G is for (Books About) Growing Up #atozchallenge

For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.

If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link forΒ the A to Z challenge.

With the frequency that young adult fiction shows up on this blog, it may come as no surprise that a lot of them have themes about growing up. We all get older, but we don’t all get wiser… at least not at the same rate. I could have done all YA books, but I decided to mix it up a bit. It’s more fun that way.

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon (YA contemporary): Maddy is literallyΒ allergic to everything, so she’s not allowed to go outside or interact with other people. She’s lonely but has figured out how to build a life for herself. Growing up often means questioning what people have told us and learning about the world for ourselves, and that’s what Maddy ultimately has to do when she starts developing a friendship with Olly, the boy who moves in next door. I was in Las Vegas, hanging out with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, and I still couldn’t put this book down. I’m pretty sure she’s forgiven me.

Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen (literary classic): Elizabeth and Darcy both grow up throughout this book, learning that the assumptions they’ve made about others (but mostly each other) are not correct. I love this book for that reason (and many others). There are so many adults out there who would benefit from learning this lesson.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (classic): First off, I have to say this… the book is VERY different from the movie. The same main characters are there, and the same basic thing happens, but the book has so much more. When the book starts, Dorothy gets swept away to the land of Oz, and all she wants is for someone to send her back home. She (and eventually the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion) go to seek out Oz to give them the things they want. Along the journey, they have to find their courage and will to fight through obstacles. In the process, Dorothy learns about herself and what’s really important.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith (bildungsroman): I read this last year for the Popsugar challenge, “a genre you’ve never heard of.” Bildungsroman is “a novel dealing with someone’s formative years or spiritual education.” It follows Francie from the time she’s about 11 up until about 16. She’s growing up in the slums with a mother who works too hard and a father who’s a drunk. But through it all, Francie finds ways to stay happy and survive. It’s a quiet novel with little action, but Francie is so compelling that it kept me turning pages.

What books about growing up do you love?

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Outgrowing Favorites

img_7812-2When I was a kid, I loved to make lists of my “favorites.” Favorite music, books, movies colors. Best friends, ranked.

Recently, my dad asked me if the Beatles were still my favorite music group. I hesitated before saying, “Well… one of my favorites.”

The truth is that I don’t really have favorites anymore. I can give you a list of maybe the 10 things I listen to most, or the 10 books I love best, but I don’t have one singular thing at the top of any list anymore.

Is it part of growing older? Is it part of my tastes becoming more discerning? Or is it part of that whole decision making process? You know how when you’re a kid, you’re so sure you have all the answers? And then you grow up and you’re like, “Why am I no longer sure of anything?”

I no longer have a single favorite author, but a list of authors I love. Even if I love a particular book, I don’t go out of my way to read everything that author’s written. I have playlists instead of listening to albums. Maybe that’s a good thing, the sign of a mind with broad interests.

Still, I kind of miss the simplicity of being able to declare: “This is my favorite.”

How about you? Has your ability to pick favorites changed as you’ve grown up?