I read regularly enough, sure. But when I hear of people who read over 100 books a year I get a little blank in the face. A hundred books a year? That’s two books a week. There is no way I could get through two books a week.
I’m naturally inclined toward non-fiction and read to stimulate thinking and connection-making. I read articles, essays, and blog posts, too, and punctuate the intake with long looks at the wall. It’s unusual for me to finish a single book in a week.
But all that think-reading leaves me looking for easy fun fiction, and for that I turn to kid-lit and j-fic. Stupid? Usually. Fun? Oh yeah.
Occasionally, though, I unearth a special gem. A book I began reading for mind-numbing fun turns out to be thoughtful, poetic, deep, or lovely.
Hunger Games was this way. I expected the usual YA fast-paced nonsense, and instead found an astute social commentary. This Suzanne Collins chick had my attention. So when I saw she had previously written another series, The Underland Chronicles, I decided to give it a try. It was clearly for a younger audience, but being recently inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s declarations of loving children’s fiction, I was undeterred.
I began the first book, Gregor the Overlander, with high hopes. But I was eyebrow-scrunching in doubt. After a few dozen pages in, I didn’t care about the characters or have any lingering questions moving me along, and it was full of rats and cockroaches. FULL OF RATS AND COCKROACHES!!!
But I have a bad habit of finishing books once I start them and kept going. And by the end, I’d found a new favorite series.
As I began the second book, I sent the first one to my ten year old play nephew and he nearly finished the second one before I did. He latched on to Gregor and was finishing a book about every third night.
A few days after that I threw a shout out on social media asking for book recommendations of this sort, and my friend Jesse suggested Gregor the Overlander and gushed about how much he thought I’d love it.
I do love it. And now I’m gushing to you about it.
Because though it’s full of rats and cockroaches (and bats and spiders, too). It’s also full of adventure and empathy and Good. It’s incredibly sweet, but clothed in bravery and chivalry that has my play nephew devouring the whole series.
If you find yourself wanting a fun kid read, or looking for one for a child, give Gregor a go. And let me know how it goes!
What kid/YA books to you love?
(and hey… if you read on a Kindle, you might like this tool that notifies you when books you want or authors you’re interested in go on sale.)