Do Tell / Bookish Buzzwords


Do TellLook through my Goodreads shelves, and you’ll see few negative reviews. Some may say that such a fact is merely a reflection of my positive personality, but I like to think that it’s because I know myself as a reader: the authors I adore, the genres I enjoy, and the stories I do or will love. With no shortage of books catching my eye and limited time to check them all out, I’ve learned that if there’s any hope of narrowing down my TBR list, it’s helpful have a strong sense of what I like to read about first, rather than go to the library shelves blind.

I haven’t done a Do Tell post in quite a while, but in thinking of discussion topics, I was reminded of Josephine’s wonderful post from the winter, in which she asks: What are your bookish buzzwords? If “buzzwords” brings bees instead of books to mind, never to fear: buzzwords are simply terms or phrases used to describe a novel that make it a personal must-have. Listing them, as I did below, is a fun exercise for any bookworm, even those who think they have their reading tastes set in stone :) What are your bookish buzzwords?

Boarding SchoolsBooks that take place in boarding schools always grab my attention, perhaps because the setting is so unlike my public school district – in other words, I’m on the lookout for an interesting change of scenery! Ivy-covered walls and preppy uniforms are staples of modern-set stories, such as E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks and Andrew Smith’s Winger, but novels set decades, or in The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place‘s case, a century before, share the same set of story elements: strict headmasters, numerous school policies, and long-lasting friendships. In addition, the boarding school stories I’ve read prompt a sense of rebellion in their characters, all the better for someone who likes a bit of mischief or revenge in their plots.

Choir and TheaterHaving participated in so many theatrical productions, I think it’s only natural that I search for mention of the performing arts in my literature too! Finding characters with a similar affection for the theater makes me giddy, and art school settings only add to my excitement. Unfortunately, theater is one of many topics that is underrepresented in YA, so for now, I’ll settle for happily re-reading the books that include it and write of it well: Elizabeth Eulberg’s Take a Bow, about four teens with different musical talents; Raina Telgemeier’s acclaimed graphic novel Drama, which tells of  one crew member’s role in a school production, and Amy Spalding’s The Reece Malcolm List, whose protagonist’s passion for singing is only one of many things I like about it.

Memorable FamiliesI have a soft spot for adorable family-centered stories, no doubt a result of my long-ago-formed love of Jeanne Birdsall’s classic, The Penderwicks. While they aren’t always the most realistic of books in comparison to more gritty contemporary novels, they emphasize the importance of family, no matter the structure, whereas many other middle grade genres resort to leaving parents out of the narrative altogether. Similar books I’ve enjoyed? The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, Dana Alison Levy’s debut, and The Mother-Daughter Book Club, the first installment in Heather Vogel Frederick’s best-selling series. I’d move to any of the three book’s households in seconds.

Spies and SuchOne of my favorite television programs is Chuck, a show that follows self-proclaimed nerd Chuck Bartowski on missions as a CIA agent. Though Chuck is no longer on the air, my love of spy stories hasn’t seemed to disappear. I’m a sucker for any and all mysteries, but books with spies at the forefront are my favorite; they offer smarts, adventure, and humor all in one package. Ally Carter is one of the most popular authors in this genre for her Gallagher Girl series, but Robin Benway has proven her equal with the 2013 release of Also Known AsWhen it comes to MG novels {I flow between both shelves with pleasure}, Stuart Gibbs’ Spy School and the subsequent books in the series earn my full recommendation.

The 1950s and 60sFinally, set a book in these decades, and you can be certain I’ll want it in my hands come its release. With so much happening both at home and abroad, in society and foreign affairs, in politics and pop culture, the events of the time grab this history nut’s attention, as do the societal trends and consequences of the era. Furthermore, as with any historical fiction, authors must pay close attention to detail and character development – at the very least, then, I’m looking to be immersed in a good book. Among the best of this topic include Countdown by Deborah Wiles, The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry, and Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.

Have a terrific Wednesday!


9 thoughts on “Do Tell / Bookish Buzzwords

  1. Love, love, LOVE this post Bella! <3 Being a theatre geek as well, I'm always ecstatic when I find books that feature musicals and plays. They're always so much fun to read! And I haven't read many books set in the 50s / 60s, but those are definitely two fascinating decades that I would like to read more about. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! <3

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These all look SO good! I totally want to read them all, because if you liked them, i definitely will! I didn’t know what bookish buzzwords were before this post, but now I know! (Also, I’m really glad you liked The Disreputable History Of Frankie Landau-Banks, because I’ve wanted to read it for a LONG time – I’m definitely getting it soon!)

    Liked by 1 person

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