Books

Autumn Catch Up & TBR

17:54

It’s been a while! It feels like forever since I’ve just sat down and talked to you. Because it’s been so long, I thought I would just catch you up on what’s been going on in my life, and share my plans for the next few months.

What I’ve been reading...

In August, I read lots of books that I really enjoyed. I read Perfume, which is my Mum’s favourite book of all time. While I didn’t love it as much as she did, I found it interesting and the writing and descriptions to definitely live up to all the buzz in the literary world surrounding them.
Another book I read for the first time was What We Left Behind. I’ve been wanting to read this ever since it came out, but I could never find it. When I did find it in a second-hand bookshop on holiday (in perfect condition!), I was obviously very excited to read it. Robin Talley can’t write a book that I won’t love, so if you haven’t read a book by her, you need to!

I also re-read one of my favourite books, The Glass Castle, with Jennifer. We read it in preparation for the film, which is already released in America/Canada (I have no idea when it’s coming to the UK though!). Both of us love the book, so it was only fitting that we read it together. I thought it was so much better this time around, and reading it with Jennifer made it even more special because she was the one who introduced me to the book.

What I plan on reading soon...

My grandma visited a few weeks ago, and she bought me a book as a present. The one I selected was Our Dark Duet, which I have been excited for ever since last summer, when I read This Savage Song. Another book I’m really excited to read is The Well of Loneliness. It’s been branded a few times as the best lesbian book ever written, so obviously I need to read it! I know it was a turning point in queer fiction, as it was banned for ages, so it will be a very important read.

What I’ve been watching...

I have been watching a lot of Netflix recently. Not too long ago, I finished Orphan Black and... wow. My girlfriend made me watch it, and I’m so glad she did, because I loved it. It was so twisted, dark, and intense - if you’re looking for a heartfelt and intriguing sci-fi to binge, look no further!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know how much I adored Jane The Virgin. My sister recommended it to me, and I think it’s become my favourite show of all time. It’s so funny, quirky, and addictive - the characters feel like family to me.

What I plan on watching soon...

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never watched RuPaul’s Drag Race... but I plan on rectifying that very soon! My best friend adores it, and I felt very left out at pride not knowing any of the references, so I’m going to start it as soon as I can.

I trust my sister with Netflix recommendations, so the next show I need to watch is Shameless (U.S). I love the UK version (it’s set in my area too!), so I’m a little worried that it won’t live up to my high expectations, but if my sister likes it, I need to give it a go!

What I’ve been doing...

I don’t really have an excuse for not blogging in the summer holidays, except for the fact I wanted a rest. I’ve been loaded down with school work - in a few days I’m going into Year 11 (the final year of high school), so I’ll be very stressed about my upcoming exams. I want to keep busy in the new academic year, so I also have plans to join more orchestras (I play the clarinet!) and do some volunteering. I know I’ll be busy, but I’m excited for it!

I’ve also been spending more time with my friends and loved ones. I’ve been spending as much time as I can with my girlfriend (which isn’t very much, because she’s always busy!) which has been lovely. I’ve become close with a lot more people recently, so hanging out with my friends has been really relaxing.

Last weekend, I went to my first ever pride. I can honestly say it’s been one of the best experiences of my entire life. The parade was magical, but my highlight was definitely the main festival. I hugged strangers, danced to ABBA, and sang my heart out to queer anthems. Pride is an emotional time for everyone, and last weekend made me realise why. The LGBT+ community is a group of wonderful people, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

What have you been up to recently? Have you read anything interesting?

Books

The Queer Books That Have Helped Me

08:00


Books have always helped me in ways that are almost indescribable; the power of literature is one that is so great, especially for someone struggling with their identity. When I first realised I was queer, something that really helped me was reading about characters that had been through similar situations. Here are some of the books that helped me the most:

The Mortal Instruments

While this series isn’t necessarily queer, it’s been one of the most important books me. A very close friend and I were big fans, and we talked about it a lot together - in particular, Magnus and Alec (a canon m/m couple). At the time, I didn’t really know this was how I felt, but after a while, having the knowledge that people I cared about weren’t homophobic was very comforting. I was still absolutely petrified of coming out, but at least I had the knowledge that I wasn’t going to be hurt by my closest friends for being gay.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Everyone always says that this is such an important book, and I can completely understand why. It’s an endearing and charming story - so I can completely see why everyone loves it! - but that’s not the reason why it’s so special to me. When Simon told his family he was gay, they were all accepting, welcoming, and supportive, which gave me the confidence boost I needed. Coming out stories that tell rejection and heartbreak are necessary and so important, but happy ones are equally as needed, and this is proof of that.

Our Own Private Universe


I read this one pretty recently (when I was out), but it’s still just as important to me as all the others. This was the first book I read where two girls unashamedly just fancy each other! The way that Aki feels about Christa made me realise that it’s okay to feel that way. It also taught me a lot about safe lesbian sex (because there isn’t enough information about it) and what it’s like being bisexual.

If you're queer, which books have helped you the most? June is pride month, so any recommendations for queer books are welcome! How have books helped you in other aspects of your life?

LGBTQ+

An Open Letter to David Walliams

16:30



To David Walliams,

You used to be funny. I used to think of you as a charming, kind children’s author who didn’t take himself too seriously. The gay, camp act was funny at first. It was refreshing to see a man on TV who wasn’t so protective of his masculinity, and who didn’t feel the need to defend his heterosexuality every minute. But pretending to be gay is not the solution to this.

Just to say: I am a gay woman. I am a lesbian. You are not pretending to be a lesbian, but you are pretending to be me. My sexuality is not a choice; my sexuality is not a joke. It is not a long running gag for you - an unoriginal comedian, who has no better jokes to further your career than to ridicule an already tough life of a marginalized group of society.

I am angry because you can get away with it, because you are straight. If a gay man did this, it would not get the same response. If I just mention my future wife, it’s not funny, it’s a “we get it, you’re gay” moment. If a gay man was to act turned on by male acrobats, it would be “weird” and “unnatural” and “inappropriate for children to watch”. David Walliams, you shouldn’t be able to get away with it if we can’t.

It’s just not funny. Queer people have struggled for years to simply live without being harassed for being ourselves. We’re still discriminated in pretty much every aspect of our life, so it’s much too soon to make jokes about it. Being the butt of your jokes and being made to feel like a laughing stock hurts.

Love, a 15 year old lesbian, who has been ridiculed one too many times to laugh it off.


Further reading/watching/content on this topic:
We Get It, You're Gay by Ash Hardell

Books

My Unpopular Bookish Opinions

15:52


I like to think of myself as a bit of a black sheep when it comes to my favourite books and my reading habits - I often see people raving about books that I didn’t like, or that I don’t want to read! I feel like more recently, more people have shared their unpopular opinions, but I still feel like there’s some things that haven’t been discussed as much. Hopefully I won’t be alone in some of these views!

Books I didn’t enjoy


ACOTAR/ACOMAF

I feel like I’m the only person in the entire community who doesn’t like this series. Everyone calls out Throne of Glass for lacking in diversity, but what about this series? I’m really not excited for the release of ACOWAR because I know everyone will be talking about how much they love the series, and I’ll just feel really left out! I really don’t rate this series at all, and I don’t know why everyone else does. It’s so problematic, which you can read more about in my review of A Court of Mist and Fury here.

Never Never

I’m not sure about the general opinion on this one, but I know that I really hated these books. To me they just seemed so pointless? Nothing really seemed to happen, and to me, the plot seemed really unoriginal. I’d read a few books by Colleen Hoover, but none before from Taryn Fisher - I don’t want to read one from either again.

History is All You Left Me

I think I might be the only person on the planet who didn’t enjoy this, which I’m really disappointed about. By the synopsis, this book sounds perfect for me (and the main character basically could be me) - a gay protagonist with OCD? That’s everything I look for in a book! I’m so sad I didn’t enjoy this, but I just feel like it was melodramatic and unnecessary. I don’t usually like books about grief, and this reminded me why.

'Weird' reading habits


I listen to music whilst I’m reading

I never used to think this was weird, but it turns out most people don’t! I’m really good at multi-tasking, so I think that explains it. I don’t just listen to instrumental music, or quiet relaxing songs - I love punk and indie rock, so I like listening to my favourite bands whilst I’m reading! For me, it helps create the right atmosphere too.

I annotate my books

Scrawling all over my books makes them mine. When I’m reading, I have lots to say about the books - so why not write what I’m thinking? I usually write in my favourite books, and those are the ones I re-read, so it’s nice to see what I thought the first time around. I can also write really nicely in cursive, which means it doesn't make the pages too messy!

Do you do any of these things? Or do you have any weird reading habits like me? Help me feel less alone!

LGBTQ+

...I'm gay.

17:51

You will probably be able to guess what this post will be about from the title... Yep, I’m gay! The past few months have been such massive milestones for me in terms of my sexuality, and because I consider everyone reading this as a friend, I wanted to share my journey with you. As always, but especially on this topic, if anyone needs advice for someone to talk to, my DMs are always open, or you can contact me by looking at this page!

Let's get this "straight"...

Let’s start from the beginning. I’ve always been gay, but I only really knew I was gay when I was about 12 - when I figured it out, I made a pledge to myself to never tell anyone, ever. It breaks my heart to think of 12 year old me, curled up and sobbing to myself because I hated myself so much. I’ve learnt to love myself now (I love Pride!), but there’s still times where it is really hard to.
Then, when I was 13, I made a really close friend (who I can’t name because they might be reading this), who was really open about sexuality and its fluidity, which made me totally reassess the situation. I then told myself that absolutely nobody could know I was gay until I was 15, because I thought that nobody would take me seriously. I don’t know if that would have been true, but I do know that it’s shameful how our heteronormative society thinks that queer people might ‘change their mind’, yet from birth they’re constantly trying to put every child into a straight relationship. I could talk about this forever (future blog post maybe?), but for now, I’ll just say it’s disgusting.

Coming out for the first time.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I officially have a significant other. Yes, I am as excited as you are at reading/typing that sentence! They identify as genderfluid, and they were the first person I ever told that I was queer, so it was probably a bit different to what you’d expect. I told them I was gay to hint that I had a crush on them, and I knew that they would accept me because they identify as queer themself.

But then, obviously, I wanted to tell my friends the good news! So gradually, I came out to them, and they were super supportive too. I told my sister, and she was really happy for me as well. So then I came out to my parents - they already knew my girlfriend (just not as my girlfriend), so I just told my mum when she was in a good mood. Both of my parents have been so kind and supportive, and in which I’m so lucky. I know so many LGBT+ young people don’t have such positive experiences, and I’m so grateful that my family love me no matter what.

Although I’ve been really lucky in my experiences, no queer person has it as easy as straight people do. Someone who I would have regarded as one of my closest friends told me that just writing on her blog that I had a girlfriend was “inappropriate” and “unprofessional”. I told her I was gay in December, and we haven’t spoken since. It makes me sad to know that I’ve lost friends over just being who I am, but if they’re that toxic, I don’t want them in my life.

Coming out for the second time.

I say coming out for the second time, but for every queer person, the amount of times you have to come out is endless. In my school, it's pretty conservative and there are not many LGBT+ people who are out. The ones who are out generally tend to be unpopular and people are mean to them. I didn't want to be pretending I'm someone I'm not, so I wanted to come out to everyone at once. I put on my Snapchat story "I'm gay" with a drawing of a rainbow.

It was a really big thing for me, and I was so so so nervous, but I'm really glad I did it. I have a network of friends who I know will support me no matter what, and that I would be safe. A lot of people still gossip about me and my girlfriend, but I'm much happier being able to be myself.

I just want to say that to any queer people reading this, whether you’re out or not, you are brave and you are loved. I don’t think straight people realise just how hard it is to just be inside your own head when you’re queer. The heteronormative society we are living in is so cruel, and if you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m always here for you. You are loved.