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Tag: L J Smith

What Would They Read? The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries based on the L.J. Smith book series is one of the CW’s top rated shows, airing Thursday nights at 8:00 pm. The show is currently in its fifth season The Vampire Diariesand already has a successfully delicious spinoff, The Originals.  The show centers around Elena Gilbert, a well liked high school student, who survives the car crash that kills her parents. The Salvatore brothers are vampires who return to Mystic Falls and end up in a love triangle with the aforementioned heroine. What’s a girl to do with so many suitors? Well thank goodness she has two best friends who have a high tolerance for crazy supernatural occurrences, Bonnie and Caroline, to help a girl out. Now, given that this show is in its fifth season and has a particular knack for insane plot twists, there is far more that could be said about the characters in Mystic Falls, but there is no way to do that without getting far too spoilerish. Just know that The Vampire Diaries is a delectable supernatural romance roller coaster ride with a fabulous cast of characters. With that said, have you ever wondered what would be on one of those character’s e-readers or on the Salvatore book shelf? What are they reading in between those breakups, make-ups, and near death experiences?

Here is my recommended reading list for a few of our favorite TVD characters:

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That’s Not Very Feminist of You, Bella: Feminism and YA Romance Novels

by flickr user msmornington
by flickr user msmornington
The problem with writing about feminism is that first you have to know what it is. Ask a Men’s Rights Activist what feminism is and he’d probably say, “Feminism is the movement to kill all men and rule the world under matriarchy.” Ask an internet pop feminist what feminism is and she’d probably say, “Everything women do is feminist! Cupcakes are feminist! I can be a feminist and wear dresses!” I’m exaggerating these two perspectives, but only slightly.

You can certainly be a feminist and wear dresses, so please stop being so defensive about it (unless there is some sort of grumpy anti-dress feminist committee that I am unaware of). And I like a healthy dose of misandry as much as the next girl. But the problem with feminism is that every working definition of it is constantly undermined, criticized, or amended, for both good and bad reasons. “Feminism is about equality between men and women,” say third wave feminists, born of the 1990s and living in the wake of their 1970’s second-wave foremothers. “But equality is a nonsense word anyway, because binary concepts like male and female necessarily involve power dynamics. Feminism is about deconstructing these labels and liberating us once and for all,” say post modern/epistemological feminists. “Collaboration between women will never happen until most feminists realize how feminism has consistently ignored women of color, lesbians, disabled women, and other marginalized groups,” intersectional feminists rightly point out. And so on and so forth.

Why am I making your head spin when we’re here to talk about feminism and romance novels?


Genre Guide: Urban Fantasy for Teens

Urban FantasyDefinition
Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy. For a novel to be an urban fantasy, fantastical elements exist in an urban setting. However, this can be a broad interpretation. Really, an urban fantasy is such where fantastical elements are in play in a real-world setting and not in a fantastical world. Urban fantasies occur in the present day, and can go back in history to around the start of the Victorian Era. When urban fantasies are written for teens, the protagonist or protagonists are often inexperienced when it comes to dealing with the fantastical forces at play. They are also usually drawn into a struggle, find romance, and/or develop their own fantastical abilities.

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From Russia with YA

A year and a half ago, I relocated from Southern California to Moscow, Russia. Since I do not speak or read Russian, I accepted that my book needs would not be satisfied through local bookstores for the most part. This certainly has not stopped me from exploring the shelves here when given the chance, though, and I have been surprised by some of what I have found there.

I had my first American YA sighting shortly after I arrived. While checking out the book section of a hypermarket, I was surprised to see Cassandra Clare’s City of Ashes face-out on one of the shelves. Despite the Russian text, it was easy to spot since the cover art was the same, with a fierce-looking Clary beyond the cityscape. I found City of Bones and City of Glass next to it and, over the next few months, I visited her books there more than once, just to see something familiar and recognizable.

Cassandra Clare's City of Ashes / Photo courtesy of Dom Knigi
Cassandra Clare’s City of Ashes / Photo courtesy of Dom Knigi

The Next Big Thing: Adults Reading Teen Literature

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

Adults reading teen literature isn’t confined to bookstores — it’s also happening in the library, based on my personal experience in the 8 years I’ve been a Teen Librarian. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with adults about teen books. Sometimes it’s parents asking about books for their teen. Sometimes it’s parents wanting to read the same book as their teen. Many times, it’s an adult interested in reading teen books.

I often talk about teen books with my coworkers, especially the women in the processing department. Often they place holds on teen books. Right now, one is reading Throne of Glass and one is reading Keeper of the Lost Cities. I persuade my husband to read teen fantasy and teen science fiction books. I pass along books to my sister and my mother. I talk about teen books with adults all the time and urge them to pick up these fabulous reads. So frankly, I’m not surprised at all by the news that adults are reading teen books; it just makes sense.


Writing the Good Fight: Teen Characters With Cancer

flickr image by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

Writing about cancer can be challenging, making even the most confident author nervous and even uncomfortable. It’s a private subject for some, and in our attempts to be sensitive and supportive, it’s difficult to know what to say and what not to say unless you’ve personally experienced the disease in one of its countless terrible forms.

Enter John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, a heart-wrenching novel featuring teens with cancer that’s more than that. While the disease plays a major role in the book, it’s not the focus of the story, and while characters Hazel Grace and Gus are afflicted with cancer, it doesn’t define them or their abilities. In any other writer’s hands, a novel about cancer-stricken teens may have delved into tearful sentimentality, but Green gives his story and cover for The Fault in Our Starscharacters, particularly Hazel, the strength, wit, and humor to be both brutally honest and realistic about her slim chances of survival.

When Hazel Grace states that “cancer books suck,” I was intrigued by her declaration. What books could exist in her fictional world that merit such a harsh assessment? More to the point, what books about teens dealing with cancer are available for readers like you and me? John Green isn’t the first young adult author to tackle writing about the disease, but he’s certainly set the bar high in terms of depicting an honest, realistic portrayal of it. What follows are titles that show that cancer books do not suck.


New(s) to Me: The Vampire Diaries and the Case of the Ditched Author

The Vampire Diaries. Love Sucks.Last month, I took the arrival of The CW’s The Vampire Diaries on Netflix to be a sign: it was time to finally read L. J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries novels.

The first series had been sitting on my shelf for months, but I hadn’t brought myself to read it yet for some reason. I have been reading about vampires since waaaaaay before they were cool, but somehow these passed me by before the new printing. I slapped myself for that years ago, but I still hadn’t gotten around to reading it–probably afraid of disappointment. The TV series had begun while I was in grad school; therefore I hadn’t been able to start from the beginning, and I can’t watch things that I can’t start from the beginning.

And then, there was Netflix.


Comic Con 2011

A lot of librarians go to a lot of conferences and I’ve been to a couple of the more traditional conferences, but my favorite conference to go to is…Comic Con International (CCI). A lot of people look at me funny when I tell them I prefer to attend this over CLA or ALA, but there is something about CCI.  It may be that I am a firm believer that librarians and libraries need to keep current on popular culture and see how it can impact their library and its users.

As Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”  One of my favorite things to do at Comic Con is just wander through the exhibit hall filled with 525,701 square feet of awesomeness.  You can see what’s new in television shows, movies, comics, and books coming out in the near future.  At last year’s Comic Con, I was lucky enough to see a clip of a movie called Cowboys and Aliens.  I left the panel excited to see the movie and told everyone I knew how awesome it was going to be.  I got some strange looks, but I made sure I ordered copies of the graphic novel.  The movie is finally coming out on July 29, 2011 and now everyone seems to want to see it.

This year without really trying all that hard I left with five books given to me by PenguinPenguin Teen and Simon and Schuster and received more samplers, bookmarks and buttons than I know what to do with. I’ve spent the better part of my first day back at work going through all my “swag” and trying to remember why I needed that book marked shaped like a bloody knife…but I left CCI with a lot of information and I wanted to share some of the things I learned:

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