Okay. As if you couldn't see that coming.
According to my personal library catalog, I currently own 907 books. That's a pretty respectable number. For now, anyway. If you count my bookshelves at work, I now have 8 bookshelves.
This is a surprisingly difficult post to write. My world seems to revolve around books, so how do I write about them?
I think the Love of Books was instilled at an early age, even if I didn't gain a Love of Reading until my mid-twenties. My parents always had shelves upon shelves of books. That's just the way life was, and I continue to assume that's the way life is supposed to be. If you invite me to a baby shower, I will bring your unborn child books. I believe children should be taught from the time they're in the womb that books are possessions--even if you can't read them.
I openly acknowledge that I have a mild book obsession. I can't leave the Devil's Den with empty hands. I've tried.
I collect Harry Potter books. When I was traveling with the Ballroom Dance Company, I would buy the first HP book in each country we visited. Yes, it's odd. However, it's quirky enough that everyone remembers when they travel that you collect something different, and they bring one back for you. Regardless, I now have book ones from England (adult and children's covers), Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.
My primary reading obsession is young adult fiction. I like it because of the great storytelling out there. Authors I favor:
- Lloyd Alexander My favorites would be The Arkadians or the Westmark trilogy.
- Laurie Halse Anderson
- Ann Brashares
- Bruce Brooks My favorites are All That Remains and Asylum for Nightface.
- Michael Chabon Summerland is just a really cool book.
- Eoin Colfer Though everyone knows him for Artemis Fowl, you should pick up The Wish List.
- Robert Cormier Bleak fiction at its finest. Only a superb author can get away with such powerful, dark writing. Everyone's heard of The Chocolate War. Beyond the Chocolate War is also good. The Rag and Bones Shop is phenomenal, but it'll leave you depressed and/or angry for weeks.
- Chris Crowe
- Nancy Farmer Had it not been for Martin's A Corner of the Universe, Farmer's The House of the Scorpion would have been a shoe-in for the Newbery. (Both were stunning works of literature.) Unfortunately, I think they stole votes from each other, letting the prize that year go to the abysmal Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi.
- Paul Fleischman If you haven't read Whirligig and Seek yet, do so now.
- Cornelia Funke
- Shannon Hale (Why does Shannon have a wikipedia article, yet Chris doesn't? The travesty of it all.)
- Brent Hartinger
- Carl Hiaasen Hoot and Flush rock.
- Dean Hughes
- Gordon Korman Son of the Mob is quite possibly in the running for Best Book Ever. Read the first chapter. You'll see.
- David Levithan I really like Realm of Possibility.
- Lois Lowry I lean toward Gathering Blue as my favorite in her Giver trilogy. I'm also a fan of Number the Stars.
- Ann M. Martin See comments about Nancy Farmer above.
- Joyce Carol Oates
- Katherine Paterson I still cry every time I read Bridge to Terabithia.
- Louise Plummer
- Kristen D. Randle The Only Alien on the Planet is wonderful. Slumming is perhaps the ideal LDS YA novel, even though it would have never been picked up by a mainstream LDS publisher.
- J. K. Rowling
- Lemony Snicket
- Nancy Springer I Am Mordred.
- Laura E. Williams The Executioner's Daughter = Good Historical Fiction
- Jane Yolen The Devil's Arithmetic. Armageddon Summer.
So there's a brief rundown anyway.
Moving right along.
Considering my tirade at DaltonGirl's place this morning, I feel that I ought to put in a plug and defense for LDS fiction here as well. But I'll not be so impassioned and, well, ireful this time. I know a lot of people associate LDS fiction with Anita Stansfield. That's just unfair. The quality of writing has moved far beyond what she puts out. But she, along with Jack Weyland, Gerald Lund, and Chris Heimerdinger, helped open the door for LDS fiction.
Unfortunately, many of the Mormon literati looked at them and decided that there was nothing good in Mormon fiction. They snubbed it and haven't come back. This is unfortunate. Great authors have entered the market since then. The problem though is that these new authors don't get readers. Because they don't get readers, publishers assume that the market is willing to settle for Stansfield. And you can't tell me that this isn't the literati's fault. I'm on AML list. I listen to them bemoan the state of Mormon letters on a regular basis, despite the regular reviews that Jeff Needle puts out commending the ever-increasing quality of books out there. Mormon Shakespeare and Mormon Milton aren't going to appear on the scene overnight, people. You have to buy the books of the authors who are moving us toward the greats. Complain about marketing all you want, but marketing departments couldn't care less what you say; they only care where you put your money.
Anyway, here is a list of authors to check out:
- Stephanie Black. The Believer.
- Kerry Blair. Mummy's the Word. This Just In.
- Jerry Borrowman. 'Til the Boys Come Home. (Superb novel once you've moved beyond the expansive character development in the first part of the book prior to the characters entering the war.)
- Matthew Buckley. Chickens in the Headlights.
- Guy Morgan Galli. Lifted Up. (Horrendous cover but great story.)
- Dean Hughes. Children of the Promise series. (There's a follow-up series as well that is good but not compelling.) Soldier Boys.
- Robert Marcum. House of Israel series. (The second book is, I believe, the better book in the series.)
- Lisa McKendrick. On a Whim.
- Louise Plummer. Dance for Three. Thoughts of a Grasshopper.
- Tom Plummer. Eating Chocolates and Dancing in the Kitchen.
- Kristen Randle. Slumming.
- Amy Maida Wadsworth. Faraway Child.
- Patricia Wiles. Kevin Kirk Chronicles series.
- Alma Yates. Sammy's Song.
Okay, that's enough for now. I step off my soapbox.
This post has been brought to you by Barry Manilow and Ambrose Bierce with a special guest appearance by the Black Eyed Peas. Mock all you want, but Barry writes the songs that make the whole world sing. Unfortunately, he didn't write my current absolute favoritestest song. When this baby comes on the iPod, you can bet I'm up and moving. And I make ePod play it three or four times. Just because.
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