Month: May 2016

#ReadProud Reading Challenge

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The month of June is Pride month for a lot of us, and for the book community this gives readers a chance to find books by LGBTQ+ Authors or that involve members of this community. I’ve seen a lot of #ReadProud challenge post floating around, and while this is not a challenge I hope you find books from this list as well, and get around to reading them.  My fear however, is that I don’t want this to be a fab, cishet people reading queer Lit because its Pride Month, this should be almost an everyday thing. This  #Readproud is divided into  four categories. YA, Adult, Memoirs essays and Short stories, and a bonus section with a few movies.

 

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YA LGBTQ+

  • Grasshopper Jungle x Andrew Smith
    • Bisexuality, Love triangle, Aliens bugs, Dystopian, Historical
  • None Of The Above x I. W. Gregorio
    • Intersex, Identity, secrets, love, acceptance
  • Simon vs Homo Sapiens Agenda
    • Gay, Identity, Oreos, Relationship, acceptance
  • More Happy Than Not x Adam Silvera
    • Gay, Identity, Loss, Acceptance, Bullying, Western Influence, Family Issues, Memory.
  • Not Otherwise Specified x Hannah Moskowitz
    • Lesbian, Acceptance, Identity, stereotypes, religion.
  • South of Sunshine x Dana Eldendorf
    • Lesbian, coming out, small town, religion, bigotry, struggle with faith, diverse LGBT characters. Racism.
  • Parrotfish x Ellen Wittlinger
    • Trans FtM, transition, serendipity, acceptance, bigotry.
  • Luna x Julie Anne Peters
    • Trans MtF, Gender Idetity, acceptance, Trigger Warned, support, forced therapy,
  • Hero x Perry Moore
    • Gay, Superhero, acceptance, dystopian.
  • Chulito x Charles Rice-Gonzalez
    • coming out love story, queer youth culture, latino, bullying.

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Adult LGBTQ+

  • Rubyfruit Jungle x Rita Mae Brown
    • Lesbian, Gender roles, period piece, acceptance, sexuality
  • Faggots x Larry Kramer
    • Gay men, relationships. coming of age.
  • Giovanni’s room x James Baldwin
    • coming out, coming of age, Travel, Paris, American, gender norms, societal norms, love,
  • Plan B x SJD Peterson
    • Androgynous, gender non-conforming, football player troupe, acceptance, problematic element, cliché love story.
  • The Children of Gavrilek x Julie Kirion Chandler
    • LGBT characters, magical realism, diversity, Cuban, Love, Acceptance.
  • Fun Home x Alison Bechdel
    • Love, Coming out, parental issues, trust, confusion.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Shope Café x Fannie Flagg
    • Lesbian, Tomboy, love, murder, mystery.
  • Confessions of a Mask x Yukio Mishima
    • Code-switching, Erotic fantasy moments, religion, coming of age, acceptance,
  • Down to the Bone x Mayra Lazara
    • Cuban American, Lesbian, homeless, shelter, acceptance, love.
  • In The Blood x Lisa Unger
    • Trans, Mystery, lies,  not centered around transition, college, love.
  • Carry me like water x Benjamin Alire Saenz
    • Intersectionality, HIV / AIDS, Magical realism, secrets, lies.

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LGBTQ+ Memoirs, collection of short stories,  Essays

  • Redefining Realness x Janet Mock
    • Trans, Own Voice, Memoir
  • Fire shut up in my bones: A memoir x Charles M. Blow
    •  Childhood abuse,  Acceptance, Own Voice
  •  A Cup of Water Under my Bed x Daisy Hernandez
    • Cuban-Columbian, race relations, love, Lesbian, Bisexuality, Transmen. Own Voice. Memoir
  • Teaching the cat to sit x Michelle Theall
    • religion, lesbian, catholic, love, memoir, own voice.
  •  Manning up: Transsexual Men on finding brotherbood, family and themselves
    •  Own voices, intersectionality, personal narratives.
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens speak out
    • Transgender + gender neutral Young Adults, interviews, own voices.
  • Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme
    • short stories, Queer Authors, gender sterotypes,
  • Labor of Love: The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy
    • Transparents, parenthood, acceptance, sterotypes, gender norms, societal expectations.
  • Quarantine x Rahul Mehta
    • Indian-American gay men, family issues, western privilege + lifestyle, own voices.

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Extra: Movies ( Just in case you need to put a book down for a moment or two)

  • Paris is Burning
    • On Netflix, Queer men of color culture, vogue + Ballroom history, Origins of “shade” and “Tea”, highly recommended.
  • How to survive a Plague
    • Early HIV/ AIDS activism, on Netflix, informational.
  • Milk
    • Biopic Harvey Milk, politics, Murder, LGBT history
  • Boys Don’t Cry
    • Transman, Hate crime, Love, Bullying
  • The Laramie Project
    • Bullying, documentary, Matthew Shepard.
  • But I’m a Cheerleader
  • My Own Private Idaho
  •  TransAmerica
  • The Danisha Lady
  • Cabaret
  • The Rocky Horror Picture

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Probably my favorite book so far this year. Adichie wonderfully tells the story of what happens when you migrate to another country, and how the idea of race or how it is perceived is not monotonous across the globe.

The story follows the main character Ifemelu as she travels to the united States from Nigeria. Ifemelu runs a blog.“Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-­American Black”.  Most of her blog post center around how blackness is defined and how it differs geographically. However, while the blog post are often delightful misnomers in the novel they are not the center of it, and unlike MOSQUITO-LAND  i’m not a full fan of the entries. This novel centers Ifemelu transitioning from Nigerian to American or Nigerian to Americanah?

One of the big things I enjoyed about this book is how it approached the different tribalisms that exist in our society.

Classism.
Race and racism.
Identity.
Western vs Eastern culture.

All these go into shaping how Ifemelu views transitioning and living to America and back to Nigeria to America. These tribalism are interesting because we get to see how she adjust to her living conditions in American, and how America is viewed from the perspective of an outsider. Chalked up with honest moments about the lengths people are willing to take to fit in and gain acceptance.

I give Americanah  5 out of 5. Probably one of my favorite adult reads this year, I recommend this book to any and everyone!

Contemporary review: Reconstructing Amerlia

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Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

This book is family centered around a mother-daughter relationship. Instantly we get a feel of the hectic nature of their relationship. Where the mother, Kate, lives this work oriented lifestyle and has little time for Amelia. With a quick turn of events, and by quick I mean within the first 20 pages (so this isn’t spoiler) Amelia commits suicide by jumping from the roof of the school. Shortly after Kate gets a text saying Amelia didn’t jump.  And so the journey begins.

When we talk about book titles and how they relate or convey a message about the book. This title for me takes the cake. Almost immediately after Kate is forced to rethink everything she has ever known about her daughter and literally reconstruct her back together. Piece by Piece. Told in two perspectives, from the voice of Amelia before she jumps, and told in third person in Kate’s perspective this book is fast pace. Each chapter gives you a little, but also leaves you wanting more. The main plot, Kate searching for the truth about her daughter is only able to advanced with a lot of the smaller sub plots and mystery’s that we get to watch unfold. As the reader we get to venture into this world of privilege and pain. While the story is told from both of their perspectives, it is also told through Amelia’s social post. I love the saying Art imitates Life, and in this novel, the art gives an honest interpretation of Online Bullying. Chalked up with enough twist and turns to keep you guessing. I give Reconstructing Amelia 4 out of 5 stars. While I found the novel a simplistic suspenseful page turner, a lot of the turns seemed to predictable at times. However, I recommend this as a read if you want something refreshing and new.

Steps to Diversify your library

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So you’ve entered that awkward stage of I just finished a book and now I don’t know what to read. Or maybe you want to spice up your book collection add a little diversity to it. Here are some tips or ways you can do that.

Step 1 – examine the way you find your books to read. If it be by goodreads, or booktube, some of your favorite book bloggers, or by the New York times best seller. Take a step back and realize how you typically find books.

Step 2- Ignore that way. Get out of that pattern of your go to say of finding books. One of the things I’ve noticed in communities like booktube, the average viewer follows the popular bloggers, who all vlog about the same books. Or if you have a go to blogger, stop going to them.

Step 3- this is the fun part, I promise. Research. Now that you’re ready to expand your horizon  on book topics and diversity, you have to basically start from scratch. You can find tag sections of book reviews, or you can literally roam the isles of your local library or bookstore. Goodreads has a really good recommendation engine as well.

Step 4-  once you find that next book that you typically wouldn’t pick up or etc, now it’s time to read it. (Which I guess is the true fun part)

Step 5- now that you’ve gotten one or two books in your library, keep it up. Diversifying your library ( which basically means to take a break from reading books written by men that are centered around cishetwhite men) Don’t stop at one or two books. Try to match the amount of books you already have with your new books.