Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (Sept. 3rd)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I Wish Were Taught In Schools

Okay, this topic is really, really broad. And for me to actually cover it, I need to give it a focal point. That is this: what are we trying to use these books to teach? Morality? Literary analysis? The joy of reading? Genre diversity? How to write?

My answers would vary depending upon whichever of these was chosen.

So for my post, I've decided that I want to talk about books that I think have helped me as a writer, sharing the unique 'thing' each of my top ten have that could be of value to others.

10. The House of Night series by PC & Kristen Cast

The thing that is so amazing about House of Night is that it is one of the only series of paranormal books I've ever seen where humanity is actually publicly aware of the creatures at the center of the narrative. This allows it to explore co-existence, politics and tolerance (or lack thereof) between varying species.

9. The Collector by Victoria Scott

The lesson of value in The Collector is all about character voice, and how much of an impact that can have on a character's overall likability and over how relatable even the most bizarre or totally different character can be when an author is able to really let the reader get inside that character's head.

8. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The thing that I think Obsidian really brings to the table is how to build incredible chemistry between two characters. Despite their outward resistance toward each other, the reader is bound to want Katy and Daemon to get together. Obsidian also offers us a "bad boy" who is actually a likable hero and who continues to grow and develop as the Lux series continues.

7. BZRK by Michael Grant

Want to learn how to weave a complex and interesting plot that also moves like a bat outta hell? Despite intricately woven nano warfare, BZRK remains, over a year later, one of the most gripping and absolutely impossible to put down books that I have ever read. There is a ton going on here, but it is all balanced brilliantly and it comes together in such a way that as the characters gain clarity, so too does the reader. Highly recommended.

6. Losing It by Cora Carmack

This is how you take a very real and honest situation, which could have extremely bad circumstances, and make it outrageously funny. The great thing about Losing It is that the humor never takes away from the core of the book, but it also becomes something central to the narrative which allows it to stay with the reader long after the last page. Humor isn't an easy thing to achieve, and the way that Losing It manages to weave it naturally into the story is worth looking at.

5. Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Genre blending. It's no small or easy feat. But it can be done, and the results can be oh so worth it. Hunger, as with the rest of the Riders of the Apocalypse series, is really cool because it takes on some really tough issues that would normally take center stage in contemporary novels, and then pairs them with a distinctly paranormal concept without skimping on world building, adventure, etc. It's a great way to ensure that an important idea reaches a larger audience.

4. Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

So often setting can be an oversight when working on plot and character and all the other things that go into writing a novel. But setting can play a huge role in a reader's enjoyment, especially when the setting is something evocative enough that it actually becomes its own character. That's what happened with Anna and the French Kiss when I read it, and the attention to detail is one of the things I liked best about the book.

3. The Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck

Immersion. Some people like having all the little details of what's going on in a book described, and some people hate it. When I read I tend to fall into the first category. (Although when I write, that usually comes on my second pass through a draft, oddly...) One of the best things about the Tiger Saga books is that the amount of detail makes it very easy for me to feel like I am there with the characters. While finding the right balance for one's own storytelling style is important, knowing how and when to give details is valuable.

2. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

This book has three useful things in it. The first are the poems scattered throughout the narrative. The second is how vivid and real the portrayal of grief is without crippling the story. And the third is the fact that in this story, the heroine makes a mistake rather than the hero, and we see her have to correct that. It also gets bonus props for having writing that is equal turns accessible and absolutely gorgeous.

1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

This book is a great learning tool for those interested in multiple POV, writing shocking twists and turns, and having characters goals and motives shift both drastically and convincingly. There are so many layers of awesome writing here to study that I could probably give this book its own article. However, I don't want to do that because a lot of you are readers and I'd rather you read this than have me *try* to explain just what all's been stuffed inside this magician's hat. Just trust me, if you're looking for examples of fantastic modern writing to study, this should be on your list.

Anyway, that's my top ten for this week. I'd love to see what books you picked and how you decided to tackle the topic. Please feel free to leave a comment or link me to your post. Have a great day! :)

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