Johnson County Library Teen Reading Club discussion

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Past Summer Reading Discussions > What's with all the demonic books?

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ϮAʛʛⅇℛʊℵʛ {Supernatural Freak} (taggerung) Hi, okay so I know that vampires and evil angels and wizards and stuff like that are the rage right now, and I don't have other people reading those books. If they enjoy them, fine by me. But for a Catholic whose is trying to not poison my brian with the occult and lustful books, I don't see many reading options. Jane Eyre is the only book I can read on your entire list of books. Can anything else that is acceptable with my mom be added to the list? I have enjoyed participating in the teen reading club in the past, but now that it is all online, I don't see many prize options for myself and I find it disappointing that there isn't much of a variety in regards to what has been chosen for the club to read.

message 2: by Leah (new)

Leah | 18 comments I agree with you. My mom is very particular about what I read, and it is hard for me to find good, modern teen books.

message 3: by Annie (new)

Annie (lovetodance) | 24 comments I understand exactly what you're saying. It's not really the library's fault though, because from what I see, they were trying to select popular teen books that would appeal to teens... and unfortunately, most popular/well-known/award-winning teen books these days have vampires and demons and everything. I personally though understand what you mean, because I haven't found many books that I find acceptable for me to be reading.

ϮAʛʛⅇℛʊℵʛ {Supernatural Freak} (taggerung) Thanks for the support guys. ;-) Like you said Holden, stuff that is enjoyable in the YA section tends to be a little older. I just read Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy right before the summer reading program started, a rare modern example of how good teen lit does not have to involve the occult. There are of course the classics, I'm gonna be reading a lot of British lit next school year.

ϮAʛʛⅇℛʊℵʛ {Supernatural Freak} (taggerung) Oh, yeah, and I would love to go to YAAC, I did in 2008, and got a galley that I absolutely loved, Nobody's Prize (Helen of Troy prequelish), but my Saturdays are like always booked. :-(

message 6: by Leah (new)

Leah | 18 comments My family is really in to reading, and is always trying to get me to read classics. The problem with that is that all the classics I've tried I have hated. I guess maybe I should go looking into adult litrature more

message 7: by Kate, Young Adult Librarian (new)

Kate (katemcnair) | 58 comments Mod
The challenges have already past but I would check out Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. They are a great "alternate" history. Or Incarceron by Catherine Fisher which is an amazing sci-fi/fantasy book which I thought was amazing and complicated and totally satisfying to read, especially if you are sick of all the paranormal romance.

In terms of upcoming challenges, Maureen Johnson writes some great and romantic comedy books, if that is what you are looking for. I also really enjoyed The Compound by S.A. Bodeen about the world after nuclear fallout.

Annie is right. We do try to find things that are popular and will be appealing to a wide range of readers. Every summer we try to find a little something for everyone and striking that balance can be difficult. But we also try to make opportunities to win gift cards so that you can choose your own prize. We will be sending out a survey at the end of the summer and we would love to hear what you think and how you could see us improving in the future.

If you are interested in reading more about the general shift in teen books to the paranormal romance/dystopian you might check out this Wall Street Journal article that got a lot of buzz from authors, readers, librarians, publishers and more. I read it and the comments (there are a lot) and it sparked a lot of interesting discussions. Perhaps this is place where we can talk about those trends.

Why do you think the paranormal is so popular right now? Is it because it is what teens are reading? OR are teens reading it because it is tough to find other books?

message 8: by Zach (new)

Zach | 26 comments It's popular right now but in a few years it won't be, peoples likes change

message 9: by Polly (new)

Polly | 13 comments I don't have many restrictions on what I read but I find that most vampire/demon books don't interest me. I find it weird that someone would want to read about stuff that suck blood or eat people. But there are many great books that have paranormal stuff but are not demonic. Here are several series I've enjoyed:
The Bayern Series by Shannon Hale
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques
These are all really good and I highly recommend them. I hope you enjoy them :)

message 10: by Princess Katie, the Random Hot Pink Minotaur (last edited Jul 06, 2011 06:29PM) (new)

Princess Katie, the Random Hot Pink Minotaur (safeandsound) Holden wrote: "Leah wrote: "My family is really in to reading, and is always trying to get me to read classics. The problem with that is that all the classics I've tried I have hated. I guess maybe I should go lo..."

(I didn't like To Kill a Mockingbird.)

message 11: by Kate, Young Adult Librarian (new)

Kate (katemcnair) | 58 comments Mod
Sometimes I think books aren't as great when you feel like you "have" to read them, either for school or because a family member or friend pushes you to read it. But if you find it on your own, you might enjoy it. I read the Count of Monte Cristo and A Tale of Two Cities a few years ago and loved them! Great adventure stories, but I might not have liked them if I had been forced to read them for school or something.

I would recommend Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I reread them before the last movie came out and I had forgotten how totally amazing they were. Confusing and Carroll was probably a little crazy, but still awesome.

I will throw in one last name, Oscar Wilde. The Importance of Being Ernest and The Ideal Husband were hillarious and pretty scandelous for their day, although they probably pale in comparison to what might be written today.

What classics would others recommend?

message 12: by Jenny (last edited Jul 07, 2011 11:41AM) (new)

Jenny | 42 comments I actually like some of the demonic books. Some vampire books are getting annoying though. Although, I'd love to see some teen reads with new topics.

message 13: by Mary (new)

Mary | 1 comments This is a great conversation. I would suggest sometimes checking out the "J" area of the library. Here are some suggestions:

The Wednesday Wars

or almost anything by Gary Schmidt. He is a great writer.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith

this one is a beautiful story of a marriage between two people who disagree about their beliefs but who mutually respect each other.

message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan (misssusan) | 1 comments There's a lot of great YA without vampires, zombies or supernatural elements. The trend-watching adults are pushing the trend, and so there is a glut of that particular genre, and some of it is not very high quality. Some recent books you might look at: "Wintergirls" and "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson; "After" by Amy Efaw; "What I Saw and How I Lied" by Judy Blundell; "The Adoration of Jenna Fox" by Mary Pearson; and "Life As We Knew It," by Susan Pfeffer. These all have good, solid storytelling, complex characters and themes, and no brooding bad-boy bloodsuckers.

If you're looking for classics, try Jane Austen. "Pride and Prejudice" is great.

ϮAʛʛⅇℛʊℵʛ {Supernatural Freak} (taggerung) Thanks for all the recommendations. I will definitely look into them. In regards to aliens, I read a bunch of Star Wars (with other stuff in between to vary my reading). Fantasy with out too much evil in it (Percy Jackson, the Tamora Pierce books, Enchanted Forest Chronicles) I read. I love all the Redwall series, and am very sad Brian Jacques died. One series of classics I absolutely love is the books by James Herriot.

Princess Katie, the Random Hot Pink Minotaur (safeandsound) All Creatures Great and Small is one of my favorite books.

@Susan, Pride and Prejudice is an AMAZING book. My all-time favorite book.

ϮAʛʛⅇℛʊℵʛ {Supernatural Freak} (taggerung) Oh, I forgot to mention that C.S. Lewis' Space trilogy, Chronicles of Narnia, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings are approved because of how they have reflections of the faith.

message 18: by Leah (new)

Leah | 18 comments Thanks for all the suggestions!

message 19: by Jia (new)

Jia | 40 comments Yeah, my religion teacher taught us using examples from Lord of the Rings. ^.^

message 20: by Michael (new)

Michael | 8 comments I think that using the term "demonic" gives all of the books a very negative connotation. I agree that most teens are interested fantasy and sci-fi books, and the authors are probably trying to fit into the market. Religion is kind of a tough subject, since it conflicts with a lot of things. I don't want to sound like a jerk or offend anyone, but in my opinion, it is just personal bias. Also, earlier in the summer, I know that Lord of the Flies was on the booklist, and it isn't occult. Also, may I suggest some non-lustful or occult books by George Orwell? Like Animal Farm or 1984?

message 21: by Leah (new)

Leah | 18 comments I disagree. Because of the lifestyle in this era, many teens do not read as much, and when they do read it's light, airy, meaningless novels. So naturally, the authors right those. The authors try to appeal to teens today with sex, drugs, vampires, ect. and if your religious it can be a problem. It can even be a problem if you just don't want to read about those things. I've been looking at the books the library is reading, and I hardly read any of them because of the content. I understand why the library is choosing these books, but this isn't just bias.

message 22: by Hunter (new)

 Hunter (hunterthestarwarssaga) | 13 comments Michael wrote: "I think that using the term "demonic" gives all of the books a very negative connotation. I agree that most teens are interested fantasy and sci-fi books, and the authors are probably trying to fit..."

Are you 100% sure about 1984? Just saying...

message 23: by Hunter (new)

 Hunter (hunterthestarwarssaga) | 13 comments Kate wrote: "Sometimes I think books aren't as great when you feel like you "have" to read them, either for school or because a family member or friend pushes you to read it. But if you find it on your own, yo..."

Completely agree. A book is better if you don't have to take a test on it the next day, or write up a report, or do any of that. usually it's better to just relax and enjoy the book. Ex: I just finished the book thief for summer reading (English 9,Adv.), and I loved it! But I would have liked it more and read faster if I hadn't had to read it. It's done, and *BAM* Extras is done. Just like that. My reading has picked up significantly in just the past few days. My to-read list might still be miles long, but it's finally getting eaten up. Now if I could just take the time to actually type up the 1 1/2 pages of Essay.

message 24: by Sydney (new)

Sydney | 32 comments I think its nice to think outside of the box. It seems like there are always books about god and christianity and never books about the opposite end of the spectrum(not that I'm not a Christian). I like demonic books its fun to explore the darker side of things.

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