I'm back with a new installment of my random feature about the who, what, where, when and why of reading, where I talk about my own relationship with books/genres/authors, and ask my visitors to do the same if they feel so inclined. This could have been easily turned into a meme, but there's a reason why it didn't...I still don't see myself as an established enough blogger to host yet another meme. Even those with an impressive number of followers aren't necessarily overwhelmed with participations, so I'm not going there just yet. This doesn't mean "A Reader's Quirks" won't be promoted to meme's status one day, should it be the case. It's all up to you, really :).
A quick reminder...everyone can comment on my blog, spam or not spam. It matters to me that anyone can join the conversation. As for CAPTCHA...everyone hates it...so you won't find it here. Relax and breathe ;).
This time I'm going to talk about...
YOU, IRRESISTIBLE AFTERLIFE NOVEL
(Warning: lenghty post coming...)
(Warning: lenghty post coming...)
[Note: this article was originally posted on Offbeat YA a year ago. I decided to revamp and update it after operating some changes in my TBR list. Also, more afterlife books have been added!]
I think you all know by now that I'm obsessed with afterlife books. I read quite a number of novels with dead MCs. Call me morbid ;P. Seriously, I guess what appeals to me the most is the paradox, the oxymoron of it all - being dead, but still alive on a plane of existence. Getting to see and hear other people, but not being able to be perceived by them. Not to mention, recalling one's death, or (more often) not having a clue and investigating it. Talk about thinking six impossible things before breakfast*...
* Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking Glass"
And oh, the unfinished business. Because there's always one, isn't it? Life is a series of goals and expectations, and when it's cut short, if you were able to look back at it, you would likely feel restless and outraged because you were supposed to do something. Or have something. Or go somewhere. Whether you're 10 or 100 years old, in such respect, it's always unfair. So we often get characters who still try to fit in the alive world somehow, or to influence it...or - most of the times - to right a specific wrong that death caused to them. (Death is a wrong in itself, the top of all wrongs, of course. But you know what I mean).
Also, how do we imagine the afterlife? Heaven, hell, limbo - we (or better - and more often - authors) make up a million versions of what comes after. Because no one of us, even those who don't believe in landing somewhere after their death, is willing to think it all over. For someone it may be conforting, while someone else just has fun picturing a place and its rules, or reading about it, as an extension of our mortal life. So, you see, afterlife novels have something in them for everyone.
There's no shortage of such stories, both in the adult and YA market. [On a side note - the YA ones usually deal with dead girls. And I love them, of course...to death. But please, oh please, dear authors, write a dead-boy novel once in a while. Just for difference's sake, you know. End of rant**]. I love the YA ones the most, since Remember Me by Christopher Pike introduced me to the genre and threw me into the vast, exciting sea of teen literature. I love them because you're not supposed to die when you're young - you don't even contemplate the possibility. Because it's more unfair than ever then, and of course you (the character) rebel the only way you can think of - trying to still make a difference, whether as a friendly poltergeist or a possessing spirit. Because usually there's a wrong to right, and more than once it's tied to your very death. And, like I said, because of the paradox. Which is the reason why I love time-travel stories too, by the way.
Here is a recap of all the afterlife novels I've read so far (or you can visit my Afterlife Room for them) and the ones I plan on reading...Also, there's a small list of those I decided not to read for whatever reasons, but that you may like instead. Please feel free to add your own title/review/link to an afterlife novel or more along with your comments. Thanks!
[Note: I shelved as Afterlife novels those where the main lead is dead...or undead - or those where there's a conspicuous afterlife setting...all the books that don't fit the bill go into the Supernatural box, so to speak. Consequentially, I encourage you to visit my Supernatural Room for them. Again, thanks!].
** Later note: I finally found a Dead-Boy Novel! Yep, there's actually one at least...Haunt by Curtis Joblin.