Can you believe that Armchair BEA is almost over? This is the last day of the themed discussions, and tomorrow I’ll post a wrap-up of the event.
What exactly does “keeping it real” mean? The meaning lays in keeping. How do you not only grow an audience, but how do you keep them coming back for more? If you have been around for years, how do you keep your material fresh? How do you continue to keep blogging fun?
One of the main things that I like to remember when blogging is that if it stops being fun, I’m doing it wrong. Generally the combination of reviewing books and participating in the occasional event has worked well for me. I’ve also started participating in book tours, because I like being able to discuss a book that I’ve read with other bloggers. It’s the discussions and overall level of excitement that I see in the blogosphere that keep me coming back for more.
One thing I plan on doing in the near future is a slight re-design of the look and feel of my blog. While it currently works for me, I noticed since I came back to blogging that WordPress has added more themes that have a sleeker look and better social media integration. I’d also like to re-do my avatar, because I got glasses back in January and wanna make her look as close to what I look like as possible. I always wonder though when I update the look/feel of my blog whether I’m making it harder for people to recognize. Thoughts?
Our final genre focuses on the younger crowd: children’s picture books and young adult literature and everything in between. What are the top 5 (or more) books that every child should have on his shelf? If you are an adult who reads YA, why do you keep going back for more? If you are not a reader of these books, think back to your childhood and share your favorites from your younger years.
I was lucky as a child, because my mother valued reading. She used to read me bedtime stories every night, even when she was exhausted and really ought to have been in bed herself. It’s something that I’m grateful for. Some of our favorites, in no particular order, were:
1. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle – I’m still enchanted by the Murray family of Madeline L’Engle’s Time Quartet. As a child, they showed me that it was okay to be different, that it was okay to want to learn, and that religion and science didn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
2. “Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney – Beautiful illustrations, and a theme of making the world a more beautiful place. It inspired me to plant lupine seeds all over my neighborhood.
3. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – A sad story, but a reminder of the power of a child-like perspective on the world.
4. “Mary Engelbreit’s The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen – A gorgeously illustrated edition of the classic fairytale.
5. “The Story of May” by Mordecai Gerstein – A little girl travels to visit each of the personified months of the year. I was saddened to discover that it’s out of print.
Moving on to the subject of young adult novels…
I’ve got a love/hate relationship with YA. There are a lot of brilliant YA novels out there, but there are also a lot of duds. I have a hard time finding the good ones, and it irritates me to no end when an otherwise good story is ruined by love triangles and teenage angst. Even when I was a teenager, that kind of drama annoyed me. Sometimes it makes me want to swear off YA for good. But then, books like Seraphina, Bitterblue, and Katya’s World remind me that I’m being unfair, and that young adult novels can contain imaginative new worlds populated by strong and resilient protagonists.
What are some of your favorite childhood or YA novels?