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Posts Tagged ‘Young Adult Literature’

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A few posts back, I wrote that the closest antecedent to the classic western pulp market is East Asian “light novels”, not western e-publishing. Translations of these books are becoming more frequent, but there’s still a huge amount that’s yet to be licensed or officially translated and probably never will be. The insanely short release schedules and sheer volume of work, coupled with the general disinterest of western readers and publishers in tackling translations in the first place, dictates against us getting more than a small window into grab-and-go novels geared towards teenagers and people who want a quick read on their commute. Yet unlike other languages, Japanese, and to a lesser extent Chinese and Korean, has a dedicated and active fan translation community that brings out work we otherwise would never see. The legality of these projects is dicey, but oftentimes its the only way to read these works if you’re not fluent in the language of origin and the only way they’d ever come to the attention of English-language publishers in the first place.

What I found was that some forms of storytelling from older English pulp that has largely died out on this side of the ocean is alive and well in Japan, as well as a certain young adult ethos that characterized older middle-grade fiction but not the current predominate mode of YA. These features were especially noticeable in two series that I breezed through this year (both not officially translated, alas). (more…)

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I’m three-quarters of the way through Thomas Wharton’s The Shadow of Malabron and I’m just not feeling it–not the characters, not the world, not the story. Passages go by where I realize my inattentiveness several pages later, reading but not registering, and then having to flip back to figure out why Will is doing this thing or why the wolf is over there. Not a good sign, and one that chafes because Wharton’s glacially-paced Icefields kept me far more engaged. Much more happens in Shadow, yet the impact is much less. (more…)

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I’ve been trying to get into Avatar: The Last Airbender on the urgings of Alasdair Czyrnyj, with the eventual goal of being able to talk intelligibly about The Legend of Korra. Avatar has all the hallmarks of a great show custom-made to appeal to my interests: dynamic animation, strong characters, solid storytelling and a “land of adventure” setting with distinct, inter-meshing cultures. Yet I find myself continually pulled away from the show, and despite watching the first episode back in December I haven’t managed to get beyond episode six. Meanwhile, I’ve been obsessively watching Last Exile even though I can’t say the two shows are qualitatively that much different (and the plot of Avatar is certainly less confusing). (more…)

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Well, it had a dragon on the cover.

Young Adult literature is a Thing now, but it wasn’t when Marie and I grew up! Join as as we talk about the books we read as teenagers and realize with dawning horror that we had terrible, terrible taste.

Warning folks, this one’s a long one.

Download the Podcast (archive.org page)

Marie’s blog

Blog post: Underground Reading – Dragonlance Chronicles

Source of our theme song

Book mentioned at length (in order):

Redwall series, Brian Jacques
Animorphs series, K.A, Applegate
The Sword of Shannarah, Terry Brooks
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan
The Sword of Truth, Terry Goodkind
Everything by Mercedes Lackey
The Belgeriad, David Eddings
Forgotten Realms series, various authors
Dragonlance Chronicles, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Harry Potter series, JK Rowling

Tangentially, we mention MANY more.

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If you hadn’t realized already, Young Adult fiction (YA) is kind of a Thing, with several well-known authors dipping in to write books for younger readers. We can blame Harry Potter for the uptick, I suppose. Twilight and The Hunger Games have also cemented that new section’s place in the bookstore.

We’ve had novels aimed specifically at younger readers since the nineteenth century, with boys’ adventure stories and the like. This is where we got Treasure Island, Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates, Around the World in Eighty Days (although Jules Verne’s scientific romances weren’t specifically meant for young boys, it was a natural fit). Then there was the era when the Newbery Award reigned supreme—the 50s to the 70s, when Lloyd Alexander, Rosemary Sutcliff and Ursula K. Le Guin wrote classic works for younger readers. To tell the truth, my interest in YA lies mostly with works from before YA was a Thing, with those boys’ adventure novels and the “Newbery Era.” Yet those both had younger readers in mind than YA supposedly aims for.

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