So recently I've been going through some uncertainty about what I should be reading - as in the constant advice more experienced authors give younger, fresh, hatchling writers (such as moi), which you might have heard yourself before: "READ A LOT."
But my question has always been, okay, you want me to read, but READ WHAT?
Ms. Wood suggested that I stay with the classics, such as Jane Eyre or works from Jane Austen, to achieve that moral-boosted, happy-ending sort of writing that I've always enjoyed. Anna Godberson pretty much said the same thing, suggesting that I stay away from current YA chart busters - coughcoughVAMPIREScoughcough - so I don't get inflicted, er, adversely inspired by them.
But, I think I have finally found which section of the library is safe for me to graze in without catching the unpleasant aura of Stephenie Meyer and those of her creed.
The Childrens' room.
Now, before you start laughing, hear me out. First off, the YA Room - at least in our library - really creeps me out. There's no more happiness in here, if you get what I mean. It's always blood-soaked fangs or some dead-eyed girl staring out at you from the shelves, and it just really gives me the heebie-jeebies to spend more than five minutes in there nowadays. Of course there are some goodies that I browse there for, and the fact that the manga section just got relocated there makes it pretty much unavoidable.
But the Children's section...that's where all the hidden gold is.
An example (and yes, there's nothing better than combining a random post with a promised review, is there?)
THEODOSIA AND THE SERPENT OF CHAOS by R.L. LaFevers (as seen below)
I always have a weakness for a strong heroine, even if she is rather young, still is attached to her pet kitty and despises her pest of a younger brother. R.L. LaFevers delivers in a delightful, vintage tone that doesn't sound forced and feels authentically English (which, coming from a Californian, really shows that she did her research).
Theodosia's father might be the head curator of the museum, but it is young Theo who is able to sense - and neutralize - the ancient evils that still cling to the statues her adventurous American mother brings back from Egypt. Her little routine is abruptly thrown, though, with her mother's latest treasure: the Heart of Egypt, bearing a strong curse that can bring about the end of civilization.
And who do you think is going to have to save the world as we know it?
Not everything I find in the Kids' Room is as well-written or entertaining for a larger audience. There are the mundane, the childish, the unnaturally attached to fashion and a bit obsessed with pink. It's all about focusing on what you like - and what reminds me of those idyllic days a few years or so back in elementary school when I curled up in the yard with a good book and lost myself in times long past - and ultimately, the type of writing styles and subjects that I myself enjoy writing.