I am so behind on updates here. I’ve seen several Broadway/theater shows and have read a bunch of books. This will be a books post and I’ll work on a theater post next week (since I’m seeing two more shows this weekend… WHAT?! Yep. I love me some theater.).
So, without further ado… here’s what I’ve been reading since my last book post.
I am J – by Cris Beam – This is the first book I’ve ever read about a transgendered teen and it was a good read. The protagonist J was born in the body of a girl but identified as male and was eager to start on testosterone. It was very interesting to read how he dealt with internal and external conflicts. Though I cannot wholly identify with J, I was grateful to have a little glimpse into his world.
Every Day – by David Levithan – This book almost broke me. It’s about A, a person who spends every day of his/her life in the body of someone else. A does not identify as male or female, but during the few weeks this book covers in A’s life, A falls for the girlfriend of a boy whose body he inhabits one day. It was cool to read about how A dealt with the similarities and differences of the day to day lives of others and how s/he has had to experience other people’s lives without any prior knowledge of their pasts. (A can access memories/habits/allergies, but it’s not an instant thing all the time.) I am a fan of Levithan’s work and this book in particular was both a pleasure and a pain to read. I was craving some closure at the end but it never came. I’d like to read this again some day.
One in Every Crowd – by Ivan E. Coyote – This was a collection of Coyote’s autobiographical short stories. Coyote is a queer author and her stories covered her childhood into adulthood. Her being queer was not the main focus, but that aspect of her life definitely colored all of the entries in the book. I liked her writing style, but her stories seemed repetitious to me and I found myself skimming through some of them. Though I was not a huge fan of this book, it was inspiring to read because it reminded me of the book of autobiographical short stories I wanted to write.
The Lover’s Dictionary – by David Levithan – This wasn’t really a novel, per se, but an actual dictionary of words (A-Z) that dealt with relationships and for each word, there were some sentences or a couple paragraphs that gave a story example of the word in relation to the author’s own relationship. This was a super quick read, but a very powerful one at that. This will eventually end up on my massive book shelf once I get my own place. A must-read. Trust me.
Invisibility – by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan – Um, no. Just… no. This book was a story about an invisible boy (his mom was cursed by her father) and the one girl who can see him. Their 16-yr-old selves start getting all swoony on each other, her little brother is gay, and there’s spell-seekers and spell-casters. I wanted to not finish reading this because I kept stopping to belittle myself for starting it to begin with. But, David Levithan’s name was attached to it, so I read. I will never compromise myself like this again if I can help it. It was a silly book and did not offer me any sort of inspiration or joy as I read it.
An Abundance of Katherines – by John Green – WHY do I keep reading John Green books? I wholly disliked the protagonist and thought the whole thing was rather pretentious. I am not on the John Green bandwagon (sorry, not sorry). I do like his writing style, but I rarely like the characters, which leads to a usually frustrating reading experience (see also: Paper Towns). Plus, you can only read the words “Jew-fro” and “man boobs” so many times before you want to throw the book across the room. Why did he date so many people named Katherine? Or, rather, why would so many girls named Katherine date this boy? He seemed like a jerk.
Leave Myself Behind – by Bart Yates – I LOVED this book. I had zero expectations and no prior knowledge of what this book was about, but it was on some list I had and it was at the library, so I snatched it up and then read it in a couple days because I could not put it down. I liked this protagonist – he wasn’t a perfect kid, but he was so well written. I felt bad about why his mom was a little off (family drama… yikes), but liked their relationship. And thought it’s cliché, I like it when the main character falls for the neighbor boy.
Love, Football, and Other Contact Sports – by Alden R. Carter – Ugh. I did not like this book of short stories. Not only was it all about football (ew), but I just didn’t care about any of the characters. I skimmed the back half of the book. No me gusta.
Reality Boy – by A.S. King – This was an interesting read. It was about a boy whose family was on a reality nanny show when he was five years old. The book takes place when he’s 16, so it’s very much the aftermath of his 15 minutes of fame and how being on that reality show basically ruined his family life and left him as an outlier among his peers. Though I could have done without all the poop references (the kid would crap on tables, in shoes, etc… when he was on the reality show and was then nicknamed “Crapper”), I liked the book on a whole and was very glad I picked it up.
The F-It List – by Julie Halpern – The premise of this book was good – a girl’s best friend gets cancer and she agrees to help her cancer friend complete items on her Bucket List (which they rename the “fuck-it list”). But, that bucket list was not the main focus of the book… no, instead the female protagonist gets all moody and thinks about hooking up with some mysterious/weirdo kid at her school. The best friend with cancer plot line is omnipresent, but only because the protagonist keeps bringing it up as an after thought to her passive-aggressive bit she keeps doing with the guy she obviously wants to date but instead keeps pushing him away because she’s a bitch. (Yep, I said it. I’m a girl, so I can say things like that.) The protagonist was selfish. For pretty much the whole book. Selfish. And that really bothered me.
Nothing Pink – by Mark Hardy – This was a quick read, but a good one. It was about a gay boy whose parents/family were heavily involved in the church (and they think homosexuality is a sin). It was interesting to read about his relationship with God/the church juxtaposed against his parents’ opinions about his sexuality. I probably don’t ever need to read this again, but I was glad I picked it up from the library.
Happy Families – by Tanita S. Davis – Another book about a transgendered person, but this time it was the father of 16-yr-old twins. The twins were not very open to the thought of their father wanting to live as a woman. I don’t know if I was supposed to feel bad for the kids, because I did not. I thought they were brats. This was a decent read, but I was mostly disappointed in the main characters.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – by Mark Haddon – Oh my goodness, read this book! I knew this was adapted into a play and will open on Broadway later this year, so I wanted to read it before I saw the play and I’m so glad I did. What a great book! It’s about a 15-yr-old autistic boy (he’s a math savant) who finds his neighbor’s dog dead and he decides to figure out who murdered it. Along the way, there are some huge revelations about his parents and the neighbors and it’s an awful lot for him to take in. I found myself identifying a lot with Christopher and really felt for him when he was having trouble reading people, when his routines were disrupted and how he coped with trying to calm himself down.
So, yeah… that’s what I’ve been reading the past few weeks. I just got an email from the library saying a book I’ve wanted to read for awhile now is ready for me to pick up, so I’m super excited to start that tomorrow.
With all the reading I’ve been doing, I’ve still been writing my own book. I’m in the middle of writing Chapter 28 and have a few more chapters left to go. The past couple chapters have been really draining to write because of the subject matter (spoiler alert – one of my characters is the survivor of a hate crime). But, it’s onwards and upwards from now on. I’m giving these guys a happy ending, dammit.
Have you read any good books lately? I’m always looking for suggestions!