Reading to Write

At the beginning of the year, I posted my top ten list of favorite books I read in 2011. Today I’d like to look at why those were my favorites.

So, here’s what I posted:

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (Mar 2010)

Savvy by Ingrid Law (May 2008)

Elliot and the Goblin War by Jennifer Nielsen (Oct 2010)

Luminous by Dawn Metcalf (Jul 2011)

Divergent by Veronica Roth (May 2011)

The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan (Jun 2011)

Red Glove by Holly Black (Apr 2011)

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton (Feb 2011)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (Mar 2010)

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore (Feb 2010)

If I do my top 10 YA books of 2011, I would replace the 3 MG books (the first 3 listed) with:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Jan 2011)

The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker (Mar 2011)

The Shattering by Karen Healey (Sep 2011)

Okay, right off the bat I can see that I favored middle grade books with an unusual voice. With Origami Yoda, the unusual structure was as much a part of the voice as anything.

However, with my favorite young adult books, it was more about plot, setting, and/or character arc than voice. I connected in some way with each of those main characters, and the plot kept me turning pages. The settings are all over the place—from outer space to New Orleans to New Zealand.

Now, very few of these are contemporary fiction, but that has to do with what I was writing in 2011 (which I mentioned in my previous post). For all of that year, I was working on manuscripts with some kind of fantasy element. 2010 was my year for contemporary. This year is also about fantasy elements, so we’ll see what 2013 holds for me.

How do you choose the books you read? What are your favorite genres? Does this reflect what you write?

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11 Comments

Filed under Reading, writing

11 responses to “Reading to Write

  1. Ooh! That’s interesting. I’ve analyzed my tastes on a book-by-book basis, but never a bunch of favorites at once. I may have to go browse my Goodreads account to see what I can figure out.

  2. Catherine Johnson

    Hey, Vicki, which one is set in NZ?

  3. Oh great post! Let’s talk books!! When I read for fun- which I haven’t done in awhile- I tend to read by author. I like to study all their work from their first book to their last. I like all genres and haven’t really found one yet that annoys me.

    You got some fun titles in your top 10! I see a few my kids would like!!! Thanks.

  4. It’s hard for me to choose. I have so many on my TBR list and I’m hopelessly behind. However, I do save some highly buzzed debut ones for my vacations.

  5. I haven’t read any of those! But I’m like you, I gravitate often to MG and YA. And I reread my favourites a lot.

  6. I confess, covers are a big attraction for me. Next, blurb. Also, I’ll read anything someone is super excited about. I haven’t read any of these.

  7. OMG, I have so many books to read I don’t know where to start!!!

    You’ve got a nice list here.

  8. I read books that someone recommends. Although, I read Origami Yoda because a boy in my class kept making origami finger puppets out of black paper, and calling them Darth Paper. So I had to read that book. :0)

  9. I find a lot of great books by blogging, and you’re list has just made my TBR list grow. I’m also a series/trilogy addict. Lately I’ve consumed Insurgent (Divergent Book 2), Red Glove (White Cat’s #2), A Million Suns (Across the Universe…), Beautiful Chaos (Beautiful Creatures Book 3), Bitterblue (Graceling #2), Surrender (Possession #2), I could go on, but I think you see my obsession.

  10. You have a few of my favorites on your 2011 list! I recently got the Origami Yoda book, but haven’t read it yet.

  11. Everytime I think that fantasy in YA and MG is my favorite, I’ll read a contemp. or historical that makes me rethink that. To the chagrin of my analytic side, for the life of me I can’t find anything in common with books I love except a strong bond between two characters. In many cases with MG it’s a kid and an animal, in YA it is usually a friendship, sometimes a romantic friendship. And then once in a while I absolutely love a book that has no strong bond in it at all and then that really bugs me – why did I love it? It must be a complex combination of vivid and relatable settings and characters and circumstances. Relatable is that wildcard that will be different for everyone…. sorry this comment got long! – Margo

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