Friday: Diversity

Diversity: Angie Thomas – The Hate U Give

32613366Holy damn. No, but really. Why didn’t I get this book sooner? “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas (ISBN 1406372153; 438p; Goodreads) puts a crown on my this year’s reads. It’s definitely the best contemporary book I have ever read. I wish there was more, but what could top this?

Starr already had a pretty complicated life. Attending a school where she and a couple more students were the only black people around, she felt pressure acting more like the people around her did, to avoid the whole “black girl from the hood” stereotype getting attached. At home she hurried to shake that all off, to not seem lame, because, really! Add regular teenage problems to that, and there you have it. But all that falls to dust in one night. Her life, and the life of her whole community fall apart as her childhood friend get brutally murdered with several shots to the back by a police officer. He stopped them for no real reason, got irritated over the smallest things, dragged Khaleel out of the car, and as he bent to ask terrified Starr if she’s okay – he shot him in the back. Over, and over, and over.

“Thug”, “dealer”, “gangbanger” are all epithets Khaleel’s name get changed with. Even the seemingly most sympathetic people are more affected by the officer’s father slobbering over the television of what a hard time his son is having over this “human mistake”, as if Khaleel was less. After all, Khaleel was indeed a dealer, so he would’ve died anyway, one gangbanger less, right? But Starr knows the truth behind the name, she knows the boy behind the titles, and slowly, being pushed by anger and injustices, even if discouraged by threats officers make on her, she speaks up. After all, she has the support of her family, and her wonderfully united community. And so the story of protests turned to riots turned to war zone begin.

I can’t begin telling you how good, and how important this book is. At time I’d forget I’m reading fiction, for it seems it’d be enough to change a title, change a name, and you’d recognize the people. I hope to someone this book will be an eye-opener. I can only give it 5 out of 5, and recommend.

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Friday: Diversity | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackenzi Lee “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” [1]

29283884I waited for “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee (ISBN 0062382802; 513p.; Goodreads) even before it was released. Which is a mighty rare thing for a first book (or a stand alone, we’ll see), and not, say, second or third in the series. Luckily, I didn’t get disappointed either!

Henry Montague is a fine man, an heir to a fairly great estate, and a son of great disappointment to his father. He was kicked out of school for, allegedly, starting a fight. He dallies with anyone on two legs, men, and women. He’s rarely ever sober, and shows little to no interest in running the estate! His father’s last hope is a voyage across Europe on which he sends Henry out, together with a very strict guardian, his sister, and his best friend. With whom Henry is secretly in love with…

The tour starts out pretty boring at first. Their guardian keeps his word, and makes sure everyone’s in line. Henry can’t go party, he’s not allowed to drink, and he’s going crazy. Yet he’ll surely miss these simple days once adventures come uninvited. Highway men, pirates… And all due to a damned box he pocketed!

The story was very fun, and often – very funny. It was easy to read, and I’m real happy about everything in it. So I’ll give it 5 out of 5, and won’t mind a sequel if such comes to be.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: Censoring

[1]; [2]

I speak of V.E. Schwab‘s Shades of Magic often, and with pleasure, for they’re truly among my very top favorite books of all times. But not all the reasons to talk about it are good.

Russian editions of Shades of Magic were censored. Queer part of the plot was redacted out, without author’s permission or knowledge. Which leads author to consider canceling the whole contract.

I don’t much follow the love lines in stories, for they’re mostly the same regurgitated things. Not in this case. Here there was no “no, you have betrayed me, I never want to see you again!” thing. Instead two adults sat down, spoke it out, considered it, and all things weighted – decided where to go on from there. The only thing that they could’ve had any issue with is of course the fact, that both these characters were men.

The story is not about queers. The story is not about homosexual love. The story is not even about love. It’s about magic, human nature, wishes, adventures, and so on. So in a world full of magic, rising dead, and portals to other worlds – here, apparently, can be no gays.

“Oh, that’d be too much!” – Said a man on his unicorn.

For next Friday I have you a very nice queer-plot book thus. Because love is love.

Categories: Fantasy Books, Friday: Diversity, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Friday Diversity: People of Color and LGBTQ+

tumblr_ornp4fK76l1tv4ujro1_540Maybe you’ve already seen this flag of equality? One that has added brown, and black stripes to it? No, it’s not to make it look cooler, although it does, yes. It’s to remind people that equality takes us all in, and is not selective of who deserves to speak, be heard, and have basic human rights.

One of such less heard voice is that of queer women of color. Thus I was mighty happy when Hannah from P.S. I love that Book started talking about Gabby Rivera and her “Juliet takes a breath“.

The book is told by Juliet herself. She’s Puerto Rican, and gay. In love, and dating a woman, planning at least the very near future with her. But for that future to have any base, one has to fix the present first. Like, come out to her parents: it resulted in her mother denying it all, claiming it must be a phase, that she knows better, and then outright refusing to speak with her daughter, or even say goodbye when she left for Portland. There, Juliet started working with one famous equal rights activist, and a published author, who insisted on her first getting to know the place, and sync with the city. Juliet’s head spins from new words, pronouns, epithets, and other things that she finds in this seemingly very liberal, and open-minded place.

I already started reading it, so I might be able to finish it until Friday. It’s my nightly-read, so it goes slower than the day books. In the meantime, I suggest you watch Hannah’s video review on this book!

Categories: F/F Literature, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Diversity // K.J. Charles // LGBTQ+

Often, at least in gay men literature, characters who identify as homosexual tend to hate themselves, no matter how society views them. It’s one reason why I really like K.J. Charles, for there’s little to absolutely no self-loathing due to sexuality there, even thou the settings of these books are often placed in times where homosexuality in any form was considered a crime.

The first books I ever read by K.J. Charles was A Charm of Magpie trilogy. Now that I’m reading another one, I’ve noticed that’s not the only peculiarity she has. Author likes her characters, the ones doomed to fall for each other, to be as different from one another as possible

Lucian is tall, blond, all the way from exotic China where his father exiled him due to his homosexual nature. To London he returns a wealthy merchant, tattooed, handsome, and mighty unusual, flashy even.

Stephan day is short, red-haired, and the only oddity about him is his magic. With a high position in, what I’d call, magical police, he still barely makes the ends meet, and in general prefers staying unnoticed.

These two end up together, prepared to maybe fight a little, but end up figuring they both loathe Lucian’s father, and they both would rather keep the last living Vaudrey alive. The rest is just beautiful, adventure filled, and well paced story.

While in Shades of Magic character orientation was a matter of fact, here – the pair can’t even hold hands in public due to outlash they would receive, the danger they’d be putting each other into.

So, when your straight friends complain about Gay Pride parades, or wonder what’s there to be proud of, when you were born this way, do remind them these little facts: straight people were never ever persecuted due to their orientation, so they can celebrate it every single day, really, and you’re proud, because you’re alive, you survived, you’re here, and you’re awesome.

Categories: Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday: Diversity // Race

People of Color, different races. My language lacks words to describe “other” races, but we’ll see how it goes with English.

One of currently most visible books with a black person as main hero is Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give”, a.k.a. Thug. The title is probably self-explanatory, and I don’t need to add anything to it. I didn’t plan to read it, really, haven’t heard all that much good about it, until I actually started looking into things. Then BookTube happened, and now I know I need to read it. At the very least to educate myself a bit on this, because let’s face it, my country couldn’t be whiter, I’ve no idea what racism really is, but I sure as hell should learn, being a different kind of minority.

So here’s three reviews that stuck with me, and why:


This young woman here missed the race point completely. She constantly questions it: why is it about the race? Why do you hate officers? So your black friend was shot because he’s black, from a bad neighborhood and it’s a tragedy? It’d be a tragedy if he wasn’t black just the same! – Which is not the case. Yes, it would be a tragedy. But the case lies in a different question: would he have been shot if he was a white guy? Rather, as we constantly see on tv and news media, he would’ve been properly apprehended, questioned, and most likely released. It happens all the damn time, where people of color, different race, are labeled thugs, terrorists, murderers – damn white rapists, terrorists, hate-filled scum walk among us, charged and released. So my own point here is this: be aware.

iLivieforbooks tells about the balance: the need to adjust when you’re a black kid from primarily black neighborhood, and go to a primarily white school. She also touches the previously mentioned subject: Starr friend was shot, because he was a black guy from a bad neighborhood, and touches a different edge of the same truth. People are not allowed to grieve their lost ones, because all the while they’re bombarded with half a country yelling: he probably deserved it anyway. I like that she mentioned interracial dating too, I always found that curious, and she shone some insight.
Two Worlds: black neighborhood, and white “neighborhood” – the school. And while we are accidentally told that the characters might just very well be aliens, Problemsofabooknerd barely contains herself telling us of characters, how they are, what are their personalities, and how they fill each other out. Then she touches another important subject: White privilege. I admit, I myself wasn’t aware of having such for a very long while, and only recently I started to notice things. Truth is this: when you live in a super white country, with black people number so small you could count them on your two hands, you don’t know what you have, because you simply have nothing to compare it to. Or you tell yourself that. A few years back I watched the news, and they spoke of gypsy communities, which we do have here, and they are treated poorly, for reasons, or no reasons. And I realized a very simple, but very true fact: okay, so I can’t get a job in my damn town. But if there was a spot, and there stood I, aiming, say, at waiter job, no prior experience, and a gypsy woman, with plenty of prior experience: I would get hired. Because, as a white person, I get the benefit of the doubt, and that’s the biggest, fattest privilege anyone can ever ask for.

So these are my three muses who “told” me to read this book. Each one of them is important, whether their review was good, bad, or biased (NOT IMPLYING ANYTHING). As Philip DeFranco keeps repeating us: we must have a conversation, and we must educate ourselves. Hate without a reason means only one thing, that you chose to be ignorant. And in an age of information being under our fingertips – it has no excuse.

 

Categories: Friday: Diversity | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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