#TakePrideInReading

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June is Pride month here in the U.S. and myself, along with a bunch of other Bookstagrammers, started a reading challenge to help spread the word and raise awareness about queer authors characters and topics AND to celebrate just what this month truly means to so many of us. Here is how we’ve planned it out. Each week, there are 2 prompts. Our job is to read books that fit the prompts for the week, post about books that correlate, talk about books and authors that fit into each week, and/or post stacks of books that we pull from our shelves or pick up from the library that check the box for that week! It’s a fantastic way to read more queer lit, but also, it’s a great way to really think about our history, where we came from, how we got there, who helped us along the way, see where we stand now and to celebrate all there is to come. It’s only been a little over a week but it’s just been the BEST time! I love reading queer lit, but this has expanded my TBR pile exponentially and I couldn’t be more excited! So I wanted to make sure all of my blog friends knew about this challenge as well! Again, all the fun takes place over on Instagram-so find me there at bookishfolk and follow along using the hashtag #takeprideinreading. And bonus, I’ve seen SO many people over on Instagram talking about how they want to read more queer books and learn more about our history and I basically sob the majority of the day now just thinking about how something so small (like a reading challenge on Instagram) can have such an effect on so many people. It makes me the happiest.

Prompts:

Week 1: Voices Across the Spectrum, Breaking the Binary

Week 2: Community Classic, Unsung Classic

Week 3: Intersectional Voices, Know Our History

Week 4: LGBTQIA+ Genre Fiction, Personal Awakening

As you can see, we’re only on week 2, so we’ve still got a ways to go exploring these themes and celebrating the diversity of queer life! And please know, this is for all of us-you don’t have to be queer to participate. As long as you’re here to be respectful, ready to learn and grow, and read some fantastically queer books-we’re happy to have you along for the ride 🙂

In case you’re interested, here are the bookstagrammers that are hosting the challenge: These humans are wonderful people to follow for all sorts of reasons! Give them a look over on the gram!

@thefeministreader @readrunsea  @allisonreadsdc @basiclandcave @bklnbooks @caseythereader @franniereads @hisreadingnook @inkoneverypage @lesbeebooks @lupita.reads @mina_reads @readingschmitt @readmollyread @shelfbyshelf @thealchemyofbooks @whatsjennareading @booksnblazers @bowtiesandbooks @caseythecanadianlesbrarian @djenneg.reads @khakipantsofsex @queerafricanreads @roams.and.reads @talialune @ultimatelybookish @bookishfolk

YAY PRIDE MONTH and YAY QUEER BOOKS! As always, find me on Instagram and please let me know what books you’re reading this month! I’d love to hear!

bookishfolk…read instead.

 

 

June Wallpaper

You might know that Pride Month takes place in June and that there are parades and celebrations all over the country and the world to celebrate LGBTQ+ rights. BUT, it’s also important to remember the history and origin story of Pride and why it is so important to celebrate, but to also be respectful and mindful of the story that is so often forgotten in a sea of rainbow flags, floats and liquor. Here is a great article that everyone should read all about the Stonewall Riots (yes, Pride started as a riot), it’s history and what it all means to us today. It makes me cry every time I think about it. This year is the 50th anniversary of that riot too, so send some extra love and let’s make sure that history is remembered, but never repeated. All that to say, please celebrate this month, go to the parties, hug your friends, be a good ally (if you’re straight), be a good queer (if you’re queer), drink the shots out of rainbow cups, but just make sure that you also take some time to research Pride’s history and give a virtual high five to all the people that came before us. They fought a good fight and brought us to where we are today and for that, I am forever grateful. AND ALSO!!!-use this wallpaper I created all the month through! As always, send me a message here and let me know what you think, or find me over on Instagram (@bookishfolk). And please share this website and blog, my Instagram and June’s wallpaper with your friends!

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bookishfolk…read instead.

Red, White and Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston

Published: May 14, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Where I picked up my book:  my local indie

Key Words: queer, political, romance

My Rating: 5

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Synopsis (via Macmillan website):

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER that is a *MUST-READ BOOK* for US WEEKLY, VOGUE, NPR, OPRAHMAG.COM, BUZZFEED, and more!

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

My Thoughts:

Oooof…how do I put into words just how much I loved this book. I should start out by saying that at first, Red, White and Royal Blue wasn’t even on my radar. I thought it sounded a little too fluffy for my liking and maybe a little too youthful for my old lady status. BUT Ohhhh I was SO WRONG and anyone that might have these thoughts too-give this one a chance and I can pretty much guarantee, you won’t be disappointed!

First, I just can’t stop thinking about how gloriously queer this book is! When I think about representation in books or movies, I have trouble thinking of a single piece of fiction that I read or watched as a kid where I could see myself within the pages. Maybe that’s why it took me a long time to come out-to myself, or to my friends and family? Maybe that’s why in relationships, it always felt like something was missing from them? Maybe that’s why I felt like there was something off in my life, but I just didn’t know how to pinpoint what that was? After reading books as an adult, it’s so obvious-I was missing representation. I never saw myself  in the books I was reading or the movies I was watching. I saw white, straight couples on a regular basis and that’s all I knew, so I set out to make that straight life happen. (I was already born white, and with that comes the privilege of seeing my color at least represented in books or on the screen, but that is definitely not the case for so many people.) So I tried living that straight life I thought I was suppose to live. I tried, and I failed. I realized who I was. THANK GOD! But I can’t help but wonder what path I would have taken if I was able to see a lesbian couple creating a life for themselves in fiction. Or a gay couple raising a family. Or a teen working through their sexuality and coming out to themselves. All of that to say, representation matters and I am so so SO happy to see books like this now popping up all over the place. We are seeing representation all across the spectrum now (in terms of race, culture, religion, body types, gender, family structure, sexuality, etc) and I could scream it from the rooftops how happy I am about that. It gives me such high hopes for the future generations!

Second, the political talk in this book is real. It’s far from fluff, but instead, it’s true political commentary on our past and current state of political affairs here in the US, as well as what the British monarchy looks like up close and personal. I took a deep dive into that aspect of the book and loved every second of it.

Third, the character development is fantastic. By the end, these characters were my friends and I still think about them on a daily basis. “How is Alex doing today?” is a regular thought of mine since finishing up this book.  We get to immerse ourselves in a thought out and detailed relationship, we can imagine what it feels like to be the sister of a prince, we feel each character’s feels and have a good hold on their thoughts. Plus, the characters outside of the two main characters are not just there as props, but we know them equally as well, if not more, than the mail characters themselves. You will fall in love with them all-promise. Well…the maybe not the queen, but the rest of them, yes 🙂

Fourth, this book is seriously funny. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times while reading. All of the characters have a great sense of humor, banter and a deep friendship between each other and it was everything.  I was lucky enough to hear McQuiston speak last week at my local indie and I’m happy to announce, she’s just as funny in person as she is in her writing. It shows in her writing and I couldn’t have loved that more if I tried.

Fifth, and maybe most importantly, this book gave me hope for our future. After a hell of a rough election in 2016, I’ve had a feeling of dread and fear settle into my life. All of a sudden, I find myself constantly worried for my friends and anyone of color in this country. I fear that my own marriage could be taken away or that my wife and I could be put in harms way because we love each other. I dread what our future looks like when someone like Trump could be elected in the first place. I am nervous for all of my queer friends to travel outside of the safety of our own bubbles we have created for ourselves. I fear for immigrants in this country that are being torn away from the only home they know and deserve and for children being separated from their families at the border. I get nervous for all of us women at our jobs and walking down the street. I could go on about my fears and anxieties that have risen up in me since 2016, but for the first time in a long time, I’ve read something that has given me hope and helps me see that the future might be brighter than I had once thought. I am surprised that I found this hope in a rom com, humorous book that at first glance I thought I was too old for, but that’s what is magical about this book. I’m so incredibly thankful to McQuiston for that.

All of this to say, run, don’t walk to grab Red, White and Royal Blue. You won’t be disappointed and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be screaming it from the rooftops to anyone that will listen…”CLAREMONT FOR PRESIDENT” and “HISTORY, HUH?”

bookishfolk…read instead.

Why I’m breaking up with the TBR list

Do you create a monthly TBR list at the beginning of the month and stick with it? I have so many good intentions to do so, but low and behold, the end of the month comes and generally speaking, I haven’t read a.single.one of the books in that pile. What is wrong with me?! That’s what I think every month when this happens. I see everyone’s TBR piles on Instagram at the beginning of the month and then their checked off lists at the end of the month and I’m all like, welp…another month bites the dust. And that’s not right. In fact, I’ve been reading fantastic books all month. I’ve been talking about books to everyone I see. I’ve been loving what I read. That’s where the focus should be but instead, this TBR piles staring at me from the dresser is where my focus often lands. So…this got me thinking about my personal reading habits, unique personality traits, the way I create intentions and why the heck I can’t seem to stick with a list of books to read to save my life. Here is what I came up with. If you are anything like me, this post might help you feel less guilty about your TBR list and instead, embrace the lack of that pile knowing you’re just doing you!

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  1. I get a lot of books from my local library and I’m at the mercy of the library as to when those books come in. So there are months when I get 8 books ready for me and usually, I only have a few weeks to read and return them. I LOVE MY LIBRARY and am always here to support them in any way possible. Public libraries raised me and they will always hold a special place in my heart. Supporting them in the least I can do. Plus, books are free for the borrowing!! 🙂
  2. I get a fair amount of ARCs from publishers and I try to read and review them before they are actually published. They just show up in the mail so I’m never sure what is coming at me month to month. I COULDN’T LOVE THIS MORE IF I TRIED and feel so honored to receive the best mail a lady could ask for. Literally. Book mail is my love language.
  3. I love to get new books and am always on the lookout for my new favorite read. With that, comes impulsive buys and impulse holds at the library. And then I must read said impulse book. Apparently, I’m slightly impulsive lol. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I stay up to date with books and publishing trends and feel in the know about it (for once in my life I’m in the know because seriously, anything else-that has NEVER been the case for me).
  4. I LOVE to read bookish blogs and follow a TON of fantastic bookstagrammers over on Instagram. I’m always getting excited over another book someone has mentioned and must find a way to read it asap. Seriously, my phone is FULL of screenshots of books I must read ASAP. Spreading the love of book and finding ‘my people’ has been the best gift I’ve ever received and I’m here for it.
  5. I’m a mood reader for sure! I often find myself with a pile of books I’ve brought on vacation with me or think I’ll tackle over the  long weekend, and yet,my mood has me heading to the bookstore or perusing my shelves to find a specific genre that I’m in the mood for. That doesn’t bode well for a TBR list. Following my moods has ALWAYS led me to great reading experiences though, so I would never want that to change. It works for me and I’m so happy about that.
  6. I can often be found perusing my local bookstores and making purchases if I find something I want. And then I must rush home and get down to business (aka reading the book I just bought). My wife and I often go on bookstore dates and it’s our absolute favorite! Again, not great for a TBR pile, but FANTASTIC for my local community! I love to support my local small businesses. It’s the heartbeat of the community and keeping your dollars local is always good for everyone involved.
  7. Lastly, I join a lot of large buddy reads over on Instagram because I love talking about books with other book lovers and those tend to pop up randomly. Some great ongoing buddy reads that I really enjoy happen with @readwithkat (I just read ‘Five Feet Apart’ with her and loved it) and @nycbookgirl (I just finished ’84, Charing Cross Road’ with her and also LOVED it. Books about books and bookstores-yes please). Plus…making more bookish friends is seriously changing my life for the better. I’m in, always, for that!

So…if anyone is like me and can’t seem to stick with a TBR list, here are some possible reasons why but also, the beauty of it. Thinking about it has helped me just acknowledge that I might not be that person who has a photo of a pretty pile of books at the beginning of the month to get through. And after working that out, that’s okay with me. I hope you find some solace with loving however it is that you read. And now…off to read a book that wasn’t part of this month’s TBR list and couldn’t be happier about that 🙂

bookishfolk…read instead.