All in Opinion

The "New Adult" Category: Thoughts + Questions

Portrait of St Mary's College tennis team, Charters Towers, Queensland

Nearly every week this summer we saw news of a self-published author’s “new adult” novel’s acquisition and reissue by a mainstream publisher, setting off a flurry of speculation that “new adult” is the next big thing. This was further bolstered by three digital-first imprints or publishers putting out the call for submissions in this category.

Significant publishing deals and emerging publishers seeking out “new adult” titles aside, I’m not entirely sure that it really is the next big thing—or that an entirely new category is even necessary.

The term “new adult” first emerged in 2009 when St. Martin’s Press hosted a contest searching for manuscripts featuring protagonists in the 18 to mid-twenties age range. It was touted as

…fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.”

In essence, it was a response to the phenomenon of adults reading teen fiction and a search for a method to best capitalize on that audience that discovered young adult fiction. Ultimately, St. Martin’s declined to acquire any of the manuscripts they received as part of the contest; two finalists were later acquired by other publishers in the young adult category (Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Treachery of Beautiful Things).

Fast-forward three years (and I think this timing is significant), ebooks have gained meaningful marketshare—14 percent of units sold in 2011 versus four percent in 2010 (with genre fiction, notably romance, often exceeding the average) and self-publishing has become more normalized. Books like Easy (which I recommend), Slammed, Beautiful Disaster and Flat-Out Love are self-publishing “new adult” success stories, and are all now published by traditional publishers. Each of these books tells a story of an older teen and are considered “edgier” that typical YA fare (I do not agree with this assessment, however—there’s a wide range of edginess in the teen market). 

All signs point to “new adult” becoming a full-fledged fiction category, right? 

Well, I don’t know. But, I have some questions. 

Has Goodreads forgotten readers?

When I first discovered the book nerd social networking site Goodreads a couple of years ago, I was thrilled. 

Kramer Books & Afterwards

Despite that I use social media as an important part of my work, and teach classes on the subject, the only one of these platforms I’d personally enjoyed was Twitter (which is still my absolute favorite)—until Goodreads. On Goodreads, like on Twitter, I found my people.

Once I joined, Goodreads quickly became part of my daily routine. I loved reading other readers’ recommendations and perspectives—and I adored finding books that I would never have considered. Goodreads has broadened my horizons as a reader and opened my mind to new genres and writers in way that’s been extremely rewarding. 

For a couple of years, I puttered along on Goodreads without any hiccups. But things changed.

I’ve never amassed loads of friends on the platform, mostly because, as with Facebook, the terminology of “friend” is one I’m not wholly comfortable with. “Friend,” to my old school mind, implies a specific sort of relationship, so I tend to “follow” Goodreaders whose reviews I’m interested in, rather than friending them. However, I generally do accept any friend requests I get on the platform (more on that in a bit), unlike on Facebook where I try to keep things limited to people I at least have an email sort of relationship with. But really, my friend numbers are teeny, tiny compared to most folks (as of today, I have 135 Goodreads friends). 

But, a few months ago I started getting a lot of friend requests from people with author status on Goodreads. The pattern went like this:

  1. Receive friend request from person with author status.
  2. Blindly accept friend request.
  3. Receive message from new “friend” recommending a book they wrote. (Always self-published.) 
  4. Delete message & remove my new “friend” from my friends list.
  5. Rinse and repeat. 

Initially, I complained to Goodreads about this pattern. It felt “spammy” and not in the spirit of the Goodreads community. Furthermore, it felt like it was an attempt at circumventing the paid promotional opportunities for authors on the platform and against the general guidelines of the Goodreads Author Program.

Goodreads’ response was disappointing, to say the least. Their oh-so-helpful recommendation was to unfriend people if I didn’t want to receive messages and recommendations of this nature. 

Thoughts About That YA Book Buying Study

A lot of fuss has, understandably, been made over Bowker’s study about book buying trends in the young adult/teen categoryUnderstanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age.

People seem to find the data surprising or somehow a sign of something signficiant (I’m looking at you, Atlantic Wire aka Sarah’s Daily Annoyance), but I’m not so sure. 

Most of us only have access to the report summary (hey, if someone wants to hook a girl up with the very pricey full report, I’d love to analyze it further, I kind of know my stuff re: data anaylsis*) and that summary makes two interesting points. 

  • 55 percent of buyers of books in the teen/YA category are adults (note: this does not say books, it says “buyers”); and
  • Adult YA book purchases represent 28 percent of all actual teen/YA books sold. 

Now, a lot of people have jumped on this (quite a few negatively so) 55 percent number as very significant. And, a number of high profile media outlets have confused buyers versus books sold. Hence, somehow, the inaccurate statement that adults buy the majority of YA titles has emerged, which is wholly incorrect. Teens are still buying far more young adult books that adults do, representing 72 percent of YA books sold. Basically, teens buy more YA books, per person, than adults, despite being a smaller percentage of the actual buyers of YA books.

Why I E-Read

I couldn’t care less how people read. Hardcover, paperback, Kindle, Nook, iPad, whatever… I don’t care. Hell, you can read your books etched in stones if you want. (Though I question the practicality of that particular format, for both portability and storage reasons.)

As I’ve mentioned a time or a thousand, all I care about is encouraging people to read. The how or what is far less important to me.

However, a whole lot of people do care about the manner in which people consume books.

Jonathan Franzen and his cronies, for example, have stated that “serious readers” don’t read digitally. Other people have accused digital readers of heading to their Kindles or Nooks because they want to hide what they’re reading. Sometimes I can’t help but feel that I’m perceived as a less-serious reader or a traitor to “book culture” because I prefer a digital format, and honestly, that really bothers me. 

Whenever I come across another sweeping statement—which happens at least once a week—about people’s reading format preferences, I get my feathers ruffled. (The same feather-ruffling happens when 20-something digital natives accuse folks who prefer paper of being Luddites. Choice is a good thing—which is also why I think the possibility of print-on-demand is very intriguing.) 

In the effort of doing my little part of thwart the sweeping, inaccurate statements that pepper the web about the way people choose to consume books, I thought I’d delve a bit more into issues related to ereading and digital “stuff” (i.e., digital design, etc) in general, since I spend much of my time embedded in a digital environment and am an avid e-reader. I’ll start with talking about why I elect to primarily e-read. Contrary to the popular commentary, it has absolutely nothing to do with being embarrassed by what I read—instead, it involves a lot of factors, both sheer preference and the practical.

On Niceties and Negativity

Who doesn’t love random cute dog photos? This is one of my dogs, Ruairi (Rory) Boy.

One of the most inexplicable things I read last week (and there were a lot of them) was Jacob Silverman’s critique of readers and writers in Slate, in which he claims that both groups are far too nice online, and makes a rather bizarre argument against enthusiasm. 

Whereas critics once performed one role in print and another in life—Rebecca West could savage someone’s book in the morning and dine with him in the evening—social media has collapsed these barriers. Moreover, social media’s centrifugal forces of approbation—retweets, likes, favorites, and the self-consciousness that accompanies each public utterance—make any critique stick out sorely.

Is this Silverman’s backdoor method of slamming amateur reviews such as myself who enthusiastically evangelize about books we believe in? Is it just another example of the literary establishment being threatened by regular ol’ readers’ influence? Perhaps it’s push-back against a publishing climate which requires that authors self-promote and engage (gasp!) directly with readers? Does he have a problem with the success of so many female authors via social media?

I won’t speculate as to the motivation behind this anti-enthusiasm manifesto, but for me as a reader, all of those messages ring loud and clear as the real root of Silverman’s piece. But mostly, I am very bothered by the following premises of his argument: 

  1. That readers and reviewers online are expected to only be cheerleaders of books and authors; and
  2. That we need more negativity.

I am also extremely troubled by two other points in Silverman’s piece that aren’t as overt: 

  1. That this culture of niceness is women’s fault; and
  2. That negative opinions are somehow more “true” than positive ones.

There’s something to be said for being nice. 

Are you reading YA?

An Easy Guide to YA Book Identification

Around the ol’ interwebs, there seems to be some confusion about what “YA” is and what books fit into this category.

To clarify quickly, it does not stand for “Young Age” nor does it stand for “Yeah, Anything.” It stands for “Young Adult,” meaning—loosely—“teen.”

It is a book category (not a genre, which is another one of my linguistic bugaboos) with an teenage audience in mind. It is not a reading level. 

These mis-categorizations never cease to annoy me. I think it has to do with that it symbolizes some adults’ insistence on invalidating the entire teenage experience. Instead of pointing to legitimately young adult/teen titles, they look at nostalgically on books they loved as children, or point to books written for adults that see teens through the lens of the adult experience.

The teen years are very important in the path to becoming an adult, and by disregarding books that depict that experience, adults are saying something, aren’t they?

Here are my quick tips for identifying if a book is a young adult title.

NOT YA. The title should’ve been the tell. Or possibly the mention of life as a third grader.

Is the book shelved as a “chapter book”? Then, no, you are not reading YA.

Most bookstores and libraries have sections labeled “Chapter Books” or “Juvenile Fiction.” If you are in this section, you are not reading YA. And yet, this continues to confuse many, many people. The Atlantic’s book coverage is so absurd that I’ve largely stopped paying attention to it, but everytime that outlet mentions YA, the amount of wrongness invariably makes me laugh out loud. But they are one of the worst offenders of this. They included Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (age 8, people—that should’ve been the first clue), Harriet the Spy (WTF, just WTF) and Little House on the Prairie as book featuring their favorite girl characters from from YA literature. No, just no.

Like I said, YA stands for “Young Adult,” not “Young Age.”

Was it on your third grade reading list? Nope, you’re not reading YA.

Yes, Flavorwire, I’m talking about you.  Good grief.

Credit: Primer in the Classroom, Flickr CommonsAfter twenty-six years of teaching language arts in a public high school, I arrived at the conclusion that there is no one method or book that’s appropriate for all young people.

Department meetings and informal conversations about how best to teach students always circled back to the same topics: What should teens read? What will most develop their reading skills? A typical exchange of ideas could get a bit testy. This is a rerun of a typical conversation about reading lists:

Everyone must read Shakespeare or they’re culturally illiterate.

Wait a minute. What’s the purpose of reading? Is it to carve out identical thinking, minds that we’ve crafted into whatever it is we believe is in their best interests?

It’s not developing reading skills for kids to require them to read something that we must interpret for them just to get at meaning.

I believe we must stop, sit back and think logically about what it means to read and how to help students become critical thinkers.

But, we’re doing them a grave disservice if they haven’t read the classics!

Why worry? They should just read, regardless.

What about free choice? Can’t we open the door to more selections, especially the free reading time in the summer?

And so it went, on and on and on with no resolution. 

With everyone and their uncle writing columns about summer reading, I thought I’d throw in my two cents on this idea of reading lists, and the concept of “right” reading choices, based on my experiences in a high school classroom (I retired a couple of years ago). 

“Let’s make some memories.”When I first heard about Clear Eyes, Full Shelves from Sarah and Laura, the Friday Night Lights reference flew right over my head. They exchanged glances, cackled giggled, and laughingly explained the name of their blog. I responded with a big fat “Huh?”

But my ignorance continued unabated until I was invited to review books for them. My default response to the offer of books to read is—and always will be—a resounding HELL YES.

Thus, in order to do justice to the FNL Character Rating, in the name of research I decided I should actually watch some of this TV show.

Let me begin by saying I grew up in small towns all around Arizona. For eighteen years I lived in towns where the only bookstore was the Christian bookstore. Where at least a quarter of the students were  Hispanic and the division between them and the gringos was stark. Where disagreeing with the government was considered unpatriotic. For a shy, spanish-speaking white girl who loved books, you would have a hard time finding a more alien environment—an environment that managed to be simultaneously hostile and home.

And while the experience has given me an interesting perspective, I have to say I love living in Portland, Oregon now. So you can understand why I might be reluctant to plunge back into this world again.

But FNL is special.

Why do we read?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot. Actually, I’ve been thinking about this question since April, when the Pew Center released their study on the reading habits of Americans.

Unsurprisingly, the data revealed that people read… wait for it…

lot of different reasons. 

Take a moment to recover from the shock of that astonishing information. 

Here’s a snippet from the results (it’s really worth reading through the study, if this sort of thing interests you):

  • 26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.
  • 15% cited the pleasures of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and the enjoyment they got from using their imaginations.
  • 12% said they liked the entertainment value of reading, the drama of good stories, the suspense of watching a good plot unfold.
  • 12% said they enjoyed relaxing while reading and having quiet time.
  • 6% liked the variety of topics they could access via reading and how they could find books that particularly interested them.
  • 4% said they enjoy finding spiritual enrichment through reading and expanding their worldview.
  • 3% said they like being mentally challenged by books.
  • 2% cited the physical properties of books – their feel and smell – as a primary pleasure.
  • Source Link

For me, all but the last item (books’ physicality) are true. Often when I read, I find that my world expands, that I learn something new, maybe about a place, perhaps about my own thinking. I love the drama of a good book, of a beautifully constructed plot, of carefully crafted words. Reading, as I’ve mentioned a time or twelve, is also my favorite way to unwind and decompress—it’s a lifelong habit of mine to read for an hour or two before bed or when I take a lunch break.

I’d also add to that list that I love the community of readers, which was even true before the internet became such an awesome book talk water cooler. Even as a kid, passing around good books and chatting about them, was a joy. Now, I love discussing about books here on CEFS, at my book club meetings (hi ladies!), on Twitter, on Goodreads and at Costco (this keeps happening to me for some reason).

But what I’m most interested from this data is the idea of reading being “challenging.”

Oh, hi there, ASkars. via EWI have a confession: I am an avid reader of Entertainment Weekly.

I love EW. So much so that I am perpetually mad at my letter carrier for delivering it several days late. (I’m convinced he’s reading it in his postal truck.)

Love. It.

Honestly, most of the time I don’t know who the hell they’re talking about, but there’s something delightful ridiculous about the whole magazine. However, in the midst of all the ridiculousness, there’s actually a pretty decent book section. I know, right? Who knew? Stephen Lee is pretty knowledgeable about young adult novels in particular, and I usually really enjoy his pieces in the magazine and on the EW blog

However, as a paged through last week’s issue, I was disheartened to read some pretty disappointing comments about young adult fiction in a short feature (not available online, sorry) about authors that usually write in the adult category making the move to YA. There were several comments with the undertone that YA literature is “easier” or less sophisticated, but the one that really struck me was from Elizabeth George, who said, 

My adult novels, plot-wise and linguistically, are very complicated. I had to alter that and create a much more straightforward way of telling my story.

—Elizabeth George in Entertainment Weekly

Excuse me?!


I have a confession: I have never, ever felt guilty about reading.

Clearly, I’m doing something wrong.

Why? Because as summer reading season heats up, more and more book sections of magazines, newspapers (yep, they still exist… sort of) and online media are proclaiming that now is the time to read those “guilty pleasure” books. It’s made even worse this year since every journalist with access to Google has written some variation of a ridiculous, alarmist piece about Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Take this random “observation” from Michael S. Rosenwald this week in the Washington Post

There are no book covers on e-readers, meaning you can read all the steamy sex you want and tell your friends that you’re reading the new Robert Caro. This is one of the key advantages to e-readers — lying about your reading habits — and it probably helps explain why guilty-pleasure fiction is the most popular genre of reading on e-readers, according to the Book Industry Study Group. (I had to ask my wife last month whether she was reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” on her e-reader. Yes, she was.) 

Let me get this right… ereaders are popular because because it’s easy for readers to lie about what they like to read? 

Um, no.

Note: This post is part of An Unconventional Blog Tour, organized by Kelly and Liz to highlight some important topics in blogging. Make sure you visit all of the participants this week—there are really wonderful contributions to this different sort of blog tour. 

{One way? No way.}

In “real life,” I teach at a local college, where my focus is on digital media and communications, including a course specifically in blogging, as well as three other classes containing blogging units. When Kelly asked me to participate in the Unconventional Blog Tour (and, um… I still suspect I was accidentally added to the original email list—because there’s no way I should be included with these awesome, established book bloggers), I immediately thought of drawing on one of the most difficult sections in each of my classes: the challenge of finding your unique voice on the web. 

My students usually struggle with getting over the hump where they cannot fathom that they have anything unique or original to contribute—they just don’t see themselves having a voice that’s all that special. However, invariably, when I start digging deeper in our course discussions, all sorts of interesting angles and perspectives bubble to the surface. Yet, I believe that they do have something to say—something no one else can. Seriously. 

The thing is, there are so many folks out there saying that to be a blogger you must do this, and must never, ever do that, and you have to follow X, Y and Z Very Important Unbreakable Rules of Blogging. As a result, both aspiring and established bloggers often don’t allow themselves to think about what their own unique voice is, which is the fast track to burnout and boredom. 

I’ve found that that problem is far worse in the book blogging world,* where review copies of books serve as a sort of stand-in currency.  

How can bloggers find and preserve their distinctive voices? Well, it’s hard, but here’s what I tell my students, and it’s helped them discover some very unique and rewarding paths over the years. 


You’re Creative: You. Yes, You.**

Editor’s Note: This post is part of the WordCount Blogathon, a challenge in which over 250 bloggers from all niches attempt to blog every single day in May. Today, bloggers are swapping posts. My post today is over on Michelle’s blog, where I’m talking about mobile devices and blogging. I was thrilled when Michelle offered to guest blog on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, as she is a very accomplished writer and journalist who always has wonderful insights that she’s extremely generous about sharing. I know a lot of voracious readers are also aspiring writers, so Michelle’s thoughts on the lessons she’s learned from writers at the top of their game should be wonderfully useful to many of you.

The main difference between you and me and famous writers is that they’ve produced a work or works that through talent, ambition, hard work or good fortune have become well known.

When it comes to the process of writing, though, they’re just like us. They get caught up doing research. They get writer’s block. They’re not always sure of themselves, or organized. They write about what they know.

I learned those lessons and more from writers such as Annie Proulx and Stebastian Junger who I heard speak this year as part of an author lecture series sponsored by Portland Literary Arts, a local organization that promotes literature and literary. I won season tickets to the series in a Multnomah County Public Library summer reading program contest.

In addition to Proulx and Junger, since last October I’ve seen Stacy Schiff, Tom Brokaw and Abraham Verghese.

{via State Library and Archives of Florida}

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a parallel digital universe, completely counter to the mainstream.

From friends being horrified by the concept of my devoting time to something as “weird” as blogging or Twitter, to proclamations from mainstream publications bemoaning that ebooks are ruining—ruining—our civilization, it’s bizarre that being involved in the digital world is still perceived by a lot of people as a fringe activity.

In that vein, The Atlantic recently turned its critique of digital culture to the rise of online book reviews in the article, Could the internet save book reviews?”*  

In theory, customer reviews are quick, easy, egalitarian, and make the “consumer” (as opposed to the reader) feel in control of his or her reading choices. But there’s a difference between a recommendation and a review. Customer reviews are heavy on opinion and light on insight. They’re reactionary. Fiction customer reviews typically contain “I-loved-it” or “I-hated-it” declarations based on an affinity for or dislike of the characters and discuss them as if they were real people. Customer reviews rarely include plot summaries—even dull ones. They tend to consider books in terms of whether or not they were worth the money and need not pertain to the book at all. 

Generalize much?

Tim Riggins would like to “talk.”You may have noticed (though, likely you haven’t) that we’re no longer giving books we review a recommendation or rating.

Yes, we’re still employing the Extremely Scientific FNL Character Rating System when applicable, but there are no longer any ratings of books we review on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves. (We had originally categorized them on a scale from “Avoid” to “Must Read.”)

We were never comfortable with a numeric system (1-5 or 1-10 or letter grades are common), but felt that since it was “normal” to have a rating/recommendation that we should try to be somewhat “normal.”

(You can stop snickering now.)

(Really? You’re still laughing? It’s that funny that we were attempting to be “normal”?)

(Okay. You’re right. It’s pretty freaking hilarious.)

I love to buy books. Ebooks, paper books, whatever. I simply love to own books. It’s probably a disease of some sort.

Sure, I use my library, especially my library’s ebook collection (more on that in a minute), since it always nice to visit my library without the hassle of, you know, leaving the house. But, ultimately, I feel good about buying books, because I know that it supports the people who create the books I love—authors, yes, but also the editors and book designers and everyone else who’s involved in the creation and curation* of what’s on our shelves, virtual or physical. 

However, as much as I love buying books, I hate feeling manipulated. 

And with the combination of publishers—particularly Penguin—simultaneously raising their ebook prices while yanking their titles from libraries’ ebook collections, that’s exactly how I feel. 

IceBound by Julie RoweUnfair Game?

Let me tell you a little story about my recent attempt to read one of Penguin’s new releases, Patricia Briggs’ Fair Game

I’ve been hit or miss with the Alpha & Omega spinoff series of the Mercy Thompson series. I liked the first book just fine and was rather “meh” on the second. So, while the books in the main series are auto-buys for me, because they’re guaranteed good reads, I’m not as confident in the Alpha & Omega series. 

But, since there’s not going to be a new Mercy book until 2013 (sob!), I decided that I’d been missing the Mercyverse way too much and would revist this parallel series in the same world. Since it was a hardback release, I knew it would be a perfect Kindle book. (I have tendinitis in my right hand so hardbacks, are murder on my hands—I’d quit reading any new releases unless they were in paperback before my husband bought me my Kindle three years ago. Additionally, our house is super-tiny—around 800 square feet—so I can’t bring paper books that aren’t part of my “permanent collection” into the house.)

Logging onto Amazon, I discovered that the book was priced at $12.99. Given that this series is iffy for me, and that it was fewer than 300 pages, I balked at that price point. Momentarily forgetting that Penguin had abandoned libraries’ ebook collections, I logged onto Multnomah County Library’s website to put a hold on the ebook. 

Oh, right… Penguin doesn’t want libraries to lend ebooks


In a blatant (and successful) attempt at link-baiting, the New York Time published an opinion piece on their website last week about how adults shouldn’t be reading young adult fiction. 

Cue the eye rolls.

(No, I won’t link to the article, you can find it if you Google “Joel Stein is a Sexist Ass.”) I’m not going to add to the commentary about how this is an absurd assertion, because loads of people have already done that extremely well, but I am going to ask another question, 

Why the HELL do we even care what people do or do not read?

Seriously. Why is this important to so many people? It seems that at least once a month, there’s some new article (50 percent of which feature Jonathan Franzen bloviating about his supposed superiority) asserting that we should read X, that we should not read Y and that “serious readers*” would most definitely should not read Z. 

If you’ve been reading this blog, you have probably figured out that my reading tastes are all over the place. But, I have a particular enjoyment of the following: 

  1. Contemporary, realistic YA;
  2. Creative, entertaining urban fantasy;
  3. Urban crime fiction;
  4. Post-apocalyptic/dystopian (adult or YA)
  5. Books involving prank wars;
  6. Smart contemporary romance (a la Julie James and Shannon Stacey);
  7. Novels involving zombies;
  8. Novels involving werewolves;
  9. Middle Eastern women’s fiction;
  10. Graphic novel/fiction with visual elements;
  11. Funny memoirs;
  12. Sweet and fun contemporary YA (a la Stephanie Perkins); 
  13. Books involving heists and/or capers; and
  14. Books that don’t suck (to me).


[Editor’s note: Noelle shares with us her story about a fight many a reader has had—to read or not to read books with “those covers.” You know what I’m talking about.]

Round One: Scorn

I have always been a book lover.

I have always been a fan of awesome.

But unfortunately, I haven’t always been so open-minded about certain genres—-especially those with questionable cover designs. Nowadays, I usually subscribe to the Stephon Marbury philosophy that [book] love is [book] love but only a few short years ago, I was that girl side-eyeing your selections in the Barnes & Noble checkout line, rolling my eyes at the ratio of abs to cover space and assuring anyone who would listen that I didn’t read those kind of books.

That is, until I did…

Round Two: Begrudging Curiosity

One of my college roommates was what I affectionately refer to as a Romance Shark. She was unabashedly addicted to romance novels of all kinds and had a multi-state swap network set up with her extended family. I held out for as long as I could but browsing her bookshelves and observing what she was reading was inevitable. 

Slowly but surely, I succumbed to curiosity. After more than a few books were “accidentally” left on the coffee table, my snarking evolved from catcalls at the shirtless dudes on the cover to,

Wait—so he’s a time traveling highlander?



What’s an urban fantasy?


The Romance Shark immediately sensed a weakness in my defenses—-blood in the water, if you will—-and dared me to read one—just one—of those books. 

And, crap… I liked it.

I’ve recently come to the realization that I want to read stand-alone novels or series limited to 10 or so books that have definitive resolutions.

I’m tired of series that refuse to end and tired of authors recycling the same material repeatedly. Sometimes the material gets packaged into a new saga, but it’s still an extension of the same series.

It. Just. Won’t. End.

The only way these series will “end” is if/when:

A.) I die, or

B.) the author dies.

Neither of these options appeal to me.

If you’re a sports fan, and you’ve ever made a comment on a sports blog or Twitter, you’ve been trolled.

As a female sports fan, and Asian to boot—before the Jeremy Lin phenomenon, thank you very much—well, you just have to learn to roll with the punches or punch back even harder. It can be ugly and unpleasant.

Then I found Goodreads.

Goodreads quickly became my happy place. More than that, it felt like a safe little corner of the internet where book lovers discussed what they were reading and what they wanted to read. And then things turned ugly in a very familiar way earlier this year with authors attacking reviewers and vice versa. But that’s not what this post is about. You can find posts about all that other bullshit elsewhere.

This is about how Goodreads reviewers and my local library led me to Tom Mackee and one of my favorite authors.