Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. They created the meme because they love lists. Who doesn’t love lists? They wanted to share these list with fellow book lovers and ask that we share in return to connect with our fellow book lovers. To learn more about participating in the challenge, stop by their page dedicated to it and dive in!

This week’s topic: Top Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist

As much as I rant and rave about things I would like to see in books and the reading the community, this topic still threw me for a loop. I didn’t want to just throw out anything while working on this. I wanted to be somewhat purposeful with this list, so I tried not to throw out all the things that randomly come up when I’m thinking about book-related things. The things that I chose for this list are things that have come up for me fairly often in the past few days/months/years.

  1. More Time – This is really my biggest wish for this year. This has been one of my biggest challenges with reading and trying to blog about books. Between family, work, and the million of other things I do most days, sometimes it can be really hard to do all the reading I’d like to do even with audiobooks.
  2. More Diversity – It gets tiring reading stories where writers can’t seem to write outside a bubble where only certain people, situations, and struggles exist. And trust me, I understand that some writers are afraid of reaching outside their scope and possibly offending people, but that’s why you have open dialogue with people, sensitivity readers, etc. There are resources to help writers if you’re committed to treating characters like people and learning about new situations, cultures, etc. Don’t let your limitations be your leash.
  3. More Nuanced Discussions – This is something that I’ve really only started paying attention to more as I’ve started blogging about books. I’ve always discussed books with others, but as I’ve ventured further into the realm of books, I find that I like to be more involved in book discussions that try to tackle issues in books, how authors handle them, and how readers respond to these things. I’ve been thinking about this a bit more as I’ve been keeping up with the dialogue for a few controversial speculative books and how readers are shaping this dialogue between themselves and the authors.
  4. More Speculative YA Books That Focus Less on Romance – If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you know I have a somewhat complicated relationship with YA romance in the speculative realm. It can be a bit problematic, and once the romance is established, the story tends to focus more on that than the original intent of the story. There are a few speculative YA stories I’ve read that don’t go over to the wayside once the love interest is established or who treat the romance as the secondary story that it, and I’ve enjoyed them more for it.
  5. Better Handling of Mental Illness – This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine in general with media villanizing mental illness. In speculative fiction that doesn’t take place in a modern setting or are set in made up worlds, there are so many villains who are obviously coded as having certain mental illnesses, and stories like these further reinforce the idea that mental illness is scary, evil, and uncontrollable. You don’t have to code a character on a certain mental illness spectrum for them to be evil. We see evidence of people doing terrible things to each other every day without villainizing some of our most vulnerable populations.
  6. More Fun Stories in a High Fantasy Setting – Don’t get me wrong. I love my dark stories, but there seems to be a trend of darkness in high fantasy for the past few years. Sometimes, I need a break from it, but I still want to wander through a fantasy world. When I find a story that is more lighthearted or comical in nature in a high fantasy setting, it’s like a breath of light after reading through such depressing, suffocating worlds. Maybe there are plenty of fantasy stories out there in this sort of setting, and I just haven’t found them.
  7. More Rounded Female Characters – There’s nothing wrong with the badass female or the strong female in literature. I welcome them, but the thing I think people forget when writing these characters is that they should still be rounded characters. There’s nothing wrong with giving these characters vulnerabilities. It’s okay if your female character isn’t someone who bring a guy down with a well-placed kick. It’s okay if they’re not much of a fighter at all. It’s okay if they don’t have some great destiny to be the savior of all things. You can write female characters who are transparent, vulnerable, authentic and they can still be interesting and relatable. Interesting people come in a variety of personalities and abilities. Female characters shouldn’t be any different.
  8. Less Trying to Explain Away Characters’ Very Bad Behavior – Every protagonist of a story can’t be a shining beacon of perfection. That would make for a very boring story and character. In fact, some of the protagonists that we meet have downright loathsome qualities about them, but I’ve noticed that instead of having a character work through a particularly nasty character flaw, authors would rather treat it like a cute quirk or try to make it seem like these attitudes/behaviors aren’t a big deal. In that same vein, I wish authors would stop being apologists for their supporting characters’, especially potential love interests, terrible behavior and attitudes. It’s just plain gross.
  9. Less Unnecessary Book Snobbery and Clique-ish Behavior – I never realized how terribly snobby the book community could be until I spent more time in the book community. Usually I would see it more in the book circles that pretend to like James Joyce and like to look down on speculative books or comics as not being capable of literary genius, but I’m starting to notice it more in the speculative book reading communities, too. Whether it’s book readers ganging up on people who were surprised by the red wedding in the television series Game of Thrones because the viewers wouldn’t have been so shocked if they’d “read the books” or mob mentality rearing it’s ugly head on Goodreads when a popular book reviewer/blogger decides they’re out for blood just because they want to be and the more impressionable readers follow suit for no other reason than to impress said reviewer, it’s getting to a point where I avoid certain places and topics and stick to a small circle of readers I trust for my sanity.

I kind of ran out of steam after hitting #9. I blame late not blogging and not enough sleep. What are some things serious or not so serious on your reading wishlist?

 

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12 Comments on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist

  1. I totally agree with your nr. 9 point: what I’ve mostly encountered is the snobbery of people who see speculative fiction as the equivalent of B-movies of old and don’t understand (or want to) that there is so much depth and imagination in it…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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  2. Great list. I agree with every one of your picks. I will add one: more mature characters. Fantasy about teenagers and young adults finding their place in the world is great, but the 30 and up age group needs to be represented a bit more in fantasy. Strange as it seems this age group isn’t “old” yet, isn’t about to die, and actually has a lot of potential to be main characters or strong supporting characters. I mean, we are fairly mature (but not dead), have learned a lot, but aren’t out looking for a retirement village just yet. Throw us some bones already, authors!

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  3. Yes to more nuanced discussions (I often think that while I review books a lot, I don’t often have really NUANCED discussions about them- spoilers notwithstanding, it would be nice to do that more), and less romance in speculative YA is another one I could get behind. Or at least where it doesn’t take over the story… and #9. I’ve been lucky to avoid most of that kind of drama, but I know it’s out there and that’s a shame. Anyway great list- several of these have got me thinking. 🙂

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  4. Agree with all 9 of yours and second Wendell’s statement as the 10th point. The change is much needed. Great post. Something we think every time we read a book but don’t compile the issues within our head.

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  5. This is a brilliant list and I love all of your points. Definitely a hell yes to more YA with less focus on simply the romance. I don’t mind romance – I just want it to be a side plate not the main meal.
    Lynn 😀

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  6. Yes to all of the things, though I keyed in on #3. I’m an English teacher, after all. There’s so much potential within all these books we read that I wish conversations weren’t always limited to a few comments back and forth. And here I am, leaving a comment. Alas. Happy reading!

    -eli @ the (book) supplier
    My TTT

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  7. Book snobbery gets on my nerves on places like Goodreads and Bookcrossing. Books are for enjoying and if someone likes zombies or trashy romances or whatever, they should not be looked down on by the snobs! I got into a few fights defending the right to read what you enjoy. And yes to more time! I need it this week as I feel I’m not getting much done at all!

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  8. Totally agree with the less romance in YA. I’ve read interviews with authors where they say publishing companies sometimes insist on the inclusion of a love triangle which is just so frustrating.

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