Wednesday

b is for


Books

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.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

18 comments:

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Bookish Buddy Bunny, benefited, bewitched, and beguiled his bouncy and boisterous band of believers with breezily brilliant blends of buzzwords, and bits of blarney, in his brainy, bright, and bold, blurb.

Master Fob said...

Woo hoo! Two letters in two days, and an alphabetic comment from Absent for each one.

Tolkien Boy said...

We should be friends, really. I own many of the same books, and am definitely going to check out the ones I don't.

Though I only have 548 books in my fiction section. I've got to get going if I plan to have as many as you by 2010...

Edgy said...

Umm. While I wouldn't say that we are already bosom buddies, I also wouldn't say that we aren't friends. That said, we need to hang out more. Of course, if we were to hang out again, that would automatically double the amount of times we've hung out.

Anyway, I'm confused about your goal. Do you intend to have the same number of books as me in 2010, or do you intend to have 907 books in 2010? And you may have sparked my competitive nature . . . Must work to have more books than TB. ;)

Absent-minded Secretary said...

I do have to make an un-alphabetical comment here to further praise Michael Chabon's Summerland, which was the best book I read in 2005, thanks to Edgy. And also to support Louise Plummer, (though I think her best work is not in the Mormon genre)even though her class was the hardest 1 credit class I ever took. She required a 3-5 page paper every week! For one credit! Sheesh!

Edgy said...

You are welcome to make non-alphabetical comments after your first alphabetical comment. (Look at me rule the world.)

I agree with you on Plummer. Kate Bjorkman is still one of my favorites. Though I really liked Dance for Three and the critical Mormon element in it.

Mandi said...

Robert Cormier's I am the Cheese was a favorite as a young adult. I even checked it out a few ago just to see if it was all I remembered... it was.

I like your HP collection idea. I'm assuming that each book is written in the Country from which it came's native languae.

Also, just to make your stop momentarily- I have never ready HP.

Edgy said...

I clutch my breath, gasping for air. Surely you jest. Surely?

FoxyJ said...

Master Fob and I haven't read Harry Potter either. Can we still be friends with you?

Edgy said...

I just don't know if I can handle any more true confessions. *breathes into paper bag* Perhaps I should, despite my obsessiveness, skip ahead to H.

No, I will be calm. I would never disavow friends just because they haven't read Harry. I know that it's just because they are waiting for the final volume to be released so as to not to have to wait with bated breath between books. Right? (The correct answer is yes.)

Desmama said...

This should really do you in: I think I've only read the first Harry Potter. Yeah, I suppose I'm waiting for all of them to come out. I'll read them when they do. Truly I will.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Don't worry Foxyj & Mandi, Edgy once swore never to speak to me again after I called Harry Potter "trendy." That was before Book V was published, and I eventually managed to worm my way back into his graces. And, I hate to point it out, but Edgy, I did see Goblet of Fire before you, so perhaps I am a bigger HP fan now?

Mandi said...

Oh Foxy, just one more thing the Fobs and the Freelancers have in common...

Th. said...

.

Recently bought Summerland at the Den. Must read.

Agree on AML comments. Perhaps when I get online at home I will rejoin the list.

I've been needed a deliciousmonster-like service--thank you.

I have no idea how many books I own. Must count.

Now that Dean has finished series two, I am ready to start on it. CoftheP was good.

Surprised to discover I had read more of the LDS books you cited than the YA.

Am excited to see what you said to Daltongirl (I seem to remember refraining, myself). I'll have a long post on this topic sometime.

Master Fob said...

Um, right, we're waiting till the last one comes out.

Really, I will read Harry someday. Just not today.

Anonymous said...

Most excellent list of authors (though I can't say I am familiar with many of the LDS ones--and I am LDS)--I just had to put a plug in for Colfer's The Wish List. I know some people think this is cheating but have you ever listened to the audiobook? Most entertaining with all of the different accents!

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Did you know that Dance for Three now costs $919.23? I'm guessing I making a used purchase.

dimmi said...

There are people who write Mormon fiction other than Anita? I had no idea!

My little sister reads her books, and we always tease her about it.

She starts to tell us about plots, and partway through we cut her off "--- and then they hold hands in the end?"

Because, seriously, how romantic could a Mormon book actually get?

Maybe someday I'll read one of those other authors, though. Maybe. Someday.