Bookish posts

Why I Dislike Most Young Adult Books: A Discussion on Reading Taste And How it Changes

reading less YA

I’ve contemplated blogging about this subject because I know how loved Young Adult fiction* is in the book blogging community and BookTube. And for good reason.

The Young Adult genre (books written for a target audience between 12 and 18 years old) is loved by many people of all ages, and there is nothing wrong with that. I have loved Young Adult books ever since I was a kid and even now, some of my all-time favorite series and standalone’s belong to the Young Adult genre – I’m rereading the Lunar Chronicles as we speak!

But picking up new Young Adult books, they rarely speak to me in the way they used to. I recently picked up  They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera, and although I liked it, I didn’t love it.  This is happening with a lot of Young Adult novels I read these days. I do not enjoy them the way I used.

This doesn’t mean that YA novels have gotten worse – it’s actually the other way around in my opinion, they only get better and better! More diverse, dealing with more serious issues and focusing on all parts of teenage life. But I don’t connect to them the way I used to. When I finish a Young Adult novel, I’m often left wanting more of the story. More world building, more complex prose and multi-layered plots. That’s something I don’t often find in Young Adult novels. The Young Adult books that I love, are all books I read when I was a few years younger.

Looking at the books I loved in the past year or so, there is not one Young Adult novel included. I got older, and naturally I’ve kind of drifted away from Young Adult books, because I wasn’t enjoying them in the same way I was before. Looking at the 29 unread books I currently have on my TBR shelf, there are not YA books on it. I haven’t bought any in a while now.

My reading taste is changing. That’s a little bit scary, especially because many of the book discussed in the book community online are YA, and that might mean that I won’t ‘fit in’ as much. But at the same time it can open doors, both in my reading life and on my blog!

I will definitely still enjoy the occasional Young Adult book, but it hasn’t been that big of a part of my reading for a while now. I’ve discovered Adult fiction, memoirs, nonfiction  and more. And I’m really excited to tell you more about all the books I’m loving. 🙂

*I know there has been a lot of discussion about if Young Adult fiction is really a genre in itself or more just an age bracket. In my opinion, lots of Young Adult books have similar plot points, writing style and recurring themes, which is why I’m discussing it as a genre here. 
Bookish posts

The 1,000 Page Brick: How to Deal With Big And Intimidating Books

dealing with big books.jpg

I love big books and I cannot lie. It’s true, I’m one of those people that prefers huge, big books over short books. I love completely immersing myself in a world and getting to know all the details about it. But I will also be the first to admit that big books can be daunting. They’re a commitment, and because of that we often don’t feel like it’s the right time and we should be in the perfect mindset to read them.

I think this is where we go wrong. Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that it’s never going to be the right time to read that one specific book. What is the perfect mood to read IT by Stephen King? Is there even a mood for books like that?

Instead, I divide up my huge books now. I usually ‘sandwich’ my big books between two shorter books, sometimes nonfiction. I find that if I read a short book, I often crave a longer, more intense story. But then after I’ve finished the book, I read something completely different and almost always lighthearted. Poetry is also good. Just anything to switch it up!

Something else I do is that whenever I decide to start reading a big, daunting book, I give myself the time to read as much as I can in the first sitting. Big books often have a lot of worldbuilding and other introductory stuff at the beginning, so it’s good to get it out of the way asap. Not that worldbuilding isn’t fun, but if you stop in the middle of it, it might be hard to pick the book back up.

Then, if I feel sluggish in the middle of the book, I let myself put it down for a bit and read a short novel(la) or short story just to mix things up. Big books sometimes struggle with pacing so it can be a challenge to stay engaged! If you panic, divide it up! A 1,000 page novel can look super daunting, but reading 30 pages a day doesn’t have to be.

Bookish posts

7 Book Tropes We’re All Tired of Seeing (I Could Probably Predict The Ending of This Book by Page 50)

book tropes I'm tired of

Do you ever read a book and at a certain point in the plot, you realize the book has a trope and you know where it’s going. At that point, you could probably read the book with your eyes closed and you’ll still predict the ending.

Yeah, that’s the type of trope I’m talking about it. When you’ve read a lot of books, like most of us here, you’ll probably get tired of them. The following tropes usually, if not always, make me want to dnf a book, or it will at least lower my enjoyment of them.

I’m not like other girls..
Any book in which a female main character feels better than other girls because she’s not like them, or when a male love interest tells her ‘she’s not like other girls’ will be thrown across the room. I’m not here for that internalized misogyny. Luckily, this trope is slowly disappearing from modern fiction, because I can’t deal.

The Chosen One
Now, I’m not hating on all ‘chosen one’ books (Harry Potter is one..) but this is overdone. My problem with a lot of recent ‘chosen one’ books is that it feels like a cheap cop out and an excuse to not come up with a real, multi-layered plot. Why is it that completely unqualified characters find out they’re ‘chosen’ and suddenly master doing magic or battle fighting, and therefore never really face any issues. Lazy.

The let’s-pair-everyone-up-with-another-character trope
Okay, I’m realizing I’m giving all of these terrible names, but you get it. Since we’re on the subject of Harry Potter, I thought I’d expand on it. Why is it that books that are (usually) part of a series and feature a group of main characters, often in a dystopian or fantasy setting, at the end of the series they all end up in a hetereosexual relationships with each other, even if the relationships don’t make sense! It’s so unrealistic and unnecessary. You know, it’s cool to stay single for a whileThat doesn’t mean you can’t be happy.

The miscommunication trope
Whenever I see this, it just feels very ’80s movie. I’m talking about the no-wait-I-can-explain-it-trope, often used as a poor excuse for a plot. It’s the type of plot device used when the entire conflict of the book could be resolved with a simple conversation, but it just doesn’t happen because the main character just doesn’t want to talk. Reading about this is so frustrating!

The super attractive female character
She doesn’t sweat, she glistens in the sun. The shape of her breasts is clearly visible under her dress and her eyes have a vague shade of blueish green. You know the type of character I’m talking about, often written by male authors. I’m just so tired of it. How do you expect me to relate to your medieval peasant character if she looks like a supermodel?

Continue reading “7 Book Tropes We’re All Tired of Seeing (I Could Probably Predict The Ending of This Book by Page 50)”

Bookish posts · opinion

What Does it Mean to be Well Read?


A few days ago, I was trying to describe boyfriend to one of my friends, I called him ‘one of the most well-read people I know’. My friend looked at me, a puzzled look on her face. ‘What does that even mean?’ she asked. That comment made me think.

And frankly, I don’t even really know what it means to be well-read. Does it mean that you’ve obtained a lot of knowledge through books? Does it mean that you’ve read all the classics? When I think of someone that is well read, I think of someone that hasn’t only read a lot of influential literary works, but also knows a lot of obscure authors and reads books written and published all around the world.

Looking at the Merriam Webster definition of being well read, it’s considered to be well-informed or deeply versed through reading. A clear, yet very on-the-surface definition that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. It’s funny, because my boyfriend considers me to be well read, and I consider him to be well read. But we both don’t consider ourselves to be well read. I know, that’s a little confusing.

Looking online, there are tons of different lists and articles about becoming well read. But do you really need to read all of those books to be well read? Is there really a universal idea of what it is to be well read? Personally, I don’t think so.

Let’s nail this down. I think that to be well read, you need to read a wide variety of genres. Not limited to, but definitely including, influential literary works. I think it’s important to read both fiction and non-fiction, as well as authors that have a different (cultural) background from you. And lastly, for me, to be well read means to think critically about what you read.

Of course, when we speak of a ‘wide variety’, we can’t define this numerically. The definition of being well read will always be flexible, and that’s what makes it so interesting!

I’m curious: What do you consider ‘well read’? Is your definition different from mine?

Book reviews

Book Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

salt to the sea book review

Title: Salt to The Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Pages: 393
Genre: Young Adult, historical fiction
Publication date: February 2nd, 2016

It’s hard to review books that depict real, often horrific events. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is such a book. It’s a historical fiction novel based on the wreckage of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military transport ship which was sunk on the 30th of  January, 1945. By one estimate, a total of 9,400 people died, which makes it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.

Salt to the Sea is a young adult novel, very similarly written to Sepetys’ other book, Between Shades of Gray. Simple, short sentences. Even some of the characters reminded me of that book, and the story of Between Shades of Gray main character Lina is also woven into this book, albeit a bit haphazardly.

“Just when you think this war has taken everything you loved, you meet someone and realize that somehow you still have more to give.”

Because this book contains four different POV’s, it was hard for me to get into the story. We usually only stayed with one character for two or three pages, and sometimes even less. This, in combination with the simple language, made it hard for me to connect to any of the characters. Just as I was getting into one story, we were jumping to the next. And the first three quarters of the book, I had the feeling that we were still at the very beginning of the storyline.  Continue reading “Book Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys”

Bookish posts

7 Classics That Are Fun AND Easy to Read

easy to read fun classics

The number one complains I hear from people trying to read (modern) classics is: ”They’re so boring, dense and hard to get through!” And while there are definitely classics like these they don’t have to be this way! I recently looked at my Goodreads list and noticed that I’ve read quite a bit of classics, especially the ‘easy-to-read’ ones. What can I say, I just like those the best. Here’s a little rundown of my favorite classics that are fun and easy to read!

Catcher in the rye_easy fun classicsThe Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger
A book that is hated by those who were forced to read it in school, and loved by people who read it for pleasure. Holden Caulfield is hated by teenagers, but most adults can sympathise with him. He goes through a lot, and his thoughts and opinions are a reflection of that. If you’re among the people that read this years ago and hated it, I recommend giving it another try.

1984 by George OrwellSchermafbeelding 2018-02-08 om 13.04.58

A dystopian novel as a dystopian novel should be. I don’t think I can say anything about this book that hasn’t been said yet. The power of 1984 is found in its descriptions of a totalitarian society, historical revisionism, suppressing individualism and limiting language so one can limit what people are able to think. The book made me think about our perception of memory, and if telling people what they should remember really does change their memory.

Schermafbeelding 2018-02-08 om 13.06.33The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Although pretty much every major character in The Picture of Dorian Gray is unlikeable, it is a pleasure to read about them. Every major character is a reflection of either Oscar himself or how the world viewed him, which is super interesting! The prose is beautiful and the dialogue very clever. It’s quite eerie and confronting to watch the inevitable demise of Dorian Gray, and I thought it was very well-done. The entire story is good, but I promise the ending will leave you speechless.

Animal Farm by George OrwellSchermafbeelding 2018-02-08 om 13.05.10.png
Animal Farm is a well-written and witty critique of how socialist ideals are corrupted by powerful people, how the uneducated masses (represented by Boxer in the novel, among others) are taken advantage of and how communist leaders often turn into the thing that they – supposedly – despise the most. This short book is an amazing way to teach a valuable life lesson. Continue reading “7 Classics That Are Fun AND Easy to Read”

Bookish posts

How to Handle The Dreaded Reading Slump: 7 Tips

how to get out of reading slump

Reading slumps suck. I should know, because I’ve been in plenty of them. When I’m in a reading slump, nothing captures my attention. I can’t get more than 50 pages into a book without tossing it aside. My TBR grows and grows, while all I do is rewatch Lost and Supernatural. 

It’s normal that your brain needs to take a break from reading every once in a while, Reading requires concentration, it’s an active experience rather than a passive one. So don’t feel bad for taking some time away from reading if you need to. But if that doesn’t help to get out of your reading slump, here are some of my all-time favourite tips!

Surround yourself with books
One thing I love to do when I’m in a reading slump: reorganize my bookshelves! I love going through the books that I love, seeing them usually reminds me of a certain time in my life when I was reading that particular book. Going to a bookstore or the library can also help. Sometimes, surrounding myself with books is all I need to get excited about reading again.

Take some time away from the internet
I’m currently reading a book called The Shallows: What The Internet is Doing To Our Brains, and it talks about how the internet has affected our attention span. According to the author of the book, the typical electronic screen is an “ecosystem of interruption technologies”. If you find that you keep checking your phone and you can’t get into your book, maybe it’s a good idea to take a bit of an internet break or leave your phone in another room.

Make better use of your Goodreads
If you love reading as much as I do, there’s a big chance you have a Goodreads account. If you update it regularly, there are all kinds of cool features you can check out. I love the yearly progress stats, where you can see how much you’ve read. There is an extensive giveaway page and tons of interesting lists, like the Best Biographies of English Royalty list, not to mention this amazing cult classics list. And it’s so much fun to add a bunch of interesting books to your TBR!  Continue reading “How to Handle The Dreaded Reading Slump: 7 Tips”