Vagueness in Including Queer Characters

I posted this discussion regarding queer characters in some popular shows. My point is that there is a certain kind of vagueness in the inclusion of queer characters in shows. I obviously don’t mean to use queer as a derogatory term. As an aro ace person, I identify as queer. It is a term I feel comfortable using. Let’s begin the discussion.

Projecting, but Never Canon

This is a common implied message I have noticed in many statements made by content creators. For instance, take a look at Andrew Scott responding to questions regarding Moriarty’s sexuality.

His reply is double sided. On the one hand, it is okay for people to project whichever identifiers they may have onto the character. However, and this is kind of implied, it will never be canon.

My frustration with this sentiment is in its favoring of “traditional” sexuality (“heterosexual.”). For example, in Sherlock, Sherlock/Irene and John/Mary are presented as canon. The rest is simply hinted at. The question is, why not include queer characters if you are going to claim to be inclusive?

Condescending and Mocking

I have noticed a lot of mocking from actors when faced with questions regarding their characters’ sexuality. For example, take a look at the Supernatural cast discussing Dean/Castiel’s relationship.  One actor says, “That is some weird sh**.”    And, “You don’t want any part of that.” Here is another video where another actor talks about the supposed growth in slash fanvideo and fanfiction in which he calls it, “fuc*ed up but it is nice.” 

It’s like shipping queer relationships is trouble or an inconvenience. I am not a fan of the show, but I can tell that it’s about angels and demons. If you are dealing with the supernatural, how on earth is it trouble to include queer characters? Is it really a stretch of the imagination for a main character to identify as queer?

Discomfort

It boils down to inherent phobic responses to queer relationships due to ignorance. For instance, the actors in the show Merlin tend to avoid the most common ship for the show, Merlin/Arthur.

In response to this ship, Katie McGrath calls it “genius,” and then drops a comment, “I am not sure Bradley and Colin feel the same way.” She continues to dismiss the romance. Again, it is like a homosexual relationship is an insult to the actors and characters.

Why It Matters

This ignorance and negative attitude towards playing queer characters makes it hard to find queer representation in the media. The vagueness in the inclusion of queer characters makes it harder to: 1) Identify as such in real life, 2) Create dialogue regarding prejudice in the LGBT+ community.

 

 

Okay, so I tried writing this post a few times. Lots of deleting took place.
This is the PITS. I have been having a rough time for at least three
                When I had initially read Paper Towns, I was

Tome Topple: TBR

I am going to be participating in Tom Topple this month (over the next two weeks!). Tome Topple was created by Sam over at Thoughts on Tomes. The rule is simple: read book(s) over 500 pages. My TBR is ever so ambitious hopeful, as per usual. Also: Slytherin reminder. Of course, my Tome Topple TBR is going to be bending some rules. (I just like to say this in case I do break the rules).

Warning: I am going to try reading some of my shorter books because I did not do so well this week in terms of my TBR. Perhaps I’ll change my mind.

I want to admit that I probably won’t succeed in reading all the things. However, I like having options sometimes. Even if it means that I’ll be somewhat indecisive. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, right?

TBR Hopefuls

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

The final book in the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy has been on my TBR for a few weeks now. The second book ended on a cliffhanger and I have been aching to read this one.

It is a huge book and I am intimidated, but that is part of the point of this readathon. Here’s hoping it’s a quick read. Also: I am hoping I don’t get a book hang over. But, look at what Blue Lily, Lily Blue did to me.

Spoiler: So much damage has been done. Dina has never been the same since reading that book.

Anyway, this book is part of a series, so this fulfills the challenge of reading a tome that is part of a series.

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson 

At some point, I am going to have to face my Sanderson pile. Why not start now? It’s a 600 pager, and I am anxious to start yet frightened by it. But, I need this one to fulfill the challenge of reading an adult book. (Gasp! I am reading an adult book.)

Extra options

For whatever reason, I assume that these books are easier reads. I am probably very wrong about this perception. Let me list them and discuss further.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

So, this book seems to have a lot of diagrams. That is why I assumed it would be short as an experience. From the reviews I have seen, this book is addictive. And in my head addictive =

And/Or: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson 

It’s a Morgan Matson book! I expect sweetness, cuteness, and fluff. And perhaps, judging by the cover, puppies. Who wouldn’t want that?

 

 

 

 

 

February is finally ending, thank God. I cannot stress enough just how awful this month
I have not been doing too well on the reading front, so I am gearing
Welcome to week 2 of February 2018. I have a few reading plans for this

BR: The School For Good and Evil

The School of Good and Evil is a fairly popular middle grade story. At first, I hesitated to write a review of it, because I feel conflicted. My warning is that this will not be a cheery review. In fact, I have tried writing this review once before, and got too angry to continue.

Let’s begin.

So, the School of Good and Evil is about two girls who are whisked into a school. The school, surprise, is for characters in fairy tales. As such, the students are selected for good or evil. The “twist” is that Sophie, who is sure she’d be in the good school, is taken to the school of evil. Meanwhile, Agatha is taken to the school of good.

The Problem

There are quite a few problematic aspects of this book. First, though, is the oversimplification of good and evil. I think the author wanted to explore fairy tales and put in a new twist on them. But, the trouble is that his pacing is way off.

For instance, we are told that Sophie is actually “evil,” even though she is certain that she is good. Other characters openly tell her that she is evil. Part of my problem with this text is that a boy is the reason Sophie goes over the edge there.

And, that is such a reduction to evil. I think the novel could have been so much cooler, if it had an exploration of what truly constitutes “evil.” Maybe, the students in the evil school push the boundaries, or go exploring what this “evil” means in a modern setting. But, no, they talk about being hateful (not necessary evil in my opinion) and “ugly.”

If Looks Could Kill

Sophie is presented as a beautiful girl (physically), which is cause for her repeated dismissal from the story as a serious person. Like, she enjoys creams and face masks, and no one shares that interest. Even more bizarre is that she becomes “ugly” with warts and short hair by the time she is fully “evil.”

This kind of approach to female characters (to me) is rather misogynistic and destructive.

Meanwhile, Agatha discovers that she is beautiful just the way she is. Again, why is it so important for the female characters to be beautiful. I think back on Carrie Fisher saying, “Screw beauty. It’s superficial anyway, and my other attributes matter way more than my appearance.”

Indeed, this focus on appearance reduces the female characters. I believe that Sophie was misrepresented. She probably had good reasons to be evil, and she was a good villain who deserved a better exploration of her psyche.

This is middle grade, but in no way should it dumb down its dealings with good and evil, which are intriguing topics, even for younger readers.

Let’s not even talk about how the author repeatedly talks about women who are “not princesses” because they gain weight or because they don’t shave their legs anymore.

Ships are Shaken

This is another problem in the novel: interest in a boy is what drives the story. So, kissing Tedros could lead the characters back home. And, while this is not what happens in the end of the novel, the ending is so rushed and the characters’ decisions make no sense.

The whole time I was reading this book, I was hoping for an LGBT+ character or ship. Instead, all the characters are focused on being at the ball with a boy. And, even then, it is hinted that some boys go together in a mean attempt to avoid choosing girls, not because maybe two boys like each other enough to go to the ball together. No.

What would have been powerful is Sophie and Agatha realizing that perhaps they like each other romantically.

But, no.

They fight over a boy we know nothing about for 500 pages.

Overall:

The more I think of this book, the more frustrated I am with it. It took me way longer to read a middle grade novel than the other books I had been reading. I think it’s the pacing. But, it’s also all the things I discussed on here.

Your Turn:

Have you read this book or the whole trilogy? What are your thoughts on it? Please share them in the comments! And, of course, please don’t be offended if you liked this book. This is just my opinion and I respect yours.

    I have been very lucky with books lately, so excuse the barrage of
  Warning: Here be spoilers. If you are interested in reading this book, and you
    I devoured Becky Albertalli's second novel over the course of two days. Many

T5W: Top SFF Books on My TBR

For this week’s T5W, we got the awesome topic of listing our top 5 SFF Books on TBR. Basically, T5W is a weekly discussion where we share our top 5. Today, my focus will be on the top science fiction and fantasy novels on my TBR pile.

Because I don’t want to bore you with the same books on my TBR, I decided to try to focus this Top 5 SFF Books on TBR list more on science fiction books on my shelves.

5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

Surprise! A Gaiman book on my Top 5 SFF Books on my TBR. I have collected a couple of his most well known stuff, and my goal is to slowly ease into his work. I am intimidated by this one a lot. It’s a possibility for Tome Topple. I don’t know a whole lot about it. I know there’s a show/movie/thing about it coming out soon (My information may be completely inaccurate).

 4. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson  

Another crucial element in my Top 5 SFF Books on my TBR is Sanderson’s work. I have heard mixed things about this series by Sanderson, but I am eager to pick up his books. I have gotten some of them used over the past year or so (Jolien, your influence is showing). I think I have most of them now. I want to write fantasy one day. And, in order to do that, I feel like I should learn from the master of it all: Mr. Sanderson himself.

3. Illuminae Files by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Listen, I don’t read a lot of science fiction. Aware of this, I got the first two books on my birthday last year. I am really excited to read it this year before the final book comes out in the fall. Maybe I’ll ask for the final one on my birthday.

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Come on, I am so behind here. I have to read this series, so I can swoon over the cuteness of the characters. All I know is that Cinder is part? cyborg.

  1. Gail Carriger books

Yep, I am interested in steampunk fiction, too! I had been gathering the courage to get into her books for years. I have seen interviews with this lady, and I just adore her. She’s so quirky and fun. I look forward to reading her work.

 

 

Happy Valentine's Day, peeps! This week, we will continue with the love theme on our
It's the middle of the night leading into Wednesday, February 7th, and I am antsy.
  I am back with another Top 5 Wednesday. This week, the list centers on

April Week 1 TBR Goals

Ah, April week 1 TBR Goals is here! For this week, I am not going to be participating in RYBSAT as strictly as I did last time. Instead, I want to focus on finishing up some series before Tome Topple. But my goal is to be more productive and engaged.

I want to comment on blogs some more, and interact with people in the book community. This is frightening for me, and yet it is a good challenge to have.

But, wait, I may be getting ahead of myself here. Let us get into my overall April Week 1 TBR and goals.

First: here is my over-ambitious TBR for the week.

TBR:

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

 

Nikolai is bae and I want to see him take the throne already. If I ignore the hints of how great Mal is, perhaps this book will turn out to fulfill my dreams.

What are my dreams?

I hope she ends up with the Darkling or Nikolai.

Other than that, I want her to be the Sun Summoner and be strong.

Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkowski

Even though the second book made me want to punch the characters in the face, I would like to see a resolution for them.

I still love them and care.

Here’s hoping someone kicks the Emperor in the face.

Maybe the puppy can pee on him, too?

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

If I don’t finish it this week, I am okay with extending it to Tome Topple. But, I want to be done with the series by the end of April for sure. What will happen to Rhy? What about Alucard, whose name is very hard for me to spell?

Kell, Lila, and Holland. So much to explore. I cannot wait.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (I know! I have to finish this quartet already) 

Many moons ago, I had wanted to read this darn book. But, the Dream Thieves threw me off a bit. I started out not liking Ronan. And, now…his life is more complicated and scary.

I love that guy.

But, I want to get to meet Henry already. (I see you, Tumblr, you’re giving me unrealistic expectations of him).

My favorite remains to be Adam. And, I want to see what he does.

That Gansey dude is alright, I suppose (Just downplaying my feelings here).

Blue is goals for life. She is just a neat character and I adore her. I really do.

 

I have to continue the agony of The School of Good and Evil. Did I mention my annoyance with this? But, I am curious now to see what will happen. How will this story unfold?

 

 

 

And finally, I am hoping to start reading An Ember in the Ashes throughout the week.

As always, I know this is ambitious. But, I like to keep busy.  Plus, the goal is to be more productive. I want to be more engaged.

Goals

For this week, I want to try to incorporate better time management.

Write more

Exercise multiple times a week

Read more than 2 books

This was my April week 1 TBR Goals. What are your plans for April’s week 1? What are your TBR goals and overall goals for the week? I would love to hear what you have in mind!

 

February is finally ending, thank God. I cannot stress enough just how awful this month
I have not been doing too well on the reading front, so I am gearing
Welcome to week 2 of February 2018. I have a few reading plans for this

April Weekly Wrap Up 1

Ah, another weekly wrap up. This one is the first one for April. I am starting to realize that I am not reading that much. Compared to other bloggers, my reading isn’t enough. It is hard to accept that I’m somehow slower at this.

But, to be fair, the books I was reading were so difficult for me. Mostly, they were taxing emotionally. They were not light fluffy reads. Certainly, they didn’t feel that way.

For this week, I started working on week 1 on Read Your Book Shelf a Thon (RYBSAT). The readathon involves picking a spot on your bookshelf and then reading onward.

How did I do, you ask?

Keep reading.

RYBSAT (Part 1) Read Books

The Winner’s Crime 

Oh my goodness, this book made me want to cry. I am okay with characters having mixed feelings about their allegiances. Totally fine. But, not communicating this struggle with themselves is frustrating. Another frustrating thing is that there was no pain-free communication between the two main characters.

Constant aching.

Oh, and Jess, Ronan made me want to cry even more, because I like them. I don’t know why I do, but I do. Maybe it’s because I can tell that Kestrel loves them a lot.

One more book to go. I am curious but also in agony.

I hate the Emperor and his son. There’s a puppy in this book, but we don’t get to see her enough.

At least she peed on Kestrel. Someone had to do it.

The School of Good and Evil  

As I am writing this review, I still have a little bit to go in this book. And, I cannot handle how difficult this book is. The School of Good and Evil has been a rough experience. I don’t know if I don’t like middle grade. Or, perhaps this book was just troubling for me. The vilifying of a beautiful girl bothers me. I usually root for the Slytherin antagonists. But, this book kept repeatedly reducing women to love-driven fools.

And, heaven forbid for there be any queer relationships. The whole time, I am saying, “Leave the boys and be together. You two can be a good team.”

But, no, we have to make one of the girls inadequate for being beautiful. No girl can be smart and pretty. Cannot compute.

Stupidly, I may read the next one, too. Because I have it, and I want to know what will happen next. Sophie deserves better. Also, VILLAINS deserve better. Kids are smart enough to know that being an antagonist doesn’t mean you are: a) ugly, b) mean, c) aggressive/violent.

Yes, I am sighing.

Screens

Finally, I got to watch The Edge of Seventeen. It was a thought-provoking movie. Its exploration of maturity, identity, (mis) communication, and relationships was powerful.

My favorite moment from it was this, “I think some deranged part of me likes thinking I am the only one with real problems.”

I cringed at the make out scene with Nick, but that is because of my own issues (probably?).

Definitely a movie I’m glad to have around to rewatch when perspective is lacking. I often need to sort out my priorities.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

After months of resisting, I gathered the courage to pick up the DVD for this movie. I have very mixed feelings about JK Rowling, and I don’t really follow her new additions to the Harry Potter canon. So, I am hesitant to hear what she has to say about this movie.

I enjoyed this film. It was cute, nostalgic, and sweet. I’m not sure why it has to be a five film series. It could’ve been a nice cute standalone.

Upon researching it some more, I do think learning more about Credence would be swell, because I connected with him a lot. But, I strongly identified with the Niffler.

And Queenie.

We need lots of Queenie, Tina, and Jacob.

Plus Newt, who reminds me of Merlin’s sweetness. I love them. I really, really do.

Moving on.

Tunes

“Rising, Rising,” Crywolf (Bassnectar remix)

Goals

I have been able to read a little bit every day. My writing has been lacking. And, I consistently resist exercising. Actually, it’s not really resistance. Instead, it is poor time management skills.

Truly, I need to get my act together. Hoping next week will be better.

 

Welcome to my May Week 1 wrap up post. I have been having some ups
Here we go with another April Weekly Wrap Up. This past week, I managed to
It feels like I'm counting March's weekly wrap ups wrong, because there is no way