So, recently I’ve been complaining a whole bunch about literary genres/styles that have let me down, and made me realize how much published fiction I actually don’t want to read.
The next logical question then becomes: What will I read instead?
It took me a little bit to figure out (I blame stress for getting in the way of such an important decision), but the answer came at last: Switch to a genre I haven’t been near in a long time.
Since I unofficially “gave up” Middle Grade a couple of years ago (because I was “too old” for it), I decided this was a good time to reacquaint myself.
The Morrigan Crow series by Jessica Townsend:
I’m only about 40 pages into Nevermoor and already am hooked. I really want to know more about this world and what will happen to the characters. I’ve heard some conflicting reviews of this series, but I’m keeping an open mind. Because it’s aimed at ages 10-12, the writing is super simple and easy to read pretty quickly, but not feeling like you rushed through it and didn’t grab the plot points.
(For me, this is a major downside to adult fiction; there are too many authors that write such long, drawn-out descriptions and background that I’ll just skip ahead 20 or 30 pages at a time to get to the part where something actually happens. And usually by then, I’m not invested anymore in trying to care about the characters. I really need a concentrated focus not only to get my attention but also my sympathy. Sorry, adult fic authors.)
Hopefully I’ll have a positive review of Nevermoor to post later!
Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty:
I loved this author’s debut, Serafina and the Black Cloak. While the sequel unfortunately didn’t do it for me, I was very pleased to hear Beatty has a start on a new series. I like the setting and premise of Willa of the Wood, and it seems to have a more magical atmosphere than Serafina in general, which I can get behind, since American-based fantasy worlds/systems are in rather short supply lately.
(And as much as I love the wave of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings inspired fandoms, I feel like it’s time the fantasy lit community as a whole branched out more. That could be an entire post unto itself.)
Pax by Sara Pennypacker, The Train to Impossible Places by PG Bell, and Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee:
Are adding these to my list technically cheating since I got them for White Fang? Well, not necessarily, because realistically I will read at least one of these. The Train to Impossible Places and Dragon Pearl especially have this sense of good old-fashioned adventure and friendship that’s been sorely lacking in many of my recent choices.
White Fang has been in a real reading slump lately, so I decided to throw some MG at him as well. A few years ago, he “outgrew” the MG he had been reading, so we tried some more lighthearted YA SFF, and that worked well for most of middle school and ninth grade. But then, about 8 months ago, every single title I brought back from the library would just sit…and sit…and sit on his dresser, until it was due, no more renewals, and not even opened.
So I stopped checking the YA section for him, and began passing on the picture books I selected for Muffin after I’d read them at the little guy’s bedtime. It worked. Before the summer was over, he was ready to give The Train to Impossible Places a shot; even this spring, I think he would’ve turned it down. My method is a testament to the power of shaking up your TBR.
Have you read any of these? Have you ever thrown in the towel on a genre or style in favor of something completely different? Let’s get some comments going on this!
9 thoughts on “What To Read Next?”
Have you ever considered checking out graphic novels? I don’t mean like superhero stuff, necessarily. Some of them get really creative in the fantasy genre, without being too derivative of Tolkien or HP.
They don’t get bogged down with descriptions of the scenery because it’s already represented visually.
Reading plays is also good for people who don’t like a ton of description, in case you want something a little more on the adult side with the fat trimmed off.
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Actually, I’ve found I understand graphic novels even less – I have “spatial dyslexia” (there’s a formal term for it, but I can never remember it), and for me it gets tough really quick to keep up with what order the panels are going in, who said what in which bubble, etc. My older son likes graphic novels now and then, though.
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Oh ok! I can relate to that actually. I have difficulty retaining visual information so I miss stuff if there is no words in the panels at all. It really depends on the art style, if there is too much going on my mind blanks it out. I have the same problem with blogs that have too many graphics and bright colors.
Maybe short story collections are more your jam? Just offering suggestions.
I have had some luck with short stories! It still depends on the author/subject, but I’ve really enjoyed short stories by Neil Gaiman and Jane Yolen.
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Both good choices!
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These all sound delightful! I love MG reads. Though YA is my one true love, sometimes it’s nice settling into something cleaner and more simplistic. MG also always sparks this sense of wonder that I absolutely adore. They are true gems!
Right now I’m reading Red: The (Fairly) True Account of Little Red Riding Hood by Leisl Shurtliff and so far it is such a fun little MG book! I’ve been very much in the mood for a wondrous, magical MG read, and this one is hitting the spot.
I totally agree about adult reads. Despite being in my upper twenties, I just can’t get into them. The few I’ve tried bored me to tears and I can never seem to relate to the characters. I’ve been nodding along to all you’ve said lately about adult books. YA and MG is DEFINITELY my preference! But I certainly agree venturing out of your normal genre can be beneficial for sure! You might find a surprising new favorite. Orrrr realize your favorite genre is your favorite for a reason. XD
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It’s interesting, because when I was a teenager, I couldn’t relate to most YA, because I felt there were more important things in life than making the team or impressing the most out-of-your-league boy. XD When I was in my early 20s, chick lit actually seemed more appealing, because as a new wife and young mother, I could relate a lot more! But now that I’d desperately like a little magic in my everyday life, reading about divorce or changing jobs or opening a B&B in North Carolina just feels soooooooo tedious to read. I still enjoy a cozy mystery now and then, but that’s about it for me and adult fiction!
ahhh PAX *falls over* I mean, it was good but I also hate animal stories because they’re always so mean to the poor pure creatures 😭😂Eeep, I’m glad you’ve been shaking up your TBR though! I was slumping a bit and did the opposite and read some adult lit and really shocked myself by getting through some 600pg books that, for YA fantasy, I’ve been avoiding. But trying some 600pg adult fantasy/contemporary, I was hooked. It could just be those particular books! But sometimes it’s good to grab a different style. (I’m not outgrowing YA though 😂)
Yes, I’ll be passing on Pax, just in case! I don’t know how White Fang does it! He’s read a whole bunch like that!