YA novels — that’s “young adult” novels, for the uninitiated — have had a rough go of things lately. Slate.com came out swinging against the popular genre, claiming grownups should only read grownup books or else we’re all repressed babies. Or some such nonsense. Books are just books — they’re for people. Typically YA novels have more characters who are teens/children, but that’s about the only difference. There is still sex, drugs, violence, and everything! Ultimately, the YA genre or the “New Adult” genre are phrases used by publishers’ marketing departments.
I’m a passionate and voracious reader and genuinely saddens me that anyone would discourage people from reading anything. So, I thought I would ease some of the YA-averse into checking out some novels that are similar to popular “grownup” books — recommendations I’m making based on similar themes and tone. If you read and enjoyed the “grownup” novel, you’ll probably really enjoy the YA novel. And vice versa.
A Brooklyn-based author is having a pretty solid week, thanks to Stephen King. Yes, we’re talking about THE Stephen King. Emily Schultz published her debut novel, Joyland, eight years ago, but hasn’t seen much success from it until recently, when literary heavyweight King released a novel with the same name. Now, thanks to all of the nincompoops online who are accidentally purchasing her book instead of his, Schultz has been enjoying the fruits of Mr.King’s labor … and other peoples’ stupidity.
At first, Emily was annoyed that all of the
idiots thirsty readers who accidentally bought her book were leaving unkind reviews of her novel on her Amazon reviews page, but she started caring a little bit less once her royalty checks started coming in, which she described as “for me, big.” Because Emily felt guilty about essentially cashing in on someone else’s book, she decided to start a blog documenting how she was spending all of her new money, and whether or not Stephen King would approve of her purchases. GENIUS, I tell you. Keep reading »
Buying your first piece of IKEA furniture. Backpacking around Europe. One-night stands. Splurging on dinner Friday night and spending the rest of the week eating ramen. These are just a few of the things most of us expect of our 20s.
Something that isn’t on anyone’s list? Slowing going blind from a degenerative eye disease.
It wasn’t on Nicole Kear’s list, either. And the Yale and Columbia graduate intended to live her life like it wasn’t. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, fell in love, got married and even attended clown school. Yet through it all, Kear knew a degenerative eye disease she had been diagnosed with at 19 was slowing taking her vision away. She was told she had one good decade before she would be entirely blind. Her family and husband knew about the disease (retinitis pigmentosa), but Kear was embarrassed and hardly told any friends — she had lots of excuses for why her eye makeup looked messy or she wouldn’t drive at night. However, Kear and her husband settled into new parenthood, and she had to come to terms with the realities of her disabilities, including learning how to walk with a cane.
I read Nicole Kear’s funny, fascinating memoir Now I See You in almost one sitting and came away from it thinking, I could be friends with this person. She’s smart, spunky, and makes it easy to put yourself in her (unfortunately, no longer high-heeled) shoes. I gave her a call at home in Brooklyn to chat about blindness, how she managed to write a book with three young kids, and giving strangers the benefit of the doubt.
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Activities are wonderful, but sometimes, it’s fine to want to shut the world out for a couple of days, and make some serious time for you. Don’t be afraid of FOMO, either. There will always be another party, another pub crawl, another picnic. The time you’ll spend indulging in the things you want to do, alone, are well worth it. Here’s a handy list of awesome things to do this weekend!
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I was sitting with a couple of smart women that I respect when the subject of dating came up, as it tends to do. “I read The Rules, and it changed my life,” one friend told me, in complete earnestness. “I swear by The Rules. They really work.”
I was taken aback, and for good reason. I’m a generation behind The Rules’ target demo. Twenty years ago, when this book was first published, I was in middle school, when “dating” meant writing about someone in your dream journal and holding hands. As my dating life developed, any mention of The Rules felt laughable, like an ancient relic from a never-seen “Sex And The City” episode, something the girls would discuss over cosmos at Buddakan.
“Aren’t they old-fashioned and sexist, and you know, stupid?” I asked. My other friend interjected. “Seriously, they’re great,” she said. “Trust me.” Keep reading »
I was born with Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome, a genetic bone and muscular disorder. I had 26 surgeries by my 16th birthday, so hospital rooms and intimidating doctors’ offices quickly became the backdrop of my childhood, filling up metaphorical pages that other kids had reserved for dirt hill races and princess tea parties with their stuffed animals. Growing up, I was always a little different than my peers. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just boiled down to different life experiences that I was having. I spent a lot of time reading, but it was tough to relate to the characters’ adventures when my world often seemed confined to a small, square hospital room.
Then a little book called The Fault In Our Stars came along. Keep reading »