When Reading Isn’t Challenging: Discussion

We read for a variety of reasons; to escape, to experience dangerous things safely, and clichely, to expand our minds. So my question to you is this: what do you do when books just don’t surprise you as often as they used to? When you feel like you’ve read this before, or that this book just isn’t at the reading level you want it to be?

I’ve tried a couple things. The Rory Gilmore Reading list is something I’ve been chipping away at for years, and I’ve found some gems. Others just aren’t my type. I’ve also expanded the variety of books I read, mostly because I only have access to the uni library during the pandemic and they are selective in the books they get. So I’ve read a lot more nonfiction and adult fiction, and found my new favourite but not strictly classified genre: the speculative fiction literary, non American… Yeah, just think Margret Atwood, M.R. Carey, and Never Let Me Go. Usually British/Canadian/Japanese fiction that has an element of dystopia but has more passive MCs than Katniss or Tris. If you have recs please let me know!

I’ve also looked at summer reading and bestseller lists. These are lists designed to combat the Summer slide- the theory that low-income students come back to school in a worse place academically than they were when school was let out. They basically loose the learning gains they made in the last month of the last school year. Only these lists usually stop after grade 12- while there may be lists of recommendations for college kids or reading lists for specific classes, there aren’t really age and skill specific rankings like you get in k-12.

(not really) fun fact- most American adults have an 8th grade reading level. Our education system sucks. And maths is worse.

But at least we’re in the bookish community and we take charge of our education, right?

Thanks for any recs you have! I’d love to know your thoughts- what can adults do to keep our books challenging?

Were My Early Posts Bad?

droll
Ringo Starr on drums

*This is my final post of WordPress. Please!!! go to https://brittainagof.wixsite.com/tanyxscreams to stay connected!*

I’m going to be looking back at some of my earliest posts and judging myself. Based on what I’ve already seen, younger me was much better at writing.

Too Tired To Read  is prose (or a diary entry) about the time I almost saw V.E. Schwab. I say almost, but in reality there was no planning and I asked a friend about it last minute and she said nope. 

” I don’t remember what Victor and Eli were fighting about. Was it the creation of a new species? Bringing the dead back? Whose name would go on top of their college thesis?”

I hope I wasn’t serious about the last one. I reread it around the time Vengeful came out, and now I wish I never read Vengeful.

DIE MORTAL I have never taken drugs. Why do I sound high? I need to delete this post from the internet.

Binge Or DNF? Great idea, but these books haven’t aged well. Perhaps I’ll redo it for 2020.

Why are you writing like that when it’s set in modern times?

Playlist Shuffle Tag 

I’d like do do this again and see the drastic change in my music. I used to be really into old Englishmen, and while I still like them my music knowledge has expanded. Although the formatting of this post was terrible.

Overall, I mostly hold that I was a good teenaged writer but sometimes didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t take blogging as seriously as I do now. Blogging through these years helped me grow as a writer and reader- there’s a lot of books I wouldn’t know about if I wasn’t involved in the bookternet, and I still don’t notice some problems until they’re pointed out by other readers. 

*Once again, for the last time, go to https://brittainagof.wixsite.com/tanyxscreams to stay connected!*

The Best Of F/F From 2019!

This was an old draft that I didn’t get done in a timely manner. But who cares, it’s F/F, it’s recent and counts as backlist.

F/F Friday/// Tarnished Are The Stars

I mostly remember Tarnished by it’s aroace rep in the form of the prince, who is trying to kill the other MC for using technology to gain the approval of his father. F parents. 

70865736_459982364624903_4936275540027458292_n(1)
be gay. Do Crime

F/F Friday: Amelia Westlake Was Never Here

I really should do more F/F Fridays, shouldn’t I? I enjoyed A.W. for the pranks, and how it portrayed different kinds of f//f romance. It’s really important to address relationships that are emotionally abusive but not what you might typically see as abuse.

Carmilla

My Beloved Carmilla

I just love her so much. And she deserves more than Laura, she deserves someone who will love her as the bloodthirsty vampire that she is. Someone like me. 

The Feminism Of Juliet Takes A Breath

This was a really informative book that touched on a lot of different ideas surrounding “universal feminism.” 

Goodreads TBR Hop 2: F/F

I’ve only read two of these…

download (4)

My F/F OTP

Ahhh Merlin’s so gay. I really wish that more Arthurian retellings would step away from what’s supposed to happen and what could happen. There’s a super queer version in Once And Future, but ti still sticks to the legend. 

Portraying Toxicity in F/F Relationships: Reading Jordi Perez And Laura Dean

A great look into these two. I really enjoyed Laura Dean, but honestly don’t really care abt Jordi Perez. 

What were your fave f/f books from last year? Or ever? 

Due to…changes, I switched to Wix! In the future, please subscribe to https://brittainagof.wixsite.com/tanyxscreams to stay connected!

Book Blogging: Behind The Scenes

DnPDance
Dan & Phil Pull Back The Curtain

You know me as the extremely gay reader, but in my everyday life, I am known as the extremely gay reader. 

Let’s try that again. Apart from my (ex) writing group, (Hi Amy!) no one knows I blog. It’s partly because I don’t talk to very many people, and because there are some people in my life that it’s not safe to be out to, so using a penname in online spaces makes me feel safer. 

So why do I blog? It stared when I was still in High School, and I was reading up on how to be a professional writer.In it’s early stages, TXS was intended for writing tips and to showcase my poetry. Let’s see… this blog is 4 years old, it’s not going to show up in the ‘Add Post’ box. 

Ok, the earliest post I could find was I’m Afraid, which was a bit of prose about body horror. Even in 2016 I was a disturbed person. I did notice that I used to do a lot of quotes posts like Writer’s Quotes. I believe I should try to use that idea with better formatting.  

I’m a bit sad, to be honest. Yes, my formatting has improved, but I do a lot of tags now. It’s more about keeping out with a regular schedule rather than writing what I feel like.  

I still enjoy blogging, and coming up with new ideas. But a lot of those ideas don’t come into fruition- I have 35 posts in draft. Some of them are longer-term posts that may need a bit of time to research, but some of them are outdated and should probably just be deleted. 

While I don’t have any concrete evidence, nor do I intend to prosecute, I believe that blogging is taking from my fiction writing energy pool. This morning, I intended to get up early (for quarantine) and write. I technically woke up early, but did not get up early and ended up spending some time on my phone. 

Ok, well it is pandemic season. But I was also super bored earlier and rather than write, I spent a large amount of time choosing what to watch next. (just finished The Umbrella Academy, btw, and need some recs.) I ended up watching two episodes of Space Force, which is ok but falls flat in places.

And now i’m writing this blog post. should I be writing this post more than I should be writing my fictional story? Well, who’s to judge that? but it is rather judge-worthy that I originally intended to write an outline using Folklore songs so it could be both Taylor Swift week and good for my writing. I got two songs in before I couldn’t match the songs with the scenes and gave up because it was too hard. 

Perhaps…

Going forward, I will be taking 6 classes so may not be able to implement the changes I want. But I do want to do fewer tags and more things that I want to write. I want to post a bit more about writing for accountability.

I realize that “Behind The Scenes” might not fit this ramble. I’ll see if I can do a “day in the life” or “Thoughts While Blogging” post.

How do you balance blogging, fictional writing, classes, etc? *If you are a regular, please fill out this short survey! I’d love to know what you’re thinking!*

tumblr_msjg4tFL4h1rrrz4wo1_500

2020 Reading Rush ~ Performative Diversity

FunAgeTweet

I am so tired. 

To recap, there was a little-promoted group book for The Reading Rush. Such A Fun Age is about a Black babysitter who is stopped by a security guard and accused of kidnapping the white child. During the liveshow for this book, neither of the hosts had read it, laughed it off, and talked about other things.

The reading community disappoints me often. This will not make me stop reading or blogging. Because I know I am one of very few people who reads exclusively diverse books. of course, there is a niche community of queer, poc, and/or disabled readers. But typically, the most mainstream content creators are white, cishet, abled, and have the money for a lot of books.

Usually my reaction to these things is to simply uplift diverse voices by retweeting marginalized voices who can phrase it better than I can. I will continue to do so, but it’s not enough.

Performative diversity hurts everyone. Performative diversity is basically “The Checklist”- buying one book by a marginalized author whenever a current event like the murder of Breonna Taylor happens. And never reading the book or even holding the book on social media without seriously considering it beyond the post.

I believe that reading diverse books should be a daily lifetime effort. Take the time to curate your space so that you are hearing about these books. Look through the Enby Book Tag and The Black Booktuber Tag and find voices that you connect with. 

I personally am considering something like a Stonewall Readathon. Maybe that’s already a thing. But I feel like readathons are also checklists, so if I gave you prompts like “read a book by a Black trans author” or “read a queer book that came out before 2015,” it would be in good spirit, but still putting queerness and diverse representation into boxes. 

But the best thing about readathons is the community. How do we create that same hypersense of community while respecting diverse voices? There is the Here & Queerathon by The Cotton Candy Book Witch. I only recently found out about this, but it is yearlong- the entirety of 2020. It is very low-key and more about promoting queer books than challenging yourself to read off of specific prompts.

The problem here in particular is not listening to Black voices, Black authors, and Black books. I realize that by deflecting into queerness, I made myself more comfortable than talking about a topic that I’m no expert in.

@dablackhotties on twitter is an expert in it, and if you’ve read Such A Fun Age, it is their August book.

This conversation will never be over. Everyone needs to spend time reading, listening, thinking about and acting for people who are different than you. You need to consider if a deaf person can access this media, if a Black person is being listened to, if a queer person’s identity is accepted without question. 

And I truly believe that to have empathy for others, you have to read their stories. I know a lot of people love fantasy, but there needs to be more enthusiasm for contemporary books that reflect real-life experiences. And yes, The Hate U Give is a powerful book. But it’s not the only Black book. 

Well, thank you for reading. I hope I was coherent enough to inspire some thought or gave you new information. 

Reading Rush 2020~ Mid-Week Burnout Ramble

RR-Stats

Hi friends, frenemies, and mortal enemies! (I know you’re out there.)

I spent what felt like the majority of the day reading and very little to show for it. I did read 11 ages more than yesterday, but -147 pages compared to Monday. But technically I cheated on Monday because I started May Day a few days before than put it off once I found out that it would fit the birthstone reading challenge. (73 pages)

It’s currently Wednesday 8.51 pm as I type this. Technically midweek would be Thursday because it started on Monday, but it’s already Thursday somewhere.

Most, or at least some of you know that I’m currently at University, and I found out that my dorm next year will be atop this massive hill. To prepare for this I’m exercising more so it won’t be an all-at-once thing and my muscles won’t hate me. It’s been three days, and my muscles hate me. 

So I didn’t really exercise today; I had to walk to the grocery and carry a bunch of cans because my cat is almost three months old and still won’t eat dry food exclusively. Later in the evening I did take a short walk to get some fresh air that including going down a set of stairs, but not up. But I’m still a bit sore and my leg’s been cramping a bit.

I wanted a lazy day today. I didn’t even feel bad about it, in this economy. 

So I was probably reading a bit slowly even though it felt fast. My enjoyment might’ve also been a factor. I normally read faster when I like a book, so I arrogantly had the assumption that I would get through it quickly and didn’t need to put in a great deal of effort.

But the thing is, 73 pages is good. I haven’t read that much fiction since last December, when I was still in community college and was challenging myself to read 100 books that year. I ended up reading 99, but I found that I wasn’t really enjoying short books as much. My goal at the start of this year was 48, but since the pandemic I changed it to 36. I’m at 47%, so a little behind but the Rush should pick the slack up.

Now I’m realizing that I should be more strict with myself if I’m serious about that goal, but… I’m not? The important thing is that I enjoy or get something out of each book that I read. I’m glad that I learned this while reading 100 99 books last year. I feel like it’s something a lot of people learned last year, so let me know if you felt that.

I’m glad that I had that experience. I had a lot more free time that year, and still lived close to a big library. Now the opposite is true, and I want to feel more relaxed during my time off rather than still feeling the pressure of completing an arbitrary reading goal.

Anyway, I still want to read the books that I picked out, but maybe it’s more realistic to give myself an extra week or so.  I almost said an extra month but I have two nonfiction books that I  took out from the school library with a current due date next month, but I suspect that they’ll be extended due to the plague, so I’m not too worried.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re reading, I hope your goals make you happy and you’re successful at them. 

All Of My Discussion Posts- Did What I Think Change?

Untitled design (2)

 I really love discussion posts. And maybe it’s because I’m in a period of grief, but I want to find something that really engages me. Something that will make me think about something other than his dead body and how he wasn’t eating or licking himself in the days before.

I need to stop before I go into a spiral.

Maybe this should be a single discussion on grief. But I don’t know how. I’ve never really grieved anyone before. 

My last discussion post was How I Know I’m Queer. It was a reaction to Rhiannon’s post on how they knew they were non-binary. I went over different moments of my life that now seem really obviously queer, from not understanding sexual media, feelings for a friend, etc. 

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I am very proudly queer. But that’s not all that I am. I mean, obviously, but it seems to come up in most of my conversations. I’ll start talking about how my cat will never see me on testosterone, and wondering how he’d react since he was never really around men. I’ll mention how girly one of my masks is and would more likely to get me misgendered. 

Being queer is a big part of who I am, but I don’t understand why I think and talk about it so much. I want to be more than that nerdy queer journalism major who just lost their cat. I want to explore more interests. 

Another discussion post I did was TED Talk Tuesday: Masculinity In The Movies. Unfortunately, it is more of a summary of the different movies brought up, but I do like the last paragraph-

” I do think it’s about being a good person in a world with preset notions of you. You may reject or take in what you choose, but depending on your gender, race, sexuality, or disability you have privileges and disadvantages. Masc v femme is a cultural way of navigating that, but obviously doesn’t come naturally to people.”

Then there was Dear JK Rowling, a response to her transphobic tweet that I’m sure many of you remember. This was deeply personal and painful for me. I love Harry Potter and it shaped who I am from an early age. This post may also be triggering for any trans readers who experience body dysphoria, sorry, I should’ve put a warning.

The last paragraph is kinda sudden, transitioning from the meaning of Dobby to Gay Dumbledore. Overall, this is a good post, but the writing could be more polished in some places. 

I also got my first hate comment on this, (taken down) basically saying that an author’s beliefs shouldn’t influence readers. Sorry, not sorry, but I care whether or not the people who’s ideas I’m consuming respect my existence.

Let’s do a fun one!  Bi Book Bites/ A Biromantic Ramble was posted around Bi Visibility Day. I go through some of the most outstanding Bi rep in books, including April May of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and Radio Silence. I really like the points of how there’s bigger things than your sexuality, as with Alex’s exploration of American history and international relations in Red, White And Royal Blue.

 There’s also the point of how in a lot of books where a gay person forces themself into a relationship with the opposite sex, bisexuality isn’t considered. I haven’t personally been in this situation, because as far as I know, I’m bi, but I think that’s more for a gay person to decide. People really do force themselves- or society does- to be in a relationship with someone they’re not attracted to. But it is a valid criticism in some books- in Carry On, Simon doesn’t label his sexuality at all. Gay is brought up, but not bi. 

 Why is this post so gay. 

Anyway, I really enjoyed writing this! Please let me know of any topics you’d like to see in a discussion post. Link your discussions- or your faves- down below! 

I Should Have Read That! Book Tag!

A Cascade Of Books  did this a while ago, and since my TBR will not run out as long as I live, I thought, why not?

Ni

A book that a certain friend is always asking you to read.

Hmm… I don’t have IRL friends who really read. I was recently rec’d To Night Owl From Dogfish by someone on twitter. It’s a gay dad Parent Trap. 

A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up.

All Of Them? According to Goodreads, it’s The Count Of Monte Cristo, the 1276 page prison escape. Yay.

BTOH

A book in a series you’ve started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing yet.

I liked The Black Tides Of Heaven, but even with the short lengths, I haven’t finished the series. I don’t think I knew it was a series until recently, and it’s a bit too late to go back to the library.

A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read

Hmm, classics are a hit or miss with me, and I’ve read Carmilla and Dorian Gray, so I feel mostly set. I have yet to read Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Nights Dream, and that’s supposed to be the gayest Shakespeare. The only Shakespeares I have read are R&J, Hamlet, and The Tempest. I actually went as Hamlet for Halloween in 2017, but I despise R&J. I don’t really have strong feelings for The Tempest, so Shakespeare is sitting at zero velocity. 

A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read.

Um, 6 Of Crows, Cinder, any YA sci-fi/fantasy that is not Strange The Dreamer. But I don’t really have much interest in SFF right now. A popular book that I actually want to read is The Secret History. I love dark academia! I loved Bunny and If We Were Villains! W H Y haven’t I read this?

GO

A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet.

GOOD OMENS! 

A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet.

Let me scroll… nope, read, read, plague meme, Wizard Of Oz puzzle (read the book), looks triggering, no, never seen before, cat, drag, read,

Ok! This pic has Scythe on a bookshelf with many other books, but it counts! The Scythe series is really popular but i’ve never read it. It is something I’m interested in. 

Update: My cat has a growth on his lungs that’s slowly killing him. I have posts scheduled through mid-may but after that, I might be quiet for a while. If you’d like to help with pain and appetite meds, we have a Ko-Fi

note: My cat has since died. 

Social Distance Thoughts

So I started playing My Horse Prince, and there’s really nothing to say that Dan and Phil haven’t already said. I’m not sure why, I was bored and saw it mentioned somewhere, so why not? It’s not like I can’t put off that 5 page essay due in 11 days.

 

I also watched a nice reading vlog from The Book Leo, who basically said “slow down and enjoy reading.” I haven’t been reading for pleasure very much lately, due to the amount of college, but yay, spring break, and the unfortunate move by the school to go online for a month due to COVID-19. It’s not my favourite, because If I wanted online classes, I would’ve taken out no loans to take them through community. Most, if not all, clubs and events have been cancelled, so I couldn’t have a life even if I had the spoons to do so.

I’m 122 pages into Odd One Out, by Nic Stone. It’s really good, there’s a bisexual love triangle! But I do feel like I want to read something unexpected and outside of my comfort zone. I asked for a rec on Goodreads and the most notable recs were Luna and The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. I already had Anger Is A Gift on my TBR, and quite a few I’ve already read, including Simon Vs and my beloved I Wish You All The Best. I think one person went “What are all of the queer books I can think of?” and rec’d them all to me. Maybe I should make a list like that, but I don’t want to bore you, unless you want me to?

Anyway, I’m mostly just vibing recovering from a panic attack with nothing to do because it’s the apocalypse. I’m really hoping Writer’s isn’t cancelled, and still have hope because the ML hasn’t announced anything, but maybe they thought the school’s email about events shutdown did the trick. It’s a pretty small group of or less than 10 people, that’s usually spread out, so if one of us did have the disease it’d be unlikely to spread in that situation.

I hope you enjoyed something of this post. What are your most out-there queer recs? Would you read an “Every Queer Book I Can Think Of?” post?

Black Books For Black History Month!

 

 

 Today we’re going to celebrate black books, authors, and creators! I am of the belief that people should read diversely every month, but there are times to reflect on a particular race, gender, or sexuality, and now’s the time to reflect on black books.

What was the last book you read with a black protagonist/ written by a black author?

 

79263662_177053533372457_2593872617967736947_n
If It Makes You Happy, photo cred https://www.instagram.com/killedbyabook/

The last black book I read was If It Makes You Happy, by Claire Kann. I LOVED this book! If you follow, you’ve probably already seen the book BUT PLEASE READ IT. 

 It follows Winnie as she navigates her grandma’s small town life- work at the diner, her relationship with her ungirlfriend, looking out for her brother, and unintentionally winning the town’s pageant with a cute boy. It has tons of rep; black girl magic, polyamory, aromantic love interest, a fat protagonist. 

What’s a good book that uses African oral tradition- something meant to be listened to rather than read?

78922796_808260179597362_682103330701915422_n
The Deep, Rivers Solomon

The Deep is such an impactful short novella- the babies of pregnant african slaves thrown overboard were born as mermaid-like creatures and built a society dependant on not remembering- except for the one Historian. And she’s tired of being everything for the society and nothing for herself- ALSO QUEER! The author is nonbinary and the relationships are gay.

Who’s your favourite black booktuber or blogger?

 JESSE FROM BOWTIES & BOOKS! I love them, and they are a major reason why I’ve been looking more closely at the amount of black books that I read. Jesse runs the Enby book club, which picks out a book with a nonbinary protagonist or nonbinary author. (The club pick for February is Homie) Jesse has a great sense of vintage style and I love the way they edit their voice. 

Quick Pick- Name a book at the top of your head that centers black characters!

65718490_477887392784947_7081322484129723086_n
This photo is terrible. I have no one but myself to blame.

Opposite Of Always is centered around a heterosexual couple. Jack and Kate meet. Jack falls for Kate. Kate dies. Repeatedly.

What are your favorite black books? What do you think of these? Did you like the new touches?