My reading challenge — YA/supernatural/urban fantasy vs. contemporary/classic fiction

In recent weeks I’ve spent a lot of time in my library. Yes, I have a library. Not of estate proportions, but one that is big to me because it holds copies of books I can’t bear to part with, books that only recently captured my heart and can’t imagine a future without, and books that continue to inspire no matter how much time passes. It’s amazing to me that even after decades, there are books that I can pick off the shelf, open up and turn to page one, with the same excitement that I had the first time I curled up with it 5, 10, and in some cases 30+ years ago.

It may sound like I am obsessed with the YA/supernatural genre. As of late, that has been a lot of my interest because as I said before, life is heavy as it is and why bog it down with serious reads. Just to clarify (in case you were wondering), I’ve read my share of classic and contemporary fiction. I mean, I’ve done…my…time. I’ve studied it, analyzed it, hid works on the bookshelf because after a semester studying nothing but said novel, I could bare it no longer. (Sad but true. Case in point: Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. I am still waiting for the love to return with that one. ) So, trust me, when I say I’ve done my share of serious reading time, I’ve done it. Not that the books I have been reading lately aren’t serious….but you get what I’m saying, right?

We all enjoy a little escapism now and then – visiting places that don’t exist, getting to know people who aren’t real but very well should be because they are someone we’d like to know. Hell, I even write with this goal in mind: to create places readers will want to visit, characters they will want to meet, and a world they will want to live in, if only for a short while.  But in living in these worlds, I’ve missed out on some of those that left an impression on my mind and in my heart.  Some of these novels may have been too heavy at the time – more daunting than I was ready or interested in that moment in my life. But I’m ready to revisit them…with a twist.

Beginning next week I am going to start a new reading challenge. For every new YA/supernatural/urban fantasy book I read, I am going to follow up with a contemporary or classic work of similar theme and then review the two side by side. In most cases some of the contemporary or classic works I may have read. But in some cases, they will be those I started and perhaps put down or thought about reading but never got around to. But regardless, this time, I will finish them because with this experiment I am hoping to shine the light on the similarities in literature and the indelible power of the written word. I want to be able to illustrate no matter the story line, no matter the genre, it’s the power of the story, the characters, the words, and draw inspiration from these voices old and new, as well as hopefully, inspire others.

Here’s a look at a few of the pairings in queue:

  • Pure by Julianna Baggott & Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts & Jack Kerouc’s On the Road
  • Arise by Tara Hudson (Hereafter, book 2) & Jane Austen’s Persuasion
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn & Dante’s Inferno  

What do you think? Can you see what I’m doing with the pairings?  Have you embarked on a similar challenge? Do you want to share a suggested pairing? Let me know…I’d love to hear from you.  Until then, up first:



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