by Elizabeth DiPietro
Young Adult (YA) books often get a bad rap for being shallow, underdeveloped, and cliché. There are huge bestselling series that have transcended to films and television shows that fit that description to a T, which only adds to the idea that YA best sellers are cliché money grabs that uneducated teens are desperate to consume. On August 24, 2017, one author decided to test this limit by attempting to steal the #1 spot on The New York Times Best Seller list.
by Nicolina Givin
I sat on my couch on the fourth of October and flipped through the channels on my television. I caught a glimpse of Emily Blunt grabbing a blonde by the back of her head and dragging her onto the floor. The title, The Girl on the Train, flashed at the end and I was in bewilderment. “That’s a movie now?” I thought to myself. The movie was released to theaters on the eighth. I picked up the novel, which had been sitting on my bookshelf for some time, and opened the cover, ready to finally read what everyone was about to see on the big screen. I could not have the world tell me the plot and ending before I could figure it out myself; I had to finish it before the movie release. Why was I motivated soon after that preview to read the book rather than when I first purchased that book eight months prior? The answer was always sitting there on my bookshelf, but the media pushed me towards it and spoke clearer to me in that thirty-second preview.
by Alexis Zimmerman
There are countless books in Young Adult Literature where the main character must fall in love with the main love interest by the end of the book. These two characters fall in love in the most unrealistic of ways without even knowing each other that well and only having maybe a handful of conversations. Yet for some reason, young readers seem to devour those books. There are so many copies of this cliché and unrealistic type of book sold in the bookstores more often than not that it’s unbearable.
But does the love in these books happen naturally? Can someone fall in love as quickly as these characters fell in love? How do these instances of insta-love affect the younger readers who gravitate towards these particular books? Are they getting the impression that love happens right away, like it does in the books they’re reading?
by John Gross
Throughout time technology has changed how the writer crafts his novel. From pen and paper, to typewriters, to word processing—the tools of the trade are constantly evolving. In today’s world, the writer can craft a sentence and move it around to different places, supplementing paragraphs where he sees fit. This can be a powerful tool, that makes the revision process more fluid and dynamic. An author can be less committed to putting something on a page, where it can be easily reshaped, moved, and removed. While this technology has fundamentally changed how the novelist crafts his work, it hasn’t really changed how the reader consumes it. Sure, we are in a period of time that is showing the rise of e-readers and digital print, but ultimately the novel is being experienced in the same traditional way.
By Jessica M. Tuckerman
Here’s a brief description of one of my favorite stories: Desmond Miles just escaped from Abstergo Industries, the modern day face of the Knights Templar, after he was forced to live out the genetic memories of his ancestor who fought in the crusades. He escapes with Lucy Stillman and two others who help him to reach a secluded cave where Desmond relives the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The story jumps between Ezio’s story in the Italian Renaissance and the cave where Desmond is desperately trying to find an alien device which will destroy the world if it falls into the wrong hands. By reliving Ezio’s memories, Desmond hopes to find where the device is hidden before Abstergo catches up to him.
The story is full of twists and turns. I actually cried when Ezio, the narrator for much of the story, had to watch his family hang in the middle of Firenze. I love the plot, I love the framed narrative, I love seeing Italy during the Renaissance. I was consistently surprised throughout my first reading of the piece and I truly recommend that you pick it up.
The story is from Assassin’s Creed II. A video game.
by Elaine Paliatsas-Haughey
Once again in my teaching career I am seated across a school room table from the parents of a student who is struggling to read.
I say, "Little Janie is reading on a third grade level in fifth grade and would really benefit by reading at home, along with the remedial instruction she is receiving here at school."
They ask, "What should we have her read?"
I launch into an enthusiastic list of book titles recently out for elementary age students and they are on board. I mention classics from their own childhoods, like Ramona the Brave and The Hardy Boys. Things seem to be going well and everything is falling into place until I say, "And she doesn't have to read just traditional books. She can read manga and graphic novels. Try poetry or magazines. If there is a particular website she enjoys, encourage that. She can read the cereal box out loud to you during breakfast if you want!"
I see I've become too impassioned at that point. Now I've lost them. What I find in the rest of our conversation is that I lost them after traditional books. Often, because parents associate learning with only classic literary stories the idea of using almost any other form of written word to educate youngsters is foreign territory. They cannot see the value in other forms or genres.
by Gabrielle Lund
Argue that the love triangle in The Hunger Games was unnecessary (and I’ll most likely agree with you.) Guffaw at the tension, both “sexual” and aggravating, of Edward and Bella as he refuses to turn the one girl he loves into a vampire (and I’ll probably wince at the memory of the writing in these scenes.) But do not disclaim their success. These books are all members of The New York Times Bestsellers’ List for a reason and it has little to do with their contrived plots. Stephanie Meyers and other YA authors have continuously proven that an idea which involves one girl, in a vulnerable, desperate situation (where she happens to look like the pretty girl next door, but not a model), and two guys (bloodsuckers or tributes fighting for their lives) who love her, will, nine times out of ten, fly off the shelves.
By Michael Comoroto
(Photos courtesy of Flickr and Wikipedia.)
by Kevin Coopersmith
It’s a hard truth to realize, but that doesn’t make it any less real – America is reading, they’re just not reading anything of substance. As a matter of fact, the average American spends most of their day reading – 11 hours a day on average with digital media alone, according to a Nielsen study conducted last year. That’s 11 hours of channel surfing, Facebook walls, Twitter feeds, refreshed Reddit pages, and underwhelming Buzzfeed articles.
thoughts on writing, art, & new media by glassworks editorial staFF