe we will never have any concrete definers for what makes something YA/MG or Adult and will continue to rely on our own instincts or maybe we’ll just listen to authors who know their book best. 

How do you think we determine who the audience of a book should be? Do you think the distinctions are important? Tell me your thoughts!!!

Pressure of Perfection: On Diverse Authors and Readers

Pressure of Perfection: On Diverse Authors and Readers

Posted by on 05/08/2018 • 5 Comments

These past two years, we have seen a definite surge in the amount of diverse books that are focus titles. This means that they are essentially a main focus for the publisher for the season and receive more publicity and marketing that non-focus titles. I am guessing seeing a couple diverse books floating around has probably led some people to believe that all the problems in publishing and life have been solved. THE END. WE HAVE ALL THE DIVERSE BOOKS WE NEED. We’re never gonna need anymore. Well, for starters, if you take a moment to look at the CCBC stats, that is simply not true. Only a fraction of children’s literature published each year features diverse* characters and a fraction of those books are written by the people…

What I’ve Been Reading: April Update

What I’ve Been Reading: April Update

Posted by on 05/01/2018 • 5 Comments

Happy May everyone!!! New month new me?? Who knows. I ended up spending most of April in a funk. I didn’t get a lot of reading done but I am starting to feel a little bit more productive so we’ll see and hope May is a better month personally and for my reading aspirations.

Okay so I didn’t read any backlist sequels this month because again, I was in a funk but, I am counting the two sequels I did read in this update so I can give myself a pat on the back.

 

Both these books were anticipated sequels and coincidentally, both were pushed back to this year so I’ve been waiting on them for quite some time (After the Wedding for 2.5 years.) Trouble Never Sleeps…

7 Books I’d Rescue If My House Was Burning Down

7 Books I’d Rescue If My House Was Burning Down

Posted by on 04/13/2018 • 7 Comments

UMMMMMM. So if you know me, you know I collect Melina Marchetta books but I don’t want this entire post to be about me saving my Marchetta books so I promise I’ll stick with just two. Also, S/O to Nick for helping me brainstorm this post.

1. My signed copy of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Ummm, I’d never let this baby cherish in a fire. Gene Luen Yang has been a fav for over a decade and I was ecstatic when I finally got to meet him. I might have freaked him out a little.

2. My tattered copy of Esperanza Rising by Pam Ryan Muñoz

I usually like to claim this book as the first one I ever bought and there is a fun story behind…

What I’ve Been Reading: March Update

What I’ve Been Reading: March Update

Posted by on 04/02/2018 • 0 Comments

It seems like 2018 is now shaping up to be a pretty shitty year for me so like, I’ve been behind on everything and not in the mood to do anything except sit around and mope. I would say something more optimistic but like I am not an optimistic person in general, lol. But I’ve been rewatched old favs as a pick-me-up which has been helping a little. March was a decent month for reading and I REALLY hit my backlist TBR hard.

Only four sequels this month but I technically finished two series so HELL YEAH.

   

It was really great revisiting a series I read back in the day and this time, the books really lived up to my expectations. However, with time comes…

9 Books I Read For Class That I Didn’t Hate

9 Books I Read For Class That I Didn’t Hate

Posted by on 03/23/2018 • 4 Comments

I think the general assumption is that if you read a book for class, you probably aren’t going to enjoy it all that much and I think that there is some truth to that, especially depending on what kind of class it is but in my 15 years as a student, I think I’ve been lucky to actually enjoy quite a few of the books I had to read for class.

1. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

I’ve read this book multiple times for pleasure, but the first time I ever read it was actually for school! I didn’t know how much this book would come to mean to me over the years but I loved it then and I love it now.

2. The Journey by Francesca…

11 Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

11 Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Posted by on 03/22/2018 • 5 Comments

Honestly, this list is gonna expose me so hard but you know, its okay. There are only a couple authors on here I no longer read and/or support.

1. Meg Cabot – 26 Books

I am incredibly proud this queen graces the top of my list because I love Meg Cabot and I will continue to read books by her till the end of time.

2. Anne Stuart – 20 Books

Umm. Yeah. This was a time in my life. I used to adore Anne Stuart and her books but tried picking one up again a couple months ago and I could not get into it. I still think she has a couple of strong books though that are worth reading.

3. Karina Halle – 16 Books

Also a time…

Dear Great-Grandma

Dear Great-Grandma

Posted by on 03/20/2018 • 3 Comments

Dear Great-Grandma,

I am not the best at writing letters that are also going to be on display but you know, I am trying. I recently read The Night Diary, which is currently the only book I am calling a favorite of this year and I’ve read 86 books so far. Reading it has made me incredibly pensive because the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking that I was reading your and grandma’s story too. Sometimes its disheartening that something that impacted my family and 16 million other people so much isn’t really talked about. Everyone always talks about the liberation of India with pride or the end of a colonial rule but they always forget about the 14 million people who were displaced. The 14 million people…