Monday, February 29, 2016

Discussion Question Monday: Identifying with Characters/Diversity in Books


Hello! Welcome to Discussion Question Monday! This week's question is:

I don't identify with characters very much. It's incredibly rare for me to actually see myself in a character. But do other people? Is it just me and my own identity that isn't shown much in YA books? Do you identify with characters in books?

Of all characters, I identify most with gay males...usually very closeted gay males. Though I think it's pretty well known that gay males are shown in books and videos way more than gay females. Let alone someone who's agender, If there was a book with a gay female agender main character, yeah, I'd probably identify with them more.

There's the problem of having most white, straight, cisgender, middle class, American teenagers as main characters most of the time. Occasionally books are set in Europe..but not really. Most of the really popular YA books all follow this trend, which makes it incredibly difficult for people to identify with characters because they come from such different backgrounds.

But it doesn't necessarily mean that books with these kinds of characters are really bad, does it? Some people are white, straight, cisgender, middle class, American people. Especially popular authors. I mean, sure, a good amount of them are British as well, and I can name some Australian and Canadian authors, but there still mostly white, straight, cisgender, etc.

Honestly, it took me so long to realize that this problem even existed. Sure, I noticed I never really identified with straight females in all of the books I've read, but I am a white, middle class, American teenager surrounded pretty much entirely by people that look just like me that, yeah, were in a lot of the same situations as people in the books I've read.

I always forget that the world is huge and that there's more than what I see day to day, and then I realize that I haven't learned about any of it because all I read about is people just like me. How am I supposed to learn about other cultures if so many books are set in the same place with the same type of people?

I never really know what to say to the people that aren't white and American and straight and cisgender and middle class because they're basically forced to read about characters that maybe aren't really like them. How must it feel to never be able to see yourself in a book?

But do you have to identify with characters in order to enjoy a book? I think not, actually. I think you can learn from books and apply them to your real life even if the characters aren't just like you. Even if you aren't gay, you can still learn something from reading a book with a gay main character.

It's important to read books about characters that aren't like you all the time, and I'm definitely going to be working on doing that this year. I've compiled a list of LGBTQ+ books I plan to finish all of in the next few years. I also plan on specifically working to find books with more diverse characters
overall and deal with everything from race to religion to sexual orientation to nationality etc.

If we start demanding books with more diverse characters from more diverse authors, I think we're going to get them, and I hope we get them soon. I plan to support more diverse books this year overall, as I think I've been failing at that up to this point.

And if you guys have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them.

But back to the original question - Do you have to be able to identify with characters in order to enjoy a book?

I've definitely enjoyed books even when I didn't have anything in common with the character, but my very favorite books? I always identify with them. That's usually why they're my favorite books. They're the kind of thing I read over any over again because I see myself so much in them. I only cry in books when I really get the situation. Books that have characters struggling and being ashamed of your sexuality is something that I get and it hits so close to home it just makes me want to cry. I like to think that it would be the same thing for any "difference" that someone may have or be.

The struggles with homophobia, racism, sexism, etc. is something so many of us go through, and I think it means a lot when someone in a book, no matter what the actual plot is, goes through these things as well.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Non-Bookish Pet Peeves


POSSIBLY ON NONHIATUS NOW. Hopefully I'll get a Discussion Question Monday up on Monday, and everything will be back to normal. Sorry I disappeared for, um, most of February...

Anyway, one of my first posts on this blog was called Bookish Pet Peeves That Make Me Want to Scream. That was a year ago. I think my blog has become a little more personal since then, so I wanted to make a post about the pet peeves I have that have nothing to do with books. Most of these being behaviors of people that just really annoy me. Yup.

Lazy people

This is most of the reason I have to take honors classes - because I can't deal with these people. The people that don't do their homework and fail all of their tests and don't give a damn about anything. IT DRIVES ME INSANE. Just just just STOP IT.

Most people are annoyed by people in groups that don't do anything, but no, I care no matter if I'm personally affected or not. People failing classes make me so sad. And angry. I'm that friend that will force you to do your homework and study. Um, are those friends things? Not sure. I will get involved though trust me.

Generalizing/stereotyping

This can go for basically anything. Dumb blondes. Lazy Mexicans. White people are racist. Girls are emotional. British people are proper. Muslims are terrorists. Etc.

SHUT UP. The fact that these things still happen is ridiculous. How stupid do you have to be to stereotype people like this? What kind of person thinks these things are actually true? For everyone!?!? Come on people.

People that force their religion on me/think their religion somehow affects me

I am a self-proclaimed atheist. That doesn't mean I give a fuck what other people believe. You do what you want, and I'll do what I want? Deal?

Well apparently not because so many people bluntly tell me that I'm wrong or stupid for not believing in god daily. I don't go around telling people that they're wrong, why are they doing it to me?

Don't get me wrong, I realize atheists do this as well, but I have more experience with religious people. I.e., my friend's overly religious parents. I wish we'd all just leave each other alone.

Homophobia/Transphobia/Racism

Does this really have to be explained? Just stop being a douchebag. And if you say the f-word (the other f-word, as in the one that means gay) one more time I'm going to punch you in the face. Figuratively. Probably.

People that are pro-life but aren't vegan

This has gotten political now, hasn't it?

Well anyway, I'm pretty much both pro-life and pro-choice, but if you say you're "pro-life" and you still support the mass murder of billions of animals every year I'm not going to take your argument seriously. Republicans.

Unorganized people

I'm not the most organized person in the world, trust me. I'm not asking you to color-code your life with and endless stream of highlighters, but you could at least not be a total slob that lives in a pile of files and pizza crusts. AND THEY DON'T EVEN EAT THE PIZZA CRUST!?!?!? Wtf humans.

Or even if you just LOSE THINGS. Just keep track of your stuff people!

People that don't have a case on their phone

And then they get so surprised when they break. Like, what did you expect to happen?

Bathroom stalls you can see through

I know this isn't a thing all over the world, but in most public and school bathrooms in the US you can actually half-see into other bathroom stalls. There are just these little cracks in between the doors and just whyyyyyyyy. It's a blessing when I find a public restroom that doesn't have this. IT'S SO RARE. AND SO ANNOYING.

People that stop to talk to their friends in the hallway

Maybe I'm just the most unsocial person ever, but I never do this?!?? What's wrong with you people? WALK. WHY THE HELL TO YOU THINK YOU'RE LATE TO CLASS ALL THE TIME?!?!

I mean really. Kannst du nicht?

People with really bad geography skills

Ah, yes. Yet another reason I refuse to take regular-level classes.

I can't believe these people actually exist. People that literally think Canada's in Europe and that North America's a country. WTF

Actually using numbers in words

If you type "L8TR" I'm not going to respond. Learn how to type with letters.

Same with "totes" and the like.

When people do an American accent and do a Southern or valley girl accent

I realize that the South is in America, and somebody probably does the valley girl accent thing on a regular basis, but my god I don't sound like that! And I'm pretty sure I'm American! IT'S CALLED THE MIDWEST.

*ignores the 30 minute drive from my house to Kentucky*

MIDWEST!

Events that require me to wear a dress

I am not a very girly person. I can't stand wearing dresses most of the time. Can I please just wear pants? Please?

Modern art

Not all modern art is bad, but when people pay thousands of dollars for a pile of crap I start questioning people's sanity. There's stuff in the Museum of Modern Art in New York that it's actually just a description with some fancy words and "profound meaning". No physical art. I'm not joking! It's ridiculous. Did they pay money for that???

People making fun of other people's music

When I say my music is my life it's not an exaggeration. I rely on music every second of every day to calm me down and make me feel less...terrible....suicidal...depressed...everything. Whether or not everyone else takes music that seriously is irrelevant, I don't know how much this music means to somebody, so I'm not going to make fun of it.

Bad grammar

If you speak English natively, you should really be able to use the right kind of "there/their/they're" and not confuse "was" and "were". LEARN YOUR OWN LANGUAGE.

Bleach blonde hair and dark roots

I kind of hate bleached hair anyway, it rarely looks good in my opinion, but if you have long dark roots with it as well you just look ridiculous. Maybe I'm just biased considering my roots always just come in blonde.. ;)

Tall people

Okay, yeah, I realize that this isn't something people can control, but could you just...not? I don't want to have to strain my neck just to see your face!

But guys, I'M NOT EVEN THAT SHORT. I'm a little less than average for the US. So dear people that are over 6 foot, STOP IT. Or even like 5'10. You people are too tall.

And people wonder why I prefer females...

Okay, I could probably go on like this for awhile, so let's just stop now.

Do any of these things annoy you as well?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Not On Hiatus



Hello! Um. So I thought I was going to go on hiatus for at least the next week, as well as the hiatus I've already kind of been on since last week. Maybe I'm not now? I don't even know.

The reason I was going to go on hiatus was because last week I was bombarded with projects. For every class. Ha. Ha. Ha. WHYYYYY

So I've basically been spending all my time on these projects as well as other homework as well as other past commitments. Did that leave any extra time for anything else? No, no it did not.

And then snow happened. Even though we were supposed to have "early spring". Silly groundhog. Snow days are not supposed to happen in spring. Yet snow days always happen in spring. Are we sure it's really ever spring?

And now I have an entire extra day to work on the project that was technically due today and the project that's due on Friday and maybe, I don't know, learn math so I don't fail my test that may or may not also be on Friday? And then do the math homework that I didn't have time to do yesterday because I was finishing the project that was technically due today. And then I can read The Diary of a Young Girl that I need to reread for another project! Yay! And of course don't forget about research for all of the other projects!

Oh, you don't have enough time to eat? Sucks to be you. :P



Sorry if you're one of those people that live in too warm of a climate for snow days. I'm sorry. Why do you live there again?

I mean, sure, I probably wouldn't be drowning in work as much if I actually started these things before they were due, but hey, at least I get them done, right?

I'm totally not writing this post in order to procrastinate farther, why would you think that?

What about the gifs? WHAT ABOUT THEM?!?!?!?!?

So am I going on hiatus? Who knows. Depends on how much I procrastinate today. (The answer is yes.)

PS: I just remembered the New Hampshire primary is today. *anxiety*

Monday, February 1, 2016

Discussion Question Monday: Organization in Blogging


Hello! Welcome to Discussion Question Monday! This week's question is: Do you have to be an organized person to blog successfully?

I don't know if you guys are aware, but I'm the most organized person ever. I don't write my posts in advance, I don't really plan when I'm going to post them, the most organized thing on my blog is these discussion posts, and I feel like the only female ever that's handwriting isn't the neatest thing ever. Thank god I have a keyboard.

Is that hurting me? Yeah, probably. I'm not sure it really helps people to post at the same times every week. I try to post every 2 or 3 days and that works for me... Without any planning I just tend to post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays or Saturdays. Obviously, that doesn't always happen, and I don't really give a damn.

I think most people schedule their posts. Which would totally be useful if I were the kind of person that writes everything all at once, but I'm not, so that hasn't proved to be useful for me. I just write every 2 or 3 days and post it when I think it's ready. I've really never felt the need to schedule things.

Then there are those people that do bullet journals or something like that. But honestly? If I started one of those, I would stop using it within a couple of days. I do use a planner for school-type things, but that's just so I can make myself seem like the organized person I'm not when I have to struggle through human interaction.

Giving myself goals, scheduling things, making lists, etc., has never been something I could really stick at doing. I plan out what I'm going to write that week in my head, and then I write it on the day I want to post it. Is that a bad idea? Maybe. Is it hurting to organiziness of my blog? Probably. Do I care? Not especially. I started this blog for fun, and forcing myself to schedule and post on time seems like such a chore.

Sometimes I'm bothered by the fact that I have no system whatsoever. Sometimes I wish I could be one of those people that has discussions on Monday and reviews on Wednesday and personal posts or something on Friday. But that's just not how my mind works. Sometimes I do a ton of reviews all at once, and other times I do a shit load of personal nonsense that I came up with the day I posted it.

Does it bother you when bloggers do this? Would you rather see a schedule or normal posting days, or more of a winging-it approach? Do you think it affects how you think of those bloggers? Tell me in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! :)