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How To Read: Step by Step Instructions to Pleasure Reading

reading

Reading for your own enjoyment takes practice. I know it sounds a little crazy– but folks practice their hobbies all the time and why should recreational reading be any different? It can be hard today to turn off distractions and just read. So here is a practical guide; follow it and you will soon find yourself enjoying reading. And for those of you reading this post who don’t need any help in this regard, I invite you to share your tips for happy reading.

Step 1: Pick book.

This is one of the hardest steps of the process. But fear not, you can handle it. There are so many ways to choose a book: pretty cover, friend recommendation, favorite author, saw the movie, library/book store display, read about it somewhere (twitter, instagram, facebook, tumblr, pinterest), heard about it somewhere, random browsing, librarian recommendation, teacher recommendation, it’s your favorite book and you want to read it for the tenth time darn it, read a review, literary awards, found it (in a rental vacation house and in the plane seat flap next to the barf bag perhaps), it’s a classic you’ve been meaning to read, and so on… Point being, any reason to pick a book is a good one if it works for you.  Some other resources that are helpful in finding books:

As you are selecting books, keep an open mind (even on books you did not like in the past.)

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Not Yet Postracial: a moment from the fourth wall

A lot of what we write here on The Hub is more about the actual literature we find ourselves reading than about any visceral, gut-wrenching reaction to big issues. But we in the YA world have found ourselves surrounded by nation- and worldwide reactions to a couple of very big issues, both regarding race. Here’s the rundown.

Cover of Revealing EdenIn October of last year, Victoria Foyt, who had already published a relatively popular YA fantasy novel in 2007, released her newest concept: Revealing Eden, the first book in her new dystopian series, Save the Pearls. In this novel, Eden Newman, a “Pearl,” is about to turn eighteen, at which point she must be mated lest she be sent to the surface to die from the Heat. Many other Pearls have offered to mate with her, but shedd rather die than mate with another Pearl. She wants to mate with a Coal, a member of the darker-skinned ruling majority who, according to Eden, hate Pearls. Secretly, she is dating Jamal, a Coal who also turns into a beastlike creature. She calls him her “Dark Prince.”

Eden hates herself. She considers herself ugly and unwanted and goes through the world wearing “Midnight Luster” to mask her blonde hair and pale skin and “pass” for a Coal. She’ll do anything in her power to survive, but she also wants to feel loved and beautiful. If you mix this with a lot of societal secrets and even turn her family against her, what will you get?

Well, apparently, you get a lot of backlash from your readership.

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Reacting to NPR’s 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels

I can’t seem to go three posts on a social network this week without hearing something about NPR’s list, Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels. Reactions to the list have been largely critical ranging from: “How dare you fail to include my favorite book?” to “I can’t believe they ranked that popular book above that more literary book!” I think a bit of an uproar is a good thing. It means we’ve all got great teen books on our minds. But lists are tricky things. They are neither perfect nor permanent. They are informed by their time and their criteria and by the people involved in choosing what ended up there — in this case mostly fans of NPR or folks who found their way to the polls through some other channel. Lists have a great many uses, but what’s best is always changing.

Here are some interesting numbers.*

  • 59 of the books listed were written by female authors.
    42 of the books listed were written by male authors.
    David Levithan (male) and Rachel Cohn (female) collaborated on Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which is why there is a discrepancy in the math. While female authors do tend to lead in the YA field, the male authors on this list are relatively close to equally represented.
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