Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Monday Musings: Genres and Complacency

Ahh, my standard putting a post up not on the day that matches the title...in my defence I currently don't have internet. (And will probably not have internet for the first couple weeks of July, so we'll see...) I will also say, please excuse my English for the rest of my post because I wrote most of this late at night...and I've been binge watching a K-drama so...my English sounds a little unnative at the moment haha!

-->Until fairly recently I thought I read pretty much anything.  Over the past couple years, I've realized that I don't really love all genres. For example, I've known for a while that paranormal romance because just doesn't really work for me.  There are a few things that I think are on the border - Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' Kiesha'ra series technically is a shapeshifter series which makes one think paranormal, but it really feels like a fantasy novel, and Laini Taylor's Smoke and Bone series has angels, but again in a lot of ways feels more like fantasy.  I've also grown to know that perhaps I don't read all that much contemporary fiction and my consumption of historical fiction has greatly diminished (and I don't know why since that used to be a staple of my diet), but I at least was pretty well rounded when I came to science fiction and fantasy.  Right?   


I read almost exclusively fantasy novels.  I only recently realized, after a conversation with one of my only IRL bookish friends, that I don't really read any science fiction.  Admittedly, I do read dystopias. But I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I read a science fiction novel that wasn't a dystopia.  And of the other genres I read, almost all of them border on fantasy in some way.  Yes, Anne McCaffrey is science-fiction...but she has dragons and a similar set-up to the feudal systems you find in fantasy.  So...it's still close enough to fantasy for me to feel like I'm not reading much in other genres.

Over the past couple years I've also almost entirely cut adult fiction from my reading. It used to comprise of probably 40% of what I read.  In this whole year, I've read only 4 books that are clearly adult fiction books (Things like Locke Lamora can be classified as both I feel) that weren't for review.  None of these things in and of themselves is bad - young adult vs. adult is simply an audience change. But again - I think getting stuck in one audience is just as limiting as reading one genre.

Yes, it's good to streamline your books so you are reading books that interest you.  But by being so selective with my books, I've also boxed myself into a very specific genre with very specific messages.  And that means that I'm not pushing myself.  At what point does the balance between not wasting your time on books you might not like start to encroach on reading book that push you to  new ideas and experiences? Is that something you worry about, or is it better to consume as many enjoyable books as possible?  I'm of the mind that I want books that push me, because it just opens you up to so many new thoughts and experiences, but I also feel like my patience for books outside my comfort zone has greatly diminished as I have started to blog.  The last book I can remember challenging my way of thinking or putting things in a new way for me was Just Like Fate - a contemporary novel (with a twist. Could potentially be seen as a contemporary with sci-fi undertones?)   I think it is noteworthy that while I've found some of the best fantasy novels I've ever read in the past six months, none of them have made me have that "Aha! I never thought of it that way" moment.  

So here is where YOU come in!  Over the next few months I want to start reading some books that aren't fantasy.  Any genre (even paranormal romance), any audience - picture books, mg, ya, na, adult! I'll try them all!  It may take me a while to get to them - I'm going to be moving and it's going to be totally hectic basically until September, but I will hopefully get to at least one of the recommendations/person...by the end of the year? (I'm terrible at challenges, so I make no promises as this is a bit like a challenge...but I think I have it in me!)  Some of you have already recommended me some books that I am putting in a new goodreads shelf that will be just for book recommendations from you guys!  Feel free to browse my favourites shelf and the books I really, really, REALLY plan on reading (instead of my 1000 book tbr pile haha) to help with the recommendations or to vote them higher on my tbr list.  I can't wait to see what you guys come up with!


  1. Best email in my inbox today!

    How To Train Your Dragon: YES! I "took my daughter" to see it on my birthday last Sunday. I'm so nice, aren't I? I was surprised a bit by the spoiler too. Reminds me of a certain Lion Head of State movie...

    Goodwill: That picture of you in the hat is beyond adorable. (Like, you need to photoshop the background to Downton Abbey adorable.) As is the picture of your friend. He certainly wears dresses better than I do!

    Ruin and Rising: I just finished this last night. I am satisfied even if I felt some things were definitely veering into the Deus ex Machina direction. I don't care. I love this series with the fire of a thousand Sun Summoners. (although, I am getting slightly tired that every book has to be analyzed for content. Sometimes I feel like authors feel they need to check things off a PC-checklist...female best friend, check. Strong Female Lead, check. LGBT character, check. I love all those things...when they make sense to include. Anyhoo, I just went off on a tangent).

    Strong Female Lead: I thought that was an interesting article. My main problem with SFL is that they seem to be all the same and the implication that to be "strong" you need to be good at fighting and probably bad at interpersonal relations. I don't mind the hero of the film saving the day (since, you know, the story is about him), but there only seems to be two types of female characters: ass-kicking or weak. That's why I like Felicity so much on Arrow. She doesn't know how to fight. She does get herself into trouble some times, but she has grit and steel in her. She "stronger" in that sense than say, Sarah, who can kick ass but can't handle life. I do wish the article pointed out some good examples for a SFL. I feel like you are going to be an argument like that, you need to have examples of what you would like to see instead. Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions!

    Representation: Ok, so I've been thinking about this one book. Pointe, by Brandy Colbert. The cover is a ballerina under stage lights and you can't really tell anything about her. When I first picked it up, I did not realize that most of the main characters are black nor did I realize the author was black. And I was saddened that there was probably a reason for this. If they put a black ballerina on the cover, they probably felt they would marginalize some of their audience. And it sucks because it is such a good book and I feel it should be a good representation in the whole diversity in YA book conversation.

    Beyonce dancers: Lastly, that video was memorizing. And totally reminded me of this: http://www.wannafork.com/humor_video_play.php?ID=625

  2. I too loved How to Train your Dragon 2. It really is a fun movie. They did a great job. I always like to go to goodwill and look through the books. I am always surprised at what I find there!

  3. I saw the news about Into the Woods and was like What?! Disney is makinga movie version of Into the Woods?! (It is not a Disney sort of musical) And then the outrage about removing songs. Though apparently Sondheim has since back-pedaled and has now said the song is included.

  4. God kids are the best excuse ever to watch kid movies! Although these days you don't get quite as many weird looks. Ahahaha Lion Head of State! You're right though, I think that's really the last one where that happened. Although I'd posit this one is even more shocking and packs more impact because it's halfway through a sequel! I dunno though. I have to cover my eyes during that scene in Lion Head of State or I start crying haha

    We had SO much fun in that Goodwill! I'm excited that I'm moving back and going to be living a block away from him. Shennanigans ahoy!

    I'm looking forward to getting to Ruin and Rising, but it'll probably have to wait until after mid-August as life is going to be INSANE with the move :-/. And yeah I definitely agree with you - they're all things I like in a book...but they have to be there for a purpose and not just oooh lookie I did good things!

    Ok when does Felicity show up? Because I've heard so many great things about her, but this first part of Arrow has just been KILLING ME. I tried another couple episode, so I must be over halfway through (Oliver just got out of the hospital last episode I think after other Arrow dude did something or other...it's been a while lol) Because I want to like this show. I'm determined to make myself. So if Felicity will be making an appearance soon, I'll give it a final shot.

    I put Pointe on my tbr for reals list a while back - it looks really good! I didn't realize it the characters weren't white...oh covers. And publishing. BOOOO

    BAHAHAHA I had never seen this before!! Oh my god. Like...let's just start with seeing any of these guys in a leotard, let alone the dancing hahaha

  5. Sadly I had to stop myself from browsing the books - you really do find some gems! I'm moving in a month though..so no more books for me...

  6. It really, really isn't a Disney sort of musical haha. I think the casting is fantastic though and I WANT to like it! ...but it's not going to work if there's no sexy times and death. And I don't really trust Sondheim's back pedaling so much - it seems to just be some ass covering from the backlash to that news. And well...I guess I'm still pissed about some things. I mean for one, yes the song may be included....but no one's going to die, so it only helps a little in making the ending make ANY SENSE AT ALL. ...sorry I've gone all ragey now haha! Who knows though, I might end up loving what they do with it. In the meantime, I'll be watching the original on Netflix and eating ice cream to console myself :)

  7. Oh! I forgot to mention I love Vaughn Williams. Variations on a Theme by Tallis slays me. SLAYS ME.

    Ok, I agree the first season of Arrow isn't great. I think you should skip until like the last episode and just read a recap of everything else that happens during the first season. The subsequent seasons are sooooooo much better. She starts showing up around 1.8, but doesn't get really involved until 1.14 and later. But basically Season 2 is when is on Team Arrow full time. Season 3 has been really really good.

  8. YES!! It's so freaking beautiful! It makes your heart go all sideways. God that's one of my favourite pieces ever! ...and you know what? I think I'm going to take your advice and skip through because I want to like this so much damn it!

  9. Adagio for Strings by Barber gets me too. But my heart almost literally bleeds all over the floor when I hear the Tallis. I just love swelling string music...the more melancholy the better. My HS music teacher would always make fun of me because I was always asking for our orchestra to do like, Last of the Mohicans and whatnot. Have you heard the soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans? God, that's another one for me.

  10. YES!!!! That was probably the first non-Disney soundtrack that I really loved! In fact, I listened to the soundtrack for a good decade before I worked up the courage to actually watch the movie haha! It's been overthrown by Memoirs of a Geisha and The Painted Veil for favourite soundtrack, but it's always been a top choice for me. I love Adagio for Strings! (But let's be real, it's simply not possible to hear it and not love it) Have you heard Mahler's Adagietto? It's a toss up between which of those two is my favourite, they're both so amazing!

  11. Congrats on finding a place to live.. even though you have to frantically move. I love the music you posted. I am quite excited... I got tickets for the symphony who is going to have a Harry Potter music night. EEK! That should be so amazing. My husband is going to love it too. We wanted to go to a Star Wars night they had recently but my family was in town (can you tell I like the pops???). Good luck with everything!

  12. I am coming back later to comment on the music (soooooo sad I don't have speaker at work!!), but I just wanted to say that my two best friends got married the same month two years ago and I was Matron of Honor for both! What was interesting is I had a very clear idea of what to write for one of them. It took me about 30 minutes. But we are very opposite interests and it was easy to talk about the things I admire about her and throw in some funny antidotes about how different we are. We also live 1.5 hours away from each other, so our friendship is more distanced and maybe easier to look at more objectively? But with my other local best friend, I had the HARDEST time writing anything! In fact, I just gave up, drank two glasses of wine and winged it. But our relationship is very insidery. So it was hard to pick out particular "moments" to talk about. So I let my emotions of the days carry me through my speech. So, yeah, no real advice! Except for a funny story. People love a funny story. ;)

  13. I'm so jealous! The CSO did a movie in the park (or whatever they call it) last August - they did LotR and I couldn't go!! And now I'm going to be moving before they do the last LotR concert this year :-/

  14. Yeah I definitely need to start thinking about it for real instead of going..."I have to make a SPEECH?!"...freaking out...and then doing something else entirely haha! I'm hoping I can come up with an...appropriate funny story since I'm pretty sure the wedding is mostly going to be her older sort of conservative family haha. Speaking of - how far away are you from Seattle? Her wedding is going to be on the 10th so I'm going to at least be in the same state as you! (I think. For some reason I consistently confuse Seattle and Portland, and therefore occasionally confuse the states too haha)

  15. Wait. You're going to be in Seattle? I basically live in Seattle! Ohmygosh...do you think we could meet up? Where is she getting married at? Have you been to Seattle before?

  16. I would LOVE to meet up! I should add that I totally meant the 10th of August, not July haha. I'll be there August 7th - 10th, and I know Sage has a bunch of events planned, but I'm sure I can find time for coffee/drinks/something at some point. She's getting married at the Montlake Community Center, and I'm staying wither her while I'm there and I know she lives on South Washington Street, so I don't know if that gives you an area?

    I have been to Seattle, but it's probably been over a decade since I was last up there so I don't know the area well AT ALL haha!

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