This particular post is almost entirely born of my favorite book of the year. Even I'm eagerly anticipating my own commentary of Graceling by Kristin Cashore. If you've ever read any of my commentary before for a book that I really really liked you'll know I do a lot of complaining. I'm not sure why this is, but I don't plan to buck the trend with Graceling, because it's awesome.
I'm too old to read this book, but I didn't know that until I was half way through and hopelessly committed to reading not just the rest of the book but probably anything else the author sets to paper. I'm too old; too experienced; and far too jaded and cynical to identify with Graceling as the intended age of the book would. Somehow these differences are only making the experience more enjoyable for me. I have to finish this book soon or it will drive me crazier than I already am.
I actually did a fair amount of reading this month and discovered a new absolute joy in young adult fiction. I think this discovery will help establish a balance from all the stuffy stuff I read and inject some hardcore fun into my reading. YA fiction seems to be simpler, it doesn't take itself as seriously, it's all about the story (and really isn't that the point?) and I've yet to get a sense of the author trying to impress me with their craft. In the stuffy adult literary fiction when all of the preceding is done with subtlety and style in conjunction with telling a story they are welcome and readily appreciated. There is bad fiction in all genres but it seems to me that bad literary fiction is worse than the bad in any other genre and I'd rather spend time with mediocre YA books that at least yield story and shallow connection that slog through pages of self-indulgent, more often than not over-wrought, pretentious, blah that plagues so much of literary fiction. Whew... I feel better having said that.
Happily, I haven't read any mediocre YA books (yet).
Aside from Clockwork Angel, Gracleing, and a handful of Lemony Snicket's offerings, I also read The Glass Room by Simon Mawer which I'll get around to posting comments for soon, (Yeah, I've said that before) and the decidedly not children's book--yet still awesome--My Cross to Bear by Greg Allman. I can't endorse this past month's reading highly enough.
I'm sure there is a lot more to talk about but honestly I'm so caught up in Graceling that I can't quite focus on anything else. It is either definitively the greatest book ever written or something I'm ridiculously obsessed with at the moment. I don't really care which.