Recommended reading and an ever growing library TBR

It’s Wendy the SuperLibrarian’s Reading TBR Challenge time again and this month the theme is a book that has been recommended to you. Now most of my library loans tend to be the books I have sought out due to someone’s recommendation. I am loathe to spend money on a recommendation unless I have tried it first as I read way too much to purchase books without a thought. I am soooo far away from a One-Click reader but I do end up chasing library copies down constantly and this leaves me with reader anxiety.

A fortnight ago I stood at my shelves looking at my library loans trying to decide what I was going to read next when I was overwhelmed by the number of books I had amassed. With 28 library books to choose from, I knew I had reached that moment of terror that so many avid readers experience – I was about to declare reading bankruptcy and return every single book to the library just to rid myself of the pressure of reading and reviewing each one. And then I realised – I am a shallowreader and I don’t need to engage with my books in a critical manner. I just need to read them. So I embarked on a book-a-day reading bonanza! As of today, my library loan TBR now stands at 18 items! Yay! Of the 10 books that I read recommendations came from that wonderful (and at times scary) space Twitter where I have met so many like-minded readers who have recommended these authors to me such as: Miss Bates and Roz and Anna Campbell and Rachel Bailey and SuperWendy herself as well as probably many other people. And I thank them all! And yes – I will quickly run through all 10 books that I read:

Molly O’Keefe

His Wife for One NightHis Wife for One Night

So this one had a mashup of my favourite tropes: friends-to-lovers, marriage-of-convenience, cowboys (well…cowgirls?). Jack had married his BFF Mia 5 years earlier but he is a bit thick and doesn’t pick up on her “I lurve you” vibes until she asks for a divorce and suddenly they are having hot sex. Mia walks out on him and there is a big bomb blast and lots of damaged characters and lots of healing to be had. It was an angsty read and despite some loose ends that I would have liked to have seen resolved, I enjoyed this book and I particularly liked its ending.

Continue reading

Fandoms, librarians and readers

I’m talking about fanfiction, fandoms and fanart on the 13th of June on 702ABC with Linda Mottram from 10:30ish am.

 

As many listeners know, I somehow manage to mention fanfiction every time I am on 702Sydney. it is such a huge area of readership that I can’t help but include it in any discussion around fiction. Seeing this month is Fanreads over at ReadWatchPlay I thought this would be a good talking point for the show.
Whenever someone asks me explain to them what “fanfiction is” my favourite analogy is to describe it as a retelling of a story in which you take someone else’s characters and write a story about them. So, any retelling of an original story is fanfiction. Any new authoring of Homer’s Illiad is fanfiction as are Arthurian tales. Novels such as P. D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley is a future fanfic of Pride and Prejudice and Shakespeare is swimming in the fanfic pool. In a nutshell, fanfiction are stories of fictional characters that are written by fans and not the original creator. They are derivative works. There are the occasional exceptions like J K Rowling writing fanfics of Quidditch matches over at Pottermore. For a famous authors writing fanfic this Daily Dot article gives you a fair coverage. Of course, the whole fanfic thing also comes from fans of TV shows and movies wanting more of their favourite characters. I just adore this. I love that people are so invested and in love with their TV characters that they seek out stories about them.

 

There's a storm coming/ fanart posted with permission/ Dumblyd0re at http://dumblyd0re.deviantart.com/art/There-s-a-storm-coming-315866735

There’s a storm coming fanart posted with permission from Dumblyd0re http://dumblyd0re.deviantart.com/art/There-s-a-storm-coming-315866735

As a librarian and fan of reading (hehe – did you see what I did there), I happily endorse fanfiction reading to my borrowers and anyone that asks. Actually, in the whole readers’ advisory process, I think that librarians need to look outside of our published book centered recommendations and we should be recommending reading choices in non-profit areas of reading/writing too. I have heard people use the “quality” writing argument here. How, as librarians, could we endorse a story that is not of a high literary quality? My answer is that this is EASY. Reading appeals is NOT about quality reading. It is about engaged, pleasurable reading. As a reader, I have given up on many well written stories that lacked the heart and soul that I seek out when I am reading yet I have found wonderful stories in fanfiction that have sparked my interest or they have challenged me to look at a certain story in a different way. As a reader, I am not stupid. If a story is completely unreadable, the pace, the diction or the writing is completely out of place – I will move on. Just as I have sent may a book to my DNF pile, I have sent many fanfiction stories to that pile too. Of course, there are times that I prefer my commercial fiction as someone else has had to deal with the slush pile (thanks publishers) but if I am looking for an extension of characters who I love and want to see how someone else imagines them, I can’t go past fanfics. Reading fanfic is a bit risky.

A teen I was speaking to last week said he hated it because he was reading this wonderful Harry Potter’s twin fanfic, he was loving the story and then he discovered that the writer quit the story. Just like that. No warning. Just a message saying “Thanks but I won’t be continuing”. This teen was a tad bitter (this amused me to no end). Another reader told me they were thrilled because a fave story came back to life after an 18 month hiatus. They received an alert on their phone and they screamed out in joy that the writer had returned 🙂

I find FanArt just as interesting. Fanart is similar to fanfiction but they are fan imaginings of what characters look like or they put they characters into scenes that they would love to see them in. Fanart is similar to fanfiction but they are fan imaginings of what characters look like or they put they characters into scenes that they would love to see them in. I know that there is a lot of comic, anime and manga fanart out there but I was particularly taken by the tweet from Sleepy Hollow (another fab fanfic creation) writers with fanart posted on their walls. Writers don’t ignore fanart. As it doesn’t mess with their head canon (as fanfiction can do) fanart tends to be enjoyed more.

Continue reading