Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Fricassee

I think I need to read something meaty and 19th-century.  Something that doesn't have the break-neck pace of the YA novels I adore.

Well, maybe "break-neck" is too extreme.  But the pacing of a YA novel is clearly different than an adult novel, contemporary or classic, and I'm finding that a too-steady diet of YA leaves me longing for something a little slower.  Not BORING; not PONDEROUS.  Just...slower.

Which means it's probably time to pull out Lord of the Rings or Pride and Prejudice, the only two stories I regularly reread.

I've got Dickens on the shelves, too, but he's a bit too verbose to tempt me into rereading my favorites.  I'm one of those people who will almost never stop reading a book I've started, but Little Dorrit lulled me to sleep so consistently that I gave up.  (I mean literally lulled.  I kept nodding off every time I sat down to read the thing.)  So I'm leery of trying the lesser-known, awfully-fat ones sitting there gawking at me.

Then again, I'm awfully happy with Ruta Sepetys's Between Shades of Gray, which I'm currently in the middle of.  Wonderful writing!  And yes, it's YA.  My true love.

What about the rest of you YA and MG writers?  Obviously it's important to read what you write, so I'm assuming you all do a lot of that.  But to what do you turn when it's time for something non-teen?  What dusty favorites lure you back when the weather chills and the nights darken early?

And speaking of YA and MG writers -- next week's our big Baker's Dozen submission week!  Feel free to leave last-minute questions in today's comment box.  By now, I'm sure you're well-versed--but I'm still getting emails and comments from brand new blog readers, so I have to remind myself not to assume that everybody knows everything!

The official rules are HERE.

Happy weekend!

38 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

Jane Austen is my fall-to when I want something not so MG (my first love). :)

Jess said...

Philippa Gregory and Maeve Binchy for me. I also like biographies. The bio I'm reading right now is Jacques Pepin's The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. It's really good and has plenty of food descriptions :)

J E S S I C A said...

I find myself heading more and more often to non-fiction when I need a YA break. Something about sitting with one subject and contemplating it for the length of a book really seems to wipe the slate clean. And let me tell you, after spending a few days delving into, I don't know, string theory, or the Civil War, I'm usually more than ready to dive back into the head of a 16-year-old protagonist and go on some adventures with her. :)

katherineamabel said...

The Secret Garden - especially since there is an overgrown, walled in garden where I live that nobody else goes into so I can read in peace. Win!

Angela Brown said...

I tend toward Sense and Sensibility but I also have a few of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Those behemoths are certainly great reads but they do move a bit slower than your typical YA novel.

EmilyaNaymark said...

Yes! Philippa Gregory. I'm reading 'Wideacre' right now and it's about as langurously paced as you would want, but with lots of burn underneath. Perfect for a cool fall night.

Adam Heine said...

Have you read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell? It might be just what you're looking for. This was my take on it.

maegabby said...

"Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."

So begins Portrait of a Lady, the Henry James novel I return to most. Tension and languor. Innocence and sexual evil. It's a lush,compelling, devasting novel.

Cheyenne Hill said...

Without a doubt, LOTR! Have re-read this so many times I can't even count.

Although if you want to step it up (or down) a notch, go for The Silmarillion. As huge a Tolkien fan as I am, this is the first time I've sat down to read it cover to cover. Dense. But fascinating.

Jane Eyre though - that's the one that always puts me to sleep. I can't go there. My sister used to read it to me every Christmas Eve growing up to put me to sleep! ;)

katherineamabel - I love that you have a secret garden to read the Secret Garden in!

Ms. Snip said...

Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. There's something about an adult paranormal romance that I just love, and her characters are so snarky. Also - secretly - I want to be a Valkyrie. :)

Mystery Robin said...

C.S. Lewis is a favorite of mine. :) And I'm reading The Secret Garden to my kids right now. I find that on the whole MG doesn't seem to always move as fast as YA these days and I appreciate that. I've turned to MG not only when I need a rest from the pace and "I" focus of YA, but when I need something happier and more hopeful than adult literature.
I'm reading Mr. Pettigrew's Last Stand now (an adult book) and I love it. You can't accuse it of moving quickly, and the language is lovely. Also reading Breadcrumbs, a retelling of the Snow Queen myth, and it's pure beauty!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

These may be a little heavy for your taste, but they're worth reading: Vanity Fair by Thackeray, The Mill on the Floss by Eliot, or Far from the Madding Crowd by Hardy. These writers just get so much DEEPER into people's character/motivations than Jane Austen, I think. And you can always watch the movie version first, to see if you'll like the book.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

(Not to mention Brave New World by Huxley, To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee, or Gone with the Wind by Mitchell, on the quicker-read side of the classics).

Kelley said...

I pretty much read any and all genres even though I write YA. I think as writers we can draw inspiration from it all and you're right, sometimes we need a different format, a different feel to the story that most YA books follow.

Tere Kirkland said...

From time to time, I need a break from YA, and pull out a historical mystery, or one of the other adult books I've been putting off reading.

A great historical that kind of reminds me of a YA is Sarah Waters' Fingersmith. Great read, but not quite as break-neck. The intrigue builds and builds until you almost can't stand it!

Brigitte Doss-Johnson said...

I love that there is a different genre for each kind of reader and for any mood.
St. John in Jane Eyre is what got me writing. I was so mad at him for choosing the wrong thing. I love rereading Jane Eyre, especially the ending ... (ahh) so I chuckled at Cheyenne who falls asleep to it.
I HATE reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. My Japanese mother forced me to read it, printed on thin enough paper that the back printing showed through and in horrible blue ink. I was 9 and couldn't read very well nor sit still. We were a military family and my language acquisition was somewhere between English, Japanese and Pigeon Hawaiian. My mother didn't know brillig and toves aren't real english words.

Anne Tibbets said...

All of the books listed above, plus Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale."

Jennie Englund said...

I keep coming back, waiting for your Big News!!!

It's coming!

You do so much for the writing community, it's coming, for sure!

So, I just read The Night Circus. I think this might inspire you, have reviewed it on my blog.

It could be just the story you need to yank you out of your slump!

Roxanne said...

These aren't oldie but goodies, but two of the best adult novels I've read recently are The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and The Magicians/The Magician King (sequel). Both blew me away.

Chrissy said...

Last minute question:
Is there a max word count on the logline? I know its 100 for the longline contest, but I don't want to assume its the same for Baker's Dozen (and be wrong)

SueO said...

Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Slower paced but still intriguing and intelligent.

Hausenpfeffer said...

"The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins. Fantastic writing, gripping plot that will keep you guessing. Definitely one of THE best 19thC novels I've read. Collins was a good friend of Dickens, they even wrote a road trip book together.

samsevern said...

I'm reading the last chapter of "Mockingjay" today. Then I'll pick up "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace n' reread it to blow open the doors of my mind n' let his imagination totally ROCK my world! ㋡

Beth Christopher said...

I love Mary Karr's memoirs for their feisty humor and heartbreaking poetry. (Liar's Club, Cherry, and Lit)

Gail Shepherd said...

For me: contemp grown-up books: The Tiger's Wife; Visit to the Goon Squad; Parrot and Olivier in America...

Mary said...

I love memoirs. My recent favorites are The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls.

A Thousand Splendid Suns moved me to tears.

Also like early Stephen King - 'Salem's Lot puts me in the Halloween spirit. I like my vampires to snarl and bite - no sparkling please ;).

Ramona Dark said...

Going to second Gone With the Wind. Amazing! I also love Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Definitely worth the time commitment of a re-read.

Tara said...

The books I love rereading year after year are P&P, Jane Eyre, and the Harry Potter series. Or, even better, I have Stephen Fry read Harry to me! =)

Rebecca T. said...

I love, love, love YA, but I know what you mean. When I read too many of them in a row, I do find myself looking for a change of pace - but I think that's true with anything I read.

Jane Eyre is definitely one of my favorite re-reads. And I recently started Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I love that it mixes 2 of my favorite genres- fantasy and historical fiction- into a great story.

Rena said...

I have been an adamant fan of Lois Bujold's for a long time. It isn't 19th century, but her writing is some of the best spec fic anywhere around.

Start with Cordelia's Honor

Cat said...

If you are interested, I could mail you a pdf of my historical novel "Ann Angel's Freedom". It's 19th century and set in Germany. A quiet but not boring read about a farmer's family trying to buy their freedom from serfdom. For me, it would be a way to pay back the fabulous things you did for us.

Authoress said...

Thanks for all the great book recommendations!!

The Silmarillion: I own it. I've tried; really, I have. Maybe I can try again...one day. o.o

Sherlock Holmes: I enjoyed the novels and really should read all the shorts! I have 1 fat book that has Conan Doyle's collected works.

Jane Eyre: *dislike* Even before I understood what "strong plot points" meant, I found the third section of the story utterly unbelievable. I always enjoy watching movie adaptations, though. :)

Jennie -- Thank you!!

Cat -- That would be lovely, thank you!

Marie Rearden said...

My go-to's are A Tale of Two Cities and Atlas Shrugged. Dickens's dry, out-of-nowhere humor in the midst of this angsty story perks me up. And Hank Rearden demands my time. Demands it!

:), Marie

Marie Rearden said...

Ooooooh, and Water for Elephants is pretty darn magical. A must!

alishamarieklapheke said...

I really like A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It's fantasy fun and super sexy but also rather brainy. I love what others have deemed "the slow part" of the novel--just lolling around in the yumminess of the setting and characters.

Filigree said...

Mary Stewart's 'Merlin' sequence starting with THE CRYSTAL CAVE. Moody, atmospheric, spot-on narration in Merlin's voice, a great retelling of the Arthurian legends in a magic-realism vein.

Escape Artist said...

You know I think quite a bit about the YA market, and I wonder often if we short change it sometimes.
Not by what's out there, because there is a lot of fabulous out there - a lot! It's just this attitude we have whilst writing, the 'get to it quick' attitude, and I wonder about that. Are we, at times, losing some beauty for, stomping up and down, NOW, NOW, NOW!
I mean didn't we step over our temper tantrum children, and keep walking slowly waiting for them to catch up? Wasn't it fun waiting to see how long it took, the anticipation of that?
I like waiting. I like the gentleness of a good beginning. I like to climb inside before it takes off.
I don't know. I think I'm just being a bit glum about society as a whole at the moment, the gimme, gimme, now, now. I find it worrying and I think we have to be careful it's not fed too much of the same diet.
Ah, so enough of that. Off to find a balance! : )

Escape Artist said...

Oh, almost forgot. Try Ann Pachett, and I just recently finished 'The Great House,' by Nicole Krauss.
Anything Austin!