Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dissatisfying Reading

Door Watch should supposedly end today. The door is on my patio. Now I'm just waiting for the contractor to show up and install it. Last night, he said he'd be here around nine or nine-thirty this morning, but it's now nearly eleven. Once this is done, it will still have to be painted, but I think they're going to do a mass painting project and get everything done at once, and I may not have to hang around for that.

I normally discuss books on Tuesdays, but I've been through a rather unsatisfying reading spell in which books by authors I usually enjoy have disappointed me. I did read and love The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, but it's one of those books I don't really want to talk about much because I feel like talking about it will break the spell. I did find it scarier than most things I read, to the point I had to skip ahead a chapter or so to reassure myself that things were about to change for the main character when things got really bleak.

My main reading for the next week will be the Hugo nominees for novella, novelette and short story so I can vote intelligently.

For some book-related discussion: A couple/few years ago, I first heard book world people talking about "new adult," which was supposed to be books that transitioned between young adult and adult fiction. That makes sense to me. Readers in their early 20s who've just graduated from teen books probably aren't all that interested in reading about stressed-out mothers or the "I thought I had the perfect life until I learned what my husband was really up to" books. A category of books about younger characters in college or dealing with their first jobs would be a good way to hang onto that huge YA readership and help them find the books they might like in the vast adult fiction world.

Except, it turned out to be kind of like the "urban fantasy" category, in which the idea of it sounded good to me, but the reality turned out to be totally different (I wanted more fiction set in modern cities, but it ended up mostly being about vampires). It seems that what's been selling as "new adult," mostly self-published because the publishers and bookstores aren't yet totally on board with the category, is stuff of the 50 Shades variety. The characters may be college students, grad students or just out of school, but the stories tend to be very edgy and erotic. The characters seem to be damaged in some way and working out their issues through sex. At least, that's what the reviews sound like and what seems to be focused on in the online squee-fest about these books. Oh, and the readership seems to be mostly mature women, not the transitioning from YA crowd. There definitely does seem to be an audience, and it's nice that they're finding books to read, but selfishly, I was hoping that this might be a revival of chick lit under a different name. I'm dying for some fun, funny, fluffy reading like that and have zero interest in a heavy angst fest.

In fact, I went digging through the library for chick lit type stuff yesterday, but I think I may have tapped my library system's entire collection. Next I'll have to scour used bookstores for old stuff I haven't read yet. When I get in a mood for that kind of thing, nothing else really works.

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