“Wow, you must really like books!”

So said the random guy who delivered a chair to my apartment last year.  I’m not sure where he got that impression.  Perhaps it was this:

Isn't this what everyone uses their china cabinet for?

Or this:

As you can see, my hardcover Harry Potters are in a place of honor. AS THEY SHOULD BE.

Or possibly this:

Books acquired from my day job. And yes, I know they DESPERATELY need organizing.

And he didn’t even see the 6 boxes of mass market paperbacks that are currently hiding out on my enclosed porch because I have yet to find a suitable, yet affordable, bookcase for them to call their own.  So yes, random guy who delivered a chair to my apartment last year, I really like books.  In fact, I freaking love them.

I moved around a lot as a kid and books were an escape for me.  I was a shy kid, so whenever I was in a new environment with new people, I was comforted by the fact that I had old friends waiting for me between the pages.  I could play The Westing Game with Turtle Wexler, thwart Nazis with Annemarie Johansen in Number the Stars, and cry my eyes out when Leslie Burke dies trying to make it to Terabithia.  And when we had to give a speech in elementary school about our favorite character, I picked Stacey from the Babysitter’s Club series.  After all, Stacey’s sophisticated fashion sense and brave struggle with diabetes gave me a lot to work with.

I think this is why I feel such a deep connection to childrens and young adult fiction.  I definitely read books from a variety of genres, but I find myself going back to that middle grade and YA well most often.  So I thought I’d put together a list of my literary likes and dislikes, quirks and pet peeves.  You know, the things that define me as a reader.  Just so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

LIKES:

  • I love a good coming-of-age story, no matter what genre it falls into.
  • Paranormal, urban fantasy, and supernatural fiction.  Pretty much anything where the characters have special powers.  Probably because I secretly wish I had a superpower, preferably teleportation.  I would save a lot of money on gas.
  • Stories that take place in an alternate or slightly different universe from our own.
  • Most types of romance, at least the ones that are not too flowery or mushy.
  • Smart, kick-ass heroines and the guys who love them.
  • Nerds.
  • Adventures with spies, pirates or thieves.  Particularly stories that feature elaborate heists or operations.
  • Books having to do with pop culture, particularly ones written by anyone who has ever been associated with The Daily Show.
  • Humor.  The funnier the better.
  • Ooh, I love stories where a team has to race to save one of their own.  Very dramatic!
  • Graphic novels based on my favorite sci-fi/fantasy TV shows.
  • Adult non-fiction where a person embarks on some sort of quest, like watching a movie every day or following all the rules of the Bible for one year.
  • Juicy biographies.
  • Happy Endings.  I don’t want everything tied up in a neat, perfect bow, but I like my stories to end with a certain degree of closure and hope.

DISLIKES:

  • Pretentious, self-important literary fiction.  I mean I like stories about the human condition as much as anyone, but do we have to be so serious about it?
  • Stories where nothing happens.  This may seem obvious, but I like books with an actual plot.
  • A needy and passive protagonist whose life revolves around her love interest.
  • Writers who try and paint manipulative and/or stalkery behavior as romantic.
  • Supernatural creatures that do nothing but mope, whine, or sparkle (EDWARD CULLEN).  For god sakes, you’re a fearsome creature of the night!  Act like one!
  • Nicholas Sparks.  Dude, give it up.  You write ROMANCE, and you don’t even do it that well.  There’s no reason to be a douche about it.
  • Books “written” by trashy reality show contestants or teen heartthrobs.  I mean I understand why these things get published, but that doesn’t mean I want want to read them.
  • Stories that are bleak.  I don’t mind dark or even occasionally sad stories, but bleak is the absence of hope.  I can’t take bleak.
  • Books where the main character spends the whole time making a fool of him/herself.  I feel a deep embarrassment for the character and it just makes me uncomfortable.  I’m fully aware that this  might make me a weirdo.

I’m sure there’s a lot more that could be added to these lists, but I do have to stop somewhere.  I have a humongous To Be Read pile, but if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.  After all, a book nerd can never have too many books to read!

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About Captain Awesome

Captain Awesome was recently promoted from the rank of Lieutenant due to excellence in the field of Awesome. She likes stories about spies, thieves, and people with magical powers. If they also break out into song and/or dance, it's even better. View all posts by Captain Awesome

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