2013 was a busy year for us. We saw our millionth hit, continued a few old series, wrote a few new ones, and celebrated our fourth straight year blogging together. It’s been a privilege (and occasionally a challenge) to write in this space. It’s a still bit bewildering to know how much our audience has grown – and we’re so grateful to our readers, old and new. We’re taking this time to reflect on the past year, highlighting a few of our most memorable (to us!) posts. I’ll write about a few today, and Kelly will discuss hers tomorrow. Mine are below, in no particular order.
Story for All Ages
I write almost exclusively about YA and even more exclusively about individual reading. But that’s not the only reading I do – at my old church, I would occasionally read the “Story for All Ages.” This is a story read aloud to a group of children and adults during the service, usually a picture book. I enjoyed writing about something a bit different and sharing a lesser-known aspect of my reading life.
Five Essential Elements for Great Audiobook Narration
Audiobooks are a huge part of my reading life, particularly now that my commute is no longer five minutes long. Here I share my five essential elements that can make or break an audiobook, with examples of audiobooks that do each element well.
Reviews, Non-Fantasy Readers, and Finnikin of the Rock
Of everything I wrote for Stacked in 2013, this is the piece about which I feel most deeply. I discuss why some readers would claim a story such as Finnikin of the Rock – which is blatant fantasy with magic and prophecies – is “not really fantasy,” what genre biases this attitude reveals, and why it’s important that we call fantasy stories what they are (and insist others do so as well).
Rewriting History (aka Lying to Our Children)
At my previous position, I purchased all the books for kids, ages birth through 18. This meant I did a lot of review-reading in a lot of different publications. I noticed that there were two books being published for kids very close to each other that presented a sugar-coated or fanciful fate for Laika, the dog the Soviets sent into space (and never brought home – intentionally). In this post, I discuss these books and why authors might feel the need to make this choice (plus a hefty dose of my own opinion, naturally).
Engines of the Broken World dual review
Everything I’ve highlighted up until this point has not been a review, but the reviews are still the backbone of this blog, and they’re still what I enjoy doing most. Some of the most fun reviews to write are the dual ones with Kelly. Our reading interests intersect so rarely that it’s a treat when we can write something about a book we both read (and enjoyed). It’s especially nice when we have different opinions about and approaches to it, as we did with Jason Vanhee’s Engines of the Broken World.
Bonus: Our genre guides were so much fun to write. They allowed me to delve into genres (and subgenres and formats!) that I love and share that love with our readers. I also learned a ton, and we got some great additions in the comments. This series is something we plan on continuing in 2014.