What if I never joined the online book community?

Because of something i’d heard someone say I got to thinking, what if I never joined the online book community?

I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid. I did read sometimes but because reasons I struggled to remember what I read (I believe aphantasia is to blame as I was reading fast and not giving myself time to process what I was reading). Thankfully Goosebumps showed me reading could be fun as a kid, even if I did struggle I still enjoyed the stories!

But after high school? I ended up only reading when I wanted to know something. So, not often. I always wanted to learn how to read better, figure out what I had to do to remember what I read and have better reading comprehension, I just figured I was too dumb.

Well at 26 I decided fuck it, imma read. I knew what I wanted to start with, Harry Potter, since I had not been allowed to read it growing up like most people my age did. So, I read Harry Potter, in 2015. I loved it. But then I had a problem, what the hell do I read next? I think I looked up Harry Potter reviews on YouTube and found BookTube and then it spiraled from there. I learned I just needed to slow down and process. Actually think about what I was reading. I can’t describe it as well as i’d like but yea..

What if, there was no online book community? Or I just, didn’t interact with it at all? How would I have found that next book? I’m disabled and can’t really get out much, so I order books online. I could potentially browse book store websites to find new books .. Maybe I could google to find stuff about books? I don’t know but I know I wouldn’t know about nearly as many books as I do.

I also don’t think i’d have branched out as much. I love to read all over the place, all genres etc! I might have stuck to horror. I love nonfiction but I was also intimated by it by for awhile, and … I can actually blame the book community for that when I think about it. The few books I picked up between high school 2007 – 2015? All nonfiction. About Paganism related stuff but still. I soaked in the fact others were intimated by nonfiction and avoided it for awhile. So i’d have probably checked out more nonfiction. But would I venture out of horror and nonfiction? Maybe a little? Probably not a lot. And that would be sad. Some of the books that mean the most to me are in other genres.

I have made friends I am grateful for through the book community and learned about so many books and broadened my horizons (and hopefully will continue to do so). Does that mean it doesn’t have it’s cons? No. It’s a community, like any other, it’ll have cons, but the pros do outweigh the cons for me. 🙂

There is another thing. If I had no online book community, i’d never make a monthly tbr or pile of possibilities. I wouldn’t think to do such a thing. I might make a list of books I was interested in but, that’d probably be it. I’d be free to 100% mood read. And technically, I am free to do that, I just, haven’t done so.

I want that joy, of mood reading. Complete mood reading. No TBRs. No POPs. Yes I have a ton of ideas for stuff I want to read and do, challenges etc, but i’m not using them as things I have to do. I’m using them as things to help me decide what I want to read and see an accomplishment anytime I tick something off. Most of the things don’t have a time limit anyway.

Anytime that I decide what I want to do, i’m going to be honest with myself. If I want to do something else, i’ll do something else. But if I decide I want to read, then it’ll become a matter of figuring out what I want to read. What genre? Etc. What book can I hear calling to me. And that’ll be what I read. After all, i’m in my 30s and not in school. No one is going to tell me what I can or can not read and no one is going to tell me what to do with my free time.

No TBRs. No POPs. No Readathons. Those are going to be my rules. No announcing i’ll participate in a group read. I can always decide I want to read that book and read it because I want to and why not join in the convo? but no saying it ahead of time. Just spur of the moment mood reading. And I want to see where that takes me. I already know I like to read all over the place and have so many things I want to read, I don’t see it being a problem.

I also want to mention i’m thinking of reading some popular and controversial books next year. I don’t generally make the time to read them even though I want to so i’m hoping i’ll want to next year. There are plenty out there so ..! I also joined the popsugar 2023 reading challenge on storygraph just to see what I manage to do next year. No pressure to do anything, as already stated.

So yea, that’s all I got to say for this post. Any thoughts?

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LGBTQ+ Respectability Politics

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of seeing all the puriteens and such saying LGBTQ+ people need to look “respectable” or some shit and pure uwu to the cishets to be better accepted. Google “respectability politics lgbtq+” and you’ll see it doesn’t matter what you do, it doesn’t change the queerphobe’s opinion of LGBTQ+ people. You can try and be as “pure” and “uwu” as you want, it will not change their opinion. Also, all this purity culture crap, hurts people. Seriously, you could go down a rabbit hole of purity culture and it’s fucking terrifying.

Queer sex is often seen as shameful by the lgbtq+ purity police for some reason. We aren’t allowed to be sexual? You don’t need to be sexual to be lgbtq+ but a lot of us in the lgbtq+ community, are sexual people, like cishet people are. Most people don’t bat an eye at cishet sexuality. It’s “normal”. But queer sexuality? The purity respectability politics police start screaming. Queer sexuality is normal to it’s just not normalized. If cishet’s can do something and be seen as “normal” and ok, why can’t it be the same for lgbtq+ people? Cishets can be sexual, can be kinky, can be polyamorous. So can lgbtq+ people.

Cishets can have their “problematic” media and stories and art. Why can’t queer people? I honestly have come to hate the word problematic. Can things be problematic? Sure. But it’s so over-used. Also, sometimes people use “problematic” things to cope. Sometimes they don’t but people can separate fiction from reality. Just because you like reading/watching something fictional doesn’t mean you want it to happen in real life. Fiction is fiction. People need to learn how to separate fiction from reality! And i’d like to believe most people can.

I’m not saying this can’t be complicated and nuanced, i’m sure it can be. But not everyone wants to just read/watch wholesome uwu stuff, and that’s ok, we should have all different kinds of rep. Cishets are allowed, why aren’t we?

The purity police also yell at any lgbtq+ person doing something they don’t think is respectable enough. In a polyamorous or open relationship? Kinky? Transgender? Not being transgender correctly? Not in a heteronormative type of relationship? They will attack you. It doesn’t matter to them if everything is 100% consensual (as it should be of course).

Being queer has often been about pushing boundaries, not trying to shove ourselves into the cishet-normative box or the closest to it box we can find anyway. Fuck the damn boxes!

Read and watch and create the stories you want. Fiction is not reality. And be whoever you are. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone (unless you’re being kinky and all parties involved want it but you know what I meant) that’s all that matters. People can choose to stay away from the media they don’t want engage with. That’s what trigger and content warnings are supposed to be for.

I am not listening to respectability politics. It’s fucking toxic.

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What counts as reading?

First things first, all reading counts as reading. All of it. Not gatekeeping here. I just wanted to talk about some things.

Audiobooks. Of course they count, the story is still getting into your noggin and also it’s ableist as fuck to say they don’t count! Not everyone can read a physical or ebook even. And for me personally (I am disabled but can read any format, though physical books can be painful) audiobooks are DIFFICULT!

I’m autistic and slow to process things. Can I? Sure. But i’m slow at it. Give me a minute or two. It’s SO HARD to process an audiobook. That’s why i’ve started with books i’ve already read in ebook or physical form or nonfiction (since then at least I don’t have to keep up with a fictional narrative). It’s HARD WORK and HEADACHE inducing (literally) for me personally to read audiobooks, so if i’m putting in that amount of work with them damn straight i’m going to count them!!

I haven’t heard a SINGLE person mention before how hard audiobooks are to process so if i’m not alone in this PLEASE let me know! I feel so dumb with them. T.T It probably has something to do with my brain noodle. Though I do have auditory processing disorder as well, which might be a part of it but certainly (in my case) isn’t the main problem. I’m slow to process anything, not just audiobooks, but trying to process them is even harder than other things that I already struggle with.

Comics/Manga/Graphic Novels, typically have words that you read but also you need to read the pictures to get the full story. I’ve heard people talk about reading a typical size manga in like 30 minutes or less and that confuses me to no end, it just makes me think..did…did you read the pictures? Because if not, you’re missing out on a large part of the story and aren’t the pictures a big part of the point in these kind of books? I mean if you can read them that fast, including the pictures, more power to you. I know i’m a slow reader. A normal manga will take me at least 2-3 hours. Reading pictures can also be difficult for some people due to disabilities.

With the whole “did you read the pictures” part, i’m not saying you can’t skim books. If skimming gets you through a book, have fun. Read your way. I just don’t get it in graphic novel format in regards to not looking at/reading the pictures, since they seem kind of the point? That’s all.

Picture books, normally for children but, not always. I’ve read a picture book, no words, that wasn’t for children (and no it wasn’t porn) that you can read a story through the pictures alone. The story I remember has no words, but still reading a story nonetheless, is The Lion by Frédéric Brrémaud. A bittersweet story about a lion in the harsh jungle. Has graphic/gory scenes and I felt sorry for the lion. No, I wasn’t reading words but I still read a book. Read a story. And you are really going to tell a child their picture book doesn’t count? Really? (And adults can read picture books too, they still count and can be really good!)

Magazines. I think I just found how awesome magazines can be since I just realized I could read some through my kindle unlimited and as of typing this i’ve only read one so far, BBC Wildlife July 2021 issue (will be in my Recent Reads #20 post, the next post hopefully) and I loved it. I read the articles, does that not count? It counts. I have more magazines (on my kindle) now to read, some through kindle unlimited some not because I went looking through the magazines to see what was available of interest to me. And damn right I shall count them. There are magazines in many topics/interests. They count.

Audiobooks, graphic novels, comics, manga, short stories, magazines, ebooks, picture books, children’s books, it’s all reading. Making someone feel like they are “reading wrong” or something, isn’t going to make them love reading more or anything positive. It will do the opposite generally. If a story is getting into your noggin’, that’s all that counts. Not the format.

What kind of stories and formats do you like? Are audiobooks difficult for you too?