Monday, August 1, 2011

Top Ten Bookish Trends I'd Like to See More Of/Less Of...

In 'Laurie's Kingdom of a Better Tomorrow' there shall be...

1. A little less conversation, a little more action.  I'm taking my cue from Elvis here: I LOVE the conversations I'm privileged to engage in with readers from all over the world, but I cannot even begin to imagine the untapped power in all of us readers to change the world for the better.  That's why I'm doing everything in my power to make it easy for all of us to make just a slight shift:  just a little less talk, just a little more ActionReaders  .

2. Fewer dystopian novels, more novels that lead our imaginations toward complex, realistic, alternate futures and inspire us to create better ones.  Yes, I know: disaster sells.  Moderately uncomfortable realities or potential disasters that could possibly be averted don't.  But I so want to conjure and support that next JK Rowling with a twist, that next writer who could make the real issues of our future into a story that's exciting, that breeds heroes like Harry and Hermione, that raises our own ambitions to serve humanity through courage and perseverance.  If you know this person, this writer who could help us explore fictional realities to find real-world possibilities, do let me know.  Perhaps she/he will be our next ActionReaders cause.

3. Fewer surfacey paranormal romance novels, more novels that conjure alternate ways of being and help us learn to truly empathize with 'the other'.

4. Fewer gratuitous explicit sex scenes in Y.A. novels, more Y.A. novels that treat sex not as a tactic thrown in to sell books, but as a complex and intensely psychologically affecting one for teens.  Why?  Primarily because I respect the teens I know, the teens I teach.  And I won't teach books that throw in sex - or violence or anything else - simply to titillate or to sell books.  And I may have to fight just to teach the ones that address teens' sexuality realistically and respectfully, so I need real writerly integrity as the foundation for my cases. .

5. A little less cheesy chick lit, a few more well-written, substantive books with strong female leads.

6. Fewer comic books, more beautifully crafted graphic novels.  Persepolis, Gryphon & Sabine, The Arrival: give me more of these.

7. Fewer dime-a-dozen, cheese whiz, supermarket thrillers from Patterson, Preston & Child, all those Nordic coat-tail riders, more substantive novels and non-fiction in mass-market paperbacks.

There: Even though it looks like seven items, it's more like fourteen, so I'm done. 

What would you add, friend?  And what do you have to say about my strong opinions?

Weigh in here and at The Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday, where you can find scores of other book bloggers' hopes and dreams for the readerly future.



Julia said...

Loved this list. Very well thought out!

The dystopian novels I enjoy the most are the ones that make me draw parallels to our world today and how I can change it to make it better.

I crave strong female leads. It makes me sad to see some of the character brought forth as "strong females" and makes me think that maybe we need better examples.

Thanks for the ActionReaders link. I am going to have to check that out!

Thanks for participating in TTT!
Julia from The Broke and the Bookish

Anne Bennett said...

Wow. I agree with you on all points. Great list. I hadn't really thought of graphic novels until I read your blog. It's the manga that drives me crazy. And I totally agree with all the sex in YA novels. So often it actually weakens the story or makes the book, which may have been a good books for class discussions, unusable.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I think your number one is the reason we see fewer boy readers; boys want action, not conversations. Agree, agree agree!

Here's my Top Ten list for this week:
Top Ten Trends You'd Like to See More Of
I hope you will stop by and join in Readerbuzz's August Giveaway!

kaye said...

I agree whole-heartedly with your opinions. great list today. Kaye—the road goes ever ever on

SweetMarie83 said...

You obviously gave this a lot of thought and I love your points. I completely agree with a lot of what you said, and I too am anxiously awaiting the next JK Rowling (although it's hard to imagine anyone ever reaching that height in my eyes...but we'll see!).

Emily @ Books and Threads said...

You've made some brilliant points! Books and publishing can be such an effective agent of change and exploration - I'd love to see more YA authors take advantage of that.

Here's my Top Ten List

kaye said...

Laurie--you asked what kind of e-reader I had, I have a kindle. And yes I love it. I doubt I'll ever read a paper book again. I still love the feel and smell of a real book, and I do have my favorites in the bookshelf. But I've even downloaded them and reread them on the kindle. I can't compare e-readers having never used any of the others. Another thing I like is that my mother, daughters and I share an account so we read and share each other's books. It also helps keep the cost down to have multiple buyers sharing books.

Yvette said...

Terrific list. Wow, I forgot all about the Nordic wannabes. Didn't mention them on my list, but I should have. :)

LBC said...

So thoughtful, as always, Laurie. I'm with you on the graphic novels. I'm running out of them at the library. Publish more please.

Check out my list at The Scarlet Letter.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

That's a helluva list, Laurie. Not that I'm surprised, but nicely done. You've put more thought into this one than anybody else's I've read. Though only shadows of a couple of your "more/less" made it to my list, I agree with all you've said.

Laurie said...

Hey, Julia - thanks so much for stopping by. And thanks for The Broke and the Bookish!
LBC & Anne - I'm with you on looking for high quality graphic novels.
Deb - That's part of my ActionReaders plan: to help boys find books to be useful - even works of literature with no particular practical info.
Kaye - I enjoyed your list, and thanks so much for stopping back to let me know what you think of your Kindle.
Sweet Marie & Yvette: I'm off to visit your lists too.
Emily - Yes, and I don't mean that all YA should be "issue driven", but it'd be interesting to explore some believable futures that are at least not entirely horrific...
Off to visit those of you I haven't yet gotten to (so many great lists this time, and such a busy week: I didn't quite get to everybody's blogs until today).

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