Musing Mondays: January 6, 2014

musingmondays51Monday Musings is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Every Monday bloggers should muse about one of the following:

  • Describe one of your reading habits.
  • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
  • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
  • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
  • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Over the weekend I started reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians series, and after I finished the first book and started thinking about my review, I immediately started comparing it to other books I’ve read recently. Most of what I read is literary fiction, and it’s very different from books/series like Percy Jackson. The target audience is different and the motivations behind the stories are also different. Percy Jackson is written for older children/young teens, so it’s goal is to entertain that age group. The story is also a series, which means the author wants to create a story that will make his readers want to read the other four books. None of this is meant to be criticism, though. I’ve loved young adult/children’s series ever since I was a child myself and see nothing wrong with enjoying them now. What I started wondering was, if these two genres are this different, how is what I look for in them different when I sit down and write my review?

The answer I came up with was style. To be honest, most young adult/children’s books I read have a very simple writing style which is better suited to its intended age group. That isn’t to say there is no style, but when compared to something like If on a winter’s night  traveler, a novel driven by its writing style, the different is stark. Young adult/children’s authors are more concerned with building an interesting story than crafting original and stylistically beautiful sentences.

Which is absolutely okay, since I know a lot of people who’d look at If on a winter’s night a traveler and get a major headache.

The things I look for in young adult/children’s lit are the same things which I believe the authors focus on themselves: a fun, interesting story, tangible and developed characters, and preferably a little humor. After reading so many long, involved and stylistically heavy novels, I admit it’s a bit of a relief to pick up a series like Percy Jackson and tear through it. I’m so glad I gave this series a chance, and plan to have reviews up of the first two books sometime this week.

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