Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DiverseAThon TBR

DiverseAThonHello! If you've never heard of DiverseAThon, it's basically a readathon that promotes, encourages, and celebrates diverse books. If you want more info as to how it got started, click here. If you want more info on this specific readathon (starting this Sunday), check out this video. You can also follow their Twitter and check the hashtag #DiverseAThon if you wish to participate! Anyway, I read quite a few diverse books last year, and I want to read even more this year, so I'm hoping this will be a good way to start.

I bit of an important thing for me this time around is that I choose books not only with diverse characters, but also a diverse author. I've run into a few problem here and there with misrepresentation of an identity, and I'd rather not have that.

That being said, let's get started with my TBR!

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Not only is this book written about a trans woman and by a trans woman, it also has a transgender woman on the cover. I can appreciate that. I'm excited to finally get into more books actually written by trans people.

Image result for if i was your girl

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

Finally, I read a book that's diverse in more ways than just GAYYYYY. So yeah. The main character is Armenian. While I have read a couple other books set or with characters from the Middle East, I haven't managed to get to Armenia yet. I'm excited! I read about 12 pages of it a couple weeks ago, and I'm already dying to read more.

Image result for one man guy

Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings

I don't read a lot of nonfiction. It's probably time. Why not make it trans-related? I actually meant to read this book a few months ago, but it just...never happened. I'm hoping it'll be good and quick for a readathon, though!

Image result for being jazz

Are you participating in DiverseAThon? Tell me what you're reading in the comments!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hello again. I don't remember how to write titles.

And.....I haven't posted since October. I'd like to say I was busy, and I suppose I was, but not really. That's not the reason I haven't posted in months.

I started blogging on December 13th, 2014. Now it's January 16th, 2017. That's kind of a long time.

I never imagined that I'd keep this going at first, but after awhile, I imagined that I'd keep this going at least into college.

I saw a community in front of me full of lovely people and friends that only know how to compliment each other. Sure, there are fights here and there, but mostly? Everyone's nice to everyone else.

I tried wedged myself into an established community. There were people I admired and people I envied.

People that started after me grew faster than me, and as a 13-year-old that didn't know better, I was extremely annoyed with these people. But more so, I was angry at myself. What was wrong with me? Why didn't anyone share what I had to say? Why do I not have hundreds of followers? Am I mean? Do I sound needy? Am I just depressing?

Eventually, I got past that. I read posts showing that EVERYONE seemed to feel this way. I didn't need to be huge.

My problem was, hell, my problem still is, I haven't made any friends here.

I've been blogging for more than two years and I haven't made any actual blogger friends. There are people I talk to, sure, but actual friends? None.

So I have to go back to...what's wrong with me? Is it because I want friends so badly? Am I pathetic?

Maybe this is just the thing about being on-and-off depression for several years. But...still.

Sure, most book bloggers are girls (for some reason I can't figure out). Maybe my weird internal pressure to be masculine makes me uncomfortable when I'm surrounded by girls.

Maybe I'm not as nice. Okay, I'm definitely not as nice. I'm kind of an asshole sometimes. I like ranting about things people don't agree with. And I haven't even shared most of the controversial things I believe.

Basically, I feel alone. This wasn't a big deal when I was 13. I was kind of...used to being alone. But now that I've made a good amount of friends in my real life, the fact that I don't really have any here has started to come into the light.

Maybe I don't comment on other people's blog's enough. I try? Everyone has so many good things to say, though I am eternally bored by most reviews and book tours. That's also a problem.

Maybe if I didn't feel like the only trans book blogger in existence? I mean, I feel so much pressure to review, praise or bash, every LGBTQ+ book in existence, and now I don't even have time. But I can't deal with not saying anything. I feel like I have a responsibility to tell people which books have good representation and bad representation, because it feels like no one else will. Everyone else just takes diverse books and assumes they're accurate. I feel like I read only to review, and that's not what I wanted from this blog.

I'm not sure what this was. I'd love to get back into blogging. I think. I'm still considering just deleting this blog along with all my social media accounts and starting fresh. I don't know anymore.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Stuff That Happens While Reading in Public feat. Gifs

Hello! I'm sure you guys (and I'm assuming you're a reader because...why would you be here..?) have attempted to read in public before. This is a list of all the annoying things that happen when you try. Well, I mean, at least in my experience.

You're in a park. It's beautiful out, and the sun is shining bright overhead. Life is great...until all of a sudden, the wind picks up, and a) your pages fly all over the place (probably ripping because why not), b) your bookmark goes to who-knows-where and you lose your place, or c) your entire book is swept away because you made the ridiculous decision of getting a thin paperback and then sitting in the wrong direction.

If you're too lazy to read (same), then here it is expressed in bad gifs because they were hard to find:

Image result for book gif

Image result for book gif

Image result for wind blowing ducks away gif

Image result for person freaking out and crying gif

Image result for person freaking out and crying gif

You've just reached the climax. The love interest is lying on the ground, dying. The main character is crying, trying to tell the love interest about how they've had a crush of them for years and just never knew how to-- "Hey," says a random person walking down the street. "Whatcha readin'? Is it good? Wanna have an entire full-length conversation about it???"

Again, gifs:

Image result for reading book intensely gif

Image result for person poking person gif

Image result for reading book intensely gif

Image result for sherlock gif

Image result for annoying person gif

There could be a few different reactions I suppose.

You're just sitting on a bench, minding your own business. An old lady walks past you, she smiles...until she looks at the cover of the book in your hand. She hustles away before you can even explain that this isn't an erotic romance novel, it's just a terrible cover!

Giffy gif gif (also non-gifs):

Image result for vampire academy spirit bound Image result for jennifer l armentrout

Image result for terrified supernatural gif

Image result for run away screaming gif

Image result for walking by and smiling gif

You're in the middle of a particularly innocent book. Your friend looks over your shoulder just as you turn the page. Suddenly, a wild sex scene appears. Friend slowly backs away. So much for that friendship...


Image result for book reading gif

Image result for friend looks over your shoulder gif

Image result for disgusted gif

Image result for friend backing away gif

Image result for friend backing away gif

Image result for castiel gif

Image result for goddammit gif

Thanks for reading! Any other awkward/terrible moments that have happened while you were reading in public? Tell me in the comments!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Gender Is About Clothing?!?!? Ugh | Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky Review

Stop number who-knows-at-this-point on my Quest to an Accurately Represented Transgender Character! This is starting to become painful.

Image result for gracefully graysonTitle: Gracefully Grayson
Author: Ami Polonsky
Pages: 250
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Published: 4 November 2014
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.16 stars
Book Rating: 2 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: Alone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.

The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind would mean facing ridicule, scorn, and rejection. Despite these dangers, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Strengthened by an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher who gives her a chance to step into the spotlight, Grayson might finally have the tools to let her inner light shine.

Cover Thoughts:

Prettiness wise, I love the simplicity and symbolism of this cover. I'm not a fan of yellow, but I have to admit, it's a nice shade. Problem? Well, as I'll get into later, it emphasizes the major push of gender roles in this book. That's not a great explanation, but I'm trying not to spoil the rest of the review!

Final Thoughts After Reading:

1. That was...innocent. In a good way.
2. Gah the gender roles.
3. I'm just a trans guy sitting here with nail polish on and this book is annoying.


Plot: I did "enjoy" (you know what I mean) the presence of bullying in this book. Especially in sixth grade, that's going to happen, and I'm glad it wasn't ignored like it is in some middle-grade books. I also liked the some of the friendships that come and go. There wasn't just the one supportive friend that sticks with Grayson, because, trust me, that's not how it works a lot of the time. You lose friends? You're probably going to go through a friendless period. So good job, book. Also, it was nice that there was a few other problems besides Grayson's transness. Not many, but there was like..one (his parents/living with aunt and uncle thing). 

Most of the story focused on the play, in which Grayson was playing the lead, Persephone. I suppose that was decently done. It was just fine I guess. I don't have any opinions...

Characters: The characters? Grayson was fine. And when I say fine, I mean not awful, but I wouldn't describe her as a well-written character. I felt like her entire character could be simply described as transgender, because she's barely anything else. Besides liking theater (which doesn't happen until a good chunks way through the story) and drawing (though the idea is abandoned after the first couple chapters), Grayson had no personality. Hell, I'm not even she has any character traits besides "feminine"! I'm trans myself, and I could barely relate to her. (Does "unrelatable" count as a character trait?)

As for the other characters, they were pretty one-dimensional. They could be described as "supportive," "unsupportive," and "kinda supportive." Should I expect more from a middle-grade novel? Maybe not, but shouldn't I at least be able to relate to the fucking main character???

Writing: What can you do? This book is written for 11-year-olds! Well, it was a pretty easy read. I wasn't completely bored most of the time, and I get bored very quickly. Let's just say it wasn't anything special. It tried to be deep a times, and wasn't really. As I said before, the entire "girly doodles" thing introduced on the first page was abandoned completely and replaced by a sixth grader that can't see other people's point of view and never even bothers to explain his feelings to his family, yet we're supposed to feel sympathy for him. I know, I know, he's, like, twelve, but still. This book is about being brave. You know what's brave? Explaining your feelings to your guardians so they're not terrified for your safety. It's hard, but dammit it's worth it. Now that's a lessen I could stick behind.

Portrayal of Transness: Once again, we have a case of "gender-is-all-about-clothing." Honestly, all these books do is enforce gender roles and give people an inaccurate idea of what being trans is like. I understand that it's a lot easier to tell a child "Grayson was born a boy, but he likes dresses, so he's actually a girl" than it is to explain the entire concept of gender and dysphoria, but...why explain it incorrectly and then fix it later? Yeah, English is really complicated, but that doesn't mean we just ignore it until they're old enough. We start from a young age, introduce it in sections, and by the time they're teenagers they have a pretty decent understanding. I completely support introducing young kids about gender, but I'd rather have it done accurately. If anything, this is going to throw-off and confuse actual transgender children.

Honestly, the more I think about this book, the more times I say "ugggghhhhhhhhhhhhh." I was really looking forward to recommending this to middle-schoolers, but I guess that's not going to happen. Sigh. I wonder what the next book on my quest will be...probably If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. Wish me luck. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

General Life Update: Coming Out, School, Book Buying Ban, Budgeting, and Transition

Hi! You may have noticed (I mean, I doubt it, but I'm kinda hoping some people notice me once and awhile) I hadn't posted anything for about a week and a half (which is semi-abnormal for me) up until my last book haul. I thought I'd give you a bit of an update on what's going on in my life...

Coming Out

So...I came out. That's still a really strange thing to say, but it actually happened! I emailed my guidance counselor a day before school started (which was last last Wednesday, the 17th), and he contacted all my teachers and told them about my name and pronouns. Of course, since they all used Alex instead of my birth name, my classmates quickly realized something was up. Surprisingly, not many people asked questions, though a few did ask me what my pronouns were (I love those people). Almost everybody (that talks to me) has switched my name, which is awesome, but really strange. It's still so surreal. Both my parents know now, and my dad is totally cool with it, but my mom is really upset about me wanting to change my name (understandable from a parent's perspective). Neither of them know that I've come out to everyone at my school. I'm sure that'll come up at some point.


School is...happening. I've already got B's in two classes (I'm not good at homework, okay?), which is depressing considering it's only been a week and a half. Luckily, one is only an 87, which I can totally get back up. Unfortunately, the other one is an 83 and also in math, and I'm just not motivated enough to work hard in math...at least it's an honors class, so I won't mess up my GPA, right? I've also got a 90 in English, which I'm determined to keep because of that horror story last year were I got a B in ENGLISH (luckily my exam made my average an A, thank god). And I realize that my idea of a "bad grade" is other people's unachievable goals, but I'm a perfectionist sooo..B's are evil. Like, the look of one B on a report card gives me anxiety.

Book Buying Ban

I've never been one of those people that goes on book buying bans, mostly because I don't buy that many books. Unfortunately, I've purchased about 15 books in the last month, and not only am I out of money, I also barely have any time to read. So I've decided on going on a pretty strict book buying ban.

I'm only going to buy two books for the rest of 2016. What are those books? Well, obviously, they're The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I also might buy the collector's edition of A Monster Calls when it comes out, but I may just wait until Christmas. I mean, I've already got two copies of the book. I probably don't need any more.

I'm not sure how long this book buying ban will go, but probably for awhile. I don't plan on doing any more sprees for as long as I can manage it. It might just end up being an only sequels to books I already have kind of thing.

Budgeting and Transition

Why am I try to spend less money? There's a pretty good reason for that. Throughout the last few months, I've made up my decision about transitioning (medically). I need to go on testosterone, I need top surgery, and I might want bottom surgery sometime in the future. To do this, I need money. In a perfect world, my plan is to save $150 a month in order to save $9,000 in the next 5 years, which, from my research, should probably cover the cost of testosterone (for awhile) and top surgery (but this totally depends on the surgeon). 

Because of my severe lack of a job, you might be wondering, You're 15! How the hell do you plan on saving $150 a month? If you're unaware, it's almost impossible to get a job in the US before you're 16 unless it's some job were you get paid in cash, like babysitting or yard work. Fortunately, I live right next to an amusement park which hires anybody without much thought because they need thousands of employees (it's a big amusement park, which I'm sure some of you have heard of, but you know..specific locations..), and they hire anybody 15 or older. Unfortunately, I'd get paid minimum wage, which is $8.10 an hour here (why can't I live in Seattle..), and I've heard the jobs there are pretty awful. But you know what? I need money. I want to transition as soon as possible, and that's impossible without it. Awful job? Meh. Better than having boobs.

Anyway, they start hiring next week, so I guess that'll probably happen. I hope so, at least.

(I usually try to make this interactive, but this was very personal...?) How's school going for you guys? How's life? What's a good book you just read? I don't know talk to me.