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I'm Reading Comeeks

I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc.  And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.

Finally to the books! Thing 12 "Books, Books and More Books"

I have already used Overdrive to download e-books to the iPad, as well as using Overdrive at home to download audiobooks and transfer them to an mp3 player, so in the digital content section of books from the library, I'm pretty well covered.


I hadn't heard of WattPad before, or the YALSA book finder, so I added them to the ol' iPad and gave them a whirl.


I looked at the YALSA app first since I didn't have to do anything, give any further information, to access it.  The app opens, and though it has limited options (and some layout woes) it does contain a pretty good amount of recommendations.


You can look at lists by various criteria, including by author, award, year and genre.  However, the genre only includes the very basic ones, romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, realistic fiction, horror and nonfiction.  To really reach a YA readership I'd think to at least have paranormal fiction in there.


Some of the lists, such as realistic fiction and sci-fi/fantasy have a ton of books in them, but the romance and mystery sections are pretty sparse.  


Also, if you go through the list by title, it seems a bit borked.  I only found one title as I went through the list that actually brought me to the title information.  The rest gave me an error message, "book not found."


So, this might be something to use if looking for award winning books, but it still needs some tweaking to be really useful.


Wattpad, on the other hand, I don't see as something a librarian could/would use for RA, but could be something to recommend to voracious and unenthusiastic readers both.  


While there are some authors on Wattpad, such as Cory Doctorow, Marissa Meyer and Brandon Sanderson to name a few, there is the ability for anyone to publish a story on Wattpad, and it's genres include fan fiction.


For voracious readers it's a free source of nearly endless stories.  Voracious readers may also be encouraged to try writing on their own when they see the community of writers sharing via Wattpad.  


For reluctant readers, here is something to get books where they don't have to go to the library (embarrassing) and admit they don't like reading.  It also may help in that it's more social and interactive than reading a book alone.  Each book is studded with comments and conversations in the margins, in the form of little speech bubble icons. 


Because there is an overwhelming amount of stuff on Wattpad, it may be a bit daunting to dive in at first, but it's also easy to take a look at a book and just delete it if it's boring.  No library fines, no need to leave the house, if you want to read fan-fiction, that's okay!  Maybe it won't fly with the English Lit teacher, but hey, reading opens doors.  It doesn't matter if that first door is a fanfic about One Direction, it will lead to more doors in the future.


Unlike the YALSA app Wattpad includes 20+ different categories, including paranormal, vampire, and historical fiction.


One negative I noted was when I first signed up for wattpad.  In order for the app to provide reading recommendations it asked for preferred genres, which is fine, but then also for the same reason wants your age and gender.  How does that define what I want to read?  Because I'm 30, should I not read out of the "Teen Fiction" category?  Or perhaps because I'm a woman everything out of the "Horror" category should be dismissed in favor of "Romance."


I didn't add those in, which I now regret, since I should really have tested it to see what it did with that information.  


Oh well.  And I did check to see if Wil Wheaton was an author on Wattpad, but he only got two hits.  A mention in Cory Doctorow's Homeland and a fanfiction of "Stand by Me."   I'm not sure if I'm curious enough to open that can of worms.