So this feels super late but I finally have a bit of downtime to type this up. I had wanted to try filming something for this but sadly my life has been going a million miles an hour this week (I hate adulting). So here I am to report back on what I managed to read during DiverseAThon
It was mostly shorter fiction – I started off with Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler which featured a main character so different from me it was wild. Frankie is a girl who enjoys sex, and enjoying her college years untethered. She meets a girl however who changes her mind and it’s about her learning to be just ‘the girlfriend’ as opposed to the ‘friends with benefits’ that she normally is. I liked the characters, how fast it moved, and the ultimate resolution. As far as Own Voices, I’m not sure. Dahlia Adler has quite a few queer books, but at a very brief glance through her information I couldn’t find out if she was pan or bi. So I’ll put this in the ‘Not sure’ category. – Also and additional goody! I found Samara’s reading list (as she’s always reading or mentioning a YA novel) from the book on Dahlia’s blog :https://dailydahlia.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/samaras-reading-list-revealed/
Next up I hit Roller Girl by Vanessa North. This is a F/F romance with a trans woman as the PoV character. This was also very light and fun – exactly what I needed for between calls at work. It had it’s very corny bits but overall I enjoyed it. It was not Own Voices, unfortunately like I had originally thought. I think for instances of trans characters I prefer to read own voices – at least with PoV style works. That small complaint aside, like I said, I did enjoy it. I especially liked Joe – our romantic interest.
I read a classic – partially because of my IRL book club I run and also for the mental health issues involved: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I had to think on this one. It was good, very interesting, but also really sad. There are a lot of thoughts on it, it’s been around a while and it’s gotten a lot of analysis, and most people categorize it as Horror. I think for me it was more Tragic. I really dig the idea that it’s a ‘origin of the Haunted House’ but there is so much sadness to it. Mary Katherine pulls her sister down to the world of madness and reclusion she desires. And her sister Constance is just as challenged, she seems to have some sort of depression. Hovering over the entire book was the knowledge that Shirley Jackson herself wouldn’t leave her own home at the end of her life. She became so paranoid and frightened of her neighbors (who were very cruel to her and her family) that she eventually wouldn’t even leave a particular room. It almost rang as a daydreamy novel for that level of fear, she eventually took the role of Mary Katherine and her sister secluded in their house and never leaving.
Throughout the whole week I was picking up stories here and there from the anthology Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An LGBT and Two-Spirit Anthology edited by Hope Nicholson. I was really excited about this collection but about half of the stories were either two short for me or didn’t exactly work in some way. Others were great. This was Own Voices. Though edited by Hope Nicolson most if not all the authors in this collection are Native, with most of them LGBTQYA/Two-Spirited I believe. Native stories and cultures are ones I really want more of, my husband’s family is part of the Cherokee Tribe and like every other person in the South I have Cherokee blood (great grandparents) mixed in with the rest of my hodgepodge of history. I am naturally extremely curious about it. The collection, like I said was interesting and there were some stand outs, but not the strongest short story anthology I’ve ever read.
The final two books I finished right before the end. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock was my last full length novel. It was the story of her growing up, discovering what she wanted, and transitioning. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting to be honest! I expected a more hard hitting book, almost like Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking (which I adore) but this read more like a novel. Janet Mock has a very flowery style of writing, describing her own hair as luxurious at points. It was odd for a memoir but made the ultimate reading experience a lot like devouring candy. A very easy read. It was till much later in the book that we read any statistics or facts about the trans culture. We get a lot of what Honolulu was like for her growing up but on the whole not as much. It gave some interesting perspective on young people, especially those of color or those in the lower class bracket, and how hard it is to transition and where that often leads them. Janet speaks very freely about her time on the streets, probably the hardest and most heart breaking part of reading this. I think it’s definitely worth checking out of the library if you’re interested in trans stories, and this was of course Own Voices.
Finally I squeezed in another short story Superior by Jessica Lack. This one is a superhero M/M romance that is not Own Voices. I certainly don’t regret reading it but it was too short. There was also so much missing in possible character development or history. I wish the characters had been a bit less flat (mostly due to the length for me) but it was a romp. Fun in that way. I did love the idea though, two superhero/villain intern/apprentices meeting and falling for each other, so cheesy!
All in all a good ReadAThon. I wish I’d gotten to read a few more longer length novels but sadly life is vicious. I also wish I’d gotten to more Own Voices and I’m still planning on reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi soon. I’ll be taking part in the Own Voices Readathon come October, so I’ll try and fit some more of the reads in there that I had hoped to try for here.
I hope everyone else’s reads were great and insightful, I’ve loved watching and seeing all the wrapups coming through. Sorry for the delay!