52 Books, 52 Weeks… Go, go, go!

Some time in the middle of last year I acquired a Goodreads account. Noticing the option to set a goal for how many books to read in 2011, I set a nice, round 50 and then tried my best to remember which books I had, in fact, already read. Between a summer of mind numbing dullness (so dull, in fact, that at points I had trouble concentrating on anything, even reading which has long been my one solace) and a busy first semester of second year of university, I didn’t meet my goal.

Though I still think that if I had been able to include all the novel-length fanfics I’d read, I would have exceeded it, easily.

But, such concerns aside, I decided at the start of this year, when presented with the option to set a reading goal for 2012, that I’d give 52-in-52 a shot. 52 books in 52 weeks. Combined with the fact that I have yet to properly use this blog for any of the uses which I intended I have come up with the following set of rules for myself:

  1. Re-reads don’t count. I’m not a big rereader, if I’m honest, but there are some books I will read over and over again. I will make exception if I haven’t read the book in over 5 years, but I want to expand my reading of published material and ensure that I’m reading 52 books that are brand new to me (or as good as – 5 years ago I was 14, and my memory is shit.)
  2. All books shall be tracked on Goodreads. Whether they are part of the 52-in-52 or not.
  3. Books read for school don’t count. As I’m not an English major, this shouldn’t be a huge problem, but since I’ll allow 52 fiction OR non-fiction books… it’s still relevant.
  4. Any type of book allowed, including anthologies. With a 100-page minimum when in paperback printing. Anthologies of short stories, which I do read on occasion, will be treated as one book for purposes of counting.
  5. All books read for 52-in-52 will be reviewed on this blog by midnight Saturday of the week relevant. This is so that I don’t just splurge through and never consider the book again. As I do intend to be a published writer at some point, having an awareness of what I read will be good. It’s the one thing I did appreciate about IB Higher Level English in high school!

So there you have it, dear readers. My 5 rules for my 52-in-52. I have already finished my first book (as those who follow my Twitter will be aware) which was Ben Bova’s Leviathans of Jupiter. So expect a review post of that before midnight this Saturday! (Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the convenience of this year beginning on a Sunday?)

Happy 2012,
C/J

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Reading is dangerous…

It makes you think.

It challenges you to accept, for the length of time it takes to read the book, another view of the world. Or a view of another world.

Reading, especially fantasy, is dangerous.

It’s no wonder people ban books. Books, and reading, are dangerous. Subversive, even.

Books invite you to consider difference. To consider other possibilites, other ways. To consider humanity. To dream. To imagine. To stretch your mind.

Stories inspire you. Stories reinforce the world around you, or they threaten it. Any upset of the standard tropes and suddenly something changes.

To paraphrase a quote said by someone who I forget, it is what you read (or watch or listen to, really) when you don’t have to, that speaks to who you are.

We have all read formative books. Stories that have shaped us, changed us, sometimes dramatically. I can’t, at the moment, think of any book that ever completely upended my world in a dramatic manner. But I can think of a number of books, just off the top of my head, a few select authors, who have greatly influenced my internal world. My mental landscape. Provided furnishings for the person I am today.

That is what I plan to post about on here, over the next few months. And it likely will take months. I’m busy, and have sundry things to attend to that won’t leave a lot of time for drafting good, solid posts.

But that is what you may expect.

(Some of these books, some of these authors? Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. Tamora Pierce’s writing. To name but two major ones.)

-C/J

Fending Off Panic Attacks (and other side-effects of “National” Coming Out Day)

On Closets

If you have read my About page, you will realize that I am not out to my family. I am also selectively out in other circumstances – when I was working, I was cautious of such things, and I am not out to members of my church with whom I have church-related interaction.

I am, however, out of the closet in other circumstances. I have been out to my peers at school since high school, though in a fairly low-key fashion. As a general rule I dislike attention and am not particularly attention seeking. I bring it up if relevant and do not hide it in casual conversation or everyday life. At my university I am a member of the executive committee of the LGBTQ support group. I am willing to be, and previously have been, associated with the group. It’s a requirement to be on the exec, actually, that you are comfortable with being openly associated with a Big Queer Group.

I am fine with that. And last year, as the risk loomed of being outed by accident related to the LGBTQ group, I accepted that fact as well. I would much rather my parents be the ones to bring it up. Or to simply have it, in a way, done for me. I can deal, I think, with them finding out second-hand, as it were, via my connection with an organization.

And yet, I do not out myself to my parents. To my cousins. To my aunts or uncles. To people and good friends I have from church (although those who are my age are possibly aware of my “reputation”, such as it was, from school). Why? Why do I hide?

Why do I hide? Well, the rest of the post answers that.