At-College TBR for Fall 2017

Hi all, so I’ve been a bit absent because I finished up my summer job, shopped and packed, and moved back to college! I’m so glad I’m back. And this semester I’m especially excited, because I have a lot of free time in my schedule compared to last semester, so I should have more time to focus on reading, blogging, writing, and hopefully YouTube.

So, I’m going to compile a (probably) ambitious list of books I plan on reading this semester, especially because I only have 1 regular English class! I’m mostly focusing on books I already own, because I’m on a self-imposed book buying ban. Let me know what you think of them, or if you have any more recommendations!

Books for Class

  • For my literary history class (not sure if I’m reading these in their entirety, either…): Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, “Wife of Bath’s Tale” (part of Caterbury Tales I believe), Doctor Faustus, Spencer’s Faerie Queen Book 1, Paradise Lost
  • For my “What is Good Education?” class (don’t know if I’m going to read all of these yet…): “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (because this is also a writing course) and Seeking Common Ground: Public Schools in a Diverse Society
  • I’m also taking a class about teaching YA in a diverse society (yay!!) but there isn’t a book list, so I’m hoping we get to choose and I’ll probably choose some of the books further down this list.

Soooo naturally I’m looking to have some fun reading in between all of that!

Books Coming Out this Fall

There are a couple of books I am definitely going to preorder. It’s by no means an extensive list of all I’m excited for, however–but if I read anything else sooner/before paperback, it’ll probably be from the library. At least, that’s the plan I hope to stick to.

  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (Sept 5)–Wow, this is coming so soon!!
  • 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (Oct. 3)–I was actually contacted by the publisher to review a finished copy of this
  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore (Oct 3)
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Oct 10)–I’m not the biggest fan of Writing!Green, but this  tackles OCD based on his own experience, and I’m 100% here for anything in that very small category of books
  • La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman (Oct 19)–I’ve waited so long for this!!

Others

  • Books I’m currently in the middle of: Brown Girl Dreaming, The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way, TV: The Book, and a collection of essays by George Orwell
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I told one of my good friends and fellow English nerd to pick a physical book I should bring with me and read this semester, and she picked this one.
  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by MacKenzie Lee–reading as a part of an online book club (though I’m interested in it!)
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Glass Castle by by Jeannette Walls–I don’t know if I’ll see the movie, but I’ve got the book and want to read it soon.
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  • Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia

…And I should probably stop myself there. Have you read any of these? What are you planning to read soon?

 

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Pride Month Plans and Thoughts (TBR + More)

I admit, Pride Month totally snuck up on me, and I didn’t make the connection between June, reading queer books,  blogging, and general pride. At first, I was like, “Oh, I’ve been reading a lot of queer books in May and was planning to get to some print books I have on hand [which are pretty straight as far as I know] so I don’t feel guilty about them taking up space.” But ah, screw it.

There’s been a discussion going on around Twitter about how a lot of book bloggers will highlight LGBTQ books during June and ONLY in June, which is part of why I was tempted to not push this too hard because I read it year round, and again, I’ve got books on hand I want to finish so I’m not dragging them back with me to college. But then I got caught up in it all…so this happened. I did set one rule: The books I all own already (mostly on Kindle). As a result, I’m kind of limited; unfortunately I don’t have too much by way of aro, ace, and trans (nonbinary especially) rep, which I would love to learn more about. I certainly want to read and support those books and authors sometime soon, but right now I need to stick to my financial goals of using what I buy so I don’t get into bad book buying habits (and I would rather purchase these to support the authors). Meanwhile I’ll do my best to boost those voices on Twitter and here.

Books

  • Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee: Bisexual girl in a middle grade book, with a Shakespeare play! I was super excited for this one (it came out in March) because middle grade is one of my writing interests.
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker: A classic overlapping with my African American Lit goals, I believe this features a black lesbian main character. Plus, Alice Walker’s such an important figure to get to know–and I’ll finally be able to let myself listen to the musical!
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: About a trans girl written by a trans woman. Nothing more needs to be said.
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (if I get to it): This is an ensemble fantasy and I’ve heard great things since it was published, and I believe it has a queer couple? Or at least a queer character. Some of my friends have also picked this up recently so I want to join in the chatter.

Additionally if I have some room in the month (and they’re not checked out), I might pick up Shaun David Hutchinson’s latest book (At the Edge of the Universe) and Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy.

Blog

  • A personal post from me that I meant to post a while ago but chickened out…it’s about LGBT books and schools, naturally
  • My favorite musicals with LGBT characters and themes!
  • Reviews/discussions of the above, hopefully. And also We Are the Ants, which I just finished reading and has a gay MC.
  • To be released LGBT books I want to read, or those I want to read in general
  • I’ll probably repost my Grasshopper Jungle post (perhaps revising it a little) from my old blog, because it sometimes gets listed as an LGBT book because of the main character’s bisexuality, but I didn’t find it great representation and also super sexist. (Also it’s going to be a movie soon by a major director…great.)
  • And I’ve got to catch up on a few post from my African-American reading and others.

Other Media?

I’ll be honest, with working and all of the above (plus my own writing), I’m not sure how much movies and TV I’m going to fit in. I’m trying to keep up on three current shows right now–Doctor Who, Class, and The Handmaid’s Tale, so those are my main priority (all of which do have gay characters, so…). I’m also finishing up Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 and I’ve started Master of None…which also have bi and gay characters. (Is this a result of my TV tastes or how inclusive TV has gotten?) And I’m trying to make the most of my Hulu subscription by watching Battlestar Galactica ASAP, though I haven’t gotten too far (thanks, bad wifi).

That said, I’d love to watch some movies or documentaries…if anyone has any recommendations? Nothing popped out from my Netflix queue, though maybe they’ll add some during the month.

So what are your plans for this month?

 

2017 Reading Goal: More African-American Literature

Diversity is one of my efforts as a reader. It builds empathy when I’m reading about characters unlike myself, and it’s always refreshing to learn and explore something different from the usual white, middle class narratives and heterosexual love stories. I noticed, however, that I tend to focus mostly on LGBTQ lit and books dealing with mental health topics (which I gravitate to because of personal experiences) and have not read nearly as many books by POC authors.

As such, I really want to focus on reading African-American literature this year. I will make an effort to read from other POC perspectives as well, but I want to make African-Americans a priority because I really want to listen to their perspectives. This is not only because of the current, tense climate in America, but also because I grew up in a rather white, middle-class area and was rather segregated in honors classes and at a charter school that was diverse, but mostly in regard to religion, Asian-Americans, and LGBTQ-identifying students. So, I have picked out some books on my TBR written by and about African-Americans that I want to read by the end of this year.

Personal Reading:

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker: I’ve had this on my Kindle for several months now so it’s at the top of the list. After I read it, I also want to listen to the musical’s soundtrack! (I loved the revival’s performance at last year’s Tony’s, and I love LaChanze in If/Then.)
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison: I bought this in paperback last year because I loved reading The Bluest Eye last school year, so I’m very much looking forward to diving into more of her backlist.
  • Between the World in Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: One of the biggest nonfiction books in the last couple of years and definitely relevant.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: This made a big splash with publication last year because Oprah got it to release even earlier than expected AND it was really good. Plus, historical magical realism? Yes please!
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty: The most recent Man Booker winner, and first American (well, born in America) winner to boot.
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: This is one of the most lauded books for last year.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Released in February, this is going to be a huge YA book and I’m interested (especially as a future teacher!) in reading this perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Assigned Reading:

I can’t speak for the fall semester yet, but this spring semester I am taking two literature classes (which are taking up a lot of my reading time!), one of which focuses heavily on the history and literature of the 20th and 21st centuries and is rather diverse. The books I’m reading by and about African Americans this semester are:

  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (I’ve wanted to read this for a couple of years now, very excited!)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Quicksand by Nella Larsen
  • Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat

Does anyone have any recommendations? This is rather heavily literary, mostly because of recent releases, but I feel a little strange not having more middle grade and YA on the list.

Project Decreasing the Physical TBR Before Going to College

Above are most of the physical books I own that are unread, which likely will make up a  big chunk of my summer TBR because I would like to knock them out before I go to college. This doesn’t include some large anthologies I have (Complete Fiction of Lovecraft, all of Poe, all of Sherlock Holmes) as well as some classics, literary journals, and nonfiction anthologies.

Without further ado, here is what I definitely want to read this summer (combined with some library and other books, of course) and why they’re still on this pile:

“Lyra’s Oxford” by Phillip Pullman: This short story sequel to His Dark Materials I’ve had for a long time–like 7 years–but I’m not sure if I’ve ever read it. Since I reread the trilogy at the end of last year, I figured it would be a good time to pick it up (though I didn’t mean to wait until the summer!)

The Celebrated Jumping Frog and Other Stories  by Mark Twain: I’ve had this cheap little book for a very long time and never got around to it…and since I’ve been reading short stories more recently, it seems like a right time. Otherwise, I’m sure it will sit on my

The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays by Oscar Wilde: I read Earnest this year for school and loved it, and I picked up this collection specifically so that I could read the others, as I decided last year I was going to read as much Oscar Wilde as possible because I love his comedic style.

The View from Saturday by E.L. Koninsburg: I bought this recently because I had a coupon from Simon & Schuster. It’s a classic middle grade novel, so it contributes toward my exploration of new and classic middle grade, and it involves an Academic Bowl team, which I was also on in middle school!

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch: I just recieved this as a gift, and while I don’t know much about it (yet), I do trust the recommender. And since it was a graduation gift, it’s probably best to read it soon to capture the mood!

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: I’ve been slowly working my way through Gaiman, and this is certainly one of his major works I’ve been meaning to read for a while and finally bought.

Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights? by Lemony Snicket: I’ve been reading this series–the companion/prequel to A Series of Unfortunate Events–as they’ve come out, more or less, and this is the final one. Whether because of the books themselves or my own maturity, I do admit the first two charmed me more than the last, which is part of why I haven’t picked it up yet.

A Collection of Essays by George Orwell: I received this for Christmas of 2014 and despite being really interested in it, I still haven’t picked it up. It was definitely something I didn’t want to rush through during school, and I’m thinking I might approach this by reading an essay at a time.

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell: Another gift from that Christmas, this is admittedly one I still might not get to this summer. I admit I tend to avoid nonfiction, and while I’ve studied history including the Spanish Civil War and think I would like reading this, I might avoid it a little while longer for personal reasons.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess: I bought this with a coupon last fall because it was a classic I was quite curious about. I think I’ll read it soon, as I just finished The Handmaid’s Tale and I’m in the literary dystopia mood.

Have you read or are you interested in any of these? What do you think?